On the KRO-NCRV “Een huis full” program, the Cudogham family sits at the table. There is laughter and a feast by Cynthia’s seven children and her husband, Evin. It looks warm and cute. Is their life like this when the cameras are off? And how does Cynthia herself get some rest?
Cynthia and Evin Kudugam have seven children together, ranging in age from 4 to 19. in full house They offer a glimpse into the life of a large family in the bustling capital. Eva Talk to Cynthia about motherhood, finding peace, and dealing with loss and grief.
How are you today?
“Under the circumstances, everything is going well. My father passed away last month and this changes the family dynamics. He was ill, but his death came suddenly. Fortunately, we were able to say goodbye. I took great care of him, and the children were also involved with him.” We were all there for him, and now we’re there for each other. This made letting go a little easier. However, we left a void during these dark days of December. It’s a crazy time, with the holidays approaching.”
you participate in full house, How do you like seeing you as a family on TV?
”Exciting, the program came our way and we started the adventure. We had conversations with the kids beforehand. Everyone was allowed to vote whether they wanted to participate. We share for the sake of the children. Twenty years from now, we’ll still have these photos to go back to. “Look, that’s how our lives were then.” A kind of document that we can always keep and cherish.”
Our life in a ‘full house’ is exactly the same as our life in real life.
“People think that someone is on the run for twenty-four hours, and that there are cameras all over the house, but that’s not the case. The recordings continued normally. When we watched the episodes again, I wasn’t surprised by anything. It was just our way of life. Shows the last episodes Also my father and that he was sick. This was a face to watch. Then I was so in my feelings that I missed some looks or moments from others.”
What do you hope to show by participating in the programme?
“People often get the impression that life in the big city is always very crowded. You have to go out of the city to raise kids. But living with kids in the city is definitely possible. We think it’s great to live in a city full of people of all kinds of beliefs and ideas. And different cultures.I enjoy this so much that we can pass this diversity on to the children.There is also a lot of art and culture to admire in Amsterdam.We can go to the museum whenever we want.I am sorry to read that the city will not be suitable for children.Our children love it here.Everything Something within cycling distance. We are surrounded by water and parks. It is good to show these benefits as well.”
What do you think is the biggest challenge as a mother?
“As a mother, the challenge is to take care of myself. To not push yourself aside, but also take care of yourself, your partner and your friendships and grow into it. Make a trade-off between: Do you sit for an hour, or do you throw out the three baskets full of laundry?”
The challenge of the large family is the logistics. We plan a lot. Kids should go to ballet or hockey or have a school trip to Artes. I almost always. But I found a way to create my own space in it. by setting boundaries. It doesn’t always work out, but I block out the moments for myself.”
When is motherhood successful?
The eldest is nineteen years old and takes a year off. How he views the world and how he fills his life, I think is a nice combination of upbringing and personal development. What we tried to offer him worked. This gives me satisfaction. When I see how our older children talk and interact with people and have certain standards and values, I think our parenting has done really well in that area. But if it doesn’t work for the other kids, we’ll find another way to do it. All kinds of factors play a role in how a child develops, and the environment also plays a role.†
How were you as a mother with your first child, and how are you now as a mother?
“Everything went a little slower with the first baby. By the time I was out the door, it was probably 1:30 or so. Now I can let go of things a lot more. At first it should have been perfect. I was too busy if it got worse. Things, I need a backup. Now I have a different attitude. More air, less strict on myself. Experience plays a role in this. I thought with our first child: Now he should sleep in his crib. But the youngest of four regularly gets out of bed in the middle of night, then we all sleep in our bed together. I just let that go.”
What are the most important lessons you learned as a mother?
“By joining in, you can get the most out. Don’t always think: this is how it should be. Give space for the child’s story. Watch your child and be flexible. This gives you a more relaxed atmosphere. There is no one system that works for all children. At least that’s not the case.” With us “.
You have conveniently arranged everything in your apartment, but do you also have a space where you can relax?
“The living room is mine when everyone is in bed. Then there is complete calm in the house. Not during the day.” He laughed: “If I wanted to run away for a while, I would go to the toilet. But the evenings are mine, and since all the children go to school, I have time to myself in the morning before I go to work. I think it’s quiet. I don’t mind if another kid catches a cold in the house. I like the fuss around me. But I definitely don’t cry, I also enjoy drinking coffee with a friend or on a nice walk.”
What question do you ask the most as a large family?
”how do you do that? And people actually mean everything by that. Eating, cooking, teaching children to be polite, and taking care of all children. I usually say: We’re doing something. I have grown in it. We bumped into things and learned from them.”
“I usually say: we’re doing something”
“Combining setting a schedule and being able to let it go is a golden rule for us. The tighter the schedule, the greater the disappointment.”
You lost a child, how do you deal with this loss?
“It was a severe miscarriage that physically left me out of running for a long time. Then the mental effect was pushed back, as I had to get up physically first. As a family, we talked a lot about miscarriages, but there was still a shortage. Otherwise we’d have a cute baby to cuddle with.”
I think it is important for them to learn that an abortion is not a failure of your body
“We have involved children in the loss. They should know that life is like this. They have taken it well. If grief is not taboo, children can carry on with it. It is more severe if they are stressed, but they cannot give it their hands and feet, because they do not know what It is.For older girls, I think it is important that they learn that miscarriage is not a failure of your body.Unfortunately, miscarriages happen to many women.†
What do you believe?
”I wasn’t raised to be a religious person, but I am drawn to the rituals that surround faith. My parents were raised Catholic, but later gave up. They taught me the principle of faith. This gives me strength and hope. I like it when people believe, it gives me peace of mind. I have the same with other religions. Days before Christmas, I was diving into Advent with the kids. The time when we move towards the light. I also want to pass on the Christian story to my children.”
Do you believe in heaven?
I think something is up and you guys are going to see each other again. You don’t just die. That there is a higher purpose, but I can’t say what it is. I do not exclude the possibility of a creator. When my father passed away, I felt there was more. It went to my mother. I felt this hope so strongly. I can also feel it at birth or in nature. Then I think: that’s just not that.”
When my father died, I felt there was more
“I am an open person and I don’t cling to one belief or belief. Everyone has the right to make mistakes, and I don’t think you will be punished harshly for that. I don’t like pointing fingers at someone how something should be done. For me it’s all about believing in love. We include This is also in the education of our children. This is the basis of how we treat each other.”
The Cudogham family can be seen on the KRO-NCRV “Een huis vol” program. Cynthia has her own cooking studio for kids and a craft workshop and she is the owner Dot and Tiger.
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Photo: Stijn Ghijsen