Momspiration: Marlene Nørskov Jensen
- Datum: 8 februari 2019
- Tekst: Heidi Riekerk-Boomgaard
- Fotografie: Heidi Riekerk-Boomgaard & Marlene Nørskov Jensen
- Leestijd: 5:30 min
Recently you could read our cityreport on Copenhagen. That you can shop till you drop over there, is a fact. But how do Danish families live? We talked about this with Marlene Norskøv Jensen (36), owner of childerens brand Little Forest. After lived and worked in Copenhagen for years, she now lives with her family in Greve, a suburb of Copenhagen.
Voor de Nederlandse versie klik hier.
A few years ago you became a mother. What did you expect of motherhood?
“I expected it to be difficult and I thought a lot in my life would change, but it was not as a turnover as I have feared. Two years before I became pregnant, we already moved to the suburbs and bought a dog, so I was pretty much used to the family lifestyle. When Karoline was born, not that much changed and motherhood came naturally.”
How did you experience your pregnancy and labour?
“I found pregnancy was a magical time. To feel new life inside of you, was amazing. At the same time it was also hard, because I had early contractions and bleedings, so I had to stop three months prior. The company I worked at, wasn’t really open to family life, so they weren’t too happy about it. Labour took about 23 hours. She was a stargazer, it felt like I exploded from the inside and it was exhausting. When I had to give birth to Aleksander, I was afraid I would have to go through that again. But his labour was much easier. Kristian already unplanned assisted during labour in a car with his childhood friend when he was 19, so he already knew what was coming and was a big support during both labours.”
What was the hardest moment in motherhood and what the most beautiful one?
“The hardest is when the kids both have their meltdown simultaneously. How do you decide which kid needs you the most? I still haven’t found the answer to that question. The most beautiful thing in motherhood, is seeing the connection between the two of them. They are always hugging and wrapping themselves around each other. When Aleksander is sad, he wants the comfort of his big sister. If they keep on having a good relationship during their lives, I think I’ve done my part.”
Which advice would you give young mothers?
“To bring chapstick when they are about to give birth, because your lips can become so dry, haha! Other than that, I would say, it’s most important to have your own experience. Everyone is different and every labour too. One has complications; the other has a picture perfect childbirth. Listen to your body, go with the flow and don’t overthink or plan everything. Don’t get stress from all the advices you are given. Relax and be the mother you can be. If you’re not an apple pie baking mom or don’t enjoy to go into nature: then don’t. If you force yourself to do that, it will be very stressful. Do what’s best for you and don’t fuss about what other people may think of you.”
How would you describe your parenting style?
“My husband says I’m too soft, haha! I think that ‘loving’ would be the best description. I always try to be understanding of their feelings and explain to them why they shouldn’t do certain things. That feels right to me.”
When you’re out and about with the kids, what do you do?
“We often bike to the beach as we live nearby or we go into the woods. I’m an absolute nature lover. But in our neighbourhood there are also a lot of playgrounds and we don’t have busy streets with a lot of traffic, so it’s also safe. Outside of Greve, we sometimes go to the zoo, entertainment park Tivoli in Copenhagen and to farms in the country side.”
What’s typical Danish when it comes to parenting?
“I think it’s typical Danish to spend a lot of time outdoors. We believe fresh air is good for kids. That’s why Danish kids do their naps outside in a stroller, during all seasons. Of course they are dressed warm and when it rains, we put the stroller underneath the shed. We place the baby monitor inside the stroller, so we always hear when something is wrong. And when there is a lot of wind or it’s -10 degrees, it goes without saying we keep them inside during naps.”
How is maternity leave arranged in Denmark?
“You can take a leave of absence for almost a year and it’s possible to divide that time between both parents. Not every company is open to that I must say, but someare. Fathers have two to four weeks parental leave when the baby is born. Most Danish kids start daycare when they are between 10-12 months old.”
You have your own kids fashion brand.How did this came about?
“After maternity leave from Aleksander, it became harder to travel up and down to Copenhagen for work. Traffic was dreadful and Kristian and I were both in different parts of the city, which gave us a lot of stress when it came down to taking the kids to daycare. They were always the first to arrive and the last to be picked up. I hated that and in the end I couldn’t take it anymore. So it was time to start my own company. At that time it was quite hard to find nice kids basics for a good price, so I decided to do it myself.”
How would you describe Little Forest?
“It’s soft, simple, unisex, organic and of high quality. I wanted to create something that was so comfortable, that kids could wear it everyday, even when theysleep. The designs are not childish, there are even mothers that would want to wear this. Prints and bold colours are typical for Danish kids brands, but I didn’t like that. So I wanted to keep it simple and soft.”
Was it a hard decision to leave your job and start your own company?
“In the practical sense, it was. I had two children at home and in the meanwhile I had to find out how everything worked, business wise. And at the same time I had to make sure I didn’t loose everything I worked so hard for all these years. But in the end, it was the best choice ever. We have an in-home office, we live five minutes from daycare, I became more flexible and stress-free. There is more balance than ever before. When I am at a market or trade fair with Little Forest, I have the luxury of taking the next to days after off, so I can go on an adventure with the kids. That’s why this was the best decision I could make.”
With all that you do: do you and Kristian also have 1-on-1 time?
“We do feel that’s very important. The weekends we keep schedule free, so we can relax as a family and do pj’s all day if we want to. But we also take a lot of trips to the countryside together, we love that.”
How about me-time?
“I have me-time during office hours. When I work, I’m by myself, so that’s why the need for alone time isn’t that high.”
What is the lesson your kids taught you?
“PATIENCE. I thought I was a patient person before, but since I became a mom, my patience is tested all over again, day in and day out. And everyday I become a little bit better in it.”
What is the lesson you want to teach your kids?
“Be kind to others. That one is incredibly important to me. I think it’s the best lesson you can give your kids.”
Kids store: Smallable, Scandimini, Cos, Zara. | Kids brands: Maed for Mini, Bobo Choses, Tiny Cottons. | Shops for yourself: Lot29 in Copenhagenand Zara. | Family holiday destinations: France, Italy, Sweden, Poland. | Family hotspots: Tivoli, The Blue Planet,The Zoo, open farms, and localindoor pools.