The Mom talks with… Sharon van Tienhoven

Today we talk with Sharon, born and raised in The Netherlands, but now living in Miami. Together with her husband and their two boys Ties (2) and Luuk (4) she moved to the US 2 years ago for her hubby’s work. Sharon is a full-time mom, but fills her days with all kind of activities when the kids are in daycare in the morning. On Instagram she shares her passion for photography and their experience as a family living abroad. She is also a contributor for a Miami Moms platform called the The Mpire and for The Mompany, a Dutch Moms platform. In the few hours she has left she is sharing her love for Sunny Cords in Miami, the fashionable way to keep your sunglasses safe around your neck. We talked with Sharon about moving to Miami, being a boys mom and lots more.

You have two boys. What is it like to be a boys mom?
I love my status as boys mom, it makes me feel so proud. They give me so much love, more than I ever wished for. However, my life has changed and where I (as a kid) was only interested in coloring, doing craft, designing my own jewelry, clothing etc. Now it’s more about dinosaurs, monster trucks, cars, trains, balls and all other boys’ stuff.

You and your family have moved from The Netherlands to Miami. What are the differences between raising your kids in The Netherlands and in the US?
Moving to Miami clearly brought changes in our lives but basically we try to raise our boys the same as we would do in The Netherlands. This means we speak Dutch at home, celebrate Sinterklaas and read Dutch story books before bed time. On the other hand, we also like to integrate with our new culture as we don’t know when we will return to The Netherlands. So we celebrate all the American holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, the fourth of July etc. This way the boys enjoy the best of both worlds and they love it! Contrary to The Netherlands the kids go to school in uniform, which makes life very simple for their parents but makes the kids more aware of the fact that all kids are equal.  At the end I think raising your children is something every parent does differently. In parenthood there is no right or wrong as long as it involves LOVE. We have a family quote: “Love is the right way to live your life” We have the pleasure to learn from all the other cultures here in Miami, like Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, etc. It will enrich their life and eventually they will choose their own way.

What do you miss most about The Netherlands?
Very simple…. we miss our friends and family the most, especially during special occasions like birthdays but also for more simple things. Luckily, they visit us frequently and we keep saying it’s not about the quantity, but about the quality of the time we spend together. Every time friends or family visit us, we create a lot of sweet memories and they never go home without a little photo album with the highlights of the time we spent together.

We do miss the simple things in The Netherlands, we lived in Amsterdam and we did literally everything by bike. Miami isn’t made for bikes, not only the roads but also the climate. Doing the groceries by bike is almost impossible. But we are lucky that we can bring the kids to school by bike during a certain period in the year. But the weather in Miami makes everything easy, the kids can always wear shorts and a t-shirt to school and the uniform makes it even more easy. Play dates are a bit different than in The Netherlands, because most of the times the moms stay with them. Luckily, we have a good Dutch friend here and our boys are in the same class, so we understand each other and create some “me-time” when needed.

And what about the boys?
When the boys moved to Miami they were six months and two and a half years old, a bit young to realize what was happening, especially for our youngest Ties. Now two years later Luuk, the oldest, tells me he misses his “besties” from Amsterdam, Kiki & Mats. I totally agree with him, I still remember the good time we had together in Amsterdam. Living around the corner from each other, enjoying our maternity leave during the summer with our first-born babies. They build a life time connection together and I am happy Luuk still remembers this period like I do. Oh, I almost forgot, Luuk wants to see the snow in The Netherlands!

How often do you visit ‘home’?
We don’t visit The Netherlands that often, we moved to Miami for an unlimited period without any luxury of getting tickets back “home”. We also want to take the opportunity to see the other side of the world now that we live here. Last year, we did an amazing road trip from Miami via Orlando to St. Augustine, Savannah and Charleston. We brought our Dutch bikes and experienced this lovely country in a typical Dutch way. There is much more on our “wish list” on this side of the world, but we do visit The Netherlands once a year.

You moved to Miami when Ties was just 6 months old. How did you experience this?
Ties was only two weeks when my husband got the opportunity to change the course of his career and move to Miami. As you can imagine I was still totally under hormones and very emotional, however we took this decision together and in the months towards the moving date, we were ready to go. Ties was and is a very easy-going baby and always adapted very quickly to his surroundings. I was home with the boys for over a year before they could join a daycare, but I enjoyed every moment of it. We moved over five times before we bought our own house, but this made it possible for us to enjoy Miami from many different perspectives. I always brought the boys with me but without my double Joolz stroller this would not have been possible. It was my life saver, together with the Miami sun every day!

Do you teach the boys both English and Dutch?
Both boys learn English in school and Dutch at home but they also hear a lot of Spanish. Luuk speaks both languages perfectly and Ties is a little lost in translation at this moment which we totally understand.

How would your friends describe you in 10 words?
This is a difficult question, so I literally asked my friends. Hereby the result which made me a bit shy.

“Friendly, caring, outgoing, athletic, stylish, super Mama, great mom, great wife, kind, fun, genuine, trendy, thoughtful, social, creative, smart, sweet, supporter, original, cool “

Did you change your beauty regime since you became a mom?
There is not really a big difference in my beauty routine. The only thing is that I have less time. I am still looking for the right products for my skin because sometimes it feels I have a never-ending youth with my blemish skin. So, any advice on this is more than welcome. I never leave the door without make-up. This can be with or without mascara but never without sunscreen, foundation and powder. My other strict rule is, never go to bed with your make-up still on your face! I always clean my face properly and put on a night cream, although I keep changing brands and didn’t find the right match so far.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is the same as the boys; good basics and classics which I find very important and easy to combine, but always with a small fashionable twist. I cannot live without white sneakers, especially now as a full-time mom but never give in on fashion to be only practical.

Your favorite drink during a night out?
I love to start with an aperitif. It makes me feel like a night out and special, to continue with a nice glass of Chardonnay. So normally, after the bottle is finished, it is time to go home but if we go crazy (can’t remember when that happened!), I like a good Hendrick’s Gin Tonic or a Moscow Mule!

And during brunch we go for a Mimosa! The best hidden secret for me before I moved to Miami.

The top 3 websites you visit on a daily basis
I have a hard time to open my laptop, so my favorites websites/apps are:

  1. Instagram
  2. Gmail
  3. H&M / Zara / Amazon
  4. NU.nl (Dutch news site)

What is your guilty pleasure?
Sugar… in any possible way! I try to avoid sweets during the week even though it’s really hard, but in the weekend I am allowed but preferably the sugar needs to be in a rating between 8-10 to be worth the guilty pleasure. A good croissant on a Saturday morning with my cappuccino is the best! Oh, and a bag of natural salty chips, love it with a glass of wine….

What keeps you relaxed in stressful times? Describe your ultimate Me-time moment.
Luckily I am not easily stressed, but I do find it really hard to relax and to grab a magazine for instance. I love to enjoy my cappuccino and scroll through Instagram and to follow the lovely moms in The Netherlands.  Shopping is also a mindfulness moment but unfortunately you need a lot of money for that here in Miami! I feel blessed because here in Miami, the sun is out most of the time and that makes me happy every day.

How do you stay healthy? Are there any beauty and lifestyle tips you would like to share?
Staying healthy is a mindset and for me it helps to exercise, eat fresh and clean food almost every day. The carbs I eat are mostly all whole grain. But no tight rules because if today isn’t the day, tomorrow there will be a new one. I love to go with the flow, although routine is also very important to me and my family. Don’t be too hard on yourself, life is supposed to be fun.

And last but not least…… Share the best tip for other mommies.
As mentioned before, LOVE is the best guidance you can have as a mom. Follow your heart and you will succeed at the end of the day. Love is all it takes to make your child happy. Finding the balance is not black or white. Balance in life is different from person to person, but the most important thing is that you feel good about it! I go by the seasons; every season is different just like every day, so finding your balance is something you just have to find out yourself and believe in yourself. Every mommy is beautiful in her own way and that makes this world so pretty and colorful. Let’s learn from each other and support each other and yes, I do like structure!!

Don’t forget to follow Sharon on Instagram @miniandmebysharon

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