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Finding Joy in Bilingual Parenting

 · September 14, 2021

Meet Vanessa of Bilinguify

We are so excited to share with you a comradre (mama of 3) and her incredible course Bilinguify!  Vanessa is an entrepreneur based in Arizona that after many years of working in jobs at the intersection of migration and communication—as an interpreter and then running Hispanic marketing & PR campaigns— she launched her own business.  Bilinguify! is a program to help you connect with the JOY and FUN of raising bilingual kids through 21 days of simple strategies that fuel your family’s Spanish speaking.

When I was growing up, my mom told me that “En nuestra casa solo se habla espanol”. In our home, we only spoke Spanish. I didn’t learn English until I was in school and I have always been grateful for the gift of being fluent and literate in both Spanish and English.

When I had my first daughter, I committed to teaching her Spanish. But GUESS WHAT. I rarely spoke it to her.  Even though my husband also speaks Spanish, we found ourselves speaking English predominantly and to say I have some guilt about this is a huge understatement. I ended up being able to send her to a Spanish immersion preschool and she learned a lot but I still found myself without a lot of resources... but to learn and to know that Bilinguify exists is super exciting!!  

You can enroll in BILINGUIFY! at bilinguify.com from September 15 - September 24, 2021 and use the code “LATINXPARENTING” for 10% off. Latinx Parenting is an affiliate for this program, which means that if you purchase through our link we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. We only share things we genuinely believe in and that we feel are helpful to our comunidad! 

Below Vanessa is going to share with us the #1 way to make bilingual parenting fun!  
Hola! I’m Vanessa Nielsen Molina, an entrepreneur, educator, and mamá to three little bilingual Mexican-Ecuadorian-American girls.

On September 15th, 2021 I’m opening the doors to BILINGUIFY , a program I created to help Latinx parents that want to raise bilingual kids, but have a hard time staying motivated or don’t quite know where to start. I always say that BILINGUIFY! is like bilingual parenting summer camp (...in September) that helps us all connect with the fun and JOY of raising bilingual kids.

Because the truth is that as Latinx moms, sometimes there's a lot of shame and guilt and just FEELINGS (and people) involved in whether or not we speak Spanish to our kids, how much Spanish our kids know, or even how much Spanish WE speak. And at the same time, we know that bilingualism is a gift that has so many cognitive benefits, not to mention its importance in connecting with people (often in our own families) that speak only or mostly Spanish.

It’s something I think about often, but especially during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. Because of course, language doesn’t change your heritage—it’s not like you’re less Latinx if you don’t speak Spanish. Language is just a point of connection.

But after years of working in the field of bilingualism, what I understand now, more clearly than ever, is that bilingualism is the key that opens doors to relationships with people that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. And in our fractured world, that type of bridge-building is exactly what we need more of.

I feel so passionately about helping empower Latinx parents to raise babies that feel rooted in their heritage and in the language of their families. If you’re raising (or want to raise) bilingual kids, I hope you will join us in BILINGUIFY! this month!

And while I would love to see you there, I also want to share something you can do today to connect with the FUN of raising bilingual kids. It’s my #1 strategy to make sure you never feel like speaking Spanish with your kids is just complicating your life or adding more to your to-do list! Are you ready?

My best tip is to connect español with something that you and your kids love. Do you like music? Dance to Spanish music in the kitchen! Are you a movie-loving family? Try watching some in Spanish! Do you like going out for ice cream together? Try making it a Spanish-only event!

It doesn’t really matter what the activity is. The whole point of raising bilingual kids is to help them connect with other humans. So it only makes sense that the best way to make “Spanish = love & connection” in our kids’ minds, is to give them as many experiences as possible where they feel both loved by, and connected to, someone that’s speaking Spanish. And if that someone is you? Pues ¡qué mejor!

—Vanessa Nielson Molina

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There was a señora, we’ll call her Doña Lopez, in the 16-week Reparenting series that I just completed for a long-term community partner. Doña López could WRITE.

In multiple sessions, she would read something she wrote in between our times together. On the final night, which was Tuesday, she asked the group if she could read a four page letter that she had written to her mother, and intended to translate it for her daughter.

She emailed it to me this morning, all four pages and in ink, signed by her. I recorded the audio (without identifiers) and I want to play it for the community with her permission at some point. She mentioned to the group that she had found the letter, but as I heard her read it and as she shed tears (and we all did), I knew they were her words.

They were poetic words, poignant and beautifully painted on the page. I know good writers because I am one (or try hard to be one lol😅)

Randomly, this screen shot from April 2022 came up in my memories on my phone, and it made me think about Doña Lopez, mother of three, immigrant, service worker, healing inner niña, and natural born ESCRITORA.

I felt so proud and honored to be shared her writing. I didn’t even assign a final project! But I did weave in writings throughout that were meant to inspire some kind of creativity.

Access to our artistry is liberatory. We continue to fight systems of oppression so that we can choose art. We deserve access to the parts of our brain that are not survival-ridden. Our comunidad especially is one FULL of brilliant minds. Doña López is just one or them.

Now, go practice resistance by resting in an art practice. Mine is writing and dance.

What is yours? What about your parents?

Remember that I love you. ❤️

#LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo

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[English Caption in Comments] Comunidad, una de las formas en que podemos honrar a las víctimas de la violencia armada es luchar por el control de armas para que ninguna otra familia o comunidad tenga que pasar por otra tragedia inimaginable.

Nuestra voz es nuestro poder y no podemos darnos el lujo de permanecer en silencio por más tiempo. La violencia armada continúa siendo la principal causa de muerte en los niños y es hora de que le pongamos fin.

La semana pasada hablé con Patricia Paduy-Oliver, quien perdió a su hijo Joaquín en el tiroteo de Parkland y fue una conversación que no olvidaré. Ninguna madre o familia merece perder a su hijo o ser querido por la violencia armada.

Mientras recordamos a Uvalde hoy, únete a nuestra lucha junto con @mamasconpoder y @changetheref para exigir que el Congreso tome medidas contra la violencia armada de una vez por todas.

1. Firme la petición para que el Congreso sepa que es hora de prohibir los rifles de asalto militar AHORA.

2. Manténgase actualizado con @mamasconpoder enviando un mensaje de texto al 747464

3. Visite www.myfirstschoolshooting.org (http://www.myfirstschoolshooting.org/) para leer Mi primer tiroteo en la escuela por Patricia Oliver y @changetheref y envíelo a sus funcionarios electos.

Cambiemos la realidad en la que vivimos y luchemos para asegurar un futuro en el qu
e nuestras familias y comunidades se sientan seguras contra la violencia armada.

#EndGunViolence #ViolenciaDeArmas #GunViolence #ParklandStrong #UvaldeStrong #stonemandouglas #uvalde #uvaldetexas #parklandshooting

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🎨: @tinamariaelena | “Shout out to the mothers who are healing their own childhood trauma.

The mothers who are healing emotionally and spiritually.

The mamas making the effort to break generational curses.

And the mamas who are putting their children’s mental, emotional, and spiritual needs first.

You are Superwoman without the cape, making sure you are raising emotionally intelligent children.

I see you and I honor you.” —Toshia Shaw

P.S. Our Healing the Madre Wound Introductory Workshop: Re-mothering the Latinx/Chicanx Mother is always accepting enrollees! Our workshop will not only support you in healing your Madre Wound, but help you in navigating your relationship with your mom, and setting boundaries when needed so you can thrive in your healing journey.

Remember, when you sign up for ANY of our Escuelita offerings, you get an invitation into our ✨special community✨ with other alumni who have taken the workshop so you can connect & grow with others who are also healing their Madre Wounds.

Visit our Escuelita in our L i n k i n B i o 🔗


#LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo #MadreWound #Mothering

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Reclaiming our Familias.
Reclaiming Ourselves.
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