Mom Crushes are strange and I wasn't really sure if they were real thing but then I met Maria and I realized they could be. This woman is incredibly impressive - weaving her role as wife, mother and business owner with such grace. Her second "little one" is The Family Nest, a bilingual early education center nestled on Redondo Avenue just adjacent to Wild Child Party. The Family Nest is the only early education center currently listed on our site and that is because Maria has so closely crafted an environment for little ones and their families that is welcoming and enriching. There truly is nothing else exactly like it in Long Beach. Below is a bit more from Maria and her adorable son, Massimo!
Describe how Motherhood has changed from you.
Motherhood has taught me to truly love unconditionally. To not worry about being perfect. After a tough five-day labor that ended in an emergency C-Section, every part of me was truly tested and honestly from that moment on I was (a) changed. It was the most difficult time but it was the beginning of what Motherhood would become. At the beginning I was hard on myself, and I had an enormous guilt for not having a natural birth. I had the most perfect plan and none of it happened as planned. This was the beginning of learning to let go of the things I felt were important in the past, and focusing on now and the future of my beautiful, healthy baby boy.
What drew you towards the Reggio Emilia principles? How do you feel The Family Nest separates itself from other toddler + young children programs in Long Beach? Additionally, where would you like to take your business?
I love the way this philosophy views the child. I love that children in the Reggio Emilia are seen as capable, strong, and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. I love the idea that children learn through the 100 languages, meaning there’s more than one way of learning. In Reggio children are seen as citizens with their own ideas, curiosity and their own voice. The Family Nest is a bilingual early education program that focuses on the child as a whole. We want children and caregivers to not only build a love for learning but most importantly we want them to display compassion, care for our environment and our community. We want children feel free to explore at their own pace and interest. At The Family Nest we create an environment that sparks curiosity and allows children to construct their own knowledge. We celebrate diversity and promote bilingual education. I would love to expand our services by collaborating with other experts in the field. And expand to other communities.
Let's chat about my favorite word - Community. What is your favorite thing about living in Long Beach? Do you feel there is a shift in the local ethos about wellness and healthy lifestyles for our children (and entire families)? How do you think we can create more of these conversations?
I truly love the vibrant, "small town" feel many of the communities in Long Beach have. It is also a great place for young families. I love that you can find almost anything, from good eats to aquariums to child-friendly lagoons. Long Beach is becoming one of most diverse, family friendly and up and coming cities. I think we are seeing some great steps towards wellness and healthy lifestyles. I know Long Beach has great resources such community gardens in different neighborhoods, holistic living fairs and annual beach streets to promote active lifestyles. I do, however, feel we can do a much better job in our public schools. We can do more advocating for healthy living, physical activity, and mental wellness in public schools. I feel that not all communities are as involved, and therefore the focus should be parent involvement. By inviting and making parents part of the discussion we can begin towards finding better avenues to best serve these families.
Every Mother has their own system or guiding principles when it comes to balancing work and Mommy duties. Would you mind sharing yours?
This is a tough one! I feel like I'm still trying to balance it all. But what I can say is this - my family comes first before anything else. I learned to let go of unnecessary obligations that many times I unnecessarily put on myself. I’m also learning to never say no to help! Being the person that I am, I feel I can do it all - I can cook, clean, work and still have plenty of time to do "fun" things. But the truth is, it’s difficult. I have learned to not be ashamed to ask for help. I am extremely blessed to have amazing friends & family that are more than willing to help and support me.
Bet you have mom crush now too, don't ya?
Later this week we'll share more from Maria and she will be highlighting her "survival tips" for the summer season with kids - big and small!