Off to College: A Mother’s Musings On Letting Go

Pin It By Teresa Kuo, Bicultural Mama Contributor

Congratulations to Maria of Bicultural Mama on the birth of her daughter! While she and her family settle in with her new addition, I am experiencing the other side of the coin—learning to let go of my first born who is getting ready to go off to university.

I remember the first night bringing him home when he was born. My husband and I were quite unsure what to do with this crying, hungry, bundle of beautiful joy. Being new parents, we struggled as all new parents do learning the baby’s cues, moods, and needs while balancing the art of daily life on the fumes of little to no sleep.

I still recall those early days with bleary eyes and depths of tiredness only known to new mothers and fathers, how after being fed and changed he sometimes would just stare at me with those inky black pools of eyes like a wise old man letting me know, “You are doing fine. You just keep it up mama.” Those nights, right before he would fall into that deep newborn sleep, my mind would wander thinking of my dreams, hopes, fears, and aspirations for this little person that I was now responsible for.

One more child later, two international moves, and on our family’s eighth year living overseas, my heart again worries for this baby, now a young man, that has grown up faster than I could think possible. As with other parents with a child going off to college, I worry will he be okay on his own? Will he know what to do, whom to call, where to ask for help if he has a question, if there’s an emergency? Communication is amazingly advanced today with email, Skype, texting, chat and push to talk apps options, but being 7,000 miles away and literally on the other side of the world, this is still a big pill for this mother to swallow.

I think that all parents, whether sending their kids off a half hour away, to the next state, or to another country, feel that same sense of loss and gnawing concern if we have done our best to prepare our sons and daughters for this new stage in life. An unfamiliar phase for both child and parent, we all have to find our way: from exploring and experiencing a newfound independence without mom and dad nearby to setting one less plate at the dinner table.

On the other hand, I know deep down I did my darndest to bring up a smart, sensitive, strong young adult who is making his first forays into the world. My hopes, dreams, and aspirations for my son have changed over the years, as did the fears and worries, but I am so excited for him to take that big huge step of adulthood come September.

So to my son, I’m letting you go because for you, this is just the beginning…
  • Always stay true to yourself. Life is a winding road, but the path is always there.
  • Dream big! You are only limited by your own drive and imagination.
  • Work hard but play hard. Life is short, so enjoy everything that the world has to offer.
  • Be generous. Give unto others as you would have them give unto you.


 Photo: freedigitalphotos.net


Bravado Nursing Bras – Beyond the Ordinary

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Disclosure: I received samples to assess for this post. All opinions are solely my own.

We have great news to share…Baby #2 arrived a couple weeks ago! With experience from our first baby, we were more prepared for baby’s arrival. We got the baby gear out of storage and made sure we stocked up on diapers and wipes. Not only did we get baby ready, we got mommy ready, too.

Items I knew I would need were nursing bras, and the timing worked out for me to review nursing bras by Bravado just as the baby arrived. I had a couple of old nursing bras from when I had my first baby, but they were itchy and not very supportive. As such, I was glad for the opportunity to try new nursing bras.

Bravado started with the Original Nursing Bra which is still their bestseller more than 20 years later. The brand has a strong reputation as having comfortable, stylish and quality nursing bras. They became the Go-To bras recommended by lactation consultants, midwives, childbirth educators and others in the health care community. They’re a favorite of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé Knowles, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba, too.


Mom’s Easy Dan Ta Recipe (Chinese Egg Tart)

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One of my favorite childhood Chinese pastries is Dan Ta, or egg tart. They’re a staple in Chinese bakeries. We’d eat them for breakfast, at Dim Sum, as a snack or for dessert.

Traditional Dan Ta recipes require you to make the dough which is tasty, but adds time. My mom’s adapted recipe is ideal for those who want the taste of homemade Dan Ta, but may not have the time or cooking expertise to create bakery-perfect tarts. I fall into this latter category, and as such was excited to give my mom’s easy and convenient Dan Ta recipe a try.


Babyganics Organic Sunscreen Products Make Summer Fun Safe for the Whole Family

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Disclosure: I received samples to assess for this post. All opinions are my own.

It’s the peak of the summer which means lots of fun in the sun. But getting a sunburn is no fun and not safe for anyone in the family. The good news is that babyganics, a line of organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic baby-safe personal care and home products, offers a broad selection of sunscreen products.

I had the opportunity to review a few of its sunscreen products. What I especially like about babyganics is that all of its SPF formulas are either pure mineral or mineral-based. They also provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and are non-allergenic, tear free and waterproof. The products have also never been tested on animals.

Though the product name has “baby” in it, these sunscreen products are ideal for anyone. Our whole family used the samples I received. After all, even adults can benefit from non-toxic products.

Here’s a summary of the products I sampled. Both were free of PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances and nano-particles. They also were water resistant (80 minutes) and pediatrician and dermatologist tested.


Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles: A Loving Story of Adoption and Chinese Culture with Recipe

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Disclosure: I received a copy to assess for this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

One of my favorite childhood foods was my mom’s birthday noodles. On our special day, mom would cook up a massive plate of Chinese noodles accented with vegetables and chicken.

Noodles are eaten for good luck and represent a long and happy life. Mom never used a recipe because she just knew from experience how to make the delicious birthday noodles. It’s a dish she still makes today decades later.

When I came upon a new children’s book that called Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles [Tuttle Publishing], it brought me back to my childhood. Written by Shan-Shan Chen and illustrated by Heidi Goodman, the story introduces children ages 4 to 8 to the Chinese tradition of eating lucky birthday noodles on your special day.

However, it’s more than just a story about noodles. The book is also a loving story of adoption and how Mei-Mei’s parents strive to keep her Chinese culture as part of her life.


Lexikeet Offers Mandarin Chinese Online Language Program for Older Kids and Adults

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Disclosure: I received complimentary access to Lexikeet for one month to assess for this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Learning a new language as an older child or adult is known to be more challenging versus young children whose brains are wired to easily absorb languages. In the past I've reviewed several Chinese language learning programs that included DVDsCDs and other tools, but these have all been geared towards young children.

Ideally the best way for people to learn another language is through immersion, but not everyone can afford the time or money to move to another country. The other options of tutoring and language classes can be cost prohibitive. Several online programs are available, but do they work?

I came upon a recently-launched language program called Lexikeet that was designed for older children and adults, and I had the opportunity to try out the Mandarin Chinese version. Lexikeet features a parakeet mascot named Lexi who guides you through the exercises. It offers lessons in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and English.


Ways to Make Money Off of Your Clutter

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I was inspired to write a post about decluttering because in the last few weeks I’ve gone through the entire house to recycle, purge or sell items we no longer needed.

Currently in my last few weeks of my pregnancy, I’m aware that the baby books call this strong desire to organize and declutter as “nesting.” Perhaps this is what’s happening, but to me it’s more the practicality of knowing that once baby comes there will be no time, perhaps for months or even years, to really clean out the house thoroughly.

I’ve been active the last few years with selling my clutter. Whether it’s on Ebay, Craigslist or a local Facebook group, I’ve been able to get rid of my nicer things and make some money at the same time. Though some items only sell for $5, $10 or $20 bucks, it’s money that didn’t exist before, and I feel better that these items will be reused instead of sitting in a landfill for decades had I just thrown them out.

I’ve shared my tips on the MOMentum Nation website on ways to make money off of your clutter, and all of these are based on my own personal experiences.

Click Here to read the article, and find out how you can get your clutter to make you some money!
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