Jeannette Kaplun
Parenting expert and mother of two Jeannette Kaplun likes to stay in touch with her parents and grandparents via Skype. Courtesy Photo

Missing your mom, step-mom or grandmother on Mother’s Day? Busy mother of two Jeannette Kaplun has some tips to help you bridge the miles to a loved one who may live far away or in another country. Kaplun was born in El Paso, Texas, but now lives in Miami. Her mother lives in Chile, where Kaplun was raised. Kaplun is a bilingual award-winning journalist, TV personality and internationally recognized parenting expert. She founded Todobebé in 1999, a parenting website in Spanish, and served as editor-in-chief of that for over a decade. More recently, she launched a lifestyle website for Hispanic women called Hispana Global in 2012, where she shares parenting, beauty, fashion, travel and technology tips. The website is in both Spanish and English.

Kaplun won LATISM’s 2011 Best Parenting Blogger award and was named in 2002 as one of the most influential Hispanic journalists by Hispanic Media 100. The enthusiastic mother took some time to speak with us at Latin Times about her career and she shared some Mother’s Day tips for making all the moms in your life feel special. Check out the interview below.

Latin Times: Tell me a bit about how you became a parenting expert. What was it about your growing up experience that led you to that career?

Jeannette Kaplun: I’m a journalist by training. Once I got married and all my friends started having babies, I realized there wasn’t much information available for parents in Spanish. So, I created a website called Todobebé, and I became editor-in-chief. For 13 years I hosted TV shows, I wrote a book about babies’ first year, I had radio shows and interviewed so many experts and so many parents that I can’t stop writing about it! Even though now I have more of a lifestyle blog called Hispana Global, I really love helping other parents bring up their children because I’m a mom, too. I have two kids, ages 8 and 11. I know all the adventures and the challenges that we face as moms and dads.

LT: You’ve said there are seven moms in your life. Who are those seven moms and what roles do they play for you?

JK: I’m celebrating seven moms in my life, but they are not actually all my moms. They are mother figures. I have one mom who lives in Chile. I have two grandmas. I have my sister-in-law. I have my mother-in-law. I have my godmother, whom I adore. And my husband’s grandma has been like my own grandmother since I married him. So, I want to make them all feel special on Mother’s Day.

LT: How do you keep in touch with all these moms?

JK: It’s quite a challenge to stay in touch with mom and grandma when they live far away. I live in Miami and my mom lives in Chile. They way that I’ve discovered that makes it really, really easy is by using technology. I love using video messages. I downloaded the Skype app, which is free, on my tablet, on my smartphone and my computer. That way I can send a video message to mom whenever the time comes. I can send her three minutes of video. It’s free, and she can play it over and over. That way she not only hears my voice, but she can see me. I can record video messages with my kids. She can see what my kids are up to, how tall they are getting. That for me is priceless.

Jeannette Kaplun
Jeannette Kaplun Courtesy Photo

LT: What are some of the challenges of keeping up with a mom who lives in a different country? How can you overcome those?

JK: One of the challenges of living far away from your mom is that you miss out on the day-to-day. There are so many things that happen on any given day that you can’t be sharing the entire time. That’s why I think that video is so important because it’s one thing telling those that you love about what happens, but it’s a completely different story when you get to show them. So many TVs come equipped with smartTV technology that you can do a video call and have the kids dance in front of it or sing or even say different jokes. It really makes it special for your mom to be able to see those small things. Not only something that’s been staged for Mother’s Day, but on a day-to-day basis, being able to stay in touch through a video call makes it all the more special. Because you could be in the middle of your child’s gymnastics competition, you could be in the middle of a soccer game and actually show your mom what’s happening. At least she can feel like she’s there with you.

LT: Would you say Latina moms face any unique challenges living in the U.S.?

JK: For many Latina moms living in the U.S., you face different challenges. Even if you are a second-generation Latina, you have all the pressures from your own family. People will give you tons of well-intentioned advice, but sometimes you’re not willing to follow it or that advice is out-dated. It can hard setting boundaries and explaining to others why you are doing things differently. What we need to keep in mind is that our parents and grandparents are from a different generation that had different kinds of information available to them. Just treat them with respect. Say thank you, and do whatever you think is best for your family following the guidelines from your pediatrician or all the other experts that you might have been in touch with.

LT: What are some thoughtful Mother’s Day ideas for moms that live far away?

JK: There are many thoughtful gifts for moms that live far away. For example, aside from sending them a video message, you can created a virtual photo book. That way you are taking a walk down memory lane. Gather all those pictures that you might have stored in your smartphone or your computer or your tablet, and put together a virtual scrapbook. Share it through OneDrive or the so many different apps that are available with your own mom. That way she can really take a look at those beautiful, beautiful pictures that she might not have seen otherwise. Or if you have time, print it out, and create your own photo book that you can send to her or to grandma. And that way they can flip over the pictures, and show them off to their own friends. Or you can create a mug with the kids if you mom loves coffee. You can have the kids draw on a mug. There are so many things that don’t cost much, but they really show that person that you care about them. And that you know what they like and enjoy. I think the key is finding out what mom really enjoys and get it for her because she might not necessarily buy for herself or splurge on something. If you show that you’ve been taking care of her and making the effort to find out what she really enjoys, I think it means so much.

Don’t forget step-moms! Step-moms are important, too. Early in the day, call her. Tell her how important she is to you. Share a picture of a special moment that you might have shared because the last thing that you want is for a step-mom to feel like she was an after-thought. So, do it first thing in the morning, and tell her that you love her because don’t assume that she’ll know.

LT: Do you have any tips for how to make a Skype call or video message memorable or meaningful?

JK: If you have kids with you, don’t allow them to do whatever they want. What I would say, is that if you are creating a video message, do it early in the day when your kids are full of energy. Direct them a little bit. Tell them what to dance to or you choose the music. Plan it before you hit the record button. Then record, and if it doesn’t come out the way that you want it to, you can rerecord it. That’s the advantage of the video message. Now, if you want to do a video call, you can also plan it in advance, but don’t tell the kids, “Oh, you have to do this.” Have them have fun with it. Plan, and tell them what they’re going to be doing. Whether they are going to be doing a special dance or telling a joke, but allow them to use those guidelines and use their creativity when they are dancing or hamming it up in front of the camera.

Jeannette Kaplun
Jeannette Kaplun said there are a number of ways you can get your kids involved in a Mother's Day video message to your own mom. Jeannette Kaplun

LT: What are some of the best ways to get your own kids involved in a Mother’s Day message to your mom or grandmother?

JK: Sometimes, depending on the ages of your kids, you can involve them in different ways. Sometimes kids are super creative, and they might even come up with the song that they want to sing for mom or have them actually create a special dance for mom. I think it’s a great idea to have them dancing to a special song, either from Marc Anthony or your own mom’s favorite singer. I think kids really enjoy that. But, sometimes they come up with their own ideas. My kids will sometimes draw a sign, and display it while we’re doing the video message and that makes it very different. It’s not a traditional greeting. Just ask you kids! If they are younger, you have to more or less tell them what to do, but once they get older, they come up with their own ideas. Kids are so creative. Allow them to surprise you.

For more Mother’s Day tips go to or You can follow Jeannette Kaplun on Twitter @jeannettekaplun or like her Facebook page.

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