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Parenting, Travel

How to cope as an expat mom

Moving countries as a mom is more demanding because you are not just trying to adapt to a new environment, but also trying to help your child (or children) adapt to the new environment. The age of your child determines how much effort you would put in to cope as a mom in your new environment.

Relocating with three kids under the age of 6, these seven points have helped me cope;

Research for schools

It would be better to research on schools before leaving for your next adventure. Narrow your search down to three or five and contact the schools, letting them know you are not yet in the country, and give them a probable date of arrival. With this as a mom, you are sure that your child would not be out of school, and that you would not be overwhelmed with this decision when you arrive.

Live in family friendly environment

This is very important to allow you and your family settle in very fine and easily. As a mom, you would want your kids to be safe while playing and expressing themselves. The house/apartment should not be so far from the school. There should also be a play area and other amenities needed by families in the neighbourhood.

Attend/Host Playdates

Depending on the age of your child or children, it is better to host and attend playdates. This would enable your child to socialize and make friends. It would also enable you to get to know your child’s friends. If your child’s still a toddler or a baby, this would also be an opportunity for you to socialize with other moms, and learn how they are coping with the sleepless nights 🙂

Join Mom support groups

This goes a long way to help you settle in your new environment. You can always learn from other moms experiences, and also ask any questions you might have as a mom. Since you are new to the environment, these moms are always there to tell you where to find products you might be looking for, and good substitutes if you can’t find you specific brands, best schools, hospitals and even parenting tips.

Have a “Me time”

It can sometimes be overwhelming adjusting to a new environment, and also being a mom. It is advisable to have a “me time” (as I prefer to call it), to keep your sanity. Your “me time” should be something you love doing, which distresses you. It could be pampering yourself, resting, going to the movies, coffee time out with friends, girls night out etc. If you make out time for yourself, you would be strong enough to take care of someone else.

Communicate a lot

Having constant communication with your child would help you find out how they feel about their new environment. Ask them how they feel about their new school, the teachers, if they have made friends etc. Communication goes beyond asking them these questions. It also requires making out more time for them, and showing them you care about their feelings. This would help them not to hold back from you, and you would be able to know if they need your advise or help.

Don’t feel too guilty

It is very natural as a mom to always feel guilty that you are not doing enough, and you keep trying to be better. As an expat mom, this feeling is more. You blame yourself for everything (and even for things you can’t help), if the weather is bad you blame yourself, if your child is taking time to adapt to the environment you blame yourself …and the list goes on. Try to do the best you can to make settling down easy for you and your child, but don’t weigh yourself down.

Being a mom should not stop us from living our dreams. It only makes us more accountable and stronger. Yes, we can do it.

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

“Without Fireworks”

This post is coming a bit late because I have been taking more time trying to understand my new site. Moving from Blogspot to Wordpres is ‘kind of’ different for me (but I’m loving wordpress already).

Despite the fact that New Years Eve seemed slightly different without fireworks, I still had fun. It was nice having a taste of nightlife again with dear hubby (with a toddler and a baby, nightlife is a luxury)  … and yes, without the kids.

We celebrated the New Year at Shangri-La Resort, Muscat and their New Year’s Eve programme was lovely. It started with a buffet dinner and unlimited bubbly/beverage, then we proceeded to the Turtle Beach for the countdown party. There was live music at the party and also unlimited booze (drinks) and finger foods. We sang and danced until mid-night and then lit the floating lantern. Watching several other lanterns was magical to me, and also reminded me of our Thailand trip.

There was also an after party at the Shangri-La Ballroom. Instead of walking to the ballroom for the after party, I found myself heading to the room. I was already missing my little angels, and wanted to be sure they were coping fine with the nanny (she did a great job).

Below are some highlights;

 

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xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Al Bustan Christmas!!!

The last Christmas was Zani’s first Christmas …Yippee!!!

Unlike other years when we used to be in a hurry to travel out of Oman for Christmas, this year we were so reluctant to travel. We wanted to experience Christmas in Oman, we didn’t want the hustle and bustle of traveling. I particularly just wanted to lounge around (but definitely not at home … hahaha!) …We agreed on Al Bustan Palace Hotel (which is also a Ritz-Carlton Hotel).

The usual me always waits for the last minute before packing. I succeeded with this ‘last minute‘ style of packing before the kids came (because it was easy for me to remember all I needed for a journey), but to be honest, last minute packing is not fun with kids (not with a toddler and a baby), I kept running back and forth, and always remembering an item almost forgotten … I guess I need to improve on my ‘mummy planning skills‘ (does this phrase ever exist?).

Anyway, we got to the hotel on the 24th of December to spend few nights. We were warmly received, and check-in was so quick, and also with an upgrade to Lagoon access room. Normally while booking hotel rooms, we usually avoid ground floor rooms (so that we can get good views of areas we visit), but being informed that the rooms with the Lagoon access were their best, because it has direct access to a private pool from the room, we accepted the upgrade …I loved waking up to this view;

The room was neat but I didn’t like the setting of the bathroom, It has a shower demarcated from the toilet with a curtain (Hotels of such category usually have both the Shower and Bath option) …Apart from this, I cannot fault this hotel

We were welcomed with chocolates when we got to the room …and yes they kept sending more through out our stay (Very nice of them …but not good for me …I know!!!)

Meals at their restaurants were nice, and I really enjoyed breakfast at Al Khiran.

We got this delight delivered to us on Christmas day;

Santa, the elves and local musicians gave us a surprising appearance, and kept us entertained at the poolside.

I also noticed they had great customer care service. Every one from House-keeping to Management always greeted with smiles and were always wanting to know if we were enjoying our stay. They usually ended each conversation with ‘Thank you for choosing us’.

We enjoyed our stay …Thank you to the members of staff of Al Bustan Palace Hotel for making our Christmas memorable.

xx

Stella.

Parenting

Toddlers in the Kitchen

I have always sent Zita (my 3 year old daughter) out of the kitchen anytime she offers to assist me because I had felt she would make the cooking process slow or would make a huge mess in the kitchen.

Anyway during the weekend she was back again in the Kitchen, and I kept sending her away as I usually do, and she later said “please mum”, this phrase made me pause and allow her stay (Oh Yeah! she got me there … In Naija slang we would call it the “mumu button”).

My curious daughter was at it again, wanting to see and take part in everything. In order to keep her busy, I reluctantly gave Her the eggs I have cracked in a bowl to beat. Immediately, she stretched to kiss me and said “Thank You Mum”, The Excitement she had touched my heart.

This made me feel I have been doing something wrong, I should have let her in the kitchen (under supervision) before now. I’ll like to hear from you all, do you let your toddler assist you in the Kitchen?

xx

Stella

Parenting

Weekend with Barney

Barney (of Barney & Friends) was in Oman during the last weekend, and this gave residents/visitors in Oman (especially those with kids) an opportunity to spend some hours with him.

After the much publicized “Barney in Oman” show (Oh yeah! This show was advertised in the malls, radio, newspapers, blogs etc …I don’t think there is anyone in Oman during this period that was not aware that Barney was visiting Oman), hubby got Zita and I  a VIP ticket (which in my personal opinion, I don’t think it was worth the price) to watch the show.

Oh! Don’t get me wrong, the show itself was fabulous, both Zita (who was dancing and almost wanting to join Barney on stage) and I enjoyed the show. Barney was there with his friends (Baby Bop, B.J, Riff and some of the Adults ), and there were lots of singing and dancing. I made lots of amateur videos and would share one with you …winks

Here’s a link (Click on “link”) to the video, and below are some of the pictures

What I didn’t like about the show was the fact that the show started about 35minutes late.
As regards the VIP seats, apart from the fact that we were close to the stage (which made it easy for me to make my amateur videos …lol),  the seats were covered with blue  and white materials, and we were served donuts and water, I didn’t really think they were worth the 125 RO (325 US Dollars) and 75 RO (195 US Dollars) per seat.

Part of the advantage of the VIP ticket was the fact that you would get to take some pictures with Barney, but this also got tiresome because we had to wait for those without VIP tickets to leave, queue for your turn, and then spend few seconds with Barney (which was done in a rush) …Hahaha!

Despite these minor errors (which I feel may be because we attended the 1st show on the 1st day), We had a great time.

Stella.

 

Lifestyle, Parenting

Zita is 2 !!!

Firstly, I have to say sorry for not replying to most of the emails some of you have sent in the past two weeks. I promise to do that after this post … I actually have been really busy, but definitely missed this my little corner.

I can’t believe our little princess is two years old already (how time flies) … it still feels like yesterday. I can remember how we looked forward to welcoming her to this world, when she started crawling, learnt how to walk, celebrated her 1st birthday, and now she’s two!!!

Unlike last year when we celebrated her birthday at both Little Town (for the kids) and The Steak Company (for Adults) simultaenously (Oh Yeah! it was a milestone in her life that worth being celebrated), this year we decided that she would celebrate at her Nursery (because they are like her second family, she sees them 5 times a week) and at home with some of her friends.

Her Birthday Theme this year was Minnie Mouse, because she loves watching Mickie’s Clubhouse (even while in the car), loves items with Minnie on them and even picked her school bag (which is a Minnie Mouse design) herself …lol

At her nursery, she received so much love and had fun.

The fun continued at home

Minnie Themed cake

Cupcakes with Minnie ears and ribbon

Minnie’s head shaped cookies

Disney clubhouse Jigsaw Puzzle favor packs

Played with some of her friends at home

 
It was a fun-filled day for her.

Stella.

Parenting

Managing Toddlers while on a Trip

Traveling with toddlers is not as easy as it may seem, and as a mother, it is something you can’t avoid.

Before embarking on our recent trip, despite the excitement of traveling (Hahaha! I love traveling), one part of me was wondering how I was going to cope alone(since it’s not yet our vacation, my hubby would be busy with official stuffs) with our little princess, and without the maid.

I had to research on ways to manage toddlers while on a trip, and still have time for myself and other fun activities. I came up with these little tips that worked for me;

1. Travel with familiar toys.
Since I always want to travel light (because I always end up buying too much before the end of the trip), I used to make the mistake of believing we would buy new toys for her when we arrive at our destination, but she ends up not picking interest or being used to them.

2. Create a schedule for them.
Not only adults needs a schedule to plan their day, kids also need a scheduled pattern (it mustn’t be a strict schedule but it has to be a routine your child gets used to). Set out the time you would want them to eat, sleep, play etc. Usually, when we arrive to a new environment, my daughter is able to differentiate that it’s a hotel and not her room. She won’t mind playing almost the whole day and it’s usually worse when we travel to countries on a different time zone. Finally, since she didn’t get enough rest/ sleep, she may end up being cranky the next day.

3. Make sure they have some sleep before taking them out for fun or sight-seeing. They would feel refreshed and would also give you time to have some fun.

4. Study them and know when they are tired of a particular environment. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are the ‘Boss’, if you don’t make a move at that moment, they would make sure you also get fed up with the environment (Hahaha! I believe you won’t want it to get to that stage …cos it’s not funny).

5. Try to involve some activities that both you and them can have fun doing. They end up exhausted, and would sleep through the night, while you would also have fun during the day and the night to rest (it’s a win-win situation.) winks

Based on these, I was able to have some rest, and move around during the Abu Dhabi stay. Below are some of the pictures;

Relaxation at Emirates Palace Hotel

Sight-seeing at the Awesome Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Shopping at the Marina Mall

Have a fun-filled holiday.

Stella.

Parenting

Mums and Summer Time!!!

With the present level of humidity, you don’t need someone to tell you the time of the year it is …your skin feels sweaty but you don’t sweat it  out (weird right!), you keep drinking water yet you are always thirsty and when you are out in the evening, you still feel same but now the air is hot and feels like you are going to choke (lol) …yeah! it’s SUMMER TIME!!!

The excitement of Summer time is back again. Some have already embarked on their vacation trip, some have a planned trip, some are still figuring the country to visit, some are wondering how to cope when others leave for summer (Yeah! you won’t blame those under this group …because Oman is usually almost like a ghost town during this period ‘for expatriates’ because most expatriates travel around this time).

After sorting out  where to visit and activities for the summer, some are still bordered if their bikini body (Hahaha!!! don’t worry, I’m very far from this category …maybe next time, lol!) is back in shape?

Oh! …And the kids are not left out in this excitement.  They are happy to go on a long break with enough time to play.

While going through Zita’s (my daughter) school bag, after seeing her progress report and the summer greetings from the school (Aww! I love the fact that her hand print is on it …lovely),

I realized some questions that may be going through the mind of some mums during this summer … How do I keep them busy for the whole summer?, What summer camps are in place?, Hope the activities planned would be sufficient?, Is there sufficient activities for kids in the country chosen for vacation? Are the Hotels booked, kids friendly? How do I keep them busy on flight while traveling for vacation? …And the list goes on and on …

No matter the category you find yourself from the questions above, try to have fun.
HAPPY SUMMER!!! xx

Stella.