Category: Motherhood

The Baggage Of Mom Life

Being a mom carries a lot of baggage, and you don’t have to have a big family to realise that. Being a mom is no doubt one of the best feelings in the world. To know that a little human loves you as much as you love them, and that love is most likely going to be unconditional for life, is just a feeling that can’t be matched. But sometimes it can get to the point where you feel like you’ve got so much baggage that you’re carrying around with you, and life can just get a little stressful with it all weighing you down. So what is a mom to do when so much baggage keeps piling up, but the family needs to keep on running as it has always done. Well, it’s where articles like this come in to help you out. We’ve got some excellent tips that should help you reduce your mommy baggage, leading to a more stress free lifestyle. So if this is something you’re desperate for, keep on reading, and we’ll show you how to do just that!

Have A Good Clear Out

So the first bit of baggage that we think everyone needs to get rid of, is baggage around the home. If there’s one thing that seems to pile up over the years of having kids, it’s clutter around the home. Even if you can’t see the clutter, you know it’s there, and you know how much space it’s taking up. Some of you will have so many things collected, that trips back and forth to shops or dumping sites is just going to be too much, especially if there’s furniture involved. But skip bin hire is almost nearly always too expensive. But there is some cheaper bin hire available if you take the time to look around. You’ll most likely only need to hire it for a day or two as well!

Keep Your Circle Small

So when you become a mom, your circle is going to get a little smaller to begin with. It’s like everyone disappears out of your life, unless they’re going through the same parenting process as you. But soon it begins to grow again, and it can begin to grow much quicker than you might have expected, especially as you get in with all of the moms at school or nursery. But this creates so much extra baggage and stress, and moms can actually be really catty towards each other. So we do recommend that you keep your circle smaller than you might have it at the minute, and keep people who you know are truly there for you, close to you. It’s all well and good wanting a lot of friends, but are the people in your life truly your friends?

A More Organised Lifestyle

So finally, you really need to keep your life organised. Most of the time you’ll feel a lot of baggage is involved, simply because your mind is always all over the place with the things you’ve got to do. So try and take the time to relax, simplify your life, and watch it get easier!

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Animalicious | Book Review

“A delightful children’s book on the alphabet with some very unique animals.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

From A is for Anonymouse and I is for Incredibull, to K is for Kangarude and R is for Rocktopus, this ABC book will have readers laughing out loud as they learn the alphabet with animals they may never have seen — or even heard of — before.

#MelAndNikkiReview

“The world is full of animals of every single kind. This book contains some special ones that you won’t often find.”

Animalicious offers us a creative and unique world of some very special animals. You can’t help but giggle along as you meet some of them in the story such as the Vamoose (HeHe). Nikki helped read along by telling me what letter of the alphabet we are on next. Then I got the fun part and try to pronounce some of the unique creatures such as the Macawbre (Tip: I read the books before reading it to my daughter. This way I always sound smart!). 😉

We just adored this book as Nikki got to practice her letter recognition and we got to giggle along together. This was such a creative way to teach the alphabet and we loved it! We also loved the illustrations as it really allowed us to understand the creature so much better! 🙂

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 “Grabbits” out of 5! This book is recommended for children ages four to six. If you would like to purchase a copy, please click here.

“This is my favorite ABC book! I love all the animals.” – Nikki, Age 4

About The Author

Reed Duncan is a former instructor of writing and English. He was the long time partner of author-illustrator Anna Dewdney, and is a co-creator and an executive producer/writer for the “Llama Llama” animated television series. ANIMALICIOUS is one of several books that he and Anna wrote together.

Anna Dewdney was the author-illustrator of several bestselling books, including the beloved Llama Llama Red Pajama series. A teacher, mother, and advocate of childhood literacy, Anna was also a passionate gardener and runner. She lived in a restored 18th-century farmhouse in Vermont with her dogs and her partner, Reed Duncan. Anna passed away in 2016.

About The Illustrator

Claudia Boldt grew up in Cologne, Germany, studied at the Glasgow School of Art and then Kingston University, and now lives and works in sunny Los Angeles. Claudia’s illustrations appear in many newspapers and publications, and she has written and illustrated a number of books. Her absolute favorite animals to draw are sausage dogs.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Empowering Stay-At-Home Moms Through Job Coaching

Looking for employment is a difficult task to do and, in many cases, it becomes a full-time job in itself. There are many services that are out there that can assist; however, many lack specialized programs for stay-at-home moms in particular.

It’s a group that many forget and luckily one Toronto woman has not forgotten about empowering stay-at-home moms to enter or re-enter the workforce.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to Stephanie from SAHM Coaching who I recently met at a mom market. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to get the inside scope on SAHM Coaching in this exclusive interview.

Tell me a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Toronto and love this city. I have a wonderful husband, who supports me unconditionally and two beautiful children, ages 9 and 11. I try to stay active. I’m doing a 10 KM race this May, I love working out and play baseball. I’ve been playing fast-pitch softball since I was 6 years old. I went to Ryerson University where I completed my degree in Human Resources and went on to get my professional designation from the Human Resources Professionals Associations as a Certified HR Leader. My HR career started in the telecom industry. Then I went on to work for a retail company and I’ve spent the last 14 years in the not for profit sector. I love the field of HR; I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. What I love about it is that I get to work with people. When you do that, you rarely get the same problem twice. Circumstances change and it forces you to really understand the subtle differences of each situation. Working side by side with my clients and helping them find the optimal solution is very satisfying.

What type of services do you offer?

SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) Coaching offers job search assistance exclusively to women who want to go back to work after being at home. This group includes women at various life stages. Some of my clients have been at home for a number of years, while others are coming to the end of their maternity leave and want to change jobs. I help them get their heads back into the game with someone who “gets it.” Working with me, women get tailored, one-on-one, insights and HR expertise into things like:

  • What kind of work can/should I do?
  • How do I search for work; make use of the best resources; etc.
  • How to build/refresh a resume (or cover letter) that gets noticed.
  • How to talk about your time off/gap in your resume in a way that employers will understand.
  • How to prepare for and answer questions during an interview.

What is your goal of the services that you provide and can you give us one success story that you can share?

What I’m offering women is a safe place for them to share their concerns, ask questions and get answers quickly. All with the goal of building their confidence and getting rid of the self-doubt, so they can be successful overcoming whatever obstacle it is that they are facing.

Yes, I’d like to tell you about Katie (not her real name). Katie was struggling with her job search. She previously had run her own business (since it gave her more time with her kids) but she and her partner had a falling out. She decided after running her own business for several years, that she was done. Instead she wanted to find a job where she could work Monday to Friday and not have all the demands of being a business owner. Her kids were older and it was a good time to make the transition. When Katie and I connected she told me she was struggling because she wasn’t having much success with her applications. She wanted to work with me on her resume and cover letter. Her resume needed a complete overhaul, so we redesigned it from scratch. During our session we also talked about how to structure her cover letter. That session was on a Wednesday, the following Thursday I followed up with Katie and she told me she applied for a job and they scheduled her for a phone interview. The company told her they were very impressed with her cover letter!

What made you decide to offer these services?

Because they don’t currently exist; at least not in the way I offer them. Sure, you can go to a Service Canada employment centre, and they will give you a general resume or interview information. Or you can go online and find a TON of info, but then what? Everyone is busy, I don’t think your readers have the time to go through it all. I’ve got 20+ years of recruitment experience and I can give women a direct line to the answers they are looking for. Plus, it’s so important for me to work side by side with my clients. It’s so much more effective. I’m not just telling them what to do, I’m also telling them WHY they need to do it. Why when you write a cover letter you format it a certain way. Why you use specific words in a resume. Why when you answer questions using this format it will resonate with employers. It’s only because I’ve been there, that I can offer this type of service.

If someone is interested in your services, how much and how can they get enrolled?

The first thing is to schedule a FREE consultation call. You can do this via my website, email me, or message me via my Facebook page. During the call I ask what they feel they need the most help with and what it is that each woman wants to accomplish. I also share more info about myself and will answer any question that they may have. In most, but not all cases, I ask to see a copy of their resume. After the call, I prepare a written recommendation outlining how we’d work together. In it I include the number of sessions required. Sessions are 45 minutes. You can purchase sessions individually for $60 each or (to save money) you can buy a package of 4 sessions for $200.

Thank you so much Stephanie for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Sure, since you asked! Any time you are in transition or making a change, it’s bound to feel icky and uncomfortable. I want your readers to know that going back to work after stepping away is possible, you CAN do it, and with SAHM Coaching you don’t have to do it alone.

An inspiring way to end an interview! With the right coaching, inspiration and motivation, it is possible to enter or re-enter the workforce. I am so honoured to have had this opportunity to inform all of you of a service that is available, especially if it can help you succeed.

I use to be in the Employment industry many years ago (feels like a lifetime ago) and I helped many people find work. I know that with the extra support that my clients got, it helped them get their foot back in the door. Every little bit helps.

If you are interested in learning more about SAHM Coaching, make sure to contact her directly as she has a wealth of information and knowledge to offer.

Thank you again Stephanie for your time and empowering women every day!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Fat is the new F Word

“Do I look fat?” – Nikki, Age 4

Words that I never thought I would hear my four year old say. Words that shocked, stunned and hurt me all at the same time. I thought I had a few more years to worry about body image. Let’s face it many of us have gone through it or possibly still going through it. I know that I did in my teenage years. However, I was not prepared or expected this at age four.

Only Takes One Word

It took only a simple sentence, “How was your day today?” Then the tears started to roll down her precious face. My daughter looked up at me and said, ” Do I look fat?” I wondered how and why this came up. I told her that of course she was not fat and asked her where she got that idea from. She started to explain that a little girl from her class keeps calling her fat and has even started to tell the other kids in the class that “Nikki is fat.” After further discussing the situation, it appeared that this has been happening for a couple of months. At this moment, I felt my heart completely shatter as words were hurting my child and I know that words hurt so much more.

For the first time, I saw the confidence that my daughter exemplified fade away with just one little word. One little word that chopped down her self-image that we have been working so hard with her to maintain. At first I felt defeated like I have failed somehow in this parenting journey but then I remembered that we are just getting started.

Plan of Action

After getting Nikki’s side of the story, it was time to put a plan of action on what we were going to do next. The first step was to talk to Nikki and remind her of what she needs to do in school when she finds herself in this type of situation again. We gave her the following three steps to follow:

  1. Tell the child to stop and tell them why you don’t like what they are doing. In this situation, tell them that they are hurting your feelings.
  2. Tell the teacher what is happening as they need to be aware of what is happening in the classroom.
  3. Tell parents and discuss the situation.

Now as a parent, I had to take action as well as I needed to bring my concerns to the teacher and have it addressed immediately. The process at my daughter’s school is to write in a communication book that the teachers review every day and this is where I wrote my (lengthy) note. However, with my emotions on high, as soon as I saw her teacher on the morning drop-off I spilled my heart out. I informed her of everything that happened which also shocked the teacher. She informed me that this behaviour was not acceptable and they would have this conversation in class. This made me feel a little better but not completely.

As I waited for my daughter to go into school that morning, she became the Nikki that I love and raised. She confidently walked about to the little girl who had been calling her fat and said, “I didn’t like what you said about me and that is not very nice. So stop!” The little girl looked stunned and Nikki walked away to line up to go into class. She then turns to me and gives me a thumbs up and a wink.

It was an extremely proud moment for me as Nikki stood up for herself. Her confidence was inspiring!

 

Building Self-Image

We are starting the re-building phase of a very impressionable 4-year-old. We remind her every single day that beauty is only skin deep and true beauty is within. She needs to love herself and the only opinion that matters is her own. If we can empower that, then I know she will be set for life.

Self-image is so important to build and we realize now that it is a daily lesson for us all.

Today’s Lesson

With every parenting situation we come across it becomes a learning opportunity. This was one for my books as body image and bullying was not in my 4-year-old forecast. But it is now and we are working together to combat it.

My advice to other parents is to talk with your children about body image and let them know that certain words hurt people. If your child is being made fun of, let your child know that it isn’t right to do it back too and they can follow our three simple steps above. We had to make sure our daughter knew not to retaliate as it wouldn’t be acceptable.

It’s important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging it as part of the “normal” for kids. Also make sure your kids love themselves. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

So far, that little girl has been nicer to Nikki and does not call her “fat.” I’m hoping that this new “F” word doesn’t make an appearance in the classroom again. However, I am confident that if it does we will all be ready!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

Tomato Soup | Recipe

A soup that my mom would make for us is tomato soup but it isn’t exactly what you think as we don’t actually use tomatoes. 😉

If you are looking for a simple and hearty soup recipe then this may be the one for you.

INGREDIENTS

  • Water
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Knorr of Chicken
  • Onions
  • Pasta (we usually use small pasta)
  • Potatoes
  • Boiled Chicken Breast (marinated with salt, black pepper and garlic powder)

DIRECTIONS

  • First clean the chicken breast and marinate it with some salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Once completed, boil it first until it is fully cooked.
  • Once chicken breast is cooked, remove it from the water. Shred the chicken breast into pieces to add into the soup afterwards.
  • In a new pot, add water for the soup. It is always best to almost fill to the top as water does decrease when boiled. Add a teaspoon of tomato paste, some salt, a dash of olive oil and knorr of chicken.
  • Clean and cut 2 onions into quarters and add to pot of water.
  • We also peel potatoes and cut them into small pieces to add into the soup.
  • Once all ingredients are added, turn the heat onto medium.
  • Stir as necessary and once potatoes are almost fully cooked, add the pasta and shredded chicken. Take a quick taste to see if additional salt needs to be added.
  • Once pasta is cooked, the soup is ready.

That is it! A simple recipe that is hearty and delicious! Enjoy!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe | Perfect For Christmas

Gearing up our children for the start of school can be scary for both parents and child. I know that is how we felt before our little Nikki started school this year. But with all our prepping and teaching leading up to the first day made the transition a bit easier for the both of us.

VTech also recognizes the importance of the first day of school. To help preschoolers for this important milestone, VTech has developed the Preschool Learning series of interactive toys. One of these toys in the series is the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe and we are delighted to share our thoughts on it for all of you!

The Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe features an interactive desktop with activity cards that introduce letters, numbers, music, colors and much more. Extend playtime with additional activity packs that each focus on a specific curriculum (each sold separately). Flip up the desktop and create a masterpiece using the art station or chalkboard. For more fun, play with the toy telephone or listen to fun tunes on the music player. The possibilities are endless!


Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe Features

There are so many wonderful features that we briefly touched on above but now let us break it down for you. 😉

Mode Switch

You have two modes to pick from which are the Activity Mode and Music Mode. Activity Mode is where all the features will be accessible. The Music Mode is where the activity page area will become deactivated so you can use the desktop for reading or listening to music.

Toy Telephone Mode Buttons

In the Toy Telephone Mode, you can learn numbers and even Call A Friend Mode. You can also press the Number Buttons to learn and explore numbers.

LED Display

The LED Display is where you can see games, pictures or animations.

Cartridge Slot

Each expansion pack (sold separately) comes with a cartridge. To play an expansion pack, insert the cartridge, then insert one of the pack’s activity cards.

Music Player Controls

Press the “Play” button to Play/Stop the music, and press the ‘forward’ or ‘back’ buttons to go to the previous or next song.

Volume Buttons

As parents we can really appreciate and love this feature which is the volume adjust button. There are five volume levels. Adjust it to the way that works for you and your family.

Activity Card Slot

Insert one of the activity cards into this SLOT to play.

Activity Page Mode Icons

Use your finger to touch any of the Mode Icons on the activity page to play.

Activity Page Area

Follow the game instructions and use your finger to touch the objects on the activity page to play.

Art Station

The Activity Desk is not only a learning centre but you can flip it up and it transforms to an art station. You can use the clip to hold a paper for some drawing or use the chalkboard surface to chalk a masterpiece.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We absolutely love the Touch & Learn Activity Desk DeluxeThis activity desk has so much to offer little ones and it is a great stepping stone into the next milestone of learning. There are so many fun activities and options available to provide hours of fun. Nikki’s favorite part is the ability to transform the activity desk to an art station. We find it brings out her artistic side but also encourages her to try and write out the letters that she is learning. Nikki also loves using the activity cards to learn. We are delighted that with the activity cards she has learned so much more. The learning that she does with the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe gives her that extra confidence that every child needs. Therefore, we give the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe 5+++ stars out of 5!

We love it so much that we have placed the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe on our recommended list! It offers diverse learning with an interactive touch which makes it so much more fun for any child. VTech has truly developed an amazing toy that encompasses all that a child and a parent would hope for. It allows a child to have fun, learn and be creative all in one. Couldn’t ask for anything better!

If you would like to purchase one for your little one (highly recommended) you can click here for the purple and pink and click here for the red and yellow option.

We are sure it will light up the hearts and minds of your little one.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* This product was given in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are solely of Momma Braga.

Pregnancy- Dealing With The Difficulties

Whether it’s a surprise or a much-wanted gift, pregnancy certainly isn’t easy. From the physical symptoms to the hormonal mood swings, it can be one hell of a rollercoaster ride. If you’re finding that you’re suffering during your pregnancy, here are some of the difficulties you may be facing and what to do about them.

Pixabay

Morning Sickness

It may be called morning sickness but that doesn’t mean it just happens in the morning. A lot of women suffer from nausea and sickness all day long during the first trimester, and for some unlucky women it lasts the whole pregnancy. It can be nothing less than debilitating, so if you’re suffering badly and there’s no remedy you can find that helps, you need to speak to your midwife or doctor. They may be able to prescribe something that eases the symptoms for you.

Pixabay

Your Relationship

It’s often difficult for men and women to connect and communicate during pregnancy. You may feel like your relationship is suffering and you’re both under stress. You’ll likely both have different sets of priorities and it can be tough to understand one another. Set some time aside and spend a few hours trying to communicate with each other. You may want to seek the advice of a counsellor if you’re unable to settle things alone.

Your Mental Health

There are a lot of hormonal changes going on in a pregnant woman’s body. You may be finding that you’re feeling low or depressed. Many pregnant women don’t feel like they can talk about this for fear of being judged that they aren’t happy about the pregnancy. If you’re feeling this way, it may help you to visit a women’s health clinic and discuss your feelings. It could help you to make the right choices, depending on your situation.

Pixabay

Unable to Work

Some women find that they are unable to work due to the severe symptoms of their pregnancies. It could be morning sickness, migraines, dizziness or any number of ailments that prevents them from working. If you’re unable to work during your pregnancy, you may be worried about your income. Talk to your midwife about support you may be entitled to. Mothers who are not working can sometimes claim grants and vouchers to help towards setting the home up for their new arrival and pregnancy vitamins to keep mother and baby healthy.

Talk to Other Mothers

There are a lot of pregnancies that aren’t straight forward. Whether it’s because of worries about the baby’s health, complications during birth or worry about loss, it’s always good to know you’re not alone. Hearing positive stories from women who have been through the same situation can give you the positivity you need to get through your pregnancy. If you don’t want to join groups and talk face to face, there are some fantastic online forums, like Mumsnet, where you can join in conversations, ask questions or just read through previous threads.

Good luck and stay healthy!

 

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Genuine Side Hustles You Can Start From Your Living Room

If you’re a stay at home mom, you may be looking at ways to start an online business from home so that you can continue to earn money and direct your creative talent and energy towards something without having to leave your kids.

Unfortunately with so many scams and non-legitimate business opportunities flooding the internet, it can be difficult, overwhelming and downright scary to try and find something that will actually help you achieve your goals of working from home and making money doing something you love that you can organize around your existing commitments.

In this post we’re going to share with you some genuine side hustle ideas that you can start from your life whilst your children are napping or after they go to bed, and that once they’re bigger you can even turn into a full-time online business if you want to.

Blogging:

Blogging is a great way to make extra money online by writing about things you love and are passionate about. You could start a blog on any subject you desire and blog as little or as much as your schedule allows – as long as you stay consistent with your posts and deliver value to your readers then it really doesn’t matter if you blog once per week or 5 times per week. It’s something you can do anytime of the day and completely on your own schedule, so it’s perfect if you only have an hour or two during the day when the kids are napping.

Freelancing:

If you have skills in a specific area such as writing or designing, then offering your services as a freelancer or consultant to businesses who could help with their marketing or branding, for example, could be a great way to earn some money at home on your own schedule. The great thing about freelancing is that you get to set your own hours which also allows you to create the kind of work/life balance you want whilst earning money at the same time.

Sell handmade products:

If you love to make DIY craft things such as bath products, candles, t-shirts, or even gift cards and bags then you could enable yourself to make some extra cash online by selling these on places like Etsy and eBay. Although you’ll probably have to buy the equipment and materials like vinylcuttingmachineguide.com best vinyl cutting machine to get started, you can pick these up very affordably and if you know how to market your products correctly, then you’ll make the money back pretty fast, anyway.

Affiliate marketing:

This is actually one of the best, quickest, and easiest ways to start earning money online, and although it works best if you have a blog, it’s not essential that you do. Affiliate marketing is basically where you make a commission for selling the products and services of others. This can be done through writing reviews, making video reviews, and then driving traffic to your affiliate link so that when they buy the product you’ll make a commission on it. This can take a bit of time to see a big income, but over time it builds up if you’re doing it consistently.

Christmas Magic In A Letter | The Belief In Santa

The Christmas season is upon us and it is my favorite time of year. It seems that there is a little extra magic in the air as the spirit of giving surrounds us.

My heart is always extra full this time of year as I try to make each year more magical then the next for my daughter. Part of the Christmas magic is the belief in Santa Claus. A jolly man who makes a list of who has been naughty and nice. Then travels all over the world to deliver toys to the nice kids on the list.

The excitement to write to Santa and to receive a letter back helps keep the belief alive and one that we have done yearly with our daughter, Nikki.

In previous years we have sent our “Santa Letter” to a free service offered by Canada Post. Their special elves help Santa answer all the letters in time for your little ones (*there is a deadline date to watch out for). The first two years the letters back where cute and a personalized touch was added which made the letters extra special.

However, last year the letter was standard and no personalized touch was added. There was nothing special about it and what should I really expect from a free service, right?! So why not to do it myself?! 

One night as we were hosting a family playdate with my cousin and her boys. We both talked about how disappointed we were in the letters from Santa. I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

So I pitched the idea that we should do the Santa letters for one another and my cousin Chantelle loved the idea!

Christmas Magic In A Letter

We now get to share some Christmas magic between family by doing Santa Letters to one another. The best part for us will be to see our children’s faces when they get a very personalized letter from Santa. 

Nikki and her adorable cousins John Lucas and Connor at our last playdate.

This is how we are doing it this year.

Writing “Dear Santa” Letter

Our child writes their letter to Santa (depending on their writing ability, it may be the parent writing most of it). In our case, I write Nikki’s letter but she adds her artistic flare to her letter.

Mailing Letter to “Santa”

Child mails the letter out to “Santa” (if they are young they will not notice the address so this wasn’t an issue for either one of us right now). 😉

Mailing a letter to Santa is serious business 😉

Highlights For Santa Reply Letter

Send some points (max of 3) of your child to the family member writing the Santa letter that you would like highlighted. For example, I wanted to make sure it was noted that Nikki started her first year of school; becoming more independent and her good manners.

Handwriting the Reply Letter

Once the “Dear Santa Letter” is received, the family member can now hand write the letter in response with the highlighted points and reference to any artistic touch done on the letter.

Mail the Santa Reply Letter

Family member mails the Santa response letter and add any other little touches that they may want to add (my cousin thought of adding an “Elf Report” indicating if they made it to the nice or naughty list – so cute!).

Open the Magic of Christmas

Child receives their magical and very personalized letter. The belief continues with much love.

We just started the process and we can’t wait to see our children react to their very special letters. A little extra that we are doing is keeping the “Dear Santa” from our children in little boxes. This way when they are older we can give them their letters so they can see what they said and did in their belief of Christmas magic. I think that is my favorite part of all this.

I am really excited to keep the belief going and doing this exchange between family. A more personalized, heart and love in our quest for that little extra spirit this holiday season.

How do you carry on the Christmas spirit in your family? Would love to hear from all of you in the comment section below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Supportive Parenting: Your Child Wants to Take a Year Off College And Go Abroad

Written By: Claire Adams

Before we begin, we need to answer the age-old question – what constitutes a supportive parent?

First of all, a supportive parent is one that encourages their child in their academic pursuits as well as their hobbies. Their other task is to be there, listen without judgement and try to put themselves in their child’s shoes, particularly during those turbulent teenage years. This one is difficult, but vital, as kids tend to drift apart from their parents at this age and you need to show them that you are there unconditionally. Don’t judge their mistakes or write off their goals and dreams as unreachable – acknowledge that you may not have all the answers and don’t underestimate your child’s wisdom. Finally, if you want them to act like adults, you need to treat them as adults.

Why is this all important? Because children who feel support and encouragement tend to make better choices and grow up to be independent, responsible and successful. Now, every parent wants to see their child successful, finishing college, finding a lucrative career – that’s a given. This is exactly why many parents struggle to understand when their kid comes to tell them they want to take a year off from college, whether in the middle of their studies or before going to grad school. That, let’s call it ‘a gap’, isn’t something you’ll be thrilled with, but let’s consider some of the reasons this might actually be great for their personal and professional development.

Photo credit Pexels

Immersion in other cultures

When you go abroad and you mix with locals with a completely different language and a set of religious and every other beliefs, it simply makes you a better person.

You may have taught your child to be tolerant, understanding and free of any form of prejudice and stereotypes, but there is absolutely no better way to raise a great person, a worldly one if you want, unless you let them spread their wings and explore everything the world has to offer. Each culture can teach you a different thing, instil a different great quality in you, and give you life lessons that will last forever. By letting your kid fly, you are giving them the chance to be better in every sense of the word.

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It teaches them independence

Let’s admit it. While in college, your kid isn’t truly independent. They can always count on you to send a care package, a little extra money, and they live comfortably, whether in a dorm or private housing. Yes, being a little far away from you gives them a taste of independence, but going abroad will teach them so much more. They will have to work for a living, find their own apartment, pay their bills – simply put, pay their dues. That makes a person resilient and more capable.

As a result, when they come back, they will be this whole new amazing and improved person you will be even more proud of. And worry not, there are tons of ways for them to make a living and perhaps even develop new skills. For instance, if they decide to go to China, they can always make a living by putting their native English skills to use and become a teacher at such amazing schools as Monkey Tree ESL. The one thing a native English speaker can always rely on is a teaching job abroad, so don’t you worry about them making it on their own.

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They will learn the value of money

They say you don’t know the value of money until you begin to make your own. Having to pay bills, take care of food, or buy clothes will be an amazing lesson on how to save, to be economical and frugal. They will even become more grateful for all the years and money you’ve invested in their education, and perhaps even continue to work part-time when they come back home, as a way of taking a part of the burden off of you, and to also retain that newfound sense of independence.

 

You may not believe that a year off is a great idea, and that’s your natural, parenting instinct speaking. You want your child to be safe, not to go without, and most importantly, to go back and finish college or get their Master’s degree. However, you have to believe that you have raised a great and responsible person, and that this year off will only fortify these qualities and make them an even better, more competent and more qualified person. A person with a new sense of direction. A real goal-getter. There will always be concerns, but if you’ve done your job right, you will have very little to worry about.

 

About the Author

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.