Our Parenting Culture Sucks!

As I put my kids to bed I began to reflect on how my day went and as always, I ask myself one question at the end of the day, “Did I make my son feel visible?”

I guess this is important because when I was a little girl I felt invisible. For the most part my mom was always consumed with all the house chores. I mean who can blame her, the lady had to get it done and I understand that, but somehow, I would have preferred to live in a messy home in exchange for memories and moments of engagement.

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Focus in on innocence

My thoughts continued to evolve and as I stood there watching my children sleep soundlessly. Their innocence represents an inexplicable beauty. I can’t help but think about the children who take the unleashing of their parent’s frustrations. I couldn’t help but think of the children that feel sad and alone.

Why is that we use our children as emotional punching bags?

Children are treated unfairly.

We acknowledge their vulnerability and we abuse our authority.

We force, push and shove our children as if they were objects and not people.

No one should be coerced, pushed, shoved or mistreated, so why do we do it to the most vulnerable, our own kiddies.

Bullies detect the most vulnerable target before they engage in bullying. Sadly, parents can be undetected bullies.

Our Culture

Today I remembered the few times that I yelled at my son for not using the toilet when he had just turned two. I remember the one time that I yelled at him for not wanting to sleep in his own bed. I remember those moments so clearly because those were the moments that God spoke to me the most.

As parents we need to be conscious that every child is different. Children should experience the world and develop at their own pace and not at the pace we choose for them.

Children have the right to experience and discover life, fear-free

We forget or don’t realize the things we do or how we act towards our children because our main concern is to mimic what other parents accomplish with their children.

Parenting is not a competition it’s a learning experience. An experience that should take its course and not be rushed.

Sleeping with our kids

Society tells us that we need to force our kids to sleep by themselves as soon as they are born. This belief is screwed up. Babies need to feel mom constantly especially after being born and having been in the womb for nine months.

People want to forcefully, make babies adapt to cribs and regulated sleeping habits and other nonsense, as if they were robots. This is ridiculous. Babies should be nurtured and it’s us who need to accommodate ourselves to our little ones.

We need to develop patience

There is no such thing as spoiling a baby with too much love, or too many hugs or holding onto them for long periods of time.

These are broken beliefs. Babies need security and the warmth of our arms.

Children need love and affection, and most of all, empathy.

Our toddlers need all the love we have to offer along with firm and loving discipline.

As I look at my four-year-old and my five-month-old baby sleeping in my bed, I think to myself, how wonderful they must feel to fall asleep with mommy and daddy. How secure they must feel knowing that they are accepted and not rejected.

Children grow and there comes a time when the tables turn. They will be doing all the rejecting while we’re the ones seeking for their attention and engagement.

Change

Let’s change this culture by changing our broken beliefs. You and I can change the world by renewing our minds, becoming conscious of our actions, and raise children who are loved, accepted and empowered.

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Am I spoiling my child?

It was 9 p.m. at night when my son asked his daddy to play with him. So, my husband began to hookup the Wii, but then noticed that it wasn’t working properly.

After spending 30 minutes trying to make the Wii work, he got frustrated and told our son his favorite words…

“Forget it let’s go to Target and I’ll buy you the Nintendo Switch

As I heard this, I had mixed feelings:

  1. I was happy that my son was going to get the Nintendo Switch, which he had been asking for especially when he’s enjoyed playing it at his cousin’s house.
  2. I didn’t want my husband to buy him the Switch because I knew that by doing so, we are spoiling our sense and wiring him with a sense of entitlement.

“It feels great when our children ask us for something that we know we can give them. I’m sure God feels the same way, but he doesn’t shower us with blessings that we can’t handle. Same goes for children.”

I understood three things on this evening.

  1. Overindulging my son with toys will not only spoil him, but will not allow him to appreciate what he has. Read whether or not your kids need a variety of toys.
  2. Giving him to a lot of toys won’t necessarily keep him busy.
  3. Instead of being appreciative over what he has he is becoming entitled.

Scarcity is a good thing and so is boredom. 

As stay at home mom, I feel responsible for keeping him busy and entertained most of the day, which is why allowing him to possess a load of toys seems like the right choice so that he won’t be bored. This is a lie that we believe. 

“I remember being a little girl and having a handful of Barbie’s and dolls, that I would play with over and over again. I never felt the need to have more because I had what I needed to keep me entertained. Sure, I wanted more, but I never asked for toys unless I was asked.

If we want to raise children that are grateful for what they have, we must eliminate massive toy buying and make sure that the toys that we do buy, breed creativity, requires imagination and encourages pretend play.

I’m determined to clean my son’s room, get rid of many of his toys and make sure to rearrange his room. I will share the before and after pictures of his room very soon 🙂 Join me as I clean house and work on unspoiling my child.

 

Sex Culture: Desensitizing Children

The other day while I was on YouTube I watched an interview between a psychologist and a sex-trafficker and what he said was mind blowing to me.

Sex Trafficker said:

“Society is doing the grooming for us. Too many girls are walking around with low self-esteem and they are already portraying themselves as sex symbols. It’s too easy”

It’s true. We are living in the midst of a culture where everything is over sexualized.

“Global grooming is taking place”

  • Children are being raised in broken homes which brings about identity and security issues.
  • Little girls are being dressed with clothing that they should not be wearing.
  • Moms are not being an example of dignity and modesty. It’s quite the opposite.
  • Single moms parade their different relationships in front of her kids not realizing that she is setting the wrong example for her little children.

Not enough fathers take their role seriously. They don’t realize that to little girls their daddy’s words are life. If daddy is present and speaks words of life onto his daughter that daughter will grow to have massive confidence and won’t need to find it in other men. If daddy values his daughter, that little girl will not grow up to be this desperate young girl seeking attention from men.

I’ve realized that many women will read this and not care. Not every woman cares about their children or the next generation as they say they do.

Not many moms care about what their daughters future’s looks like at the hands of different men. Not many people think about the consequences of promiscuity and what such example can cause to the next generation.

Many women are self-fish. Many women choose to fulfill their own sexual desires and in the process they end up parading different of men in front of her kids. These types of women don’t care about setting the right example for their daughters and young boys. Children are being exposed to sex at an earlier age through subliminal porn found at home, in social media as well as in our world around us. Game apps have pop-ups of cartoon women dressed half-naked and this is being flaunted to our children 24/7.

We must raise a generation of respectful young ladies and gentlemen.

We must change and be different.

We need to bring chivalry back, but that starts with us, WOMEN.

Watch “A prayer for wisdom, our children and our home” on YouTube

Our children adopt our image and because they do we are responsible for reflecting an honorable image.

Excerpt from my book (coming soon):

“our children adopt our image”

Many parents want their kids to be honest, but yet they lie right in front them.

Many parents want their children to be respectful yet they are disrespectful to others.

Our children our always watching us and we need to model what we desire to see in them.

We need to pray so that God may show us those negative character flaws that we are unaware of.

“We need to project what we wish to see in our children”

We need to pray and ask God to renew our minds daily.

Mommies, we need to become the new breed of women that are prayerful and that love our families enough to change and allow ourselves to be transformed by God.

We need to surrender our weaknesses and flaws over to God so that He may glorify Himself in us.

How do we surrender?

  1. By accepting our wrongs and asking God for guidance & wisdom.
  2. By choosing to do things differently everyday.

Leggings: why not?

Someone approached me the other day and asked me why I always wear my high-waisted leggings.

Uh…. Hello! Why not wear leggings?! I just gave birth, my pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit and my pregnancy clothes obviously don’t fit me. And to top it off, I’m always home taking care of my two kids lol

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So, why not leggings?!

I was so upset at the question because this woman knows that I just had a kid, I’m barely getting any sleep, I’m breastfeeding on demand… I mean what else am I supposed to wear lol

Am I supposed to wear heels and a dress everyday?! Uh I don’t think so!

Why are some women so fixated on looking good and decked out all the time?

Is it really necessary especially when we are cooking, cleaning and running errands.

I must confess I would love to wear a nice pair of jeans, but I feel so physically busted because my stomach isn’t back to how it was pre-pregnancy that it’s impossible for my jeans to fit me well right now. Also, I haven’t lost all the weight that I have wanted to lose so the cute pair of shorts that I once wore can’t even go past my hips! :/

For now, so what if my leggings are my go to bottoms?!

I don’t like waist trainers, as this person suggested me to wear under my clothes, they’re too darn uncomfortable. Why not let me be?

There is nothing wrong with leggings sisters.
Don’t let anyone make you feel less just because you don’t match their standards.

For a moment she did make me feel worse about appearance. I began to second guess myself. I thought to myself, “maybe I should wear a dress and maybe shoes with small heel” “maybe I should wear a waist trainer so that my stomach won’t sag.”

So many thoughts crossed my mind. I allowed her comments to make me feel bad about my appearance, but I shook it off immediately.

The reality is that we do have to take care of our appearance and try to look nice, especially for our husbands, but not to the extreme of wearing heels and full on makeup everyday. Again there is nothing wrong with wearing leggings!

Those are my two cents for the day!

Thank you for reading. God bless!

Birth Story: Birthing Nina

Giving birth to Nina was an unforgettable experience.

It was a completely different experience from giving birth to Nathan. I’m not sure if my birth stories were so memorable because they were completely natural labors (no epidural, zero drugs), but what I do know is that these experiences have brought me closer to my sisters, my mom and my husband.

Giving birth to Nathan was a beautiful and thrilling because my first birthing experience. With Nathan I was in was in labor for 37 hours and the contractions felt unbearable. It’s rather normal to assume that on my first birthing experience I would have been fearful at the thought of pushing, but it was quite the opposite for me. I never once feared the ring of fire, as they call it. In fact, it was extremely surprising to me that I felt strong and fearless. I never questioned whether I could go through with it.

However, giving birth to Nina was an opposite experience.

First of all, the gender was unknown to all of us so that in itself made the birth experience that much more exhilarating.

And secondly, I thought it would be a piece of cake this second time so I felt invincibly ready…………………………………..Boy, was I wrong!

I arrived at the maternity center with my mom, Nathan and my husband at about 4 a.m. The midwife proceeded with a vaginal check and to our surprise I was 5cm dilated. We were so pleased that I was halfway dilated because to me that meant that I would dilate rapidly to 10 cm, which meant a quicker labor of course. Soon after my midwife checked me, she asked me to choose the room that I wanted to give birth in. I chose the blue room and we hurriedly unloaded our things and settled in.

The hours passed, and it was about 10 a.m. when my two sisters arrived. You don’t understand. My sisters have been my personal doulas (lol) for both of my births and their presence have made both experiences extra special. I don’t know how I would’ve done it without their emotional and physical support. My sisters were my greatest comfort in the moments when I felt like giving up. Not to belittle or depreciate my husband’s presence, but as women at that moment we shared something in common, the gift of birthing.

This second time around, active labor, seemed tolerable, however, mentally I felt weak. It was so different from Nathan’s birth experience. This time I allowed fear to consume my thoughts. Many times, I doubted whether I could go through with pushing my baby out. I was fearful at the thought of the baby tearing me. The fear was so intense at one some points that I would fight the pain instead of ease into it.

There was a point, where I became so worried at the thought of the baby coming out of me, that I contemplated having someone take me to the hospital for a C-section, but those thoughts were quickly deleted from my thoughts through the encouragement that my sisters provided me. Their words would always bring me back to reality. Having my son there helped tons as well. Listening to him pray for me provided me with the boost of solace that I needed. I knew I had to be strong for him and the baby that was on the way to making his or her appearance to our world.

I had to get this baby out no matter what!

It was about 8:00 p.m. when my midwife walked in and told me that it was time to push. I didn’t want to lay down to push because it felt uncomfortable. So, I decided to try to push while sitting on my husband’s lap.

Oh, was I happy, but secretly terrified inside.

The contractions came and as soon as I felt the urge to push, which feels like the urge to take the biggest dump of life, all I wanted to do was get into my pushing zone. I closed my eyes tight and screamed out of pain as I pushed as hard as I could each time.

With each contraction I would close my eyes tighter and tighter. I remember my sister holding on to me and I clearly recall her telling me “Mari, her head is out!” As soon as I heard those words I felt this new wave of courage to push harder. All I could think of was coming face to face with my baby.

I wanted to know if I was going to be holding my princess or prince.

What a special moment it was on that last push!!!

I felt the baby’s head come out and then the rest of the body, literally slipped out. I was in bit of a shock and immersed in a trance of joy. I grabbed my baby, we were all crying and all I heard was…

“It’s a girl!!!” My husband kept repeating it.

We were all so elated and in tears. I looked at her face and knew her name was Nina.

My mom opened the door, and I think I’ll always remember the image of tears running down her face, and an expression of glee I had never seen in her before. We told her that the baby is a girl. She was ecstatic! She ran out to tell my dad who was waiting outside.

As they cleaned up my baby girl, while I was still carrying her, they had my son come into the room to cut the umbilical cord. He was confused, but he understood that I had pushed the baby out into our world. So, it seemed like a natural experience for all of us. Not sure if he really paid attention to all the bloody mess that was underneath me, but I he seemed happy to finally see the baby we all talked so much about.

Once, they cut the umbilical cord and transferred me to the bed so that I could breastfeed the baby. I was happy that the birthing experience was coming to its end, all that needed to be done at that point was to push out the placenta and get stitched up if needed. My midwife asked me to push one last time as soon as I felt a contraction coming, to remove the placenta, but none came. That’s when she attempted to pull at it and when she did it didn’t budge. She concluded that the placenta was stuck.

I freaked out!

I felt a lot of blood leaking out of me and I remember asking her, “is that blood that keeps pouring out?” I was fearful because I don’t recall having so much blood rush out of me at my first labor. It was then that she told me she would have to call an ambulance and take me to Jackson North Hospital because if she pulled out my placenta and I lost more blood I would need a blood transfusion.

The ambulance came, and my husband accompanied me while my sister followed us to the hospital. Both Nathan and Nina stayed with my mom.

I remember arriving at the hospital not knowing what would happen next. It was comforting to see my midwife as she arrived shortly after we did. Just knowing that she was there made me feel safe and confident that everything would be fine.

I recall losing a lot of blood and blacking out. I found out my iron level was extremely low. Critical even.

As soon as the doctor came in and removed my placenta I was extremely relieved to know everything was finally over. In the end, my placenta was out, I only got 1 stitch and I was ready to get some rest.
The next day I woke up anxiously waiting to get back to the maternity center to see my daughter and son.


Once I was reunited with my daughter as well as my son, all was better. Within a few hours after that, I was able to go home with my tribe.

Although I experienced many moments of fear and doubt throughout the entire birth experience, I knew deep in my heart that God had a plan, so I knew that all would be fine in the end.

Now, it’s January 2, 2018, 7:10 p.m. and I’m feeling blessed and grateful to be a mommy to two cute cubs.

Thank you for reading and God bless!


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Sex & Human Trafficking: Global Issue

Every two minutes women and children are being sexually exploited, abused and used as a means for making a profit.

It’s time that we decide to face this issue because it’s a huge injustice that needs our attention. We need to protect the lives of our children and stand up to speak for those who do not have a voice. It’s time to stand up for those women and children that are forced to remain quiet and imprisoned.

It’s time to support movements such as @stoppingtrafficfilm

Here in Miami at Sunset Place AMC there is a film premiering on Friday September 29, 2017 that educates on the ins and outs of human trafficking.

Watch trailer now! Stopping Traffic: The Film

The numbers are extremely high, and with such high numbers it can be hard to believe that we can influence change, BUT change can take place if we can choose to change the way we think. We need to make a decision to look within ourselves and accept our flaws. People want to help abolish sex and human trafficking, but they do not want to stop watching porn or supporting the sex industry via attending strip clubs etc. There is a demand in this industry and this demand is what needs to be eradicated.

Sex trafficking is about control. Men and women traffickers want to control others. Traffickers are also controlled and driven by disturbing desires. Whether Some are influenced by their love of money or their need to possess control over another human being it isn’t right.

There is nothing attractive or desirable about exploiting women and children. The type of people who do this are mentally ill and lack empathy for humanity.

There is nothing sexy nor sensual about children. Children are beautiful human beings who deserve to live out their childhoods exploring, playing, discovering life and the world around them. They should not have to live lives suppressing their emotions, battling the pain that comes with being abused, nor should they face an internal war with their identity. Children should not be put in a position of living in survival mode. This matter needs our attention.

Are you ready to be part of the solution or will you just sit back and watch as this issue spirals out of control and reaches those closest to you? You could be the next victim, the teenagers around us can be the next victims, anyone can be next? Are you ready to help with this issue?

If you live in Miami come out and support the fight against human trafficking by watching the film Stopping Traffic: The Film

Lets get educated and educate others on this global issue!

Thank you for reading and God bless you!

Shame on you

In the past, I have tried to use my anger to instill fear in my son to make him obey me. I confess that I have also used shaming as a tactic to manipulate and control my son’s behavior. I have done this not consciously, but unconsciously because it’s the parenting style that I have witnessed throughout my life. Yes, I’m guilty, and I do accept that using anger and shame as discipline drivers are not positive, nor do they communicate love.

I want to share this with you because as I live out this whole parenting journey, I find that the more I work on myself and my flaws, the more effective I become as a parent.

Manipulation:

When I have felt the need to manipulate my son to behave the way I want him to behave, I have noticed that my own desire to manipulate does not come from a healthy place.

When we feel the need to manipulate our children, we may lean on forceful ways to have them comply and many times that includes resorting to harsh corporal punishment.

We manipulate because a situation may feel our of control and our natural reaction will be to fight our way back up to holding on to the reigns. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s a sign of fear. Our own fear can take us to pull out the “shame on you card,” and the “anger tactic.”

Our job is not to control our children. They are not robots.

Our anger gets in the way of empathizing with our children because for some parents being empathetic will require to become vulnerable. Parents with anger issues, or undetected anger issues, have a hard time allowing themselves to become vulnerable because to be vulnerable is to enter one’s own feelings.

To have self-control over one’s emotions is true courage.

When we instill fear in our children to get them to respond to what we are commanding them to do, we are acting from an unhealthy place. Rather then letting anger lead our words and actions, we should discipline from a place of self-control.

When I was a little girl, I remember that I did something that wasn’t pleasing to my dad. It was so petty that I don’t even remember what I did wrong, BUT what I do remember was his reaction. He whipped me with a belt and left a mark on the side of my left thigh. After he hit me I remember going to a corner of the room and crawling into a ball. I cried. I felt alone and I felt so much hate towards him. I remember going to school the next day and talking about how much I hated my dad. I resented him for it and till this day I still remember how he made me feel.

We should NEVER force a child to behave a certain way. Instead, we should always kindly correct the behavior, and not the child.

Forceful discipline = power struggle & resentment

Children who feel attacked go into defense mode (this is how any human being responds to an attack, it’s normal) <<<<<<<<<<<<< Why can’t people understand this! It’s upsetting.

Shame:

Shame is a very powerful emotion.

There are many ways that parents have made us feel ashamed and often times this shame brews deep, self-conscious emotions in our hearts.

When we tell a child that they should be ashamed of themselves we are communicating to them that there is something wrong with them.

When we use shaming as a way to make children refrain from a certain behavior, what we’re really doing is humiliating them. To humiliate and shame a child is to be emotionally abusive.

To humiliate a child is to insert a chip in their mind that tells them they aren’t good enough. Once installed, this information has a long-term impact into adulthood.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, especially children. Children are the most vulnerable and should be protected, loved and supported especially throughout their growth process.

Let’s be conscious and be intentional about the things that we say and do.

It’s time for a shift in parenting. It’s time to discipline with empathy, compassion and respect. Above all, with tons of love.

Love always wins.

Thank you for reading! Many blessings.

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Is Your Child Afraid of Sleeping Alone?

It’s been a crazy journey trying to get my son to sleep in his bed and I can tell you that the journey is far from over lol

I’ve tried it all and I feel that nothing has worked, but I also refuse to force him and have him cry it out when I know that his issue about sleeping alone is his fear of the dark.

Multiple times when I have asked him why he doesn’t want to sleep in his room he tells me that its dark and he scared of the monsters. Knowing this, I can do one of two things:

  1. Ignore his fear and force him to sleep alone.
  2. Acknowledge his fear and help him through it.

I have chosen to acknowledge his feelings.

Through this process I have realized that as a parent we are not called to force our children to outgrow certain stages in their lives.

I have learned that as parents we have to be able to be empathetic to the fears that our children face, especially when we are referring to toddlers and preschoolers.

I’ve learned that there is a time to help our children face and overcome their fears without forceful action, and their is a time to help them get through it by accommodating their needs.

Since my son refuses to sleep alone in his room, I grabbed one of his mattresses and placed it right next to our bed so he is now sleeping right next to me, but on his mattress. The funny part of all of this is that almost every night at around 4 a.m. my son climbs up to our bed and grabs my arm or my face to make sure that I’m there. Those little gestures are indicators that my presence is important to him and my job is to fulfill that need.

It’s a bitter-sweet feeling because although I feel loved by my son, I also know that these moments are nothing more than memories.

Which is why I urge parents to think about the fact that our children are only children for so long and it’s important that we consider their feelings, and help them through their processes.

Opening my life and heart to the world: Are You A Parent Bully?

I never knew there was such a concept as that of being a parent bully, but as I researched more and traced my first experiences with my son, I realized that once upon a time I was a bully.

I remember that the minute they placed my son in my arms, I knew that I would put into practice all the parenting advice that I had witnessed and had been given.

 As the months passed and as my little one grew, I found myself shouting and saying the word “NO” most of the time. I used to like saying “no” because it made me feel like I was letting him know who’s the boss. Yes, I was that ignorant. Why couldn’t I understand that he was a curious little bug who wanted to explore.

I also spanked him as little as a year and a half old, which I’m really ashamed of because at that age he’s just a little explorer and I didn’t understand his need to explore everything. Subconsciously it seemed easier to spank him for something that was “wrong” or dangerous in my eyes which forcefully got him to stop, however, it was an unfair response in my part. Hitting worked in my eyes, but I didn’t realize that I was hitting out of convenience.

I’m ashamed to admit that I liked to see the look of fear in his face when I told him “NO” or when I was going to physically discipline him. To me, the look of fear represented respect. I was extremely ignorant.

I remember feeling a sense of relief when I hit him and later I came to realize that I used my son and his “disobedience” to unleash a bit of my anger that I had inside.

Yes, I did all these things and one of the last times that I ever spanked my son God confronted me and I felt in my heart that it was not the way to treat a child who is new at this thing called life. I broke down and asked for forgiveness.

That’s when God opened my eyes and He began to reveal his purpose with my life. 

I used to hit because it was the quickest way to get a response that I wanted to see. Often times I shamed him and screamed in his face simply because his reply to me was “No!”

I noticed that he became an angry little boy at only two years of age and it was entirely my fault. Yes, I had to take responsibility for him being angry because I’m the one who was with him 24/7, I’m the one that yelled at him, and I knew he was imitating me. That’s what our little one’s do. They will reflect the good and the bad in us.

As I write this I have tears running down my face because I was so cruel and unemphatic to his feelings as well as his needs as a child. I was a bully seeking to break his will so that he can fulfill my wishes, and I was basically pushing him around both physically and emotionally. 

How do you know if you’re a bully?

  • Do you hit your kids simply because they didn’t do what you asked them to?
  • Did you hit them and feel a sense of satisfaction after doing so?
  • Have you witnessed or experienced verbal or physical violence when you were younger?
  • Do you have a short fuse and find yourself screaming in your toddler’s face?
  • Do you lack self-control?
  • Do you look down at your child when you speak to them without bending or crouching down to their level?
  • Do you expect them to behave the way that you want them to behave and if they don’t they get smacked for “disobedience?”
  • Do you try to make your child feel excluded or ignored?
  • Do you show little concern for your child’s feelings?
  • Do you expect your children to meet your wishes?

Think about those questions and if you’ve answered yes to most of them then for the sake of your children and their overall development, you owe it to them to begin and modify your parenting style to be one that is helpful, encouraging, compassionate and filled with love.

The key to loving our children is loving them with the love of God, which is empathetic, it does not seek to do evil onto others, it’s patient and it’s kind. 

Parenting is all about looking within, healing from the past and begin a road of self-growth and development. It’s time to reach for transformation and raise children that spend their life thriving rather than recovering. 

Become teachers of all of life’s secrets and wonders. After all, life is a huge adventure especially the first 5 years of life. So, have fun and patience. The more you love your children with God’s love, the more patience you will develop. 

Discipline with love and walk side by side with your children and show them the way they should go while making sure that you are their safe place and place of refuge.

Let’s change the world one child at a time!

Many Blessings 🙂 Thank you for reading as I share my journey with you.