“Does that feel the same to you, Mom?” Floor (41) tells her sons about burnout by singing about it | Nina

“Does that feel the same to you, Mom?” Floor (41) tells her sons about burnout by singing about it | Nina
“Does that feel the same to you, Mom?” Floor (41) tells her sons about burnout by singing about it | Nina

Mom has a burnout: how on earth do you explain what that means? Momfluencer and mother of three sons Floor van der Linden (41) literally and figuratively crashed a few months ago, but the musician is now singing her way back to recovery. She calls her songs on social media songsformysons , because with the songs she also ensures that her sons understand what she is going through. A child psychologist gives extra advice: “Children feel very quickly that something is wrong.”

First back to the beginning: the end of June of this year. The children had just finished their last day of school. Suddenly Floor collapses in her driveway. “My husband and two youngest sons Matisse (8) and Rémy (6) saw it happen. I didn’t know what happened. Suddenly I was lying there in the hedge. I couldn’t move my left side anymore.”

(Read more below the photo.)



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Head over heels, her husband put her in the car and drove her to the emergency room. With the two youngest sons in the back seat. “A few days in the hospital and many neurological examinations later, the verdict came: a severe mental and physical burnout. In my case, this resulted in a conversion disorder.” She had to learn to walk again, and not alone. “I haven’t been able to use my arms properly for 3 weeks, I couldn’t get my words out. It was so terrifying.”



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Floor had a very tough year. A year before, she lost her friend Lara Switten to cancer. Her modeling career was first put on hold by the lockdown and she then put it on the back burner herself to help care for Lara and her family. She had just moved, worrying about the children starting a new school. And yet the burnout was a complete surprise: “I just keep going and I’m normally super energetic. My family really didn’t see it coming. I’m just a positive person.”

Floor got her burnout but not explained to her sons

And she still has that positive attitude: “I soon saw my burnout as a gift. A kind of reset of my life. It has really forced me to look at and assess what is important to me. I have also rediscovered the connection with music: behind my piano I feel at my best.”


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If I even raised my voice, my youngest son was afraid I would worry so much that I would – in his words – die again.

Floor

But for those who were not so obvious: her two youngest sons. “We just moved to the other side of Belgium and they had to get used to the new school. They also saw what that mourning period did to me last year.” But especially the burn-out and the crash on the driveway left a huge impression. “Every day my youngest son asked when I was going to die. He didn’t understand why I just stayed on the couch. And if I even raised my voice, he was afraid I would get so worked up that I would – in his words – die again.”

Immediately Floor is very open to her husband and children: “I think it is important to take my sons with me on my journey, to explain it to them. But no matter how many times I tried to tell what had happened, and that I wasn’t going to die of burnout, I couldn’t get it explained properly. I am very lucky to be good with my husband (artist Mermic, ed.) can talk. He also saw how happy I am at the piano. He encouraged me to keep playing and keep singing.”

“When I hear them sing my lyrics a day later, I know it really stuck with me”

Floor is a classical pianist by training, and she writes songs. She usually does this in English or French, but now she is singing in Dutch for the first time: “I wrote a poem about how I felt, and I just started putting it to music. Immediately my sons came to the piano to listen. They can sit quietly with me for an hour.”

(Read more below the photo.)



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And the difference is huge: “My sons are really happier. And when I hear them sing my lyrics half a day later, I know it really stuck with me. They also ask about the lyrics they hear: ‘Mama, does that feel like you?’ In fact, it all started very naturally: I named the songs I wrote ‘Songs for my Sons’in the first place to explain to them what I am going through.”

“I will now share the songs one by one every Sunday on my Instagram page and YouTube channel. On the one hand, I also want to make an album of it, or a podcast or a book. But on the other hand, I know that my burnout was only three months ago, and that I want to take it easy. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself. What do I want? That there is much more talk about conversion disorder, and that in this way I can help people explain to their children or partner what such a burnout actually feels like.”

(Read more below the video of Floor singing to her sons.)

You can find Floor on Instagram as @Floorlinden and on YouTube under ‘Floor V Music’.

Child psychologist Marlies Vandaele: “With music you create a safe cocoon for your children”

What does an expert think of Floor’s method of telling her children about her burnout? Child psychologist Marlies Vandaele of Kindercentrum de Groeitrap reacts.

Is it good to involve your children in such a heavy subject?
“Absolute! When something difficult crosses the path of the parents, it affects the whole family. Children will sense very quickly that something is wrong, and they need an adult to interpret this feeling for them. If they don’t understand the feeling, they may turn it into a story of their own that could be much worse or scarier than it actually is. In Floor’s case, for example, her son had it in his mind that passing out and resting meant she would die. So it’s good to post fainting spells: ‘Mom isn’t going to die, it’s part of her burnout’, for example.”

How do you go about talking to your child about burnout?
“It is important to explain it tailored to the child himself: a child of 2 naturally needs a different kind of explanation of burnout than a child of 16. Try to tell what complaints you experience and what consequences it has for the child herself has, for example: ‘mum is no longer going to soccer practice because she needs to rest a bit more, but she is trying to get back to it quickly.’ for example. It is also good to let your son/daughter know that you are being helped with what you are going through.”

Why do you think Floor notices such a big difference since sharing her music with her boys?
“You can broach themes within the safe world of playing through nursery rhymes, a play or a reading book. Music has a very calming effect on children anyway. And even if Floor has not written children’s songs, she has created a safe cocoon for her children through her music. Because of that safe feeling, they also dare to ask their mother questions about her burnout. Through the questions of her children, Floor can also know with which themes her children are struggling. In other words, she made it negotiable. That is very nice to see.”



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The article is in Dutch

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