Ana Guiomor-Blanco and her husband are raising their two boys in the suburbs outside of Madrid, in a home that looks straight out of a magazine. White walls and white upholstery. Clean wood floors and bright windows. It feels spacious and serene but totally livable and comfortable.
Because Ana and her family are world travelers themselves, she runs a website called World Kids dedicated to sharing travel tips and literature to help other families travel internationally. And even though English isn’t Ana’s first language, she writes really eloquently and beautifully about motherhood and raising a family. Welcome, Ana!
Welcome to our home! My name is Ana Guiomar and I met my husband Jordi 17 years ago in Vienna, Austria on a German summer course. We fell in love very quickly and we have been married for over 15 years!! (Yes, time really flies when you are in such good company! )
We are truly lucky to be the parents of two amazing and sweet kids: David, who is 11 and Enrique, who is 8. They are my favorite people!
We have lived in Madrid for the last 13 years. My husband is an engineer and I am a pianist and musicologist. Music is my passion and I work as a concert and cultural manager for my own company, that I founded 7 years ago. Working mostly from our home-office is still a priority for me and I feel really grateful to have been able to spend all these years with our kids.
We live in a residential area in the outskirts of Madrid (25 minutes by car from the city center). Madrid is a hectic and busy city, but we live a very simple life. We moved to this area one year ago so our kids could walk or bike to their international school.
It has been a life changer to slow down and to avoid the daily commute to their school. We feel we have more time, we are more relaxed and it seems we live in a small village — but having all the great advantages of a big city nearby. Our two story house has five bedrooms and four bathrooms and is part of a housing complex with a swimming pool, tennis courts and gardens.
Each day, our kids open the backdoor of our private garden and enjoy being in the communal area where they meet their neighbor friends. We really love this, because it allows us to enjoy our private garden as a family, but whenever we want, we can have this sense of community and our kids can be outdoors unsupervised.
We have wonderful neighbors! Also, many families from our children’s school live close by, so we have a strong sense of community. We walk with friends to school and I feel that I can count on so many great families that live close to us.
Housing prices in this area are crazy for Spanish standards (Madrid is becoming a very expensive city — rentals keep increasing shockingly and salaries are much lower than in the rest of Europe), but we knew that we wanted to live really close to our children’s school.
I think it took me 2 years of searching and visiting hundreds of homes until I was totally convinced that this home was what our family needed. I still remember visiting this home (newly built) for the first time and feeling that this was “our home”. It might sound strange, but some of the most important (and best!) decisions that I have taken in my life were driven by gut instinct.
We knew we wanted this home to be simple, calm and a place to gather with friends and family. This house is so full of light and good energy, that we just wanted to embrace it in a very uncomplicated and peaceful way. We knew we wanted it to be completely white and to have a Japanese-inspired garden with maple and plum trees.
Sometimes I feel that having too many things can distract you from what is really important, so I am constantly making an effort to reduce clutter.
We prioritized having a designated area for the activities that our family loves: our bikes are ready on the front porch, we have a music room as the four of us play instruments, and a library room filled with all our books. Both our kitchen and living room open to the back porch and garden, where we have most our meals, and our table extends so we can gather big parties on summer nights.
My husband works crazy hours and travels a lot worldwide, and we do not have any family support (except for the wonderful help of my father Enrique, who is the best grandfather you could ever imagine!), so we knew that buying a new home would be the most convenient option for us. We just did some minor changes, like soundproofing our music room and slightly changing the layout. Moving in was so easy and smooth, that it just took us a few days to feel that our house was our “forever home”.
World Kids is a bilingual English and Spanish site that promotes global education, travel-related, and inspirational resources for international families. It is my happy place where I share my passion for children’s education, creativity, photography, food, family travel and literature. I believe we can all make a better future for the millions of children that live in our planet. I hope you like it too!
I personally do not think I have a “mom superpower”. I think you get better at parenting with time and experience, so I feel that now I am a much better mom than a decade ago. I often think: “Oh, if I could just go back in time, I would do so many things differently!”
I always wanted to be a mother and family has always been my priority. I love spending time with my kids and observing how they are these amazing human beings with their own thoughts and personalities. But I couldn’t have done it without my husband. I think we are a good team! I am the planner-worrier-organize -perfectionist and my husband is my perfect balance.
I wish I had paid more attention to my own mom. She passed away when I was pregnant with my youngest son and she was such a fun and intelligent mother. I sometimes pause and think: what would Mum tell me? It is hilarious to see myself repeating to my sons the same things that my mom used to say to me and that I really hated (eye-roll included!).
I hope my kids will always remember that they are loved. I tell them daily that I am really grateful that they exist and that I am very lucky to be their mother. I hope they understand that what they do is much more important than what they have, and that this home was special because it was filled with love, music, friends, laughs and a lot of home-made food (yep! I love cooking for my family).
I hope they will always remember home as a safe place where they were loved unconditionally — and hopefully they have some kind of amnesia as they grow older and will not remember all the things I did wrong.
As I write this, my oldest son is spending some weeks studying abroad in England and I miss him so much. How could this all happen so quickly?
I just turned 40 and I am in this constant battle with aging and time. I just want everything to go slowly, please. I already miss their tiny hands, being able to carry them on my hip, and spending so many hours singing to them.
Just enjoying their company has been my favorite thing about living with them. They are so funny, spontaneous and creative! And their kindness and innocence still surprises me every single day. I learn so much from them.
Thank you, Ana! I totally relate to the constant battle as a parent to reduce clutter. Kids and families seem to accumulate a lot of stuff and I think it is so easy to get overwhelmed by it. I think Ana and her family have done such a great job of getting rid of the excess. The clean lines of their home really give off that tranquil feeling that sometimes gets lost when there is too much unnecessary stuff around.
Ana nailed it when she said she hopes her kids have some kind of amnesia about all the things she did wrong. I laughed out loud at that! But, like she said, so much of parenting is about time and experience and making mistakes and doing things better the next time.
It’s true that there is no parenting manual to prepare you for the work you’re doing and all of us are basically making it up as we go along. Didn’t that concept shock you when you became a parent and you realized that your own parents were as clueless and naive as you were when they started parenting? When you are young it’s so easy to think your parents have it all figured out, and then one day you realize they were just doing their best with what they knew at the time — just like we all do every day.
Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org