This season Manulife is creating a movement of gratitude and paying it forward kindness during the Christmas season. We hope that by sharing our stories (as varied as they are) of #LifeAdvice and #gratitude we can amplify the conversation and encourage more people to think of sharing these types of kind gestures over the holidays.

Life advice sometimes comes to you in funny ways, and while some of our stories may seem a little strange, they all contain advice that we feel strongly about. BLUNTmoms is here to show that even on a bad day, there is something good that can occur, and that simple things sometimes make the biggest impact in your life

We don’t get away much, so when we finally manage to schlep all our wheely-backpacks, travel car seats and epic quantities of snacks onto a plane, there is a certain amount of self inflicted pressure to make sure the trip is a good one.

This year I escaped over Halloween with my two little banshees: Sweet Pea who is now a whopping six-years-old and Little Plum who is four going on thirteen. As the engines roared and the acceleration pushed us back into our seats, I promised myself to let go and just relax on this trip, enjoying well earned time away from the urban jungle we live in.

Our magical destination was Borneo where we were staying with two of the loveliest women I’ve ever met–they are nearly always laughing and smiling, and their joy is infectious, so it seemed like the perfect environment to relax and reset.  I promised myself to chill like the island folks and really enjoy my girls.

But travel is travel, and a week of feverish nights prior to our trip had left me quite tired. Excited little girls don’t often want to go to bed on time. Despite remembering to breath deeply, I was prone to being short tempered with the girls.

One of our first nights out, we went to a beautiful seaside restaurant to watch one of the top sunsets in the world. My friends and I sat on bench overlooking the bay, sipping rose and snacking on chicken wings while the girls ran about chasing crabs and making coconut imprint art in the sand. The paths were lit with coconuts carved as pumpkins with candles inside.

It was as close to a perfect evening as I can imagine. I took some snaps of the girls and their art to remind of this night in years to come. 

A few days later, after another lovely outing, I took my phone to share a few pictures with family afar. As I started skimming through, every picture I’d taken on the trip had disappeared and was replaced with 300 shots of undecipherable minutiae. I think I spotted the back of my chair, Pea’s toe, some strands of hair, the edge of the tablecloth…

It turns out that Little Plum had not only hijacked my phone to take pictures, but when faced with no memory, she went and deleted all the pictures to make room for her abstracts.

This tired mummy lost her mind. A grumpy tirade ensued, complete with trademarked family guilt tripping–I believe they call this legacy parenting. I won’t quote my exact words but emphasis on how sad it is that we lost the pictures of the sunsets and their beautiful beach artwork was lost.

Poor Little Plum stood there shamefaced, apologizing.

And here is where I was given the ultimate life advice. Not from some wise sage or experienced gran handing down sound sayings from generations past, but out of the mouth of my sweet little six-year-old.

She came and patted me on the back and said:

“It’s OK mama, don’t worry. There will be other sunsets.”

In that moment, I realized how truly blessed I was. How wonderful my girls are and how, despite the parenting habits I fight, passed down from generations, I am still managing to teach my girls something and, if I allow myself, to learn from them.

My anger and disappointment petered out instantly. I pulled my girls closed and told poor Little Plum that it was ok. She probably didn’t realize what she was doing and that I was sorry for yelling at her. I thanked P for reminding me what was important.

Let us remember not only to listen to our young ones but also learn from watching them. Beyond their words, they have much to teach us. They are not burdened with a lifetime of scars to cloud their view of the world. And though sometimes age and experience is needed, it isn’t the only place we should turn to for answers.

Visit the Manulife blog for more details on what they are doing to share gratitude this month, or pop onto the #LifeAdvice hashtag on Twitter and start sharing the best life advice YOU have received! 

This post is sponsored by SPLASH Media Engagement on behalf of Manulife. 

@Manulife is asking you to spread some positive by thanking those in your life who have given you great #LifeAdvice. Take a moment to #PayItForward by thanking someone important to you.


Cordelia is a researcher who has recently settled in Merida, Mexico after a decade spent chronicling her parenting adventures around South East Asia. When she isn’t homeschooling her children, she is usually found losing the battle against Herculean weeds while wielding a can of mosquito spray as Brienne of Tarth does her sword. Cordelia's eclectic and oftentimes regrettable past includes eco-innovation, sailing instruction and restaurant cashier. She is currently working on the upcoming launch of her new site Homeschooling for the Zombie Apocalypse.


    • Thanks Shannon. I know I was floored and so grateful. I was a spinning top, out of control and she just stopped me so easily. If only I could do the same for them when they freak out!

  1. Awww beautiful lesson indeed isn’t? Sometimes I wonder where our kids gathered their wisdoms from…amazing little humans!

    Did you went to Malaysia side? 😀 Sorry just gotta ask since I’m in Indonesia.

    • Traveling and getting about may have become more complicated after having kids but understanding the bigger picture got so much easier. I am so grateful. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

    • I know right? And just yesterday, the same kid told me to turn off my phone, that I am addicted and that I would be better off with more time just looking at the world. Bawhahahaha I love this kid – and I immediately agreed and obeyed.

  2. This made me tear up a little. Kids do have a unique way of putting things in perspective for us during the moments where we need it the most. Great reminder, Cordelia! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a beautiful story! And what a wise little lady! I guess living in the moment takes on new meaning! (I do not have a smart phone, let alone one that takes pics, now I know why!)

  4. Beautiful story and a reminder that all of us stressed moms need to hear when we need to let something go and enjoy the moment with our beautiful children. I have had a really hard time with that this holiday season. Thanks for the reminder about what’s important.

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