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‘People find it incomprehensible that we work full-time and also ask for a babysitter on the weekend’

Only 15 more summers to go. I’m guessing Bodi and Daaf will still want to go on holiday with us until they are 18. And so we only have 15 summers left to make memories together, go on an adventure and discover the world.

It’s going faster than I want.

Now there is still a train track and a Paw Patrol puppy collection through the living room, soon they will be on their computer in their own room or at friends’ houses. Or worse, with their girlfriends. I work 36 hours a week and therefore have childcare for my children for 36 hours a week. One week I really like that and the next week it’s oppressive. Then I think I don’t see them enough. Precisely because the years go by so quickly.

Then why do you ‘take’ children?

My husband also works full time and owns his own catering business. We consciously choose our careers. But if we have childcare for Bodi and Daaf, the nursery, playgroup or grandparents, then we work. Sometimes we also want to do something for ourselves on the weekend with our friends, without children. Or an evening together. And then we occasionally arrange a babysitter who comes to babysit at our home. Some people find that incomprehensible. ‘How can you be away so much during the week and then also want to be away from your children at the weekend?’

I kind of understand that comment. I find it very difficult at the moment to find a balance in this. I love to work and I am happy to be able to do that and earn my own money. But there are also many hours that you do not have your children with you, in their younger years. My best friends are so important to me that I like to see them all at least once a month. But with a lot of friends there is almost always something social to do at the weekend. Sometimes the children can come along, sometimes not. How often do you cancel a friend because you’d rather be at home with your kids? Is it really that bad if I put them to bed myself and then the nanny comes downstairs on the couch and I leave? Does it matter whether I’m there or not?

During the week we have childcare and babysitting because we work, on the weekends to do something for ourselves. Every week I look for what makes me feel good. I always miss my kids when they’re not with me, but at the same time, I also become a nicer mom when I can organize a few hours on my own, without having to change diapers or appease the fights over those Paw Patrol puppies. Working is good for me and that makes me happier. My social life is good for me and that makes me happier. But why do I still have such a stab in my stomach, if I can use the babysitter app or she can do it again on July 2?

Tessa Heinhuis (32) is mother of twins, Bodi and Daaf (3). She lives with her husband Billy in Bussum and is editor-in-chief of mamamagazine.nl.

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