‘I am proud of my mum for being a dad and a mum’

Laila and Doaa. Dua: “Mama hasn’t forgotten what it is like when you’re young and how hard it can be sometimes.”Statue of Harmen de Jong

Laila Baradei (44)

“Do I have a big bond, we both don’t let them walk everywhere and we can clash sometimes. She loves attention and wants to be seen. In the past, when I went to the supermarket with her, she said hello to everyone out loud. People sometimes wondered: “How can she Such a voice comes out of such a small voice?!” Today she is very active on TikTok. I purposely don’t follow her. She knows I hate social media; it’s a cold and shallow world.

Was she always a nomad, a gypsy girl; She is always on the move and busy with everything going on around her. Sometimes she stays with friends all weekend and I don’t see her again for three nights. I do not always agree. I would especially like to give her more inner peace, at home as well as at school.

The teachers always say that Do is a smart girl, but she is very preoccupied with everything that is going on around her. You need to focus more on the lessons. I’m not a strict mom, but I think it’s important that you get her degree. I am trying to encourage her to go to HAVO after her final exams this year, and then study psychology. Du’s strength is that she is good with people, she is very sharp.

I think it is especially important to be independent. I have followed many studies myself and have always worked. For years I had my own driving school, where I could also give illiterate Moroccan women some independence by teaching them to drive. When I got divorced ten years ago, I was able to take care of myself and the kids, they always lived with me.

After the divorce I returned to the old quarter of Zeeburg, a kind of village in the city. We live near my parents. I was 8 years old when we came to Amsterdam from Morocco and I feel like a real Amsterdam citizen, just like my children. They are sometimes asked where they come from in Morocco, but they were born here and you are where you are from.

I have been to many places in the world with children, from Barcelona and London to Dubai, but the best thing is to get to the central station after a holiday. I really feel like coming home.”

Doi Nasri (15)

“My mom and I are very stubborn. Sometimes we get into our fights, but I know I can always count on her, she’s my safe home base. Just like my mom’s entire family. She has five sisters and three brothers. I often visit my grandparents and aunts, it’s always warm and cozy and the food is delicious.” Mom’s tagine is almost as delicious as Grandma’s.

If there are things that bother me, I can always turn to my mother. I feel relieved when she let me know she understands me. She has not forgotten how young she looks and how difficult it can be at times. What I enjoy the most is taking a city trip with her, or going to a spa. When I was younger, my mom had a sauna subscription at a hotel, and I was always allowed to go with her.

I’m proud of my mom because she has always been a mom and dad to my brother and I at the same time. She had her own business, took care of us and went out to play with us. She always raced in all sports and clubs, and in football matches she was often the only mother on the line. I was always allowed to try everything from athletics to pole dancing, even if she sometimes grumbled at me for not making it to the end.

It’s not very strict, but I have to earn things, especially by doing well in school. She is very strict about my future. It also taught me to treat people with respect. Like my mom, I’m very social, love to chat, and I think it’s really something in Amsterdam. Mama’s Café is a kind of home near the neighbourhood, people tell her their life story.

I’ve heard all my life that I’m very anxious. My mom wants me to learn to enjoy the small, quiet moments more, but I find it hard. I spend a lot of time on TikTok and now have 479,600 followers. This gives me a boost when I get half a million views when I post something.

Mama does not like it, she is mainly interested in the comments. I don’t really care what people say and fortunately it’s always positive.”

Laila Baradei (44), owner Koffie & Zo.
Doi Nasrik (15), 4 vmbo-t, IJburg College.

They live in a rented house in Zeeburg.

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