This morning we’re having coffee with CEO and Mom-In-Chief of Four, Simona Purdel, based in Bucharest, and leading a very instagrammable life with her four (!) bundles of joy: Martin, 8, Armin, 6, Iarin, 4, and Erin, 1. I always wondered what it would feel, look, sound like with more than one kiddo at home, or fine, even two of them in the house. But rarely have I even had the courage to imagine what our house would turn into with four of them. But damn, was I curious, and hence this piece with supermom Simona. Well, after our interview, I would add that it does indeed sound way worse than it actually is, at least for the Purdel House. This mamma seems so natural, relaxed and happy, that the idea of a full house does not sound that scary anymore.
After having three boys in a row, little Erin came as a welcome surprise and a nice bonus for Simona. Should we say she’s like the Victoria Beckham of Bucharest?
Well anyways, we chatted with this mama of four about all things happy and less than happy, help around the house, a day in her life, her ideal date night and much more. Keep reading for good wisdom from a mamma of four!
How old were you when you had your kids and how many did you picture having?
I was 26 when I had my first son. I always knew I wanted to have more than one, but to tell you the truth, I thought that I will stop at three at most. I always saw myself as a mother of three boys, so having also a girl is like a big bonus that I’m really grateful for.
Describe your parenting style in 3 words.
I like to think that I am a relaxed and adaptable mom. My kids are so different and react to different approaches, so I have to be malleable and always find the way to fit their personality. And here is the constant challenge for me, as a parent. To sum up: I am the “let’s talk about it” parent, but of course there are some strict rules not to be broken, like daily hygiene routine for example (but to tell you the truth, teeth brushing is a constant fight with them). Anyway, every day comes with new lessons to learn for all of us, so I just have to go along and find my style while parenting daily.
What does a normal day in your life look like? How do you divide your time between your job, home life, caring for the kids and making time for yourself? Do you have any help from the outside?
I have two guardian angels that are always with me: my parents. Still, it feels absolutely impossible sometimes to have the perfect balanced life. And although there is a lot of routine, no two days are the same. And that’s because you never know what other crazy thing the boys might do. For the moment I am on maternity leave, so it is easier to keep up with everything kids-related, but I am planning to get back to work in spring and then I’ll have to reinvent myself and probably clone my parents! 😄
How was pregnancy x 4 for you? What were the differences between each one of them, and did you ever get more relaxed with each birth, or was it always super exciting?
They were all the same, more or less. I loved being pregnant and I think this is what I’ll miss most with age. But I never got used to the experience. I was always anxious and couldn’t relax until I held the baby in my arms.
Natural birth or C section?
I didn’t have the opportunity to experience natural birth, unfortunately, but definitely I am pro natural birth. There is a lot to discuss about women who deliberately choose C section and doctors who encourage it, but I won’t get into this subject.
Did you have a job before being a mom, and how has your professional life divided from your personal one once you became a mom?
Yes, I’ve always had a job. I love working, that feeling of getting up in the morning and doing something that makes you feel important 😄 and I actually see no conflict between having a carrier and having kids. You just have to lower your expectations and understand that maybe you cannot do them both at excellency level at the same time. Kids require a lot of attention and raising them into happy and responsible human beings takes time and dedication. They are lovely little humans that are depending on you and tend to be possessive, because that’s what they do, they want you all for themselves. I mean, I have never seen a child be happy that his mom has to go to work. Unless he’s a teenager. 😆
So, ideally , you just have to compromise and find something you love doing that charges your batteries without keeping you away from home for too long. (Of course, financial constraints is another discussion). I am not talking about sacrifice. Giving up on yourself is not an option, because this leads to frustration and kids need a happy, strong mom, right?
Would you ever work full time again?
I hope not. I think 4-6 hours a day are more than enough. But who knows where life takes me…
Who has been helping you out with ALL FOUR kids and how?
My parents. They are so involved in our everyday life and I cannot thank them enough for that. My dad is in charge of taking kids to and from school most of the time and my mom is the chef in the house, although I love cooking, I don’t always find the time or the mood for doing that anymore.
Favourite and scariest part about being a mom?
Favourite part is love. That unconditional love that feels so powerful that it could explode inside you.
Scariest part? Also love. because it can be so overwhelming that you might forget about yourself and get lost.
Plus, giving the context we live in, there are way too many scary things you need to think about now: what they’re eating, where they’re going, what they’re watching… it’s exhausting.
Anything you miss about life before babies?
I think it’s pretty predictable to say: sleep. I miss sleep but I think it doesn’t want me anymore. We have a love-hate relationship. I mean, I could fall asleep right now, while answering your questions. Seriously, sleep deprivation is pure torture for me and all my kids were terrible sleepers.
Worst parenting advice you ever got?
I avoid taking pieces of advice related to motherhood. Not because I’m arrogant, but because I think this is a personal relationship and I try to follow my instinct and if I need help, I’d rather go straight to the specialist, like the paediatrician for example.
But, to answers your question, I do remember a discussion between two moms in the park back when I was pregnant with my second son, giving me a piece of advice about love. One of them told me that is ok to love one child more than the other.
“You’ll see, she told me, you’ll love the second one more, because he’s a baby and needs you and you’ll focus on him more” The other mom replied : ”No, you will definitely love the older one more, because he will always be your first child, first to call you mama”. I was confused and scared. I didn’t understand why it was necessary to love one more than the other… anyway, I can confirm now that love is not limited, it actually multiplies and I could love a hundred babies just as much.
What did you use to judge moms for and now you don’t anymore?
Oh my God, I did judge! I always say I was the best mom before having kids. If I ever saw a child crying histerically in a store, for example, I would have stared at his mom, so disappointed of how she raised him. Or the sight of a child eating fast food would have been so scandalous for me😄
That’s why sometimes I’d rather take advice from people that are not parents, because they can still raise a child by the book, they are not corrupted by the sweetest tiny little creatures, called kids.
How do you still have sex? Like… WHEN, where, how?! Give us some tricks. Do you have a lock on your door?
Let’s just say that we’re good at that chapter. We have four living proofs, after all.
I think that with a little imagination, we can light the spark even in a crowded house. Plus, the feeling of “not being caught”, kinda makes us feel like teenagers again 😂
You close your eyes and picture the date night of your dreams. What does it look like?
As cheesy as it sounds, I picture us on a beach…sunset, hot sands… or somewhere in the nature, that’s for sure. Serenity and quiet.
Do you ever loose it? We want to know the naked truth about those “not-so-picture-perfect” moments in motherhood look like, where skies are not pink and when mothers need a gulp of fresh air to survive. Or a glass of wine. Or a bottle.
I do, unfortunately. Daily! My boys tend to be my most severe teachers and the lessons of patience and self-control is something they offer me everyday. There are moments when I think that my life would have been so different with just one child. More time for myself, for traveling, for hobbies…But then I look at them and I think: hmm, maybe just one more 🙂
It’s like a rollercoaster of feelings. Most of the time my house is messy and loud, but at the end of the day I go to bed exhausted, but happy.
Thank you so much Simona for this interview! You are a true force of nature and a great source of inspiration for all of us, moms, future moms, or aspiring moms-to-be!