With a resume that reads like a travel guide, Kristine Oustrup Laureijs’ art and social entrepreneurship has brought her across the global to Brazil, France, Hong Kong and Singapore, and has seen her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador of Copenhagen. But Kristine admits that, “Yes, women are strong, but we often stretch ourselves too thin trying to do too many things perfectly.” With two grade-schoolers and a toddler in tow, Kristine has now mastered the fine art of balancing family, love and work.
Having welcomed the arrival of her son a year ago, Kristine reflects on her journey to motherhood and how art comes into picture.
Hi Kristine! How do you juggle parenthood with all the incredible work you are doing?
Like most moms, my maternal journey was absolutely wonderful, but also filled with many trials and errors. Frankly, there was a very difficult period when I was a single mother working full-time as a social entrepreneur, running a home office with employees downstairs and family upstairs. Looking back, it was pretty insane.
What was the experience of having Sam like?
The birth of Sam was incredible and the pregnancy was a dream. I was super healthy, energetic, blooming. All the boxes checked. And then something went wrong during the c-section resulting in a life threatening infection. I ended up back in hospital for weeks with my mother and baby on 24/7 watch. It was life changing.
How do your daughters feel about the arrival of a baby brother?
They were delighted and proud. The girls treat him like the little cherub! Especially after he started walking around, they loved to play with him.
Is it challenging to have children with a slight age gap?
Not really. It’s more challenging to solve the sibling rivalry between Sofia and Coco, as they are so close in age. Two beautiful and strong girls that want to compete in anything and everything. I’m sure that they will be wonderful friends as they grow older.
Is art something you consciously encourage in your children?
Yes, in fact they are essential to my artwork! They all are posing as models for my illustrations and they also come up with ideas. My art is about exploring the complex relationship of humans, nature and food under the theme of Mamakan. When Singapore got choked in toxic haze from forest fires in 2015 and our kids became indoors prisoners, it became the spark that ignited my current project - an edible fairy tale called "Lali's Adventures in Sundaland". Coco and Sofia are helping to raise money for the book by organising cooking shops in front of our house or asking for donations instead of presents for birthday parties. I’m super proud of them.
What are your favourite moments from being a parent?
When my kids grow, mentally, spiritually and creatively. When we, as a family, create something new like a song, an artwork or a book. Also, cooking and eating together, being in nature together and travelling together are my absolute highlights.
What about the worst moments?
When fear takes over your mind. Like when Coco fractured her arm very badly in Denmark a few years back and had to go through a major operation. I remember staying up all the night next to her hospital bed praying for her recovery with endless tears of fear running down my cheeks.
What is one advice you would share with fellow mums on handing a toddler?
Freedom & Fun! Give your toddler space and freedom to explore. To fall, cry and recover. To play with food and get spaghetti all over their hair. And then let him kiss you even if he does not know how (yet). Or let him feed you. Laugh and dance together. Let him play with nature in nature. Let him be….. Him.