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Tooske Ragas: ‘I don’t hand over the education and want to be at home as much as possible’

“With Tooske!” The energy almost bursts through the screen when Tooske cheerfully answers her phone. It is ten o’clock on Tuesday morning, which means that she has just been exercising with a friend, something that happens three to four times a week since corona. “I just did some really nasty things with a kettlebell,” she hates. She thinks it must be, now that she has more time and also eats and drinks more than usual. “It’s only fifteen minutes at a time, you know. Of course it shouldn’t really look like sports. ”

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Back to school

Just like for many, corona also throws a spanner in the works for Tooske in a career. “I would do a lot of fun things in the coming months, a new TV program, a theater show… unfortunately nothing can go ahead now. We don’t complain, we are healthy and have a good life, but it is boring. In the spring I already turned my house inside out, scrubbed all the joints, cleaned the attic, selected clothes. Very nice, but I’m not going to do that again now, bye! ” And so Tooske takes a different approach: “I am going back to school, next week I will start a master’s degree in pedagogy in Leiden. Something I have wanted for years, but for which I never had time. ”

That interest in the profession does not mean that Tooske is so fond of all children, she quickly adds. “On the contrary, I find many children these days quite cheeky and unkind, I occasionally get boyfriends and girlfriends over the floor who don’t even say hello when they come in. Then I think, how is it possible that you don’t know this is inappropriate? Anyway, that aspect of parenting – what works, what doesn’t – fascinates me. I think it would be great to be able to combine my own experiences with professional knowledge. ”

Family

With four children aged 19, 13, 12 and 10, Tooske and her husband Bastiaan have no shortage of educational experience. Last summer, the couple had been married for fifteen years, a love story that started somewhat messy, because Tooske was already married when the spark hit and Bas’s son was barely two years old. “That was not easy, but luckily Bas and I listened to that deep feeling inside: we have to do this together, this life, you and me.”

And they did. In no time Sem got three more sisters. Bas wanted a large family, he announced both inappropriately and inappropriately. “For example one minute after the birth of Leentje; I was still in shock when he screamed that he wanted another! ” The result: three children in three and a half years. “Intensive, I was really running on my gums.

Own life

I remember that we always said that we were the base, that the children could join us and not the other way around. But when they were little that was totally out of the question, the rhythm of the children ruled our lives. And Bas hung around it like a typical man, searching: where is my place? Yes, friend, you wanted a big family right? ” She laughs hard, after all it turned out fine. “Bas and I have our own lives back and the children have become friendly, helpful people. Whether it’s because of us or mainly because of school and friends, I don’t know, but at least I haven’t screwed up yet. We’re not there yet, but the first half was reasonably successful. ”

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Tight, clear frames

Tooske had a great example, she says, with parents who come from education and share a passion for ‘helping to raise children’. “Our family had a lot of patience and space, but at the same time also tight, clear frameworks. Rest, regularity, structure and repetition, that’s what it was all about. Initially because I have an older brother with Down syndrome, but guess what? That clarity did us all good, certainly me. It has made me a happy, balanced and stable person, without extreme mood swings. ”

Just like her mother, she did not want to relinquish the upbringing, but wanted to be at home as much as possible. “Although I had never thought about it that way, I unconsciously turned out to have fairly strict ideas about parenting. It was just in my genes, lucky maybe. For example, I did not go backpacking with babies and I did not take my toddlers to a restaurant: they slept every night in their own bed, in their own environment, with the same view from the same window. Even now, I sing the same lullaby every night to all my children as I did then. I believe in fixed pillars. ”

Structure

Her tight pattern was not embraced by everyone, Tooske recalls. “Our friends thought I was really strict. But yes, however you turn or turn it: with four children you have to choose. It will be a kind of military operation, be it lovingly and as pleasant as possible, or it will become one big chaos. ”

If it had been up to Bas, the Ragas family would have taken that second, chaotic turn. Fortunately, Bas was not in charge, Tooske laughs. “Bas is much more creative than I am, which means that his head is already very busy, let alone with the stimuli of four children. He therefore really liked the structure that I applied within the swarm. He had never handled it that way himself, but he benefited. It gave him peace. ”

Differences

The fact that the couple is so different works to their advantage, Tooske thinks. “Bas is very communicative; everything he does not like or understands he continues to address until it has been discussed. Whether I want to or not, I cannot escape that. Maybe that’s one of the main reasons we’ve been together for so long, next to fat happiness.

It is also nice for the children that we differ. As a child from an extremely harmonious and patient family, I was shocked when someone first got mad at me, or when I came into a household where people yelled at each other. I didn’t know that and was totally devastated. Bas is definitely not an angry person, but he is more explosive than I am. In this way our children learn that people react differently and work differently. And more importantly: that the world does not end as a result. ”

The whole interview can be found in Kek Mama 15-2020.

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