Sophie De Laere - Mum, fashion designer, maker @arletteschmitz.be
When did you become a mother and how many children do you have?
I became a mother at 42 and consciously waited longer to have a child. I always knew I wanted to be a mother but I put it off for a very long time. I always thought to myself : motherhood, I’ll do that later, when I grow up. I remember that the moment my daughter was born, a kind of clarity came over me. As though I finally knew why I existed. I knew then that I wanted a second child as soon as possible. I got pregnant a second time but that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Due to circumstances, I did not get pregnant again. I particularly regret not giving my daughter a sibling. In that respect, I feel I have sold my child short.
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?
For me, the biggest challenge is letting my child go into the wide world. Traffic in particular scares me. The fear that something will happen to your child. As long as they are very small, you still have some control over their safety. But one day you have to let them cycle alone. After all, you can’t lock them up. Children need space to grow. They are entitled to that. And despite all caution, fate sometimes strikes. My daughter underwent fairly serious surgery in 2021 after she was found to have a benign tumour. Fortunately benign, but still. I had no choice but to literally put my child’s fate in the hands of others. It was a lesson in humility.
What advice would you give to other mothers?
I don’t feel like a better or worse mother than other mothers. So I have no tips for how to be a supermum. The only advice I can give other mothers is: it’s good enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Canned ravioli is fine once in a while. Or tights with a hole in them.
Who do you look up to and why?
I’m a huge fan of Maya Angelou’s work. Especially her poetry, which is the perfect combination of literature and performance. Whenever I feel a bit down I watch ‘Still I rise’ on You Tube and it gets me back on track. Powerful, sexy, super feminine and in your face.