One of the things that we hope as parents is to continue to see our children grow and develop as time goes by. This past week, I faced a challenge that reminded me that parenting can be hard and very rewarding at the same time. Our son, who is almost three years old started a summer camp at his preschool. Writing those words reminds me of all the feelings I had in the weeks leading up to the milestone and his first week there.
In this blog post, I'll share things that helped me navigate this significant parenting milestone.
Let me set the stage with some additional context about why him starting Preschool is a big deal. Side note for Parents whose kids might be starting college this fall, I can't even imagine how you feel.
Our son was born at the height of the pandemic which meant that my husband and I have not had the support community that you would imagine. I went back to work when our son was 3,5 months old and cared for him while I worked my full-time job for the first 14 months of his life. My husband was working outside the home at that time and we could not get child care for our son. In early 2022 when things started to calm down and we could return to some normal things in our lives, we were able to hire a nanny who came three days a week and on the other days my husband and I took turns caring for him while we both worked. Thankfully things continued to improve with the pandemic and we were able to take him to a bilingual (German-English) Daycare in October 2022.
Leaving him in the care of strangers outside our home was a very difficult thing to do. However that caretakers at the Daycare took such great care of our son and he loved playing with the other kids. It was great to see him learn German and Social skills while he had fun. In early July this years, his time at the Daycare came to an end as it was time for him to start preschool. The weeks leading up to his last day were hard, I was worried about the transition and the effect it will have on our son. Fast-forward to now, we successful completed the first week of his time in Pre-school Summer camp. It feels like a huge accomplishment for our son to settle into a new environment seamlessly and so quickly.
How I navigated this parenting challenge
#1: Acknowledging your worries and fears
For the longest time, I didn't want to think about the change and the transition that we were able to go through as a family. Then as the owner of our sons daycare kept asking when his last day would be, I had to start thinking about it.
My biggest worry was if our son would like the new school and find new friends. I can now tell you that my worries went away quickly when he did so well on the first day and was able to spend the whole time on Day 2.
#2: Have your support person or people
The most helpful conversation on the first day in the new school was one I had wth my twin sister. She knows me very well and was able to calm me down with a mix of jokes and reassuring facts about the resilience of children. As a mother of two children, she was able to empathize and remind me that we will be fine. It was so funny when she said she was more worried about me that our son. I'm very thankful that I have my sister in my life and value her support especially at crucial moments like these.
#3: Create the space you need
While I was navigating this new phase of our son's life, I was still working at my very demanding but fun job. The first thing I did was mark my family time in my calendar. I then told my manager that I'll need to be flexible with my work time depending on what our son needed in his first week and she was beyond supportive. She checked in with me to see how things were going which I truly appreciate. I feel very fortunate to have a job that gives me the space to be there for my son when I need to.
#4: Get prepared
As a planner, I rely on my ability to focus on working on a task when I'm anxious about a big milestone. I learned into all the things I needed to do for the final week in daycare and time in Pre-school. I read all the documents that were shared, bought the supplies he needed and planned for our new routine. Planning helps give me a better feeling about change and distracts me.
#5: Embrace the journey
Every parent I talk to shares about how what I'm going through is fully normal. I have been through my fair share of changes in my life. However the parenting milestones and changes are different. It's about a small human that I am fortunate to be able to care for and not only about how I navigate the changes. I know that there are many milestones that I'll need to navigate. Hopefully I'll continue to give myself grace and enjoy this amazing journey.
Writing this post was very important for me. I'm learning to be more vulnerable and share the process. Hopefully I'll encourage someone who is going through a similar experience. And I also want to hear more from parents what works for them.
We are very fortunate to be raising the next generation.
As we navigate life, some thoughts and beliefs shape our outlook. It is interesting how much power our minds and thoughts hold. The limiting thoughts and beliefs focus on what we cannot accomplish or things that are not available to us.
In this blog post, we will discuss the limiting beliefs that hold us back and how to overcome them.
Starting Point: What are limiting beliefs, and where do they come from?
A limiting belief is a thought or state of mind that you think is the absolute truth and stops you from doing certain things. These beliefs don't always have to be about yourself, either. They could be about how the world works, ideas, and how you interact with people.
Many things influence the limiting beliefs that we have. They can include our background, how we grew up, what people have said to us, negative experiences or disappointments, or what we have told ourselves is possible for people like us.
The good news is that you can do something about limiting beliefs. A great place to start is to become more aware of those limiting beliefs. Then you will have to keep questioning and breaking those beliefs. It takes time, but being intentional and holding yourself accountable is crucial.
MC's Story: My limiting thoughts and Beliefs
Especially when good things happened in my life, I fought an internal battle to believe they were happening to me and that I deserved it. I was more comfortable when things did not go well. I had a positive outlook on life but didn't know I could reach far. I imagined myself living a comfortable life. However, I never imagined the life that I now have when I was growing up. At every step of my journey, I have needed to deal with my limiting beliefs and trust that good things will happen in my life.
After I started believing that I could live a great life, the next thing that I experienced was the feeling that I deserved to enjoy my life. There was guilt that came with my positive experiences. I kept asking why all the good things were happening for me, which is wild thinking about how hard I have worked to be here. I started hiding my accomplishments. Until now, when people talk about my achievements, I want to run and hide. Five years ago, when I started working for a well-known company, I did not tell people outside my close family and friends.
Then, as I became more successful, I started meeting very successful people, and imposter syndrome set in. I felt that everyone around me was much smarter than I was. I had to remind myself of how awesome I was and stopped making myself small. I know that I have something important to contribute to the work around me.
I know that the limiting beliefs will always be there. However, I have the power to continue broadening my perspective and shaping my beliefs.
Time for Reflection
What limiting thoughts or beliefs, do you have in the following areas of your life?
2023 is definitely going by very quickly. It seems like the year has just started, and it is July already. As we progress into the year's second half, it is a great time to dream and plan. So many great and some not-so-great things happened in the first half of the year. Over the past week, I have been reflecting on what I would like to focus on and do over the next six months.
In this blog post, we'll reflect, update our goals and plan for the rest of the year with the help of five questions. Check out some of my "Her Plan" posts to help you have a great year.
How do you plan to take care of yourself?
Prioritizing your personal needs is essential for the journey ahead over the months to come. I have learned that self-care is one of the easiest things to fall off my priority list. Taking care of yourself gives you the energy to do other things. It's your responsibility to care for your mental and physical well-being.
Strategies to consider
Who will you connect or reconnect with?
The people in our lives that energize and motivate us are very crucial. It's very easy to lose touch with people in our lives who matter. We need to be very intentional about maintaining our relationships, especially as life gets busy.
Strategies to consider
What is one big thing you plan to accomplish at work or in your business?
This is a great time to realign on your big goal and work towards it. Congratulations. If you are already working towards your goal and if you still need to embark on the journey, this is a great time to do so.
Strategies to consider
What will you do for fun?
Life is worth enjoying. If you are anything like me, the thought of having fun does not come naturally to you. We have to put a little effort into thinking about and planning fun. The truth is that we always feel better after we have fun.
Strategies to consider
How will you get inspired?
The energy we need to do big things typically comes from the excitement of knowing that great things are possible. Keeping a positive outlook on life will give us the fuel we need for the next six months.
Strategies to consider
Final Thoughts: MC's Story
I have been having a great year so far, although things started off a little rocky at work. One of my highlights will be spending time with family, as we always do around October. As I look at my work and personal commitments for the last half of the year, I will need to pace myself and find ways to recharge. I am excited about the months ahead.
Over the past 22 years, I have been very fortunate to live in and visit many awesome countries of cities. I consider myself a citizen of the world as I call Nigeria, Germany, and the US home. Two weeks ago, I visited the Island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten on a work trip and had the time of my life.
In this blog post, I'll share the five things I do whenever I travel. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Remember how privileged I am to travel
Every time I board a plane to go somewhere new, I am thankful for the opportunity to see more of the world. While I was growing up in Nigeria, I could never have imagined how many countries she cities I'll get to visit. When I returned from my recent trip, I told my husband I wanted to travel more.
#2: Do my research and get prepared
Traveling is still a major event, and I do not take it for granted. Before visiting any country, I like to learn about them and plan what I'll do there. Often, I prepare the logistics like where we will stay, what we will eat, how we plan to get around, and what I'll be wearing. Travel planning is a lot of fun for me. One of the areas that being an immigrant has made me very conscious of is the requirements for legal entry into a country. I spend time studying the immigration requirements to make sure I comply. My worst nightmare is to experience any trouble entering a country, so I make sure I'm over-prepared. I still carry additional documentation on my trips, just in case someone asks. Thankfully my travels have been very smooth.
#3: Explore the location
When I visit places, I like to know that I have experienced as much as possible. On my recent trip to St. Martin, I was very fortunate to be able to go on a long tour of the island. It was very important for me to see the real life on the island. My favorite part was seeing mango trees, which reminded me of growing up in Kaduna, Nigeria, with many mango trees. I asked the tour guide to stop by a roadside stand that sold mangos so I could taste the local varieties. The excitement that came with eating a mango was very real. You would think I was enjoying a special delicacy. Well, in my book, it was.
#4: Capture and share Memories
My extended family is now spread across multiple countries. We have a tradition of sharing the memories we make when we travel. It allows us to keep up with our adventures and experiences. Interestingly, one of the first things I do when I travel is to send my twin a picture of where I am and tell her about what I am doing and the food I eat. She also does the same. I enjoy seeing other parts of the world through her eyes as well. Looking back at pictures helps me relive the memory.
#5: Celebrate how far I have come
Stepping away from my normal routine helps me reflect on my journey. I still remember the first time I visited Germany in 2000, my first trip to the UK to see family, multiple business trips, and the farthest trip I have been on to India. Whenever I see another part of this beautiful world, I am grateful and excited for my future.
If you asked me 22 years ago why my journey as an Immigrant would take me, I could never have imagined. I am ready for the next trip with my family.