Another Saturday, time for another interview with a mom we love. A mother’s style and rhythm develops with age and experience and if often takes years to settle in. So after interviewing lots of moms with young age, some of them freshly out “on the mommy market”, now we have the opportunity to sit and chat with a mamma with greater experience. This time our Realmomster is also our first mom with teenagers: meet Bianca Mazilu, mom of two, currently living in Malmo, Sweden with her husband, daughter and son, living a super healthy life that involves daily running and participating in marathons around the world. Wow, right? Oh, and she’s also a dear friend of mine, whom I really love and admire and who has known me since I was her kids’ ages.
They say, small kids, small problems – big kids, bigger problems. Let’s see if it’s true.
Read her story on how important it is to live a balanced life, on her family’s multi-cultural experience and on the challenges of raising teens.
So, you’re already a mom of teenagers, and no longer to kids. What’s the best part of this age? What about the most difficult or annoying?
Yes. One teenager and one soon-to-be teenager. The best part is that I don’t have to ‘baby-sit’ anymore. We can now go out in the evenings without them and without being stressed or feeling guilty that we left them alone home. They can prepare their food, they can go shopping for whatever they need, they are responsible for throwing out the garbage, they do their homework by themselves, etc.
The biggest challenge is to tolerate the ups & downs mood of the teenager. I often hear: ‘Next time please knock on the door!’, ‘Don’t touch me MOM!’, ‘Leave me alone!’, Do you know the Nacho joke? ‘Nacho business J’, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes I feel I am not so important in their lives as I used to be..
What’s your parenting style – are you rather lenient or demanding, and what do you wish you could do differently in regards to their upbringing?
I am a demanding Mom. I believe hard work brings great achievements – a bit of old fashioned, I know… I have a good friend that always wishes my kids (and hers also) to ‘Marry Rich’J. My view of life is slightly different…
I do believe in LUCK, but I also believe that you can make your luck as well.
If it something to do differently, maybe to take it a bit easier… I am too demanding sometimes.
What do you feel is the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re raising future men and women of this generation?
I believe that my future adults should have some strong values deeply rooted into their beliefs, as a foundation. I believe it is important not to impose any belief, but to let them decide what to adhere to and to what not. And I do believe in the power of example and in ‘walk the talk’.
I never lied my kids. Even when I received very embarrassing questions, and believe me, I received a lot, I was very open and I told them the naked truth. Even when the truth hearted them, I still did it. I also think that we should not overprotect our kids. They need to be exposed to different situations and they should be left to deal with them. This is how they learn and get prepared for life. We will not be always next to them to support…
Your biggest inspiration?
What has been your biggest challenge so far regarding your kids and how did you overcome it?
I went through a tough time of my life when I was experiencing for a short while the life of a single mom. I was extremely scared on how I am going to handle all the things by myself… But my kids did not let me feel I am alone at all. I felt a lot of support from their side and we together grew up tremendously during that time… They became extremely responsible, they helped me a lot on the housing stuff (grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc.), and they offered me a lot of moral support. Probably everything is happening for a reason…
You have moved from Bucharest to Dubai, and then to Malmo, Sweden in less than 4 years. What are some insights when considering moving country with kids, and what influenced you to choose Sweden after all? What were the biggest advantages for the kids in this entire moving period?
When we move out of our native country for the first time, our first thought was on how the kids will adapt to the new home, new school, new environment and new life overall. After 2 moves in such a short time, I can tell you that the kids adapt the easiest! Nevertheless, when we moved around, we always kept with us their plush toys from when they were little from Romania. I think these small things reminds them where the HOME is. The reasons behind my decision to move to Sweden were purely related to my career. Sometimes I miss the ‘easy’ life from Dubai, but on the other hand I am well aware that that place is not a place where you would retire from… Nevertheless, I am grateful I had the chance to live there for 2 years.
The biggest advantages both for the kids but for us as well is that we are more tolerant to change, we are more flexible now. I remember when I had to move 10 years ago from an apartment in Bucharest to our newly build house how difficult and complicated we perceived the move and how easy it is now… Before we were more attached to things (our car, our house, furniture, crockery, etc.). Now all these does not mean anything to us, are just things that you can buy anytime…
Other benefits I see of living abroad are: experiencing many cultures, habits, learning a bit of the local language.
Is there anything you miss about life before kids?
No. I see it as 2 different chapters of my life (before and afterJ), each of them having its own flavors. There is nothing I miss from before. By the contrary, I perceive the ‘after’ chapter as being more profound, more reach, with more substance.
Are you ever taking time off away from the kids, and when you do, how do you usually spend that time?
When we were living in Romania, we were almost never away from them, and the kids got used to spend time with us. Since we are living abroad, we are sending the kids for the full summer vacation home, in Romania to spend some more time with their grandparents, but we miss terribly one another. I cannot say that I have a long to do list for the time the kids are away… By the contrary, I am counting the days until we will be together again…
The first thing that goes through your head when you wake up? And the last one before you go to bed?
When I wake up, usually I think at my ‘to do list’ for the day. When I go to bed in the evening I am trying to close the day in a positive thinking: being grateful for all the good things in my life, thinking with love at my family, wishing for health and well-being to my dear ones, etc.
What’s the best thing about raising your kids in Sweden? If you wouldn’t be living there, where would you rather live?
Sweden is one of the best countries for parents and their kids.
All healthcare is free for children, no matter what, until they are 20 years old, while dental care is free until a child is 21 years old. We benefit of free international schooling, free lunches, free school camps while public transport is subsidized.
Throughout all Sweden the air is clean, there is tons of nature and the water is perfect for drinking and swimming.
I am a person that loves the sun. And this is what we miss the most here, besides our friends and parents… So if I could choose, I would choose to do the same job in a warm seaside city.
You (and your husband) are a marathon runner and an active mom! How did running change your life and how do you feel your kids have been influenced by your healthy and active lifestyle?
When I was 20 I had to go through some surgeries at one of my hips that changed my life. It was a dramatic moment in my life, but thanks to that, I had to do a lot of kineto-therapy to recover and I started to enjoy exercising. At that time I never thought of running due to my leg condition, but I remember like yesterday when my husband took me for the first time out for a run… This was 7 years ago… time flies… I was scared like hell, but I did 6K and I was very proud of myself! I realized I enjoyed it a lot and I continued. I find it the most convenient sport. You just need your running shoes and the appetite for running, nothing else…You can do it during your business trips, during vacation, during lunch time, early morning or late evening. We dedicate a lot of our spare time to running. Running made me more disciplined, helped me loose some kilos of courseJ, helped me overcome some tough times I went through, and makes me feel good overall. Both I and my husband go to different races and kids follow us all the time. They participated in the beginning in all kids races organized during our competitions. During our last Marathon in Dubai last year, our daughter ran 10K. Now, I and my daughter go out for a run together in some weekends.
As I said, I think the power of example is the best education for our kids. They both love to exercise, to try new sports, to be in the nature and to be fitJ.
How and when did you (if at all) find that balance between your professional carreer, your relationship and your role as a mom?
I can say that now I feel the most balanced. I am not traveling as much as I used to do when the kids were smaller, I am very rarely working overtime, my spare time I dedicate it mostly to my family, as I don’t have too many friends here… Currently I am commuting by train from home to office for 1 hour and 20 minutes, 3-4 days per week. Since I depend on the train schedule, this made me less flexible in staying overtime. I am home earlier than when I was working in Dubai or in Romania. And the kids are not taking too much of my time either as they are independent now. So now, when we spend time together, we do it to play, listen to music, chit chatting about our day, about friends, lovers, conflicts, homework, etc. And I feel I still have time for myself as well…
How can we make healthier life choices with little time – in the case of new moms?
I often hear “I would like to do that, but I do not have time…”. And I always say that all of us have 24 hours within a day, nothing more, nothing less. All of us need to sleep 7-9 hours/day, all of us need to go to work 8 hours/day and the rest is all about prioritization! If that thing is important for you, you will find time for it!
What does a normal day in your life look like? Your morning routine, work, school drop off, lunch, dinner, bed time,etc.
During working days I wake up at 6 am. In case I am working from home, I always go for a one hour run, if I have to commute I skip the running, but I am power walking 6-8 km every day. I like to sleep as long as possible, therefore I am the ‘army style’ type of the person. When alarm starts, I immediately get out of the bed, shower, a quick tea (I gave up to coffee 2 years ago, but I miss it from time to time… L), dress-up, make-up – all these in 30 minutes. Same style we applied to our kids J. Then I am away for work from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. In the evening we usually have a common dinner. I like when all of us sit around a nice arranged table and chit chat about the day, about our plans, etc. We go to bed quite early – around 9:30 during weekdays. In the weekend we are a bit more permissive both with the kids and with usJ, therefore we wake up much later, we go obligatory for a run and after normally we go out for a brunch or dinner.
What would you tell your 20-year old self?
Have fun, enjoy life and don’t take it so serious!
Dare to dream big and follow your dream!
Don’t wait too much! Marry him and make children! He is the one! J
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
When I was a child, the question I was hating the most was: “What do you want to be when you will grow-up?” And this is because I had no clue…
Now that I am grown-up, I hate when I get questions like this especially during my interviews J. And this is because I do not plan my career / my life and I do not set long term goals. And in spite of this, life treated me well and the path I was going through so far is a good one. I have a lot of goals, but the goals I set are on max one year and somehow achievable (I play safe as you see).
Who ever believed 10 years ago that I will live for 2 years in Dubai and now in Sweden?
So, I have no clue where I will be in 10 years from now, but I am confident that that will not be the destination, but I will still be on MY WAY…
Finish the sentence…
My perfect vacation spot is… Greek Islands
Never missing from my fridge… Chocolate
Sex… is a physical need
Favourite fragrance… Coco Mademoiselle
I go to bed dreaming about… a nice vacation on a seaside
I wake up… early
My perfect Sunday… having a nice brunch with my friends in a resort on the seaside
My husband… is a good father
Being a mom… is the best thing that could have happen in my life
I feel sexiest when… I am exercising
My man should order in the bar… Mojito for me!