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Do you love baking? Tips on how busy stay-at-home moms can make money from it

Do you Love Baking? Tips on How Busy Stay-at-Home Moms can Make Money from It

Are you a stay-at-home mom who has a passion for baking but think you don’t have time to do it? In this exclusive interview with the amazing woman behind "Cake N Tel", Mommy Kristel spills her secrets on how she’s rocking being a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers while pursuing her passion at the same time — and how she makes money from it, too.

Are you a stay-at-home mom who loves baking and wants to make money from home at the same time? Here are some tips on how you can do it even if you're a busy mom-at-home.

Many stay-at-home moms are probably thinking about how to make money while raising their kids hands-on and managing their household all at once. If you are one, you can learn a lot from Suzi Whitford’s 50 Real Ways to Make Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom (+ Hourly Rates). In that post, she mentions catering and cake designing as among the many ways that a stay-at-home mom can make money from home. 

If you’re reading this, you probably have a passion for baking and wants to earn from it, but isn’t sure where to start. Guess what?

I just happen to know a stay-at-home mom who makes money from selling fondant cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goodies from home. 

With two toddlers to raise and no relatives nearby, she’s incredibly great at managing her role as a stay-at-home mom while also pursuing her passion in baking (and selling her cakes to make extra money). 

Are you ready to learn her secret how she does it? Here’s her story (with a bit of mine, too). 

Not so long ago in early 2018, I began my “actual” journey to being a stay-at-home mom. I say “actual” because that was when my in-laws moved out to another apartment, leaving me to look after the kids on my own. The first person I reached out to was Kristel, a friend of mine from our church community. 

Kristel is also a stay-at-home mom with two small kids living in their own apartment with her husband. So you see now why she’s the one I approached for some advice. But not only that — she also runs a home-based business selling her own fondant cakes. Every time I see her post (on Facebook) a new cake someone ordered from her, I’m like, “How can she do that? She must be a superwoman!”

If there’s anyone whom I can refer to as an empowered stay-at-home mom, Kristel perfectly fits the bill. 

I admire her parenting skills and how hands-on she is when it comes to raising their kids. That was exactly her reason anyway why she decided to quit her job as a flight attendant at Emirates Airlines four years ago and become a stay-at-home mom. 

How Stay-at-Home Moms Can Make Money from Home - Kristel and her lovely family
Kristel, the amazing woman behind Cake N' Tel, with her lovely kids and husband

The first months as a stay-at-home mom

Just like any other first-time stay-at-home mom, Kristel was also overwhelmed during her first months staying home. And who wouldn’t?!  

“I am a homebody, but I never thought that being a stay-at-home mom was way far from being at home alone,” she says.

I can totally understand her! I’m a homebody myself, but that’s because I like the peace and silence that being at home can give. But that’s not possible when you have kids, is it? Although it’s more fun, but still. Lol.

And when it comes to the struggles and challenges, she faced the same as most mothers have: sleep deprivation, time management, and postpartum depression. One thing that she also struggled with is performing her duty as an officer of our church organization. 

How did she deal with these struggles? 

  • She sleeps whenever the baby sleeps;
  • She plans everything she needs to do ahead of time;
  • She talked to her mom friends for pieces of advice;
  • And she prayed.
sleep deprivation and postpartum depression are among the many struggles of moms
Kristel also suffered sleep deprivation and postpartum depression during her first months as a stay-at-home mom to her eldest son

“I’m also lucky to have a supportive and caring husband,” she adds. She’s still finding a way to deal with her struggle as a church officer, but she’s getting there. 

But there’s one thing she’s doing that I consider as one of the ultimate secrets of getting things done at home: it’s babywearing. Not just babywearing — back babywearing. 

(Related post: Babywearing Saves the Day)

She was the one who also told me about this when I reached out to her sometime back to ask for some advice. I tried it myself and amazingly, I was able to do more things at home! Especially since my youngest daughter used to be so clingy when she was younger (she still is, but less clingy than before). 

If you want to give back babywearing a try, just make sure to get someone to support your back when you’re trying it for the first time. It takes practice to do it all by yourself, but you’ll get used to it in time. 

Another piece of advice: watch out when your baby starts to doze off while at your back. There are chances that their dangling heads might hit somewhere if you’re not careful. 

Watch the video below for a quick tutorial.

Being a mom of two kids

In 2017, she had their second baby. 

And a new baby often comes with another set of challenges, even if you’ve been there. 

“I’ve had more sleep deprivation when we had our youngest. And my eldest became clingier,” she shares. 

Her solution? They made sure that their eldest son would feel that he comes first in everything. They spend alone time with him and always involve him in everything they do with his younger sister. 

Juggling motherhood and her passion for baking

For many of our friends in our church community, Kristel is well-known for her beautifully-crafted fondant cakes. She’s the go-to person when there’s a party that needs a stunning centerpiece. 

Her love for baking and cooking started when she was a child, and she got it mostly from her family. They were the ones who taught her to cook at a young age, and her love for cooking evolved to baking. And it’s mainly because she loves art. 

If you look at her cakes, you wouldn’t have to second-guess. 

How stay-at-home moms can make money from home - one of Kristel's masterpiece
One of Kristel's masterpieces is her LV cake she recently made for a customer

Everything she knew about baking and designing cakes, she learned all by herself (thanks to social media). She wanted to attend baking classes, but being a stay-at-home mom means she has a limited time to really do those things. 

In early 2013, she started selling her cakes. Her first attempt (what she calls her “guinea pig”), was her husband’s cake which had an Angry Birds theme. Few months of more practice and with lots of trials and errors, she began selling cakes to her colleagues. 

Make Money From Home as a Stay-at-Home Mom - Angry Birds Themed Cake
Kristel's "guinea pig" was her husband's Angry Birds themed cake

“Baking and cooking are my passion and my stress-reliever, even if it’s a stressful work of art!” she jokes.

Up until now, despite her challenges as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers with only her working husband to help her, she continues to bake cakes and even makes some money from it. On average, she earns an extra AED1,000 ($274) a month from selling her baked goodies.

12-Month Goal Planner Download
Do you have a passion for baking? Start setting up your goals.

Another secret to getting things done

Do you want to know what’s her secret on how she juggles her role as a mother to her two small kids and her passion for baking? 

“I work fast… really, really fast. My timer is my kids. I need to stick to their schedules like their feeding time, bathing time, naps, and so on. There are few bumps along the way but as much as possible, I follow their timings,” Kristel shares. 

I think that’s where I really need to improve – working really fast! Lol. 

And her advice to her fellow moms who are looking for ways on how to balance their time between motherhood and their passion?

“I think moms should attend to their kids’ needs first. You know the saying, ‘happy baby, happy mommy’? If the kids are happy and contented, moms can do their passion, too”.

And lastly, here’s her top advice to other stay-at-home moms who are still struggling on their new role: “Ask for help — from your husband, friends, relatives, and from God. It’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom but you’ll get the hang of it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you get mad or frustrated, forgive yourself. It’s normal. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, momma. And, enjoy the roller coaster ride.”

So, do you have a passion for baking, too? Why not start pursuing your passion today? Who knows, you might also make money from it soon, too. 

For Dubai-based moms who needs cakes for their parties, you can get in touch with Kristel directly through her Facebook page. (I don’t earn any commission from this, lol. I’m just a mom supporting a fellow mom :p)

Share this post and let’s inspire other stay-at-home moms that they can pursue their passion, too (and even make money from it).

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12-Month Goal Planner Download
Balance Motherhood and Passion

How to Balance Motherhood and Passion, and Why Do it Now

Is pursuing our passion while raising our kids and managing our household actually possible? If yes, how can we do it in a way that won’t affect the quality of care we provide to our kids? Read on to find out.

Know how you can find balance between doing your motherhood duties and your passion

Once a person becomes a parent, pursuits of passion are typically tossed aside.

Since I became one myself, I can tell you how many people have actually pushed me to pursue my passion in writing: just two — a close friend of mine (my inspiration when it comes to pursuing passion), and my supportive husband.

It’s understandable. As I was looking for some inspiration for this article, I’ve come across one post that speaks exactly what’s on my mind. “Motherhood keeps us busy,” Lauren Gonzales, the article’s author said (you can read her full article here). And that is a hundred percent true. Motherhood keeps us busy we won’t even have time for a long, relaxing shower. Sometimes, even for a quick one. 

We spend our days looking after the kids, doing the laundry, preparing meals, cleaning the house, and so on. Even without pursuing our passion, it’s already tough keeping a balance between kids and home. So how can we even squeeze in the things we are passionate about?

Some might tell us to forget about our passion and wait until the kids are older. I actually considered that option. However, my passion was screaming at the top of its lungs that I needed to unleash it, or else I would have gone mad. The question is, how would I find the time to squeeze it in? And is this the right time?

When is the right time to pursue our passion?

My answer to this is NOW. Yes, there’s no other time to pursue our passion rather than now. But hold on… shouldn’t we wait for the kids to at least start going to school?

As I have said, I considered this option. But that means I have to wait for another two years. It wouldn’t be so hard if my creative passion wasn’t bugging me. But it is, and it’s been wrestling its way out from within me. You must have felt it, too. And I just happen to have read an article written by another mom (and she’s a Filipino, too; you can read Riz’ full article here) who had the same story.

So you see, you’re not alone. We probably have that voice inside our heads whispering over and over again — stories waiting to be written, songs waiting to be composed, countries waiting to be visited. They’re all in our heads, and we try as much as we could to ignore them. But each and every single day, they keep on tugging our sleeves, begging to be released.

Balance Passion and Family - Book

Once, I tried to put my creativity to use in our church organization. It was a relief, but there’s still something inside me that screams: “I’m a blog waiting to be launched. I’m a book waiting to be written.”

I felt paralyzed. I wanted to do something, but my hectic daily schedule won’t allow me. I became frustrated. Became grumpy. Stressed out. And so I realized, there’s no other choice but to pursue my passion now. If I wait too long, it might affect my mental well being.

So I talked to my husband about it, and he agreed. He didn’t only give his approval — he even pushed me. Of which I am so grateful.

It also makes sense why we should pursue our passion now. We must not let our lives revolve around our kids and our home. It’s tiring, and sometimes depressing, and we need a distraction to keep our sanity in tact. We must do things aside from raising the kids and keeping the house clean — things that we love and make us feel alive again. Something that would refuel our energy and make us bounce back to our vitality. Something that makes us forget we’re exhausted that we don’t even mind having less time for sleep.

As for me, I found it in writing. By writing in this blog, I’ve found another purpose the I could dedicate myself to. And I told myself that if I will use my kids as an excuse not to do it now, another excuse would come up soon. So I’d better do something about it now than have regrets later on.

How can we find balance between our kids and our passion?

It’s not easy, really. At some point, we’d either have less time for our passion or less time for the kids. So we can never really find a balance. But we need to compromise.

In some days, I could only squeeze in an hour for my writing. In other days, I’d spend few extra hours and let my kids watch TV for a while. Which means I have to do the household chores while they play and disturb me from time to time. And that’s fine.

We have our limitations, and there’s nothing we can do rather than accept these limitations and move forward. As what Mark Manson says in his book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, we just have to start confronting painful truths in order to find the courage and confidence we seek. And the painful truth is this: as moms, we won’t really ever find the balance that we so desperately want. We just have to stop thinking about it too much and live one day at a time.

So I call upon you fellow stay-at-home moms to start pursuing your passion, or perhaps, chasing that dream you’ve always wanted since you were a kid. You want to become a designer? A successful entrepreneur? A renowned pastry chef? A globetrotter?

Balancing Passion and Family - Baking
Photo by Holly Stratton on Unsplash

I’ve been hanging out the online world for a while and I’ve read stories from other moms who are also successful in their chosen pursuit for passion. I also personally know some of them (read my exclusive interview with Kristel of Cake N Tel). And that’s how I know that it’s possible. We can conquer motherhood and still invade other territories.

Take baby steps — they will eventually take you there

Start small. Write down your dreams. Make a plan. List down your daily goals. We don’t have to do everything now, but we’ve got to do something.

When I was just starting to pursue my passion, I used to write at night when the kids are asleep. I’d type the words out of my head using my mobile phone because I can’t use the laptop since my daughter’s sleeping soundly in my arms. As months went by, it became easier. Now I type everything in my laptop and I have two hours in the morning to dedicate for my writing sessions.

As what they say, all it takes is time and patience.

Learn from others, and keep on learning. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small. That’s what I’ve been doing. And though I’m not as successful yet as those that I look up to, I’m proud that I was finally able to start this blog. I’m not sure whether I’ll be successful just like the rest, but I’m enjoying my journey anyway and it’s making me happier each day, and that’s what matters.

As for you, you just have to start here… and now.

So have you decided to pursue your passion? You just came to the right resource. I’m here to inspire and empower you and our fellow moms that despite our limitations, we still can do so much more. Sign-up below to receive updates on new inspirational and motivational posts, plus a FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD printable 12-Month Goal Planner to help you start turning your dreams into actionable goals. 

12-Month Goal Planner Download

Let’s spread the love! Help me in my mission by sharing this article to your mom friends by hitting any of the share buttons below. You’ll probably be helping them, too.

Do you have your own inspiring stories to share? Or practical tips and insights about being a stay-at-home mom? I’d love to hear and learn from you! Share them in the comments, or go here and let’s talk.

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Life-Changing Secrets to Make You a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom

Are you a stay-at-home mom who has finally conquered its struggles and challenges? If so, are you now working towards becoming more than the woman that you are today? Here are 8 ways to help empower you to transform your life as a stay-at-home mom and become successful in your own ways.

This is part 2 of my post, “How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive“.

Life-Changing Secrets to Make you a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom

What makes a successful stay-at-home mom?

Our answers wouldn’t probably match.

While some of us look at being a successful stay-at-home mom as being efficiently managing our multiple roles at home, some have a different perspective. 

If you ask me, I would say that being a successful stay-at-home mom means I’m able to serve my purpose of staying home with my kids. No, it isn’t to become an all-around cleaner or a master chef of home-cooked meals. Although of course, it’s part of my duties.

My ultimate purpose is to personally guide my kids as they grow up in all aspects of their lives, most especially on their spiritual growth. That’s why I chose to stay at home.

Of course, I want them to have a successful career in the future, and to have a happy family of their own. But all of these only comes next after I see them as successfully fulfilling their duties to God and as members of the Church of Christ.

successful stay-at-home mom and kids

Now, what does it mean to thrive as a stay-at-home mom?

Being a mother is a game of survival where every stage of motherhood is a battle. And being a stay-at-home mom is yet another game.

“I will tell you though – being a stay at home mom is no joke.  From the outside, it looks like it would be a lot easier – nowhere to be in the morning, no more pressures from the outside.  But it’s not,” says Steph in her article on becoming a stay-at-home mom.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Although most stay-at-home moms are definitely happy with their choices (like me, and fellow stay-at-home mom Abbie who considers it as “living the dream” in her blog post), we still can’t hide the fact that there are challenges and struggles that come along with it. 

But we’re naturally survivors.

The thing is, since most of us just want to survive, we sometimes forget the need to thrive. Just like a deer being chased down by a lion, focusing our efforts just to survive the day. 

successful stay-at-home moms don't just run for survival like a deer

I’d say we should stop just trying to survive but instead, aim to thrive. To grow and flourish as a person. To become a better and even the best version of ourselves. To become a successful stay-at-home mom.

You might say that being a mother had already made us better. We’ve grown in ways we never imagined we could.

We learned to control our patience, to multi-task, to improvise. We’ve become masters of different skills. But that’s us being a mother. 

What about that woman within us before our kids? 

Don’t we have skills that aren’t about feeding kids and changing diapers?

Some of us are talented graphic designers, writers, or entrepreneurs. Some of us love traveling and exploring new cultures.

Do you define being a successful stay-at-home mom as someone who travels a lot with their kids?
Zaanse Schans, Holland, Netherlands. January 2019.

If we’re not going to pursue our own passion and chase our dreams, who would be there to teach our kids about passion and self-discovery? After all, isn’t that our ultimate goal why we chose to stay at home? Isn’t that how we would know that we’ve become successful in being a stay-at-home mom?

While every mom has their own standards of how they would define themselves as a successful stay-at-home mom, I know some of you agree with me (and that’s probably why you’re still reading this).

So, how can we thrive and become successful stay-at-home moms?

If you want to not just survive this thing called “motherhood” but to also thrive and become a successful stay-at-home mom, here are the steps:

1. Find your WHY

I’ve come across this when I was reading an article by mymommstyle.com. Camille says, “it is my personal belief that motherhood is a divine calling that I am meant for. This is my most important work. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for me to work toward something that burns within me to give more or be more than the woman I am today.”

And I agree with her. 

That’s why it’s important to start our journey to becoming a successful stay-at-home mom with knowing exactly what’s our WHY.

When I joined an MLM company in 2016, this is the first exercise that we did after signing up: defining our WHY. We were told to create our dream board to remind us what we are aiming for, and to push us to do our best to achieve whatever is on that board. 

Thankfully, it reminded me that I wanted to be a published writer. And that has become my WHY. That has become my sign of when I can tell myself, “hey, you’re a successful stay-at-home mom.” Of course, that’s after I also I achieve my purpose for my kids.

Now if you don’t have a dream board, I suggest that you start creating one. I’m not sure if you believe in the “law of attraction”, but having a dream board sort of attracts positivity to your life that makes your dream come true. I can say that because 2 out of the 5 things in my dream board already came true.

My personal dreamboard. 2 out of 5 have already came true -- having a family with 2 kids, and being to Paris.

Once we know our WHY, it’s time to start a plan. Writing them down will help you keep track of your goals. So with mine, I had them all written down on my iPhone’s Notes. And once I was ready to nail them, I just had to look back and start each of them one by one.

12-Month Goal Planner Download

2. Don’t get too overwhelmed with your duties at home

With everything going in between raising kids and doing an endless routine of household chores, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Whenever you feel like you’re head’s about to explode, stop. Sit down for five minutes and focus on your breathing. In short, just relax and calm down (here’s how to avoid the stay-at-home mom burnout).

We know there are lots of things to be done, and it’s not being weak or incompetent if we admit we can’t do everything alone. 

Delegate tasks between you and your husband. If your kids are old enough to help with the chores, let them. Hire a cleaner once in a while to deep clean your house. Ask a relative to babysit your kids once a week. Find ways to relax and master the art of self-care.

Once your mind is cleared and you’re no longer overwhelmed with your duties at home, then you can focus on ways to thrive and become a successful stay-at-home mom.

successful stay-at-home mom - relax

3. Have the right mindset

Do you feel guilty because instead of reading a book about child development, you’re reading this article on how to become a successful stay-at-home mom?

While it’s our goal to guide our kids on their development, there’s nothing wrong with also developing ourselves as a person. Who else could be our kids’ role model anyway?

So stop feeling guilty, or feeling ashamed, or thinking it’s impossible.

If you want to thrive and become successful as a stay-at-home mom, you need to start from having the right mindset.

Start believing that you deserve to grow as an individual. Have faith in yourself and on what you can do. Have a positive growth mindset. Talk to yourself and say, “I can do better than this.”

If you want to become a successful stay-at-home mom, have the mindset of a successful stay-at-home mom. 

Sometimes, it’s all about tricking our brain so it forces our body to act like we’re actually what we think of ourselves. 

believe that you can become a successful stay-at-home mom

4. Focus on opportunities and possibilities

Once we become a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to get trapped into a daily routine of parenting and housekeeping. Our mind starts to look at our situation as something “normal” because this is what stay-at-home moms do anyway, right? I don’t think so. 

I chose to become a stay-at-home mom to be there for my kids, and it just so happened that we can’t afford to hire a helper yet. That’s the advantage of working moms; they can still be there for their kids (they make up for it whenever they can), they can hire a helper, and they can thrive in their career. 

But not just because we can’t hire a helper means we can’t thrive in our passion. So rather than focusing on our limitations, we need to look for ways to do things more efficiently. There are various ways on how to be more productive (Kami shares in her post 5 productivity tools for busy moms), and how we can manage our time better at home. 

If we choose to focus on the lack of time or the fact that we don’t get as much rest as we want to, we’re letting go of the opportunities and possibilities of becoming a successful stay-at-home mom. 

To be honest, I just realized not so long ago that stay-at-home moms don’t actually lack time—in fact, we have lots of it in our hand. We’re just too focused on the perception that as stay-at-home moms, our only duty is to our family.

I mean, our kids don’t really need our attention 24/7, right? They need time to engage themselves in individual play. 

“My kid is clingy and doesn’t want me out of her sight,” you might say. And so is my youngest daughter. But not when she’s asleep. So I took that opportunity, woke up earlier every day before she does, and nailed down my writing goals. And then all the possibilities came pouring in. I’m not a successful stay-at-home mom yet, but I’m working on it.

Every situation is different, I know. But if we keep on telling ourselves that it’s not possible to become a successful stay-at-home mom and we keep on giving ourselves an excuse not to thrive, then it’s not really possible.

5. Look straight into our ultimate goals

As a stay-at-home mom, one of our objectives is to spend more quality time with our kids, right? And so, whatever we do should support this goal. 

Our kids’ needs should always come first. Everything else can wait for 30 minutes or so, even the laundry.

That’s why I’ve come to the point where if I have to stop what I’m doing just to cuddle them in their sleep because they asked me to, I will (and I just did while typing this sentence).

I’ve also realized that quality time isn’t necessarily more time. While we stay-at-home moms spend more time with our kids compared if we work from 9-5, that doesn’t translate to “quality time”. Quality time means we dedicate our full attention to them without any distraction. 

successful stay-at-home mom - quality time
Quality time with the kids also means for us that we take them out somewhere fun.

That’s why I’d like to think of myself as a “working mom”, too, whose day job is to do the laundry, clean the house, feed the kids, etc. When I’m done, then I spend some quality time with my kids by taking them out for a walk or playing with them. To be honest, I’m bad at managing distractions aka my phone, but I’m working on it.

Now, our ultimate goals might not be the same as the others. But whatever it is, we just need to start working on it and prioritizing it over the others, so we become more receptive to opportunities and possibilities to thrive and become a successful stay-at-home mom.

6. Keep on learning about parenting

According to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “if we stop learning, we stop progressing in life”. I believe this holds true even for parenting.  We can read books, attend parenting classes, or engage with online mom groups. We’d be surprised by how much we can learn on top of what we already know.

successful stay-at-home mom - keep learning

When we keep on learning, our brain gets the exercise it needs. And the more we learn, the more we become confident about our parenting skills. And the more we become confident in ourselves, the more we know that we can thrive as a person and become a successful stay-at-home mom.

7. Stop comparing yourself to others

Once we know our ultimate goals and we start to learn from others, it’s sometimes also easy to feel as if our goals and our parenting skills are not any better compared to other moms out there. So, stop comparing.

We’re all different and we have our own strengths and weaknesses. While some moms prefer to homeschool their kids, others don’t. While some moms prefer zero screen time for their kids, other’s don’t. While some moms prefer exclusive breastfeeding, other’s don’t. That doesn’t mean others are better moms. And learning from others doesn’t mean we apply everything we’ve learned. It just means we have more options to choose from.

successful stay-at-home mom - quote from Jill Churchill.

“There is no way to be a perfect mom, but a million ways to be a good one”, says Jill Churchill. That’s why we should go easy on ourselves. Cut ourselves some slack. Strive for good enough, and not for perfection. So as long as everything we do is for our kids’ best, we’re doing good enough.

If others are focusing on their role as a mother, don’t feel guilty that you’re also thriving to flourish as an individual person. You can still be a successful stay-at-home mom even if you do things outside of being a “mom”. 

8. Surround yourself with the positive-minded people

Remember when we were told that it’s good for stay-at-home moms to make friends? Apryl Duncan wrote an article about the reasons why we need friends, and that includes the reality that friendships are a necessary support system, which I believe so. 

In my pursuit of passion, I have friends who support me in what I do. But not all my friends are behind me on my journey, and I get it. You can’t always have what you want in life, anyway. 

That’s why if you want to thrive, you need not just to make friends and develop relationships — you have to make sure that these people who’ll surround you are positive-minded ones. You know how they say that we should surround ourselves with like-minded people? I believe in that, too. 

If you love traveling, then make friends with people who are passionate travelers, too. If you’re an art-lover, find people who love art, too. If you’re in love with financial investment, then network with people in the same industry. If you want to be a successful stay-at-home mom, talk to successful stay-at-home moms. This way, we’ll be reminded of our goals and we’ll never lose track.

It’s time to start thriving

With these 8 steps, I hope that you’ll also be able to start your journey to becoming a successful stay-at-home mom. Our definition of success or failure isn’t definitely the same, but remember not to measure it against others. We won’t be happy with our own success if we compare ourselves from the success of others (that’s what I learned from Mark Manson).

Here’s what to do next:

  1. Create your dream board and put it somewhere that you can always see i.e. your phone’s wallpaper, or at your bedroom wall.
  2. Using these 8 steps, start formulating your monthly plan (you can use my free printable 12-Month Goal Planner that you can download below; start with the first three months, and go forward along the way) on how you will achieve these dreams. Remember, a dream with an action plan becomes a goal. So, go for the gold and aim for that goal!
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Are you a successful stay-at-home mom (or on the way to becoming one) and would like to add your thoughts? Or maybe you have questions that you'd like to ask? Share them in the comments below.

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How to Check if You’re Eligible for Canada’s Express Entry

Are you now considering to apply for a permanent residency to Canada through Express Entry, but isn’t sure where to start? The first step is to check if you’re eligible for Express Entry and here are some quick ways to find out.

are-you-eligible-for-express-entry_V2

As I have mentioned in my earlier post, A Quick Guide for Families to Apply for Permanent Residency in Canada, applying for a Canadian permanent residency through Express Entry is one of the most common and easiest ways. All you need is your laptop or desktop, and a reliable internet connection. 

From finding out if you’re eligible for Canada’s Express Entry to submitting the requirements for permanent residency application, you can do everything online.

If you do it yourself without going through an agency, you can save yourself tons of money (since you won’t be paying any agency fee). And anyway, it’s not really required. You can find out more here about applying through Express Entry using representatives.

eligible-for-express-entry-you-dont-need-an-agency
Screen shot from Canada's official website, www.canada.ca

But the downside is, you need to spend time doing your own research. So it’s up to you to decide which one is your priority — time or money?

If you’ve finally decided to do it on your own but isn’t sure where to actually start, I’m here to help. I’m currently doing extensive research and compiling everything in a detailed guide (which will be available soon). 

For the meantime, I’m going to break down these steps to migrate to Canada through Express Entry into a series of posts. If you don’t want to miss an update, sign up below to get a free Express Entry PR Application Checklist and to receive an email every time I publish a new post in the series. 

Moving forward, let’s now talk about the first step on how to get a PR visa to Canada using the Express Entry system, which is to check if you’re eligible.

Am I eligible to apply for Canada’s Express Entry?

Before you do anything else, you need to find out first if you are eligible to apply for Express Entry in any of the three programs available. Otherwise, there’s no point moving forward. 

Express Entry is Canada’s online system used to manage the permanent residency applications of skilled workers with foreign work experience. They use a pointing system so it works pretty simple and straight-forward — just meet its minimum requirements; get points based on your language ability, work experience, education level, age, and other factors; and if you’re among the top scorers, then you’ll be invited to apply for a PR visa. Submit the requirements with all the supporting documents and within 6 months, you’ll hopefully get your visa. Sounds easy, right?

Except that there’s a lot of information you need to digest. That’s why I made this post.

eligibile-for-express-entry-info-overload

Going back, Express Entry has three different programs namely:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class

In this post, I’ll only focus on the Federal Skilled Worker Program since it’s the program that we applied for. But if you want to know more about the other two, here’s a comparison table. 

To be eligible to apply for Express Entry through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must meet the minimum requirements for these three:

  • Language ability
  • Work experience
  • Education

What’s the minimum requirement for language ability to be eligible for Express Entry?

Canada’s official languages are English and French, so if you’re fluent in any of these two, take the approved language tests and you’ll get points based on your score. If you speak both, you can only get extra points for the other language. 

So, if you speak English, you need to take an approved language test to prove your  English skills. It’s either IELTS or CELPIP, but we’re all familiar with IELTS so we’ll refer to that more. 

eligibile-for-express-entry-language-ability

But if you just want to check if you’re eligible for Express Entry, there’s no need yet to take an IELTS exam. 

However, once ready to take the IELTS (the General Training option), you need to get a minimum of 7 points for each of the language ability (9 as the highest score) to actually be eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program. If you get anything below 7, you may need to re-take the exam before you submit your Express Entry profile.

What’s the minimum requirement for work experience to be eligible for Express Entry?

Another minimum requirement to be eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program is to have at least 1 year of full-time continuous paid work (or an equal amount in part-time) either abroad or in Canada, and in any one of the job groups under NOC 0, A or B within the last 10 years. Your current job and your work experience must also be in the same type of job as the one that you will use for your immigration application. 

Let me guess… you’re wondering what’s NOC 0, A or B, right?

NOC stands for National Occupation Classification. Basically, Canada organized all the job occupations in 5 different categories (0, A, B, C, and D).

If you’re applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, your current and previous jobs should fall under 0 (Zero), A, or B, which is any of the following occupations:

NOC 0 (management jobs)

  • Legislator
  • Manager or senior manager in either private or government sector
  • Administrator or principal of educational institutions
  • Commissioned officer (police or Armed Forces)
  • Fire chief or senior firefighting officer

NOC A (jobs that usually need a university degree)

  • Financial auditor, officer, or accountant
  • Financial and investment analyst, dealer, or broker
  • Professional occupations in HR, business management consulting, advertising, marketing, public relation

NOC B (technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice)

  • Supervisor or admin support officer/worker
  • Executive/administrative assistant
  • Conference and event planner
  • Bookkeeper
  • Statistical officer and research-related occupation

If your job isn’t in the list above (since it’s too long to mention everything), you can check out here which NOC your previous and current job belongs to.

What’s the minimum requirement for education to be eligible for Express Entry?

The last minimum requirement to be eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program is to have an equivalent of a high-school graduate in Canada. A high-school graduate from the Philippines isn’t by default a high-school graduate in Canada (unless perhaps you took K11 and 12). 

If you have completed at least a Bachelor’s degree, then I’d say you’re eligible for Express Entry. Otherwise, if you went to college but never finished it, you can still try and send your high-school diploma together with your college TOR to World Education Services and see what they’ll say. 

I’ve met the minimum requirements to be eligible for Express Entry, what’s next?

Once you’re most likely sure that you’re eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program based on their minimum requirements, the next thing you need to check is if you meet the minimum points required to qualify to apply. Aside from the three which I already mentioned above, you’ll also be assessed based on:

  • your age
  • whether you have a valid job offer in Canada
  • and your adaptability (how well you’re likely to settle in Canada; this is also the part where you get points if you have relatives living there)

The maximum points are 100, and you only need at least 67 points to be eligible to apply for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program. Note, however, that your points here are only to determine whether you’re eligible for Express Entry. Once you’re in the pool of other candidates, a different scoring system will be used (where 1200 points are now the highest possible score).

For your age, you would only get points if you’re somewhere between 18 and 46. Otherwise, you get no points. The highest point you can get for your age is 12 (which is given to those between 18-35 year-olds). The older you are, the lesser points you get. That’s why it’s important as well to apply for PR as early as possible. 

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If you meet at least the minimum requirement for education, language, and work experience, to be eligible for Express Entry, you can get the following points:

  • Education – 5 points
  • Language – 4 points
  • Work experience – 9 points

That means the higher your education level and IELTS score are, and the more years of work experience you have, the higher points you can get as well.

If you have a valid job offer in Canada BEFORE you apply for Express Entry, that’s another 10 points (as long as it meets the required conditions). And if you or your husband (or wife) have a relative living in Canada (a permanent resident or a citizen who’s 18-year-old and above), that’s 5 points. If your husband or wife’s score in IELTS is 4 and above (for all abilities), then you get 5 points, too.

How do I know if I can get the minimum of 67 points to be eligible for Express Entry?

To find out how much points you can get, or to check if you’re eligible to apply for Express Entry, you have different options:

First, use IRCC’s online tool to check your eligibility. Just a tip: you’ll be asked about your IELTS score here, but since you haven’t taken the test yet (I’m assuming), just use a “hypothetical” test date (say sometime last month) and score (use 7 points for now, or higher if you like).

Second, you can try the free assessment offered by agencies who offer assistance for PR applications. But before you sign a contract with them, just know that you can actually apply on your own and they won’t be able to help you with your score. They can, however, guide you on the steps so you save time on research (but you’ll spend more money to pay for them, though).

Your third option is to use this free Eligibility Calculator which would give you a rough idea about how much points you’re likely to get. 

Whatever tool you decide to use, just know that the actual assessment will be done by IRCC once you submit your Express Entry profile. They will be the one to decide then whether you’re actually eligible for Express Entry or not.

So, are you eligible for Express Entry?

To make everything simple, the minimum requirement you need to become eligible to apply for Express Entry are these three:

  • at least one year of continuous, paid, full-time (or equivalent in part-time) in one occupation only that is under NOC 0 (management jobs), A (professional jobs), or B (technical jobs or skilled trades) in abroad or in Canada
  • a minimum score of 7 for all abilities in IELTS
  • at least equivalent of high-school graduate in Canada (or college graduate in the Philippines)

The more years of work experience, the higher your IELTS score, and the higher your education level is, the better.

If you meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program, you need to get at least 67 out of 100 points in their selection factors grid. You can get points based on the three factors I mentioned above and for your age, and if you have an arranged employment in Canada, or you or your spouse had worked or studied in Canada, and if you or your spouse have relatives living in Canada. 

Now that you have an idea what makes you eligible for Express Entry or not, try to do these 2 steps:

  1. Use IRCC’s online assessment tool and complete the questionnaire until the end.
  2. Once you’ve finished the questionnaire, it will take you to the step-by-step guide of what you need to do next.

Stay tuned for my next post: STEP 2: Taking the IELTS exam (with some tips on how to get the minimum score). Sign-up below to receive an update plus a free Express Entry PR Application Checklist.

If you have questions or comments, let me know below. If you’re wondering what’s in it for you in Canada, read my post on Why We Considered Migrating to Canada. If you want to find out the overall process to apply for a PR visa through Express Entry, check out this quick guide.

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How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

Are you a stay-at-home mom who’s just starting out and not sure where to start? Yes, you chose this path. But have you prepared yourself for the actual struggles and challenges? Don’t worry though, because you’re not alone in this. The rest of us are surviving through these ways that I’d be sharing here, and so you can, too.

How Stay-at-Home Moms can Survive and Thrive (Part 1)

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. I swear.

Some even say it’s not for everyone. And I’d be lying if I say I didn’t ask myself if it was really meant for me. 

I grew up surrounded mostly with mothers who worked, so when I dived into this territory of stay-at-home motherhood, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

But as most have had, I’ve eventually learned the struggles and challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, and I’m just glad I’ve survived.

The thing with our struggles and challenges is that they are so difficult to explain to other people. They wouldn’t probably understand how tough it truly is until they’ve become one themselves.

And yet, we carry on. We remain strong despite everything. But of course, we’ve been expected to.

Stay-at-home moms are expected to survive

Has anyone ever asked you how are you feeling so far? 

They know you’re fine because you’re still alive and kicking. Your kids are happy, and they assume you’re happy, too. But are you?

Of course, you’re happy. Isn’t this what you’ve dreamed of? Like me. This is what I’ve dreamed of. So I should be happy.

But really, are you happy? Aren’t you struggling emotionally? Aren’t you suffering mentally?

If you do, let’s talk more…

The Struggles and Challenges of Stay-at-Home Moms

You’re probably familiar with some of these ones (or maybe not yet…):

  • The guilt of not making our own money and not being able to contribute financially to the family. 
  • The sudden shortage of time, because most of it goes to bathing, feeding, and entertaining our kids. Anything left is where we try to finish the laundry and so on.
  • The result? Lack of personal time. Even time to take a long, hot shower. Or do our nails.
  • And because we lack personal time, the feeling of isolation and the constant craving for a meaningful adult conversation, which is also probably a result of spending day after day with no one but our kids (and our husband who’s mostly busy with work anyway).
  • Losing our identity in the process, because now we’re mostly babysitters, cooks, cleaners, housekeepers, drivers, etc. 
  • The exhaustion — oh yes, this! – when we’re thinking and doing things non-stop, with our kids’ nap time as the only time we can actually rest (if we even sleep instead of rushing to finish any pending chores).
  • The lingering sadness when all of these struggles pile up in our brain, and then there’s no one to talk to, resulting in depression. 

Some people would probably tell us that it would get easier as our kids grow. But I don’t think it will. I’ve heard stories from moms of teens who face far more complex issues. 

No, they no longer lose sleep like moms of infants and toddlers do, but they lose their minds guessing what their older kids are up to.

How do we survive these struggles and challenges?

To survive is to continue living despite the hardships, which we all are doing perfectly fine anyway. Or are we?

If you’re new to this territory, here are some solutions I can offer:

  • If you feel guilty about not making your own money, remember this: you may not be contributing financially but the value that you bring to your family by raising your kids hands-on is priceless. On another hand, talk to your husband. Come up with an arrangement where you get your own allowance so you can buy yourself what you want without feeling guilty, like what we do. Among us, millennial moms, staying at home instead of working (with or without kids) isn’t common anymore. So if it’s your ego that’s hurt, work part-time from home or sell something online. There are different things you can try, like these 12 side hustles. Or these tips on how to get some extra cash rolling in. I did blogging, though I’m not earning from it yet. For now, I’m just on the process of learning the industry.
  • Look for ways to better manage your time at home so you don’t feel like there’s a lot be done with so little time to do everything. Establish a schedule that you think will work you and your kids. I’ve created my own, and it worked wonders for me. If you plan to work from home, here are some tips to stay on top.
  • Once you’ve finally managed your time better, you can now have a bit of time for your self. Take advantage of this! It’s not your reward — it’s required, so you don’t fill from an empty cup. Self-care is as important as taking care of our kids, and there are various ways to do this! Try these 6 self-care ideas, or these tips on how to stay active.
  • Look for other stay-at-home moms to make friends with. Talk to them. Share your issues. Even if it’s only on Facebook, having someone to talk to who fully understand what you’re going through is a huge relief. When you’ve developed a hobby, join a tribe and engage with them. 
  • If you’ve lost your identity, try building it again one step at a time. Find time to rediscover your passion and start making plans about it. List down your goals and take action steps each day to bring you closer to your goal. Again, I did it with blogging. I am passionate about writing! So it became my outlet. It took me almost a year of just planning, but now I’m glad I’ve finally put these plans to life.
  • If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, you can try these things that worked for me: pray and lift up your worries to Him. Talk to someone, ideally a fellow stay-at-home mom. Listen to your favorite music every morning to start your day right. Find a distraction — a hobby or anything — to keep your mind away from those depressing thoughts. And if nothing seems to work, consider talking to a therapist. If you’re a new mom and is suffering from post-partum depression, try these coping methods. Try these ways as well on how to stay sane as a stay-at-home mom

Our struggles and challenges are not exactly the same with other stay-at-home moms

To summarize everything, stay-at-home moms have almost the same struggles and challenges that people don’t usually see from the surface. But then there are ways to survive through it all. 

Not all struggles and challenges though are created the same. Some stay-at-home moms don’t suffer depression. Some don’t have issues if they don’t make their own money. Some are just fine without a passion to pursue. And that’s life! 

One of the worst things we can do is to compare ourselves to others and feel like we’re failing just because others are doing better. So don’t! We all have our own strengths and that’s where we should focus instead.

So before I end this first part of my post, I’d like to leave some actionable steps for you.

  1. Identify which of these struggles and challenges bother you the most, and then write them in a journal (or on your phone). 
  2. Start reading from available articles and come up with a plan on how you will overcome these struggles. As they say, written goals are more likely to succeed. Make a daily commitment to work on your plan. And include your plan in your prayers.

Now let me thank you for going this far. 

For Part 2, read my next post on “How to Thrive and Become a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom“.

Do you have other struggles and challenges that you want to share? Let’s talk about it! Let me know in the comments. 

If you need an online support system, sign up here and get access to over 20+ stay-at-home mom Facebook groups that you can join. I compiled it just for you. 

Share this with the rest of the world and let them know our struggles are real.

A Quick Guide for Families to Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada

A Quick Guide for Families to Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada

A Quick Guide for Families to Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada

Are you considering migrating to Canada with your family? Are you wondering what are the steps needed to apply? Here’s a quick guide of the over-all application process through Express Entry based on our experience and with some help from Google.

Disclaimer: I don’t represent the Government of Canada in any way. The information in this post is based both on our own application experience and internet research. I also intentionally rephrased some terms from the original source just to make it easier to understand. And lastly, this post is meant only as a friendly guide, and sharing it with others is your choice.

In my previous post, I talked about the reasons why my husband and I considered migrating to Canada. 

If you’ve already read that and you’re now considering to apply for a permanent residency (PR) visa, one of the things you’d probably ask us is:

“What agency did we hire?”

Before I tell you which, I’d like you to know one thing: you don’t really need an agency to apply for a PR visa. I’ll explain it further in one of my future posts, but just to quickly tell you, it’s because Canada made it so easy for everyone to apply online that all you need to do is go to their website and follow their step-by-step guide. 

You’ll save tons of money, I bet. 

But with those kids and everything else, you probably don’t have the time to go through all the information online (though you can manage your time better at home so that you have time to do this). And you also realize you don’t have enough savings yet to pay for an agency or whatever fees are required.

I’ve got some good news for you then…

Visit Canada's website to apply for a PR visa

This post will give you a quick guide on how to apply for a PR visa through Express Entry. It’d be real quick (just a 10-minute read) because it’s only going to cover some basic information you need to know before you start applying.

So how do we apply for a permanent residency visa?

There are different ways to get a PR visa to Canada, but the most common and easiest one is through Express Entry. 

Express Entry is Canada’s online system used to manage permanent residency applications from skilled workers. There are three programs, but I’ll only talk here about the Federal Skilled Worker Program. For more details on the other programs, you may check them here.

For the purpose of this quick guide, I broke down the steps into 3 stages and they are:

  1. Taking an IELTS exam and getting your education assessed by World Education Services
  2. Signing up for Express Entry, and
  3. Applying for the PR visa

Before you go ahead and schedule your IELTS exam, you need to know first if you meet the minimum requirements for…

  • education, and 
  • work experience 

…before signing up for Express Entry. 

Take this online assessment from IRCC (the actual website where you can apply for PR visa through Express Entry).

Or go to an agency offering a free assessment (but don’t rush to signing a contract with them).

You can also use this free online Eligibility Calculator tool. Whatever score you’ll be getting here will only determine whether you qualify to apply through Express Entry. A different pointing system will be used once you get past Stage 1, which is what I’m about to explain next.

Stage 1: Taking the IELTS exam and getting an Education Credentials Assessment (ECA)

I’m sure you’ve heard about IELTS — it’s an exam to test how well you speak and understand English. The exam has four parts that would test your ability in

  • listening
  • reading
  • writing, and 
  • speaking

You’ll get a score for each, and you need a minimum score of 7 (9 being the highest) for each of these four abilities. If you get anything below 7, you can’t sign up for Express Entry. You can, however, improve your English and re-take the exam.

After you take the exam, you’ll usually get your results back after 2 weeks. IELTS result is only valid for up to 2 years. So don’t take an IELTS and then delay your application.

Aside from taking the IELTS exam, you also need to have your education credentials assessed by an organization called World Education Services (WES).

Basically, you must send them your college diploma and transcript of records, then they send you back an ECA report (usually not more than a month after sending your documents) of what your education level is equivalent to Canada.

For most college graduates from the Philippines, the Canadian equivalent is a two-year post-secondary diploma (the case with my husband). In my case, I only took 6 units of Master’s Degree but when WES assessed my education, I was considered as a Bachelor’s Degree graduate. 

I can’t tell much about how WES do their assessment, but as long as you have a Canadian equivalent of a high school graduate, then you qualify to sign up for Express Entry.

DURATION: More or less 2 months, or even more (depends on your IELTS exam date, and how early you can submit your documents to WES).

APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED: AED 1,000+ for IELTS, AED800+ for WES, courier charges to WES, plus other fees. You’d spend at least AED 4,000+ (PHP 56,000+), plus other possible costs involved for both you and your husband. You can get the most updated fees from the respective websites (I’ve linked them above) for a more precise cost.

Educational assessment for Express Entry

Stage 2: Signing up for Express Entry

Once you have your IELTS result and ECA report, then you can sign up for Express Entry by filling up and submitting an online form to Canada’s immigration website. You won’t be submitting any document yet as you’ll only need to fill up the information required in the online form. This information would come from your:

  • Passport or travel document
  • IELTS results, and 
  • ECA report

Once you’ve signed up and you’ve proven to meet the minimum requirements, then you’ll be included in what they call “pool of candidates”. You’ll also get a score based on the information you’ve provided. This score is different from what you might have got from the eligibility assessment because in this stage, IRCC uses a different system called the Comperehensive Ranking System.

Now, this isn’t a bar exam where you either pass or fail. But all candidates will be ranked based on their scores. IRCC has a regular schedule of what they call “round of invitation” around 1 to 3 times a month where they send out a number of invitations (say 3500 invitations), and those who will make it to the Top 3500 will be invited to apply for permanent residency.

So the higher your score, the better the chances of winning… or getting a PR visa.

Hint: The lowest scorer in the last round of invitation dated March 6, 2019, had 454 points (1200 points is the highest possible score). This isn’t the score you need to beat, because in September 2018 the lowest scorer only had 284 points. But of course, you don’t want to take the risk, do you?

Also, note that the score that you’d initially get is NOT YOUR FINAL SCORE. Meaning, while waiting for the next round of invitation, you can still do something to improve your score.

It’s either you apply for jobs in Canada and get a valid offer (through Jobbank), or contact provinces or territories to consider you as a provincial nominee (some provinces like Ontario uses the Express Entry pool to invite candidates to apply for their Provincial Nomination Program).

If you get a valid job offer, that’s additional 200 points if it’s for a senior management position (50 points if not). And if you get a provincial nomination, that’s a whopping 600 points!

You can also improve your score by getting a higher IELTS score, upgrading your education level, or gaining more relevant work experience while you wait. Just note that your Express Entry profile expires after a year so you need to resubmit your profile after that. 

Since we hired an agency, they submitted our Express Entry profile on our behalf. But if you’re doing it by yourself, you just need to visit Canada’s government’s official website and create your own account. The website itself provides a step-by-step guide on what to do so with time and patience, you can do everything by yourself without an agency.

DURATION: Depends how fast you can complete the online form. You might also need to wait for a few days before you receive an email from IRCC confirming your submission and your initial score. Waiting time to get to Stage 3 also depends — if your score is low and you don’t make it to the round of invitation, keep on applying for a job (through JobBank) or try getting a provincial nomination. In our case, we waited for one year before we got invited, and that’s only after I got a provincial nomination from Ontario.

APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED: There’s no fee required to sign up for Express Entry. If you get invited by a province to apply as a provincial nominee, there may be fees involved and you need to provide proof of settlement funds, or more commonly known as “show money”. It depends on how many family members you have, but for a family of four, you need around AED 64,360+ (PHP 900K+), though the amount may change from time to time.

Stage 3: Applying for permanent residency 

Getting to stage 3 usually takes a long while. For us, it took us about a year after we signed up for Express Entry. And it’s after I got a provincial nomination from Ontario.

But once you’ve been selected to apply for permanent residency, that’s probably  going to be the greatest news of all time (but no, not without the visa yet). Now, once you’ve received an invitation to apply (ITA), you can still use your Express Entry account to submit your application for PR visa. 

This stage is the most crucial one. This is where you’ll need all the documents required to complete your application. In the Express Entry system, they’ll tell you exactly what documents you need to scan and upload. 

Once you get invited to apply, you have 60 days to submit your application. According to IRCC, they’ll process most complete applications that have all the supporting documents in 6 months or less.

DURATION: You have 60 days to submit your application after you receive the ITA. After that, you need to wait maximum of 6 months. But in our case, since I was pregnant, it took us more than 6 months because I couldn’t undergo X-ray while pregnant, and then after I gave birth, we added our 2nd baby to the application and submitted my X-ray result. It took us another year before we received our PR visa.

APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED: Around AED 2,800+ (PHP 40,800+) each for you and your spouse, plus around AED 1500+ (PHP 21,500+) for each dependent child. So that’s a total of AED 8,600+ (PHP 120K+) if you’re a family of four. You also need another proof of settlement funds (or “show money”).

Quick summary

You may now realize that you can do everything online and that you don’t need an agency to apply. As long as you follow the step-by-step guide and you submit all your documents and provide complete information, you’d be just fine.

But if you’re still thinking that hiring an agency would put your mind to ease, as long as you have the money to pay for them, there’s also nothing wrong. Besides, we used an agency ourselves.

Just to give you a rough idea of how long it would take and how much money you’ll need for the entire process:

TOTAL DURATION: From stage 1 to 3, the duration it might take you truly depends. But if I have to guess, it would be more than 6 months — it’s safe to assume you’d take around 1 to 1 1/2 years (perhaps if you’re lucky, even less). In our case, it took us a total of almost two years to get our PR visa because I got pregnant along the way which made the process longer. 

TOTAL ESTIMATED COST (without an agency): Assuming you’re a family of four, you’d probably spend at least AED 12,600+ (AED 176,400+) from Stage 1 to 3 plus other miscellaneous fees (you may also need to pay the province if you’re applying for provincial nomination). I couldn’t say exactly how much you’d spend in total, but you’ve just got to be prepared financially if you’re really considering applying for PR visa. Besides, you don’t have to pay for everything all at once since it’s stage by stage.

On top of this, you also need AED 64,360+ (PHP 900K+) in your bank account possibly for Stages 2 (if you’re applying for provincial nomination) to 3, and that same amount once you arrive in Canada. (Remember, this example is only for a family of four, and the amount changes from time to time).

If you’re going to hire an agency, add the agency fee to this amount. Agencies charge differently so I can’t tell you how much to expect. 

Duration and cost of applying for a Canadian PR visa

Now, if you’re really serious about applying for a permanent residency visa, you may go to Canada’s government website for the step-by-step guides.

Use my free eligibility calculator tool to find out if you’re eligible to apply through Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Workers Program (available until April 30 only). For more details about finding out your eligibility, you may read my post on how to find out if you’re eligible for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Do you have further questions about how to apply for PR visa through Express Entry? You can visit the Government of Canada’s website or we can have a chat in the comments section below and I’ll try my best to answer your question. 

Share this quick guide to other moms who might be considering applying for a PR visa by hitting any of the social media buttons below. 

Sources:

Babywearing Saves the Day

Babywearing Saves the Day

Babywearing Saves the Day | Guest Post

Have you tried babywearing, or is wondering what it’s all about? Find out how babywearing turned out to be an empowerment tool for a stay-at-home mom like Mommy Paola. She also shares valuable information about babywearing for some of you who haven’t tried it yet. 

I wish I knew earlier about babywearing when I had Serena.

Babywearing isn’t just about being a baby carrier and it’s not just worn when you’re going out. There are more benefits beyond that.

Serena and I were always left alone in the house while everybody’s at work. Taking care of a baby as a first time mom was a struggle especially when it comes to taming her when she cries. There were several times I got sick because of exhaustion.

As a newborn, Serena’s behavior was unpredictable. She became irritable as weeks go by especially at night when she’s colicky. Swaddling to comfort her simply didn’t work.

In the morning, it was very difficult to get something to eat whenever I get hungry or take a bath when there’s no one else to hold the baby. I could only relax a little bit at night when my husband finally comes home from work.

Photo by Kyle Nieber on Unsplash

Fortunately, my mother bought me a ring sling to end the agony. Tutorial videos on YouTube helped me how to use it. It’s also a dual purpose since I can use it as a cover when I breastfeed my baby outside.

Serena loved the ring sling. The first time I put her in it, she became calm and fell asleep quickly. I continued using it until she was 2 months old before I switched to a soft structured carrier (SSC) when she turned 3 months old.

The proper ways to use a baby carrier

My research about babywearing didn’t stop to make sure I was doing it right. The acronym TICKS became my guideline to know if I am wearing my baby properly. According to Baby Sling Safety UK, TICKS stand for the following:

T: Tight but comfortable for the both of you

I: In view at all times

C: Close enough to kiss

K:  Keep baby’s chin off her chest 

S: Supported back

The benefits of babywearing

The benefits of babywearing were also unbelievable. According to the Babywearing International organization, babywearing often result in the following:

1. Happy babies. It is said that carried babies cry less, therefore resulting in happier babies.

2. Healthy babies especially for those who are premature and with special needs.

3. Confident parents. Carrying your baby let you easily know his needs since he’s closer to you.

4. Loving caregivers. Babywearing is also said to create an exceptional bond between you and the baby.

5. Comfort and convenience. Carrying your baby allows you to do multiple tasks, like what I usually do whenever I carry mine.

The myths about babywearing

While there are benefits, Smart Parenting stated some myths about babywearing that are also important to know.

1. Babywearing spoils your baby and becomes dependent on you.

2. Babywearing makes your baby bow-legged.

3. Babywearing causes hip dysplasia; that is why it is very important to choose the right carrier that supports the legs and hips of the baby. Narrow-based carriers are a big no-no!

4. Babywearing causes arched back among babies.

Advocates of baby wearing do not support or promote any particular brand of a carrier because it is best to know first the safety and comfort of the baby before buying one.

I’m glad that I was able to join breastfeeding groups that also advocates babywearing as it is also best to be surrounded by people who give you the correct information. 

I hope my story will inspire others, and would serve as an inspiration to help in normalizing babywearing because I experienced how beautiful it is.

Indeed, babywearing saves my day.

Paola Gaabucayan-Ubanan

About Mommy Paola Gaabucayan-Ubanan

“I’m a first-time (stay-at-home) mom to a nine-month-old baby, and breastfeeding, babywearing, and ‘Tamang Kain‘ advocate.”

Do you also have stories to share about your babywearing journey? Let me know in the comments or send your articles to empoweredmomsathome@gmail.com. 

Stay tuned for more empowerment stories by subscribing to my newsletter. 

Share this article to other moms who might love the idea of babywearing. 

Why We Considered Migrating to Canada - Featured Image-2

Why We Considered Migrating to Canada and Why You Should, Too

Why We Considered Migrating to Canada and Why You Should, Too

In this article, I’ll be sharing our top reasons why we considered migrating to Canada. If you’re also considering it too, read on and hopefully learn a thing or two. 

Everyone who knows us is probably aware of the news about our upcoming migration to Canada. 

Now, some of you might be wondering why I’ve included this article in my blog. What does it have to do with empowering stay-at-home moms to explore the world, live their passion, or chase their dreams?

Well, I just said it. Living to Canada has been one of our family’s dream, and it could be one of yours, too. But for some reason, perhaps you are hesitant to start chasing for it. This article and those that I’ll be publishing in the coming weeks will hopefully guide you through to your decision.

Since this is one of the first three articles here in my blog, I want to start by giving you the reasons why we considered migrating to Canada in the first place despite some people who might be telling us that it’s not a good idea. 

Is migrating to Canada a bad idea? 

Some say that most immigrants ended up going back to scratch, losing the career they worked so hard to build, and now wishing they didn’t move there at all. But there are also many others who made it successfully. 

Some are also worried about the weather. I find snow to be beautiful and mesmerizing, but if you have to live with it every day for months, you might start to hate it like the others living there. Imagine digging the snow on your pathway just to get to your car, spending an hour to dress up your kids in layers before going out, or fighting off the freezing cold whenever you’re outside – if you can’t live with all these, then moving to Canada could really be a bad idea for you.

Toronto, February 2018. Image captured by yours truly.

Despite this issue whether migrating there is a good idea or not, here’s why we went on anyway with our PR visa application to Canada.

Canada offers free education until secondary school

This is among the reasons why we considered migrating to Canada. Knowing that our kids will benefit from having a first-world quality of education for free gives us an assurance that they will have a good future. Of course, it still depends on a lot of factors, but at the very least, having that kind of education is a good start. We’re not going to worry anymore about whether we could send them to a good school or not. We can work and earn less, but at least we know our kids’ education won’t be compromised. 

It’s only free up to secondary school, but most colleges and universities offer a reasonable price for tuition fees which I’m guessing any parent can afford to save early on (in York University, for example, tuition fees start from around CAD 7,000 per year for citizens and permanent residents). 

Children under 18 years receive a monthly child benefit allowance

Depending on your annual family income, your kids can get up to around 500 Canadian dollars each every month until before they reach 18. Isn’t it great that you don’t have to worry if in case you lose your job? Your kids will still continue to survive, and they won’t need to stop schooling. Of course, that’s the worst-case scenario, but that doesn’t mean it’s not likely to happen. If it does, at least your kids won’t suffer. 

As your family’s income increases, the amount of allowance goes down. But that’s not bad news, right? Because that just means that your family is earning more now. 

Public health insurance is available even for permanent residents

So on top of free education and monthly allowances, your kids also get free access to most health care services. Even you are eligible for public health insurance. 

Migrate to Canada and get free healtchare

The coverage depends on each province’s health insurance system (in Ontario for example, visits to doctors, hospital stays, dental surgeries, certain eye-health services, and ambulance for medical emergencies are covered). What’s better than not worrying if your kids get sick?

Besides getting free access, you don’t need to worry about the quality because Canada’s basic healthcare is said to be equivalent to the US, except for the wait time (it’s a different topic for discussion). 

Citizenship is attainable after a number of years

Unlike with other countries, living in Canada as a permanent resident for three (3) out of the last five (5) years can allow you to apply for citizenship. Aside from being able to vote, this means you can get a Canadian passport that would allow you to travel to several countries without the need to get a visa. Isn’t that great? 

Migrate to Canada and be a citizen in three years

Even if you don’t want to give up your citizenship and just remain as a permanent resident, you can stay in Canada for as long as you want and would not need to worry about your visa (as long you renew your PR ID every five years). You’ll still be entitled to the benefits given to citizens such as education and healthcare. 

Parents and grandparents can be sponsored

Depending on your financial capability, you can be allowed to sponsor your parents and grandparents to come to Canada either as a permanent resident or through super visa (which allows them to stay in Canada up to two years at a time). You don’t need to be a citizen to do this. As long as you’re a permanent resident living in Canada and is eligible to sponsor your parents and grandparents, then you can go and apply for their sponsorship. 

Once they become a permanent resident, then they become entitled as well to its benefits. 

Migrate to Canada and sponsor your parents and grandparents

It’s a place where you can really settle for good

Aside from what I’ve mentioned above, Canada can be a place where you and your family can actually live and stay permanently. You can buy a house that you really like (given that you have enough money as a downpayment, of course), and not worry so much about moving out later on. 

As what they say, there’s really no place like home and you’ll probably return to your beloved home country again and again. But if there’s nothing waiting for you there, why turn your back to something that could give your kids a better future?

Conclusion

There are other reasons why migrating to Canada is a good idea especially for families, but for us, these are our top six. So you see, it’s mostly about the kids. Most people get discouraged because they worry that their career would take a full U-turn and then they’d start somewhere else. That’s true – most professionals, like doctors and engineers, end up working in a totally different industry and go back to entry-level positions. If you’re not ready for that, that’s fine. 

Migrate to Toronto and make your way up
Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, February 2018. Image captured by yours truly.

In our case, we have to give up the career we’ve built here in the UAE, but we’ve already accepted that. We can always start from scratch, go back to school, then work our way up the career ladder. That’s what other people did, and now most of them are successful. My uncle, for instance, is already living a comfortable life there. They have their own house, they’ve petitioned my grandparents and his wife’s parents, they drive two cars. And just like many others, they just worked their way up. 

You might say your family is earning more than enough here in the UAE (or wherever country you are now) that you’re not ready to give up that yet, and that’s fine. If we’re in the same situation where our kids can get school allowances for their tuition fees, we might consider staying back. But it’s not just the case for us. Now if you’re just like us, then why not consider applying for a PR visa?

Any thoughts about migrating to Canada? Let me know in the comments! 

If you’re interested to know more about how to get a Canadian PR visa, read my post, “A Quick Guide for Families to Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada”.

Share this with your other mom friends whom you think might be interested to apply for a PR visa to Canada. 

STAY-AT-HOME MOMS MANAGE TIME - FEATURED

5 Ways to Better Manage Your Time at Home (So You Have Time for Yourself, Too)

Stay-at-Home Moms - Manage Time

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with so many things to do at home with so little time? Do you feel as if your life has been evolving just between raising kids and housekeeping? I’ve been there, but I’ve eventually found a way to better manage my time so I can have something left for myself, too. Please read on and see if these five ways will work for you. 

Among the many challenges of being a stay-at-home mom is managing time at home. Don’t you think? During the first few months of my journey as a stay-at-home mom myself, I struggled at balancing my time between the household chores and my kids. Of course, the kids were always the priority. Next were the household chores. Sadly, I forgot I also had to think about myself. 

In the next months that came, I tried and tested different means to better manage my time. It was mostly trial and error. Oh, those were the days. Until around November of 2018, I finally found the formula that best works for me. This formula not only allowed me to balance my time between the household chores and the kids — it even gave me time to do my passion. 

Let me share them with you, and who knows, they might also work for you. 

1. Wake up earlier than the kids

A lot has been said about the great benefits of waking up early. Some of them include less stress, enhanced productivity, better concentration – to name a few. 

I know, most people (including me) hate the idea of waking up early. Who wouldn’t want to just lie down, snuggle in their blanket, and sleep again when the sun hasn’t risen yet? But I guess when you’re desperate, you just want to give a try to everything that you can. And so I did a “Wake Up Early Challenge” for myself, which, though I found difficult to do at first, ended up successfully. I may not be waking up at as early as 5am like what most proponents of waking up early do, but 7am is enough for me to do more than I could have. 

Wake Up Earlt

The results? I became better at planning my day; I finally had an uninterrupted time to write; I was less stressed; I became less grumpy; I’ve read more books now than what I could since I’ve had kids. The most significant result for me of waking up early, I’d say, is finally being able to start this blog. 

2. Have a timetable

Having an organized schedule may not work for everyone, but for some (including myself again), it’s definitely a life saver. Even before I’ve had the habit of waking up early, I’d rely on a timetable to help me manage my day. But even then, I found it difficult to follow that I’d end up becoming even more disorganized. Waking up early gave me additional hours to spend during the day, and having a timetable couldn’t be any better. 

Timetable

As for most moms, I still can’t follow it hundred percent, but now I know it by heart and my body’s already synced in to do whatever I’m supposed to do at a certain time of the day. If you already have a timetable, great! If you don’t have yet and is struggling to make one, I’ll gladly send you over a copy of mine. Just type in your email below. 

Daily Schedule Template Download Form

3. Write a daily to-do list

With becoming an early riser comes being a better planner, so they say. And again, it’s true for me. In the morning, when the kids are still asleep and the house is still quiet, I can plan the things I’d focus on completing for the day. I’d normally include some nagging tasks that I’ve been delaying to do, say completing the blogging course I’ve started last year. If there are other tasks I need to tackle but I know it won’t fit in the day, I just write it down and plan it for another day. 

To Do List

Having a to-do list would help us get on track and concentrate on a few things at a time. It would also give our brain its much-needed rest from nonstop thinking about all the things we need to do for the day. For some, like me, it brings great relief when everything in the list gets ticked off. We’d know we’ve been truly productive. 

4. Schedule a dedicated playtime with the kids

Having a lot more time with the kids is probably the best advantage of being a stay-at-home mom. But for me, it doesn’t mean we need to dedicate a full morning or afternoon playing with them. A few hours here and there is probably enough. As they say, our kids also need individual play times for them to develop their creativity and imagination. 

In our case, I dedicate an hour in the afternoon, and then the full evening after dinner until before bedtime. That doesn’t mean of course that they get ignored for the rest of the day. In fact, even during the hours I dedicate for something else, they’d come to me and ask me to play with them. I’d willingly submit, because, really, can you say no to them? 

Stay-at-Home Mom Play with Kids

During those times that I don’t play with them, I either let them watch TV (within their time limit, but I’m guilty of letting them exceed it sometimes), or I let them play with their toys within my sight while I do other things on my list. Just as long as they don’t start jumping on the sofa or climbing on the chairs or pulling the drawer cabinets open, we’d all be fine. 

Having a dedicated playtime with them allows me to at least not feel guilty when I’m just lying on the bed and taking a rest or reading a book while they play on their own. As long as the room is childproofed, there’s nothing to worry about. 

5. Allot a specific time for household chores

While there’s a dedicated playtime with the kids, I believe we should also dedicate only a specific time for household chores. Because, really, we can’t be doing them all day long, can we? Having a dedicated time for household chores would allow us to try and finish as much as we can. Well, at least for me, it works. The time pressure makes me move in a hurry. 

In the timetable I made for myself, I allotted an entire two hours for household chores. If I don’t finish everything, I make it up in the afternoon or in the evening. This way, it doesn’t eat up my time and energy. We need to save a few extra of those for the kids and for ourselves. 

Stay-at-Home Mom Doing Laundry

Why only two hours? As we all know, pretty much of what happens in our day are unexpected: sudden meltdowns, sibling fights, potty accidents, etc. And half of those include cleaning up an entire house with toys lying everywhere. It depends how much time you think you need, but two hours is just enough for me. 

These five ways are what worked for me, and I hope some of them would work for you, too. These ways also allowed me to have time to write and to read — two things which I am passionate about. There’ll always be loopholes, I know, and there are times when I don’t follow them, but as long as we keep on finding ways, we will for sure find ways. 

Do you have other suggestions on how to better manage our time at home? Share them in the comments below and let’s learn from one another! 

For a copy of my daily schedule template, type in your email below and I’ll send you a copy soon.

Daily Schedule Template Download Form

Share this with other stay-at-home moms who you know could be struggling with managing time, too.