Dorien Camps - Founder of Bossy, Belgium’s first magazine for enterprising women
When did you become a mother and how many children do you have?
I discovered on New Year's Eve 2018 that I was pregnant. I celebrated New Year, together with my husband, and we toasted on the beach what would be a very different year. My first thought when I woke up on the first day of 2019? How are we going to do this, how am I going to do this? What impact will this have on my plans for Bossy?
In September 2019, I became mum to M., our baby son. From one moment to the next, it was very clear what is important and what is secondary in life. (laughs) I let go of my first baby, Bossy, for a while and thoroughly enjoyed those first months with M.
I should mention that a month before I got pregnant, I had quit my job to throw myself fully into Bossy. At first I felt stupid for the choice I had made, and some around me confirmed that feeling. A little later I felt it was just right; it felt liberating. For instance, I didn’t have to ask anyone how long I could stay at home with M. or how many days he would go to nursery after that. I was able to discover motherhood at my own pace. And of course there was breastfeeding during online team meetings when I wasn’t actually working yet, but yes, I was also so keen not to delay the launch of that third issue... That was just six weeks after I gave birth. Way too early, I realised afterwards.
In 2020, I was pregnant again. When I went for my first check-up, I felt I was going to find out more than just confirmation that I was pregnant again. “Do you see what I see?” the gynaecologist asked. “There are two of them!”
In three years, our family went from 2 to 5. I am incredibly grateful for my three young children: a son and two girls. I went from ‘mum of 1’ to ‘mum of 3’ in the blink of an eye and sometimes I still have to get used to that new life.
What do you find the biggest challenge in being a mother? And how do you deal with that? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Being a mum. Of all three at once, and of each individual child - and my Bossy baby... As well as being a wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and godmother, friend, CEO... In a podcast I once heard the quote: “We are supposed to mother like we don’t have a career, and work like we don’t have children.” Indeed, that is what society seems to expect of us today, but the beauty of being a mum is that you are at your best when you do it your way, at your pace.
I learn something every day, about motherhood, learning to combine or just learning to let go. I make a very conscious effort to do the last one. When I’m working, I don’t scroll through photos of my little ones, and when I’m at home, I don’t scroll through my emails or Instagram.
I am also trying to let go of my perfectionist side. When I called my grandmother the other day, I told her that my house had exploded: toys, laundry, books everywhere, even leftovers from breakfast... “Oh well”, my grandmother said, “you're going to miss that chaos later, those are traces of life in the house.” A wise woman, my grandmother! (laughs)
What advice would you give to other mothers?
None, unless they ask for it. There is nothing more annoying than being given unsolicited advice. Those who do read on: here is some unsolicited advice. (laughs) I said above that I believe that as a mum, or entrepreneur, or simply a human being, you are at your best when you do your thing, in your way and at your pace. So my advice: you do you, and feel free to trust your mothers’ or gut instinct in the process.
Who do you look up to and why?
I try not to focus on big names whose full story you will never know. I prefer to be inspired by the women around me, because there are plenty of them. For instance I have always looked up to my mum, and since having children of my own, even more so. I am surrounded by so many fine women, mums, entrepreneurs who are tackling life in their own way. Wonderful!