Boundaries in CoParenting

Boundaries!  

man in white button up shirt
Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Ah, that BUZZ WORD is everywhere nowadays – isn’t it?!  

So, what ARE they actually? 

 And how do you know what ones are right for you?  

How do you make sure they stay in place & your co-parent doesn’t walk all over you? 

We’re going to dive deep into ALL those questions here. No worries.  

Perhaps the BEST place to start would be establishing what ARE boundaries.  

Simply put, boundaries are rules you put up that show people how to treat you. When boundaries are not in place, people, even ones with the best intentions, can walk all over you. Perhaps you’ve experienced this in your life…with a boss, your friends or your ex.  

When it comes to your coparenting relationship, it is crucial for the right boundaries to be put up in place. How do you know which boundaries are right for you? One expert we asked on this topic said the best way to figure this out is to look for and focus on the areas where you feel hurt. When you and your ex are communicating, and there’s certain things or situations that you feel hurt or pain, that’s a big indicator that there needs to be a boundary put up there.  

One huge bonus about boundaries…

…is that your ex doesn’t have to agree with them in order for you to establish them. In fact, you don’t even have to communicate with them that you’re doing it. As Nike says, just do it. And do it consistently. 

Chances are, if your ex has been able to treat you a certain way for many years, they won’t adjust to your new boundaries very easily. But remember, this isn’t about them. It’s not about making them happy or comfortable. That’s not your job or responsibility. They are responsible for their own peace and happiness – as are you for your own. Establishing boundaries in your relationship with your ex is about protecting your peace, your sanity and your marriage.  

What if you ex pushes back with your newfound boundaries?

Don’t let up. Be consistent. Over time, they will get the hint.  

What we’ve walked you through above is merely an abridged version, or “Cliff Notes,” of a fantastic interview with just did with single mom & co-parenting expert, Katie Davie. To go deeper, get the full details & strategize your OWN boundaries with us, go check out our full interview at the link below:

Kim & Cheyanne

Breaking News: The EX ISN’T Your Biggest Problem

Living in a blended family is a true trial & test for your marriage. The pressure continually keeps growing and you can’t remember the last time you were IN your comfort zone. 

As a young American woman who doesn’t speak Dutch (the language of the land she lives in), Chey knows all too well how it feels when you join a family and you’re the ‘new’ one, aka “the odd one” out. 

She’s also had experiences where she’s felt unwelcome by some people who refuse to speak her language when Chey indicated that she didn’t understand. 

We know that there are times, when your biggest enemy or person who attacks you personally, could be the same person causing conflict in your family home. 

Didn’t like someone 

Unfortunately, if you’re a step mom reading this & you are shaking your head YES (like, I TOTALLY get it), it’s probably not the first time that you’ve experienced pain from the ex doing “this”, whatever it is, you can fill in the blank here.  
Did she not come to pick up her children?

Did she say something to your stepchildren to get in between you?

Are you the one doing all the hard work of raising her child(ren), while she gets all the credits, undeservingly? 

After some time, she may become your ‘squeaky wheel’; as you’re cruising along doing life, she’s this annoying ‘squeaky sound’ that follows you everywhere you go. 

And between women, there is bound to always be some competition. 

(Sometimes, we get it. There’s no other choice than to do something LEGAL.)

Source of all misery

It’s natural to feel a little competitive if that person is repeatedly taking your spouse away from you. Sometimes it’s only being physically away, but more and more, there’s an emotional distance too, which is even harder to live with.

Is it true? Is this other woman the source of all “your misery?”

If she would only just go away, wouldn’t all your problems be solved?

In those circumstances, it’s easy to see someone that is the “cause for all your trouble”. 

Even though, deep down, you may know it’s not 100 % her fault every time there’s a disturbance in your family. She just comes on top of everything else, time and again. 

In life, there are moments that our emotions take over, and in those situations our first response could be to seek blame with the ex – and find. 

Responsibility 

If you find yourself continually thinking this way, nothing good can come from the path you’re on. 
Let me ask you a question: if now you’ve got some resentment growing deep within you, and you don’t want to allow that to take over your heart, do you? 

Since we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them, if you want a different result, you first must do something else. 

Is it worth it? Is she worth it?

Acknowledging within yourself that there might be some truth in there, is the first & most important step to break this downward spiral. The mental shift that it allows is that you are never a victim. 

woman in white tank top sitting on ground

You have within you the power to take ownership and focus on what you can now own what you do & what you CAN do. 
 

Teach 

When you let go of ‘feeling angry’ and take responsibility, you can see how YOU have allowed this behavior.

Here’s two more good questions for your soul:

How am I respecting my own boundaries? 

Am I a good friend to myself? 

photo of girl hugging her mom while doing yoga pose

Change on the outside starts with a change on your inside. 
The more you connect to your core and heart, then peace and love will reign in your life. 

And then you’ll find that she doesn’t have to bother you – that much

Now you can take it. 

So, who is it really? 

The more negativity we see, the more negativity we will see; it only gets bigger. 

In this blog, we wanted to show you that you yourself own the key to your happiness 

Sometimes we discuss ideas like “imagine how life would be if we can get out of our own way”. 

If you want to check out how you can free your home from the ex and co-create your own, unique family together with your spouse, then click here. 

Is everything really the exes fault? Find out when you click the link above!

We love you guys….Tot Ziens (See you later),

Kim & Chey

PS. We also know, sometimes the ONLY thing we can change in life, is ourselves

YOU CAN adapt a healthier mindset when it comes to your role as a stepmother in your family…but don’t do it alone! Allow me to guide you here.

Why You Need To Go To Court

From a StepMom & Bio Dad’s perspective

crop businessman signing contract in office
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Going to court for child custody is NOT an easy topic. Quite frankly, we don’t think anyone WANTS to go there. It usually comes, from our experience personally and with our clients, out of necessity. It takes a lot of time, finances and emotional energy to achieve child custody. However, as much stress & turmoil it may put you & your children through temporarily, we’d encourage you to look at the long term gain.

Let’s paint another picture:

Imagine you knew your step daughter would be with her mom for 3 days. Even though the last time it was 4 days, this week, it’s only 3. You and your husband make some plans to go away for a romantic weekend. You’re there, things are going good, and then, out of nowhere , after only being with her mom for a few hours, you are demanded to come back and take care of her. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Or the second.

Or, say, you’re a planner. And you want to plan a nice outing as a family, including your stepkids, but you’re continually waiting on their bio mom or dad to give you their schedule. And sometimes, it comes the night before.

That TOO is stressful, right?

(Or, maybe the problem isn’t the ex, but something else altogether – check out our other blogpost on that here: )

Cheyanne, as a stepmom herself, would say a LEGAL document is vital. It is necessary. For the stability of your stepchild, AND your family.

Now, we would be the first to say that doesn’t mean you have to go before a judge and have your lawyers dig up dirt from both your lives and try to convince the judge which one of you is a better or more “worthy” parent. Although, sometimes, it DOES come down to that, there are OTHER legal options that wouldn’t require that situation.

You & your co-parent could instead decide to meet with a court-appointed mediator.

This would be someone that would help you both get on the same page and come to an agreement that you both would sign. Yes, this WOULD be legally binding. Ideally, this is the least hostile option and the most inexpensive.

However, we know that in some co-parenting relationships, this is just quite simply – impossible. You & your co-parent are always arguing and can never agree on anything. This is where a court situation would benefit you both -so, in the future, there is less bickering, less manipulating and straight-forward document that you and both your families can depend on.

(If you’re struggling with getting the exes influence out of your home, take back control by downloading our FREE guide here:

As a bio dad, this is what drove Kim to setting up a legal custody situation for his daughter for the first time ever. She was almost 13 when it all happened. For the first 10 years of her life, he and her mom made it work. It was just the two of them (two single parents and their daughter). Now, as a married man with a toddler, the instability of a regular schedule was affecting his family and their peace in their home. He want to bring a schedule that would be predictable for his daughter, and also his wife and new baby boy.

Wherever you find yourself in your co-parenting journey, don’t judge your situation.

Don’t feel bad for wherever you are at. Own it and see what you can do about it. You, your children and your family are worth it.

*If during the process of establishing custody and working on your co-parenting relationship, you notice the need for boundaries to be set in place, we have an awesome interview for you to check out. We recently interviewed, Katie Davie, a single mom & co-parenting expert, who shares her insights on co-parenting, establishing boundaries and keeping them for good. Check it out below!

As always, come say HI on our social & share with us your thoughts!

Our Instagram: @theCleymans

-Kim & Cheyanne

You are in mixed-cultural marriage. You might just not realize it.

Wait, so what IS is culture anyway? 

In some relationships it’s overly clear that there are multiple cultures at play. For instance, it’s obvious that this is so in mixed-racial love relationships, but when people look at us, the Cleymans, they wouldn’t assume that there are cultural differences at play. However, whenever two different continents come together in marriage, you can bet all your savings on the fact that there are cultural differences that will play out. 

Over the years, we met many couples who would find it interesting that Europe and the USA mingle in a marriage. Often times we would hear: “Oh, but we don’t have cultural differences in our home”, said by a woman from New York who wed her Californian husband. While they may not be as obvious, you bet that there are cultural differences there. 

The Cleymans Blended Family Culture Coaches
The Cleymans Blended Family Culture Coaches

So, do you have to come from two different countries or even continents to mix cultures? In this blog post, we’ll examine that, together. 

Inter-culture 

When it became clear to us that we had different ‘world views’, we went online to look for tools to help us navigate the challenges that arose along with it. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of resources out there. 

So, we explored scientific literature, curious to see if this phenomenon was researched, if at all. We were hoping we could find evidence of some “do’s or don’ts.” 

The first interesting fact that we found is that scientists describe that when 2 totally different cultures come together, a 3rd culture is born. This 3rd culture has elements from both cultures. 

To us, it felt like a relief to know that we both could let go of the idea or feeling that we had to fight for our own cultural values. At the same time, it means that, from both other cultures, some elements will get lost. 

When sharing this finding with friends and family, they would often acknowledge that this is also the case in their marriages; this just naturally happens when you and your spouse come together. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re from the same ethnic culture, or whether you have totally different backgrounds, everyone faces some cultural mixing and blending in a marriage. 

Values 

When we’re talking about the word ‘culture’, we’re talking about beliefs & customs. Sometimes, different cultures stand out, for instance in our Belgian-American marriage: we share totally different world views. And the funny part is that the longer we’re married, the more the differences start to emerge. It’s as if there are many layers, like an onion, and every time we peel off one layer, another one gets revealed. Sometimes, the one most shocked is the spouse that’s discovering these layers within themselves.  

And since there are no 2 people in the world that are the same, a new ‘joint’ set of values and beliefs will always have to be established in any marriage. No 2 people have the same values and beliefs, not even when they’re from the same city, the same street, or even the same school. 

kim cheyanne cleyman

When we take a closer look, we see that even people that are raised in the same household will have different world views. Even though they were raised by the same parents and by the same set of values, the siblings will have totally different experiences growing up in the same family. 

(Want to REVIVE your marriage in as little as 3 DAYS!? Take our FREE #3DayMarriageChallenge!)

Origins 

According to Meriam-Webster’s, raising children means that we ‘cultivate’ them. Even though ‘cultivate’ and ‘culture’ don’t share the same meaning, but they do share their first four letters and so, both words evolved from the same foundation. Both words come from the Latin word ‘culturare’, which means ‘to grow’. By the 15th century, it meant ‘cultivating soil’, which evolved into ‘growing the mind and manners’ in the 16th century. The word ‘culture’ itself arose in the 19th century. 

So, in the meaning of the word ‘culture’ itself, it shows that no-one is born with culture; it is 100 % nurtured. 

Normal 

Whenever you find yourself saying: “that’s not how you’re supposed to do it” or “this is how you’re supposed to do it”, that’s your culture speaking. 

Whenever you think of the things that you find to be normal, that’s your culture speaking.  

Since we’re all unique, we all have our own ‘normals’. 

And in a stepfamily, there are many ‘normals’ coming together, and they need to come together as one. 

Doing so is the very quality that sets the successful stepfamilies apart from the unsuccessful ones. 

Structure 

Since culture is rather abstract, it needs something to make it tangible. 
That something is structure. 

Structure is the vehicle that brings culture to life. 
Structure could mean: 

  • The rules and regulations that a family maintains in their home. 
    How you speak to one another, the rules and regulations that a family maintains in their home. How you speak to each other or treat one another reveals the culture in your home. 
    It’s when we come together as a family and communicate. (Link naar blog communication
  • The photos and quotes you find depicted in their home. 
    Visual instigators trigger memories and show values you find important. 
  • The customs that govern in the home. 
    How are holidays celebrated in your family? Do you have traditions you live by? 
    Every household has their own rhythm, their own flow and habits in living daily life. 
    How do you put the kids to sleep? Who does which chores? 
  • Add link here for blog post about raising kids in different cultures  
  • The stories that are being told during family festivities. 
    The story that starts with: “Remember that one time when”, will still be told in twenty years. 

Using this list above, we aimed to paint a picture of some of what ‘culture’ entails. 

In our own marriage, all of this is very obvious and “in-your-face” and yet ‘culture’ is woven into the fabric of every household. The thing is that they are SO normal to us, that we don’t see them. 

The list above says a lot about the culture of a family. At the same time, if it is your intention to alter the culture of your home and family and make it into something uniquely your own, the list above could give you some inspiration.

If you’d like more help & support in “how” to do this in your own home, reach out to us. THAT is our secret sauce, our passion and our mission. We guide couples on how to successfully do this in their own families. We look forward to hearing more about your family and seeing how we can help yall thrive together. Talk soon!  

The Cleymans 

Long Distance Dating For Newbies

Have you ever found yourself living on the other side of the planet as the love of your life? 

We currently are THERE as Chey is visiting her family in Florida, and Kim is home in Belgium. We also did this during our entire dating relationship.

So, as huge proponents of Long-Distance Dating/Relationships ourselves, we wanted to share with you some of our thoughts:  

First, let’s focus on the BENEFITS of Long-Distance Dating: 

-Less fluff, more focus on conversation, really getting to know the person 

-Less superficial (not testing them with friends, family, dressing up to impress) 

-Grow genuine trust, connection, dependability 

Ok, so maybe you’re thinking – guys, that’s great, and I totally agree but – How does one now DO that?  

Glad you asked: It’s one thing to date long-distance & communicate through our devices, but how can we make it extra special and guarantee the connection remains strong or continues to build? 

There’s a few things we’d suggest:

Text – and not just a HELLO & Good Night or “Wyd” – but REALLY open up! Share what you’re feeling for your person or what’s going on in your day. Send them an inspiring quote or a funny joke – keep it an alive conversation!

text on a blue message balloon
Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

Voice Memos – these are even more special than Texts, because then you get to hear your lovers voice. Sometimes text IS more convient and easier to read on the go, but by leaving voice messages, it offers a more natural opportunity for a convo to flow and for you to go deepr with your partner. Maybe even sing to them or read a book outloud together! We did that together and it gave us something to look forward to every single voice memo.

photo of woman using cellphone while smiling
Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

FaceTime – Ah, yes! Thank God for modern technology! Now, you can SEE & HEAR each other. But, don’t just feel you have to sit and talk to each other in a static location. Move! Take each other on date’s through the phone. Workout together. Cook at the same time. Involve friends & family ever once in a while, so they can get to know your love too!

dawn businessman man person
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Share links to – YouTube videos, Instagram reels, music that shows your interests, passions & values – there’s so many way you can make long-distance dating interactive and “shorten” the gap the distance forces upon you.

person using laptop computer during daytime
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

So, forget what you think of how “it should be” & surrender to the opportunity you get to still stay connected and build a flourishing relationship from your fingertips.

 Focus, instead, on what DO have & be grateful for this technology  

Have you long distance dated before or are you currently? 

Share this post so other couples like ours can use these great tips to stay connected!  

Also, we LOVE hearing others ideas!

Let us know your ideas!

How did you keep the connection alive when dating long distance?  

Leave us a comment below or come say HI on social: @TheCleymans!

-Kim & Cheyanne

Traveling With Toddlers: How To Thrive at 10,000 Feet

Yep, we’re about to take the journey (AGAIN) that maybe some of you mom’s and dad’s have before and that is- traveling over 7,000 miles with a toddler!!!

Ahhhh, did that make anyone else just cringe? Or grab for the puke bag?

Wouldn’t it just be easier to travel that distance once he’s older? We get this question a lot.

Maybe. But easier isn’t always better, especially when you have family between two main countries and only get to see them 2x a year.

Traveling with a toddler doesn’t HAVE to be as exhausting and stressful as it sounds.

This will now be our toddler’s FORTH trip across the world with our special little man (2 solo with mama & now 2 with Daddy’s too), and with all these trips, we’ve learned a lot of DOs and DONTs along the way that we wanted to share with you.

First up…

DO bring your husband!

Haha, we HAD to put this one first – especially since our son’s first two trips between Europe and the States, Chey did alone. This time around, she is SO thankful to know she will have that second set of hands. If you find yourself, like she did before, traveling alone with a baby or toddler, do yourself (and your little one) a favor and ask for and accept all help. Whether it’s another mama waiting in line with you or a friendly flight attendant, allow others to help you. This is NOT the time to activate your Super Woman status and try to do it all. You’ll be so happy later on during the travel for the extra hands, extra napkin or extra set of eyes you had from that kind stranger.

DO pack MORE than enough diapers, wipes & sets of clothes

There are some things you do NOT want to run out of & have to scour an airport for and that is diapers, wipes & extra sets of clothes. Even if your little doesn’t have hardly any “accidents” anymore, pack extra. You don’t want a sudden blow out, when your plane is about to land, and you have no clean clothes or an extra diaper to put him in. We’ve been there. Done that.

DO NOT pack too many toys

Ok, here’s your first DON’T! Write this one down: Remember, often times, kids favorite toys are the NON toys. In most airports & air planes, there are a lot of free pamplets, napkins, spoons, forkc & etc. that your little one will love to discover and play with. You don’t want to scramble around for your passport at check-in while trying to get around the 12 blocks, 3 books & extra soft giraffe you packed in the diaper bag. If this sounds realistic, it’s because Chey has been there too. #JustDontDoit

DO bring snacks for baby AND yourself

Chey is a HUGE planner & likes to be as prepared as possible. With all of her traveling, she’s learned to not RELY on airlines to have food you may enjoy or give it to you when hunger suddenly strikes. You don’t want a famished baby relying on others for their food. When our son was 3 months old, Chey packed 2 days worth of milk & bottles in his diaper bag (again – just in case!) Then, as he’s gotten older, we are still packing ample amount of snacks for him (and ourselves) to get us through the long flights.

Some of our go-to favorites are: rice crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts & fresh fruit – which only lasts for the first few hours. Side note: If your baby still requires milk, you can ask the airline employees to keep a bottle cold or even bring you warm water if necessary.

DO bring an extra plastic bag for old diapers & wet clothes

Sometimes our babies will poop, pee or make other bodily fluids at the most inopportune times. For the moments you aren’t able to get to a trash can, bring an extra plastic bag to hold trash temporarily until you can properly dispose of it later.

DO bring your stroller with you to the gate

Chey has had so many mom’s ask her whether they should BRING the stroller with them through the airport or check it. She will ALWAYS say: BRING IT! Every airplane we’ve flown on allowed has allowed us to bring it all the way to the gate. They then put it under the plane for us. It is always ready when we get off the plane to make our next layover or at my final destination. When our son was younger & Chey flew when he was 3 & 8 months old, she also brought the car seat with her on the plane. In that way, he had a safe seat to sit in (and sleep in) for the flight.

On a side note: If your baby is still under 20 lbs., ask for the baby cot! It is a GOD SEND on long flights. It’s a cot that attaches in the seat or on the airplane wall & gives your way a “bassinet” type of bed to lie in to sleep on the plane. This may even just allow mommy or daddy to catch a few winks too.

DO NOT sweat the small stuff

Your baby might cry. He might pull out all the pamplets out of the seats one by one (true story). She may puke on the person in the seat next to you (we hope not), and he may tickle the feet of the person trying to sleep on the plane. Take a deep breathe when these things happen, and just let it go. Let your baby crawl where you typically wouldn’t. Let them watch a show on your phone or eat a few too many airplane crackers. This is the time for you to relax and focus on a safe & happy flight – NOT to win the “Mom or Dad Of The Year” award.

And most of all…DO NOT forget to have fun!

Take pictures when you can – or ask another friendly mama you meet to take one of you & your family. It may feel like an experience you just can’t wait to end – but aim to enjoy it and relish in all the memories you are making.

Do you have any questions for us?

Did we miss something?

Comment below or come ask away & say HEY on our Instagram: @TheCleymans

Looking forward to chatting with you soon & sharing photos from our trips to the USA!

-Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Planning for An Ours Baby

Can you remember back to the time when you and your husband were just dating? As Kim and I were dating long-distance from the US to Europe late 2018, I remember having endless conversations over FaceTime. Thank GOD for modern day technology, which made sure we were talking face-2-face, even though we were thousands of miles away. 

It must’ve been on one of our very first convos that the topic of babies was brought up. Yep, we WENT there very early. It was important to me because I’ve always wanted a large family of my own. Luckily, Kim felt the same way. Well, maybe not exactly the same. He knew he wanted more kids after first becoming a dad, where I always knew I wanted to be a mom. We even agreed right away on the number of kids: FOUR. Yep, that’s no typo.“Four more children”, Kim always says. And especially after welcoming Mason into our lives, he still does. 

Who would’t want 4 more of THESE?

While diving into research as we were building our program for stepfamilies, Doubly Blended, Doubly Blessed, we came across the idea that adding an ‘ours baby’ makes everyone blood related. They are the link that ties everyone together. Kim’s daughter Billie, for instance, has a brother, which is my son, so now Billie and I have a mutual genetic connection. The ‘ours baby’ makes the difference between being literally being a family, or just ‘people living together’. 

So, even though both of us were enthusiastic to become parents (once again), in looking back, we would give you 3 tips if you are planning for your own ‘ours baby’. 

Tip 1: Heads up for your (step)children 

When you choose to have an “ours baby,” one of the lives that will be affected the most are your stepchildren. Just like with your marriage, they also had no choice when it comes to have a sibling. We’d encourage you to let them know in advance about your desire to have a baby, so that they can process it all with you both. You can be firm and share that this is “not a democracy,” as in “this is what we want, this will happen, period…” – but also while affirming they’re not being replaced.  


Take time to explain your why: the joy of life, the importance of family, and etc. You can share with them things they may not understand fully now, such as them having each other “later when we’re gone” or this will help them learn to share & care.

Be patient and have low expectations of full acceptance of an “ours baby” coming into your family. Kids don’t often understand the reason behind why adults want to have children. However, over time, especially when a new sibling is added to the family, you can encourage a bond that will last a lifetime. (More on THAT in a future post) 

parents and children squeezing oranges

Tip 2: Joint parenting plan for ALL children & role division  

It may seem premature to discuss parenting roles and house rules before you’re even pregnant, however, in our experience, it’s never too early to discuss and plan for these things. It’s better to have at least talked these things through before a new baby comes. In this way, you and your spouse have a plan of action/attack for how to move forward when you’re tired, and groggy from a new baby. For example, after new baby: how can you honor the older children? 
For instance with us, when my stepdaughter is with us, I handle all the nighttime responsibilities (bed, bath & etc.), so that Kim & Billie can have quality time. 

Tip 3: Share concerns (children & parents

Have the conversations NOW. Don’t wait. Begin to have them now. A new baby brought into a stepfamily is a huge dynamic and a different experience for everyone. Whatever you are feeling, speak it out loud; talk about what you’re going through; don’t hold it in. No matter whatever it is, let it go – they’re only thoughts anyway.  

Some thoughts you may have, that are totally normal, are: 

BioParents: 

Will I love this kid as much as my other? 

Will my other kids be jealous?  

Will I be taking away love from my other kids?  

What will my ex think?  

Stepparents: 

Will my spouse love this baby as much as their others? 

This won’t be my spouses first baby…will they still be special? 

My stepchildren don’t want siblings. Will they ever warm up to a baby?  
 

Thinking Ahead

Ah, take a deep breath. We know there is so much to think about and prep for, but hopefully, with these three simple tips, you can start off on the right foot with your ours baby. Babies are, after all, always a blessing. Now that you have your Foundation right; build off the fundamentals, and the essence of your unified family will come.  

**We know, sometimes, these convos are easier said than done. If you need help or guidance on how to have them in your family, reach out to us and book a Co-Creation Clarity call here:

Book a call here!

We’d LOVE to help you.

-Cheyanne Cleyman

@TheCleymans

How To Make Your New Years’ Resolutions Stick

If you’re anything like us, now that the Christmas season is over, you’ve already entered into the stage of self reflection. 
When we all come to this time of year, there are often two feelings we have: either this past year was one to never forget, or maybe one where you want to try and forget sooner rather than later. 

Even though the world seems to be spinning crazier by the day, we believe it offers us the opportunity to learn, and learn a lot. We’re on the fast track to getting a PhD in…life…or maybe, “adulting”!  

By now, it’s obviously clear to all of us that ‘change is here to stay’. 
We’re never going back to the way it once was. 

We’re sure there are things you are currently missing, but when we’re completely honest we all have to admit that there were things that we’d never want to go back to ever again. 

One of those things that changed in the Cleyman household this year, is the famous “not following through on health-related new year’s resolutions”. One of the perks of living during this era of pandemic is that we’ve become more aware of the value of our health. Maybe even both physically and mentally. 

cheerful black couple jogging in snowy park

How’s that going in your family, guys? 
How do stepfamilies cope with these crazy times of fear and separation? 

We see the societal division being played out in miniature in our own home, where we hold opposing ideas of how to handle the insecurities we face on a daily basis. Suffice to say, that once again, it’s the little ones that are stuck in the middle, not knowing who or what to believe while the levels of stress seem to rise. Just like they do in society. 

That’s how we feel that this year could be different from all previous ones. 
This time we feel that the stakes are higher. Perhaps for the first time in our lives, we have to live with the fact that the future is not a given. Uncertainty is the new normal. We can’t assume any longer that in two years the world will be like it was two years ago. 

“In two years we’ll take that trip where we spend a month backpacking through South-East Asia.” Nope. Live your dream, now. Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today, for that day may never come. It’s the here and the now that matters. It’s here and now that we’re enjoying every step of the ride. 

i can and i will text on green background

So ,what one small seemingly insignificant thing have you been putting off for way too long? 
What is it that you feel in every cell in your body that you can do to love yourself better, to be a better friend to yourself? 
What is that thing that makes you feel like a lousy parent when you do it in front of your children? (Anyone else lose their temper too quickly or drop an F bomb or two too often?) 

While you think on these, we’re going to give you a boost towards your goals.  

We see the solution as simple as applying these 3 Simple Steps to making sure your resolutions don’t end in January. We want to help set you and your family up for a thriving 2022 and beyond. 

First Tip: It all starts in the head  

text

Chey’s mom used to tell her – “what you think about, you bring about.” Basically, if you want something different in your life or you want to experience change in an area, you got to begin by thinking about it differently.  

This sounds so….rudimentary, right? Most of us know this…however, with seeing how many weeks, months or even years go by, without the change we are so desperately seeking to happen, we know it’s harder to do than we think.  

One of the ways we begin to change our mindset for goals we have for the New Year, or anything really, is by writing it down. There is something SO powerful about seeing it right there on the paper. When you see it in front you, then you can begin to recite it and see it as more tangible. Write your goals down on sticky notes and hang them around the house – somewhere you must see them everyday. Over time, these words will transform into new, healthy mindsets in your brain.  

Second Tip: Time to act 

man jumping over white fence

Now that you’ve thought about it, it’s now time to act upon it. Don’t get overwhelmed by this step. We suggest by starting with something small.  
Start with just one simple thing. 
And then, build an alliance. 
How can your spouse help you? 
How can you help your spouse achieve their goals for this new year? 

Turn to your partner and strategize ways you can help each other achieve your goals. Chances are by working together as a team will inspire you to stick to your own goals and help your sweetie stick to theirs. Nothing builds intimacy and self-confidence more than achieving goals together!  

Third Tip: Don’t Stop 

don t quit message

Yep, you read that right. No ground breaking last tip for you here…it really is that simple. At least, to read those two words. Starting with a new habit is always easier in the beginning, when it’s still fresh in your mind and soul. But probably you’ve noticed that as time goes by, it seems to become harder to keep up with it. 
 

But that doesn’t mean that we should quit. 

That new habit can become a part of the new you. In fact, it is inevitable that it starts to define the new you. You CAN DO IT. There’s just one little thing that you cannot do, and that is give up. 

Well, you could. But you’ve done that before. We’ve been there too. And where did it get us? 

Nowhere FAST! Be consistent in tenaciously pursuing your dreams.  

As long as you never give up, you will reach your ‘mission accomplished’. 

It’s hard to stick to resolutions and accomplish your goals on your own. But, you don’t have to be alone anymore. If you’d like a community of champions, people who, just like you, are falling down, getting up and moving forward towards their dream life then click the link before to connect with us and chat about how you can join our exclusive online tribe. We can’t wait to hear from you!  

-The Cleymans  

How To Thrive In Raising Your Kids In A Culture That Is Not Your Own

Raising your kids in a country that’s not your own?
I SOOOO get that ’cause…me too! My husband is Belgian, and we live here in Belgium , but I’m American. Even though our son is being raised in a European culture, I don’t want him to miss out on his American heritage. We’re lucky, especially if in these CoVid times, we can make it to visit the States maybe 2x a year. We hope that’ll change in the future, and that we can take our son to a real, live baseball game, among many other iconic American past times, but nothing is for certain.

So…what do we do?!


So, how DO we help raise our multicultural family with experiences from both cultures? We keep it simple. We BRING the culture to them – inside our own home.
Are you in the same boat as us? Then follow along, as we are about to share with you some of our top tips ⬇️

Tip 1: Watch children’s entertainment programming from your home country

Help introduce your children to shows you grew up with by finding them on the internet & enjoy watching as a family together! ⭐️ Bonus: if you’re also trying to teach your child your native language – this will help!

Tip 2: Watch historic movies

Besides watching children’s shows, viewing historical films together would be a great way to teach your children about the origins & beginnings of how your country was founded & established


Tip 3: Read stories from your country

There are different legendary tales in every culture that are passed down from generations. Bring the ones from your home country in your own home & share the stories with your kids



Still reading?! Good, ’cause here’s a Bonus Tip‼️

Tip 4: Check out local experiences that may bring the cultures together

Who doesn’t love getting out of the house & exploring with their littles? Now, time to blend some culture in!

Many ways you could do this are…
– Restaurants – food or dishes from your culture 🥘
– Museums – with stories, artifacts or exhibits on your culture 🎟
– Zoo- with animals from your home country 🦓
– Monuments – potentially celebrating a connection between your cultures🗿
– Concert – showcasing music 🎵 from your home country

Our desire is to help as MANY families as possible with this post. Do you know other families who are struggling with this too? Share this post with them so they can incorporate these tips into their own homes.

Oh, & comment below with your own ideas 💡-INCLUDING the top stories/films & shows from your native culture!

Come connect with us and share your story at @TheCleymans. Talk soon guys!

-Kim & Cheyanne

6 Strange & Somewhat Creepy Christmas Traditions Around The World

Hey Friends!

This year, we had the amazing opportunity to coach students that have heritages from over 6 different cultures. We wanted to honor them, and share with all of you, the different Christmas traditions that are done in our client’s countries and cultures around the world.

Now, pull up a chair, grab some egg nog or hot chocolate, and get cozy by the fire. These traditions are definitely ones you’ll want to share about around your dinner tables this Christmas.

Austria – “The Krampus”

Smile for the camera.

This first tradition is positively terrifying. We will never forget when our clients, whom live in Austria, shared with us this tradition – we actually sat there in shock. In a mix of what could seem to many as a scary, Halloween-like twist on Christmas, the Krampus are beast-like demon creatures that roams city streets frightening kids and punishing the “bad ones”. They are known as St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice.

In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, young men & women dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 6) frightening children with clattering chains and bells. This is enough to keep anyone on their best behaviour & be on the top of St. Nick’s Nice List!

Venezuela – “Hot Tamales & Rollerskating”

Tamales anyone?

Who here likes to eat yummy food around the holidays? Yes, please! In Venezuela, tamales, (a wrap made out of cornmeal dough and stuffed with meat, then steamed), will be on the menu.

We have another question for you: do you love Christmas, but think it could be improved by roller-blading? May sound random, but, if the answer is yes, then you must visit Caracas, Venezuela this year.

Every Christmas Eve, the city’s residents head to church in the early morning but, for reasons known only to them, they do so on roller skates. This unique tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety – and then of course, go home to enjoy some fresh tamales. Yum!

Mexico – “Parades & Poinsettias”

A splash of red fills every street in Mexico on Christmas Eve

All across Mexico members of the Catholic Church put on Pastorelas (“Shepherd’s Plays”) to retell the Christmas story. The Mexican Christmas season begins early in December with Las Posadas, a religious march that re-enacts the journey of Mary and Joseph. The vibrant red poinsettia flowers are also used in holiday arrangements for decoration throughout the country. 

Ukraine “Singing Carols & some Kutya”

Anyone bring a spoon?

Almost half of the Ukrainian population are Orthodox Christians. As a country, Ukraine observes Christmas Day on January 7. They do so by dressing in traditional garments and walking through town singing carols.

A dish called kutya, made of cooked wheat mixed with honey, ground poppy seeds, and sometimes nuts, is a popular Christmas Eve treat. Some families throw a spoonful of kutya at the ceiling: If it sticks, there will be a good harvest in the new year. We’re curious if on December 25, a maid shows up to help with the mess?

If you’d like a recipe for how to make your own Christmas kutya, click the link here:

(Sorry, a maid is not included)

Belgium – “Sinterklaas & Sweet Treats”

Someone’s arriving fashionably in Belgium this year…

Here we are, ready to share with you about the traditions from the country we currently LIVE in. In Belgium, you may catch a sighting or two of Santa Claus, but Sinterklaas, or St. Nick, is the man that rules the land.

Much like the character of Santa Claus, Sinterklaas also dresses in red and visits children’s homes & delivers presents. However, he does so by horse, instead of reindeer, assisted by helpers called “Zwarte Piet”, instead of elves, and on a totally different day – Dec. 6 instead of Dec. 25. Children place their shoes by the door or fireplace, as well as a hand-written note for Sinterklaas, and some treats for his helpers and horse…sometimes even a beer. In the morning of Dec. 6, children would awake to their shoes being filled with candy, coins and little presents.

On Christmas Eve in Belgium, many families gather together for warm & cozy meals, including a traditional dessert, the chocolate Christmas log, which is made of sponge roll, layered with cream. You’d also see many Belgian families enjoying “Smoutebollen” (deep fried dumplings) and drinking jenever (gin) or Gluhwein (hot wine). To all that we say, schol, or “cheers!”

USA – “Lights, cookies & stockings”

Three generation family are doing door-to-door carol singing. There is a senior woman at the door, appreciating their singing.

America’s Christmas traditions may be the most popular and famous around the world thanks to Hollywood’s plethura of Christmas films and pop culture. Everything from Christmas pop music to massive Christmas parades, it is one of the American people’s most anticipated seasons of the year.

People in America like to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes even with statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeer. Some cookies and a glass of milk are often left out as a snack for Santa on Christmas Eve. Towns and cities will decorate the streets with lights to celebrate Christmas. It also would be common to hear families and friends out singing Christmas carols to their neighbours. In the month of December, in America, the Christmas spirit is all around.

Did you learn something new from this post? We sure did!

How do YOU and your family celebrate the Christmas season? We’d love to hear.

Comment below and share your own traditions with us.

From our family to yours, we pray that you all have a Christmas that’s full of joy, connectedness and warmth that’ll spread to everyone inside your home – and out.

The Cleymans