It kills to see how society is so quick to judge you instead of being empathetic, as long as it is not their child they could care less
Martine is an adventure-seeking mama that globe trots around the world in seek of lush new places and incredible libraries to explore with her two kids. Even though home is currently in Boston, MA, Martine's rich Haitian culture influences her world of food and fashion. This savvy "expert" thrifter advocates for Autistic children through organizations like Autism Speaks to spread awareness about how autism affects children and the families that support them.
Q & A
1. Your Instagram shows you have an incredible eye for capturing the outdoors! Where is your favorite nature spot to visit with your kids?
My favorite nature spot with my kids is the Crane Estates which is located in Ipswich Massachusetts. I love this place because of its lavish green spaces and the amazing views.
2. I think being outdoors really grounds us to the earth and each other. What role does embracing nature play in your parenting?
I want my children to grow up not being fearful of nature. It helps the kids with observation and also helps them to create, it encourages imagination which my daughter is always doing. It gives them a sense of wonder, to me that is important. They both have their own sense of adventure my son if he sees a snake will pick it up and play with it , my daughter will not. My daughter can walk into a lake without hesitation, my son will not. At the end of the day I want them to be comfortable with nature and also be aware of what they can expect.
3. I think it’s amazing you are a fierce advocate for children with autism. What is your biggest struggle as a parent with an autistic child?
My biggest struggle as a parent of a child with autism is being judged when my son throws a crazy tantrum and having to explain his situation. It kills to see how society is so quick to judge you instead of being empathetic, as long as it is not their child they could care less. I simply wish that people would educate themselves more about autism and know that people on this spectrum are just like us. It is just that they respond differently and if society could embrace that fact, the world would become a better place.
4. What do you do to educate and promote awareness about autism to people who are unfamiliar with autism?
I promote awareness by attending the Autism Speaks walk in Boston which is happening on the 15th of October on the Boston Common, it is my second year doing it. I always share articles about autism on my page. I also invite them to some of the groups that I am part of which consists of mainly autism moms/dads. This way they will kind of get a glimpse of what we as autism parents go through on a daily basis.
5. What would you say to other moms and parents whose children are newly diagnosed with autism?
I would say to them be strong as it will be not an easy road. They will loose friends, family members because not everyone has the patience to deal with a child who has autism and also wanting to be around them. I would say find their tribe, people that share the same struggle as they do, that way they will not feel less of a human. Also get closer to their providers work together for the sake of their child. Get the best help they can get, I can honestly say that if it weren't for my son's team, early intervention, ABA services, his doctor, his school, he would not be where he is today. I will tell not to give up when it gets too tough, I felt that way i know it is not a good feeling but hang in there they are doing great.
6. I love that you blog often about your love for books and libraries. Why is it important to you to share about literacy and reading?
It is important that they read because it enhance the little knowledge that they have and expands their curiosity and enriches their brain. Reading creates communication between us.
7. What are your family’s favorite books to read together?
We love reading the cat and the hat series but our favorite one is IF I RAN THE RAIN FOREST by Bonnie Worth.
8. Your brood is sharp! Not only are they smart, they are super fashionable! Where do you guys go to browse for outfits?
Lol, thank you. I have discovered a few brands here on instagram like Minirodini I love them because every season they come up with a different kind of print. I also love NUNUNUWORLD for their comfortable 360 dresses and the smell , their clothing smell amazing. For my son I mostly use h&m because that is the only place i can find a great colored pants and i love their style. Add target, walmart, gap, etsy and some small shops around town.
9. Culture is very important to you and your family. Where are you all from? What do you do to root your culture into your children’s foundation?
I am from Haiti but specifically the beautiful city of Les cayes located in the south. We cook mostly haitian food, we celebrate the haitian flag day by sending them to school in the cultural outfits, which reminds me I I have to get new ones, and we speak the language which is Haitian Creole. They do not quite understand it fully but they are getting there. There are other cultural stuff that they need to know which will happen when I take them to Haiti.
10. Why did you start blogging? What do you hope people take away from you and your family’s experiences?
I started blogging to share my affordable to free adventures in or around New England with my family and to let parents know that you do not have to break the bank to take your kids out. They are beautiful and very educational national parks around, free museum days etc... There so much that they can do which can enrich their children lives at no cost. I want to encourage them to take the kids out as much as possible. It is and experience that they will never regret and will pass along to their children as well.
Follow Martine Etienne on Instagram at @aokis_chronicles