Celebrate each moment like it’s yo’ birthday

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Celebrate each moment like it’s yo birthday

The whole focal point of my small business is celebrating those special moments, both big and small. I am a big advocate for celebrations of all sorts of achievements & milestones.

For me, it goes hand in hand with the notion of being in the present moment, the here and now.

In this day and age, there is a day celebrating each type of imaginable event, food item, or activity that you can think of. Just the other week, it was National Unicorn Day (which by the way, I am slightly obsessed with unicorns); & I cannot wait till National Coffee Day, Running Day, or Burger Day.

Are celebrations cliché? Maybe. But what I love about celebrations is that it allows one to reflect on the accomplishments of that particular celebration. And course, gives a platform and reason say ‘cheers’ & ‘hip hip hooray’.

As I digress from the real topic at hand, my small business started out as a hobby to celebrate my kids’ birthday parties. It was during that first year of maternity leave I really felt I was in my “home zone” when I was creating all the party décor and embracing all those frilly details I had never really paid attention to before. I had always known that I was a creature of creativity, but I didn’t know how passionate I was about the arts & crafts until about 5 years ago.

As part of my business venture, I love being a small contribution to people’s happy celebratory moments. There isn’t anything more gratifying when the love you put into your work is also appreciated & loved by others. That is my biggest reason for pursuing this craft business.

As I age, & as I have witnessed some shifts in societal & cultural norms, it certainly gives me a greater appreciation of the importance of celebrating where we are today.

Ironically, it happens to be my birth month, more specifically, my birthday week. Or perhaps it is the other way, where I’ve become reflective on the topic because it is another birthday milestone for me. Either way, the month of April has really got me thinking about celebrations.

So in celebration of the general topic of celebrations, here are my top 10 reasons why celebrating is a must:

1. No one else is you; Only you is you. That in itself, is amazing. Afterall, there are billions of people on this earth; yet, no one else can replicate you.

2. You are here. Boom. Enough said.

3. Today is the present; and the present, as the word denotes, is a gift. Celebrate that gift.

4. If it’s a good day, take it. There is just too much negativity in this world that having a good day is a celebration in itself.

5. There is no such thing ‘waiting for the perfect time’. People wait for the perfect moment; or when things are better; or when a specific time comes (ie. Waiting till the 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th birthday). If we embrace the notion that there is no such thing as the perfect timing, perhaps we will all then be keen to make those celebrations happen.

6. Who wouldn’t want a celebration feast, snack, get together, or reason for a siesta? I don’t know about you but I find every reason to go for a specialty coffee or foodie outing.

7. Party decorations & party favours. My favourite reason of all. It is a great excuse to beautify a special space or event.

8. Pictures. I love pictures. Pictures are concrete proof of your existence through history. And people are more likely to take pictures during celebrations. And pictures make me happy, as do the rest of the world. Isn’t that why selfies and groupfies have become all the rage?

9. Parties are a great reason to dress up. Such a great excuse to dig up those outfits you have been dying to wear but didn’t necessarily have a function to wear it. Now is that time.

10. “Just because”. You don’t need a reason to celebrate. You can celebrate each moment like it’s your birthday party if you wanted to (hence, my letter board signage I posted on this blog post). The world is your oyster, and you can choose to celebrate each & every moment.

11. The extra reason. When celebrations are given a ‘date’ or anniversary’ in a calendar, people are more apt to celebrating that event. Write it down. And make it happy.

Motivation of the week: It’s my birthday week this week. And you can count on the stars that I am going to enjoy every bit of it & soak in all the glory for what it’s worth.

Always me,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

 (The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses- The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘do’s’)

Celebrating those milestones

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love celebrating every milestone ever achieved by you. Your first laugh, smile, coo, & word. I took photos of those moments when you had your first bite of cereal, when you first went swimming, or the first time you rode on an airplane. I have taken photos of you for almost each firsts in the first few years of life; as if an attempt to etch those moments in my brain forever.

Each of those moments are precious and worth celebrating. I love being your mom because you have given me my biggest reasons to celebrate in life.

Thank you for coming into my life. And for giving me yet another reason to celebrate in life. As long as I’m your mom, I will have plenty to celebrate.

Don’t ever think any achievement is too small to celebrate. Don’t let anyone tell you that something isn’t a big deal….because I will always tell you, IT IS A BIG DEAL.  Embrace life & life’s celebratory milestones; for that is what makes life worthwhile. (P.S. Yes, I am that mom who loves to ask on a daily basis what their favourite part of the day was, because there is always at least one thing to be grateful for each & every day). One day, when you become your own bosses (who am I kidding, these two kiddos already know whose boss, and it sure ain’t me most days, lol), you will learn that part of doing what you want & love means enjoying the journey along the way. When you celebrate your achievements & life’s happy moments, you will learn the value of what you bring to the table. & you my girls,  have so much to bring to that table.

Love, Mom.

 

The productivity intention

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

The productivity intention

Have you ever tried to spend time in your home office (or in my case, your craft space) & mapped out the intention to spend half a day or full day being productive with business related tasks? But instead get side tracked with the dirty dishes that have piled in the sink; or the stains that have caked the floor surface that need scrubbing; or that show that has been sitting on the PVR recorder? And then only to find half the day has zipped on by without you getting done what you initially set out to do. Sound familiar?

About a month ago, I blogged about “managing the circus act”. That blog post focused on managing multiple life roles & relating it to carving out time for your business. Today’s blog has a slightly different slant. This blog is going to focus on making maximum use of time & how it relates to productivity & intention.

For me, I know all the factors that contribute to my lack of productivity. I easily get distracted by certain things like: incoming emails that ring through my notifications; phone calls, small chit chat with friends/ peers I haven’t seen for a while; looking at housework that needs to be done; aimless social media surfacing; & of course on-line shopping.

This led to me devising a course of action so that I can make optimum use of my time (which of course in my world, quiet time without the kiddos is GOLD).

My intentions of getting sh*t done is always well-intentioned. But they always don’t get done. Therefore, my intentions of this blog is to highlight the importance of how it is very possible to get sh*t done when you need it to get done.

Step 1. AWARENESS

The first step in any desire for behaviour change is awareness. Unless you have an idea of the flaws or issues in a certain situation, you won’t be able to proceed with making any changes.

As I’ve pointed out, I already know the specific factors that get in the way of my productivity. Boom. Next step.

Step 2. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Now that you know what the barriers are to your productivity, the natural progression is to then identify the solutions to address what gets in the way.

In my case, these are the solutions to my issues related to productivity. If you have the same barriers as me, then I can only imagine that these would be helpful for you as well.

  1. Change the environment– work outside of the home. Out of sight (chores that need to be done), outta mind. My go-to’s have been coffee shops or book stores. Find the places that ignite your creative juices and motivate you to work.
  2. Clean the desk space– a clear work space always does the trick (but do you know how chaotic a crafter’s space can get?). It allows me to focus specifically on what exactly is in front of me.
  3. Eliminate distractible toys/ items from your sight: Turn off the phone or put it away so I am forced to not look at other social media sites or take incoming phone calls. This includes closing all open windows when I am working on the computer so that I am forced to just focused on one task during computer work.
  4. Take one 10 minute break every 60 minutes. This is my personal ratio that I try to stick to. And I carry the same philosophy so that if I don’t use it, I lose it. That means that I don’t get 20 minutes of break time if I skipped my 10 minutes on a previous hour.
  5. List making. Make a list of what I’d like to accomplish in that time frame & strive to complete what I set out to do.
  6. Use pretty things. Whether it’s a new craft tool, pretty stationary, or attractive office decor, my motivation sky rockets when I use pretty things in my work space. (The trick though is to minimize the use number of pretty things on any given task; otherwise I totally get distracted when I have a lot of pretty craft tools in front of me)
  7. Reward system– My fave of all time. I usually set up a treat for myself AFTER I have completed my desired tasks. For me, it`s a Starbucks drink; a Michaels or Winners run; or purchase of a new craft toy.

STEP 3. SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Setting intentions is about devising a concrete plan of action.

Over the last month, I’ve been really trying to integrate the practice of intention as it relates to productivity. Intention can be defined as two-fold. It can mean the art of executing a planning (ie. her intentions for the day was to finish all the packaging by the end of the business day) ; or it can also refer to the significance or relevance of plan (ie. her intentions to be productive were well & good but things seemed to fall through. See the slight difference?)

For me, visualizing and imagining that I am successful in my plan has greatly assisted me in setting my intentions. When I can visually see my success in my mind, I’ve already set a positive tone and attitude before I have begun to do any of the work. That pre-work has been essential to my productivity level. If I can see it in my mind happening, I can almost start believing that it will unfold exactly as I visualize it. This is very similar to the idea of having mantras or affirmations. The more you say something to yourself (ie. “I got this” or “I can rock it”), the more likely you are to believe that it`s true.

STEP : 4. INTEGRATE THE PLAN OF ACTION

Nike has it right : “Just do it” . Sometimes you have to just jump right in and do it….even when you aren’t too sure how it’s all gonna play out.

Setting your intentions is half the battle; the other part is just doing what needs to get done. There are (many many) moments when I have to remind myself that putting in the work to doing  what you love isn’t always glamorous & isn’t always a piece of cake. When I am able to re-frame & shift my thinking into setting my intentions and fully immersing myself during an allotted time frame to be productive, it is then when I see my productivity being maximized to its fullest potential.

For me, it`s all about the outcome and the wonderful feelings that come with seeing the product of my creations materializing into reality…and of course getting that concrete reward of my Starbucks drink or new craft item.

Motivation of the week: Reading about others putting in long grueling hours into the jobs they love; & the reward of seeing the final product unfold, which makes the tiresome hours of work worthwhile.

Always me,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses- The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘do’s’)

Work hard, play harder. Harder play comes after hard work.

Dear Elle & Enne,

Carve out time to prioritize your responsibilities. While I am a big fan of the philosophy of “no work and all play is no fun”, responsibilities need to be taken care of.

Plan out time to get stuff done so that you can reap the rewards of what you have sown. You have to work hard to get what you want because they don’t magically appear. 

Don’t procrastinate in the things that need to be done; or the things you want; for wasting & idling time is so wasteful. Time is always ticking & unfortunately we cannot ever get the time back that ticks on by. 

Yes, we all want playtime, but playtime will be so much more rewarding when what needs to get done is checked off from our to-do list. 

Get up & start the day in knowing what needs to be done. Get it done, then play. 

Work hard, play hard, then work harder some more. Work work work, play play play!  

Use every moment and every minute to your advantage. Because if it’s one trait I want you to know about your mama, it’s that I am a big fan of making each minute count. And contrary to what you may hear, hard work, not luck, gets you to where you want to be. 

 

Love, Mom.

 

Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it

This week was love week! And as you may have already figured out, I love all holidays. It is an excuse and reason to celebrate. I am a big fan of celebrating all things big and small…Because I am a true believer that yes, everything is a big deal. So whenever there is a holiday, be it cliché, I’m all about the cliché and oh so ‘over-rated’.

So to celebrate LOVE day, I made these cute coffee cards, entitled “Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it”. They actually did quite well & I sold a handful of this particular one this season.

Anyway, I was inspired one day, as I was sitting sipping my cup of coffee, listening to people rant about the upcoming Valentines season (which made me feel ridiculously silly because I am one of those people that looooove Vday & everything that goes along with the holiday). Anyway, I got to thinking that people shouldn’t have to be apologetic about the things they love & things they do. Yes- people are entitled to their thoughts & feelings & practices; but people shouldn’t be shamed for feeling & being the way they do about certain things. And then it got me thinking….I’ve spent many many years trying to quit all these little vices I’ve been made to feel badly about. Yes, while I agree that there are certain vices that need to be curbed to the side, I feel that maybe it’s about BALANCE….especially if it is about something you truly cannot give up.

So I am dedicating today’s issue of my blog to all those things I cannot give up (but oh…have I tried dearly giving them up many a time since I have been made to feel silly about these things over the years)…and I must say, it is these very vices that make me who I am… and frankly, helped me along my business journey as an entrepreneur. These are my top 5 things I cannot quit:

  1. Starbucks coffee– In my young university days, I fell in love with Starbucks coffee & everything about the Starbucks ambiance, particularly when I lived right across the street from a Starbucks. It became my home of studying sessions, coffee dates (man, if only those walls could talk), random chitchats with strangers, and now my place of solace where I write. Despite the overinflated coffee prices, I wholeheartedly will choose Starbucks anytime. Many of my ideas and inspirations have come from sitting in a Starbucks. Maybe that’s why I am inclined to hit up a Starbucks on any given moment?
  2. Cliché holidays- If there is a holiday to celebrate something, I will participate in any shape or form. Life is too serious and full of sadness, that I need to celebrate life’s little happiness moments. Yes- if there is a national doughnut day (which I know exists), you know I will run to a donut shop, take a picture, post on Instagram, and then maybe snap a video of me eating the piece of goodness. Sugar cookies-yup, I can bake it to celebrate the occasion (Goodness knows I’ve accumulated all sorts of types & shapes of cookie cutters). Custom banners to say it? Sure, I’ve made all sorts of banner sayings over the years (and ones that cannot be bought at the store for that matter). Greeting cards- yes- more to come in the year on custom designs. I’m all about cliché holidays, and particularly gift giving on these cliché holidays.
  3. Half glass full- Yes, I am the eternal optimist! But what other choice is there? To be negative & live life in fear full of shouldacouldawoulda? No, that option does not appeal to me at all. While yes I agree that people who are super bubbly can be annoying, I would rather be that annoying person full of hope & optimism than the person full of doom & gloom. And when people tell you that life must’ve been so easy all your life and that everything comes your way, which explains why you are an optimistic person, they have no idea. But that’s okay. At the end of the day, optimism is a choice & people can choose which way they look at that glass, life circumstances and all.
  4. Seeing things as if they were my first time- Ever watch a kid see something for the first time? Ever watch how their eyes widen with wander as they gleefully say “WOW!” I try to see every moment this way. In a way, every moment in your life is as if it is for the first time because each day is a new day. Perhaps this is why everything seems so exciting to me, even the most monotonous task. When I am asked “How do you have the patience for that”, I really don’t have an answer other than I love doing it and it really does seem exciting to me. When I’ve been to a place a million times, I never tire of it. Everything that I do really seems like an adventure to me.
  5. Learning- I am an avid learner. I am addicted to school. Never thought I would say this..but I will forever be a student. There is something about the thrill of learning new information, challenging your knowledge, having deadlines, and keeping up with learning trends. I am addicted to courses & projects…which is why I am always so busy! I am always so keen to learn what people are reading, what people are listening to, what apps they use, & what tools they craft with. While I am a big fan of learning through reading, the majority of my learning is through people. People teach people; werd!

Always me,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses- The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘do’s’

Don’t quite your inner child

Don’t quit your dream; don’t quit your learning; don’t quit your inner child. For it is these three things that will carry through the magic in your childhood and throughout the lifespan. People will tell you to “quit it”…and for whatever reason as people age, they stop looking at life through rose-coloured glasses; and start looking at the world through shades of dark grey. Don’t give up on rainbows and unicorns because the world needs a little bit of colour now and then.

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love your sense of innocence & willingness to try different things. You both are so fearless at this age, which is both exciting (and terrifying) for your mom. I sometimes sit back and think how lucky you guys are to have that wonderment in life. I hope so dearly that you hang on to that. As you age, there will be people who will try to quiet yourinner child & make you see things with a more negative lens. While I don’t want you to live in a naïve world, I pray that you continue to see the world for all the wonderful things that it is and what it can be. Don’t let people sway you in feeling bad for loving what you do and loving what you love to do. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. And most importantly, don’t let people tell you that magic isn’t real. What I want you to both know is that if you believe in something & want to do something, go for it. Everybody is entitled to their beliefs and choices; which means that you have right and choice to do/ believe/ choose what you want to do, even if it means it is different from others. I believe in magic. And I believe in the magic you bring to the world.

Love, Mom

Relationships 101: People need people

Boss: Know no bounds

Relationships 101: People need people

I love being a sole owner of my own small company. I like to have the final say in what projects I pursue, how I spend my time, and how projects are executed. Don’t get me wrong, I am a team player and I love doing for others; but when all other areas of my life are doing for others and doing with others, a part of me loves that sense of full control over the brand of Soiree Frills Co.

With that being said, I can’t expand a company just on my own. As a small business owner, I am only as successful as I have customers who invest in me & purchase my products and services. (It’s the same concept as celebrities saying to their fans in their awards speech that they are where they are because of the fans they have).

Having relationships with your customers and having a network is one of the key ingredients in marketing who you are as a small business. Word of mouth, social media platforms, attending craft events, and opportunities to engage with other small businesses are just a few key examples of successful marketing strategies.

Building business partnerships on a larger scale is one of my 2017 goals. This seems like a daunting task at hand, especially when business building is new territory for me. But if I keep the basic foundation skills of building relationships in mind, then those basic skills will carry me through the journey of enhancing business partnerships.

Strategies to build & strengthen relationships:

Listen. Listen to what the person wants. You, as a small business, obviously offers something that they want; they are coming to you for a reason. People want to be heard, especially when they are given an opportunity to plan an event, have a say in the decision-making process, & have a voice. Listen, as it provides an opportunity for them to be centre stage during their main act. Most people love it when full attention is theirs, especially when the celebration is all about them.

Remember the small details. Listening and hearing is one step; but remembering the content of that information is the other half of that same coin. As a small craft business, knowing the customer’s personality style is essential.Knowing the type of celebration party they are hosting is also an important detail.  Is it a big fancy, milestone gala in a big reception hall?Or is it a more intimate gathering with close friends in a favourite restaurant? Perhaps they are looking for a personalized & unique gift for a loved one. Is it for a special occasion or achievement? Is the gift a symbol of their love?

Yes, these details matter. Tailoring party décor & individual gifts based on the customers’ personality, party theme, & colour motifs are what makes any celebration special.

Capitalize on future opportunities with that same customer and their network. When you make people feel special, they are more likely to come back to you for future events. People will have other birthday parties/ celebration parties, so capitalize on future opportunities. Do your best with every event & transaction you engage in. Beautiful work never goes unnoticed; and it is amazing what people remember. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing strategies & referrals from friends & families are a simple way of expanding your customer base.

Go above & beyond the initial request. People appreciate it when they get something ‘extra’ on top of what they were looking for. For example, I love it when I get freebies with an order. I also love it when I get personalized cards with an order. Therefore, I follow suit as a small business owner. When you go above and beyond (obviously within realistic parameters as a small business), customers will remember that about you. That is what will set you apart from the rest.

Execute & deliver. Talk the talk; but also walk the walk. Say what you do; and do what you say. This will add to your credibility, reliability, & trustworthiness of your small business.

Invite yourself to networking events. Don’t always wait for an invitation. Mingle with like-minded people and businesses. Informal chats are the best way to build relationships. Seek out these opportunities independently. And if you ever feel awkward about just showing up to an event on your own (especially if you are the sole owner of your own small business), pretend and believe you belong there. Afterall, you are boss; and bosses get to do what they want when they want how they want.

Always me, SoireeFrillsCo.

Motivation of the week: Coffee. And more coffee. Particularly on those nights when I am working on my craft projects…Plus I’ve had some really great conversations this week over coffee. Hence, the coffee picture above.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

Tribe vibes

Having relationships is important. Relationships ( whether with family members, peers you go to school with or work with) build the foundation of your support network. Having a tribe you can vibe with  makes life healthier, and funner. And we all need a lot of healthy and fun in our life. Sharing experiences and our successes throughout the lifespan is what makes life memorable.

Don’t get caught up with the wrong crowd. Don’t hang out with people that plant doubt in your hearts,  tear your dreams down, or make you do things that you do not want to do. People that do these things are toxic; and there is no room for toxic in leading a healthy life.

Surround yourself with people that make you feel good; make friends with people who have similar aspirations and interests as you. Find your tribe that makes you laugh & smile.

Cultivate the relationships that are healthy for you, for they are the ones that feed positivity into your soul. Be kind to others, and remember that relationships need nourishing to maintain its livelihood.  Receive, but also give back. Be heard, but also listen.  Take action, but also be present. True friends will be there in good times & in bad times; and so must you be there too.

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love watching you both play with your friends on the playground from a distance. I know I see you everyday but when I catch you in those moments when you do not know I am there, I see you both in a different light. I love how you both have made friends. And I love hearing your daily stories about what you did with your friends. You are both learning so much from the peers you see everyday. This playground is your first glimpse into the playground of life.

I want you to make life-long friends with people that make you laugh silly; kind of like how you are when I am secretly watching you on the playground at school. Your friends are an extension of you and they will play a vital role in life. You will soon learn one day that not everyone is kind all of the time. The world can be unfair & cruel. But happiness can be found amidst the harsh reality that life throws us. It’s the people we share moments with that make life beautiful.  I wish to see you cultivate healthy relationships with people that support you, be kind to you, & want to hang out with you because they like you for you. Friends are the people that make you want  to be a better person; they are  your cheerleading squad. I have been lucky enough to be friends with many of the same peeps for over 10- 20 years  who have stood by my side through many life milestones. I wish that you are as lucky to find friends that become family; just as I have been fortunate in friendships.

Love, Mom

Be you; Do you. The rest will follow.

Boss: Know no bounds

Be you; Do you. The rest will follow!

Embrace you for you; embrace your style. Not too long ago, as I was starting up my small business, I would often peruse other stores and online businesses to see what was hot on the market. While there is a place to keep up with current trends, you can only be truly great (and genuine for that matter), if a project personifies you.

It is very difficult to do something and be passionate about something when it isn’t your style. It’s even more challenging to market your products when it is not in line with your vision. Branding your products, specifically if you are maker or a crafter, will be essential in marketing your merchandise/ crafts/ products.

So here I am being upfront and honest with who I am with you; and what my personal style is all about.

I’ve always loved colour and use of pattern. I love bohemian & funk style. If it’s bright, you know I’m all about it. Florals, yup!! My entire closet is full of florals. Geometric shapes; best believe it. Rocker chic, right on right on. Cutesy things, I’m all over it. Could it fit the 70s or 80s genre? Then for sure it’s my style.

Some people may see it as tacky, and for some, it may drive them up the wall when things seem “too busy”. Hearing that used to bug me. Over these years, I’ve come to terms that your style isn’t their style. How boring would that be if everyone was the same? Those who see your passion for what you do will see it in your work. And when you do great work, people ask you to do work for them. It has brought me great joy being a part of my customers’ celebrations through my creations. You will often see bright colours in my work…However, I will also tailor to people’s styles for their celebrations. There is nothing more that makes me happy when people tell me my stuff was “a great hit”.

For that, I am eternally grateful that I’ve learnt to love my personal style, do great work, and share that work with others willing to invest in me. Afterall, people who choose me to do their party décor, whether it’s their banners, backdrops, party favours, etc., could have picked someone else, but they invested in me. For that, I say thank you.

Do what you love, love what you do. Be you, and always do you. The rest will follow.

Always me, SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

Don’t feel the need to conform to the norm

I have always dressed both my daughters in bright colours from the time they were born to the present day. Sometimes their outfits are a bit much, especially when I see them around other kids who are dressed in ‘current trends’ and are wearing outfits that could have been featured on a trendy Instagram account. I remember one day feeling slightly embarrassed that my kids were in mismatched colourful outfits during a party and I remember clearly how I felt when it was pointed out to me (several times that day, I might add) how their pants and tops did not match.

A few weeks later, while getting my daughters ready for another party, the critique was ringing in my ears, which then prompted me to tell my (older) daughter that she needed to wear the black colour leggings with the bright patterned top because you surely can’t wear two bright pieces of clothing articles together. She was upset, because a few weeks ago, she wore something similar & she could not understand why all of a sudden I was telling she couldn’t. Needless to say, I argued with a 4 year old for 10 minutes before the argument ended. Can you guess who won?

It wasn’t me, I did not win. I spent some time reflecting afterwards on what had happened there. Where was this coming from? It then dawned on me; I was falling in that trap of being a people pleaser. Because I was made to feel embarrassed a few weeks back, I did not want a replay of those emotions. And perhaps a part of me was justifying my behaviours in that I did not want her to feel embarrassed. But you know what? On that day when I tried to make her switch outfits, she was so happy to pick out her outfit all by herself (like a big girl) & I remember her being the happiest kid amongst the other kids. She was laughing and running, and she reminded me of a free bird. She was comfortable in her own skin. And when I realized this epiphany, I was disappointed in myself. I have prided myself in being okay with being different all my life, yet here I was trying to conform my daughters to the norm.

Since that day, I allow my daughter to pick out her own outfits (but of course only intervene if she wants to wear that same flower girl dress for the millionth time that same week, lol) . Afterall, it is wonderful for them to have that autonomy for self-expression and allow them to explore who they want to be. It is amazing how much they already know what they like or do not like at the age of 4.

These kiddos teach me, and remind me, that what hits home for me as an adult, are relevant life lessons to kiddos who are also mini adults in the making.

Dear Elle and Enne,
The real life lesson here is that we are all different and we all have the right to be different. People are always going to judge and sometimes try to bring you down with what they think is right and what’s wrong. Sometimes you will love what’s in & what’s trendy. There will be moments when you have similar opinions from those around you. But there are going to be challenging times when what you like or think  is going to be vastly different from others. Embrace the differences; embrace what feels right to you. Those are the circumstances that will test, but define, your character.  If people try to make you feel bad, be strong & stay committed. Those that you love will love you for who you are, quirks and all.  Don’t feel the need to conform to the norm. You are brilliant the way you are in what you do and how you do.

Love,  Mom