Book Review: Mom of Two – Study case: Erik and gluten-free life at 3 years old

Catalina brought us along to walk down the memory lane, as she struggled with her toddler who is gluten intolerant and how she found ways that worked for her in replacing gluten products in the home and family meals, and how they had to avoid restaurants that are not catering to the needs of Erik’s diet. I do believe that this book provides an overview of what parents should be aware of when they have kids needing special diet, not just in terms of the dietary needs but also the mental preparation that parents can expect along the way.


Author Interview with Catalina Tagarta

Nothing is harder than writing about myself. I’ve been working as an editor since university. I also ” tested out” as a teacher for a very short time, alongside being a journalist, only to realise that although I love working with children, I love writing more and more.

In my 10+ years in journalism and a few years in public relations, I’ve had the idea several times to create a blog, where I could put my thoughts, but this only came to life after I had my second child. That was when I was writing the last pages of the memory book I had started when I delivered my first son. And as more and more people asked me how we were doing in the formula of 4, I thought maybe it would be helpful to leave my notes out for others to see. And that way I’d have access to our memories, too, when I wanted to. That’ s how was started, a soul project that is just beginning.

Author Catalina Tagarta:

“If I manage to help even one person with my book, then all my work has not been in vain”

1. Describe yourself in five words!

Five words to describe me? Well: dreamy, generous, sensitive, faithful, diplomatic or conciliatory.

2. What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

For a while I had very low self-esteem, because of some events I went through. It took me a long time to understand that it wasn’t my fault. Not even my child’s illness is, although we mothers tend to blame ourselves when we find out something is wrong with our children. It was necessary to work hard on myself to get rid of the limiting beliefs I had, I invested a lot of time and money in personal development, training and coaching programs, because in turn I want to help mothers who are going through the same challenges that I had to deal with.

3. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

I thought that’s what you were going to ask. Self-doubts can manifest in many forms. It may have to do with the fact that you haven’t prepared yourself well enough for what you want to do, or that you have had similar experiences in the past that didn’t work out well for you, or that you think about how you might be perceived by others. It helped me to make a list of 100 of the values I hold, and to read it daily, and when I discover something new, to add to it. In addition, my mentor at the time challenged me to write down the limiting beliefs I have in my diary, and next to each one to write down the action that benefits me. For example, under the limiting belief:

“I fear failure – others have succeeded, but I will not”, I write down: “I am human, just like others, so I can succeed just like them. If I don’t try I will never know if I would have succeeded or not”. Mistakes are constructive. The important thing is to act every day in the direction of our dream. Am I afraid? It’s normal to feel that way. But I want to live a constructive fear, which does not panic me, but leads me to act rationally, towards my main goal.

4. What scares you the most? 

That there will be no peace in the world. I have kids… and I want to know they are safe.

5. What makes you happiest?

The gratitude of the people I help in one form or another. And the happiness that I see on my children’s faces when I play with them.

6. Why do you write?

I write out of a desire to help those around me, to add value through the messages and experiences I share that may prove life-saving for a few.

7. Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes, for all my life. When I was little I loved literature class, I used to write stories on any topic. And later I worked as a journalist. I love doing interviews, but I like more to write from the heart, about my experiences.

8. What motivates you to write?

If I manage to help even one person with my words, or my book, then all my work has not been in vain.

9. What writing are you most proud of?

I am proud of the book “Mom of Two. Parenting tips for raising healthy and confident children – Study case: Erik and gluten-free life at 3”, inspired by our life. I put my heart and soul into the book and I’m sure there are many moms who will relate to the story.

10. What are you most proud of in your personal life?

I am proud of my children. I feel fulfilled, because I waited for them for a long time. I’ll probably write a memoir about that, soon.

11. What books did you love growing up?

Among my favourites were The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, after all, I’m a dreamer, I like to keep my wings spread, to fly. Of course, I also liked the stories about fairies and fairy-tales. At this time I’m studying John C. Maxwell’s books a lot. I’m proud to be a member of the John Maxwell Group for a while.

 12. What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

What a good question! I want people to perceive me as a warm person, who adds value to those around him through his words and actions. After all, we don’t take anything with us into the afterlife. But we will have the satisfaction of having done, or not, a lot of good throughout our lives.

Link to the author’s book on Amazon

13. Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in a small town and spent my school holidays with my grandmother, being originally from Eastern Europe. What a beautiful childhood I had there! I like to travel a lot, so now I can say I am a little bit of every place I go.

14. How did you develop your writing?

I have simply written, always.

15. What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? 

I think the hardest part is what you don’t quite master, that part where you don’t have enough experience. In my case it’s marketing. I started studying marketing strategies a while ago, but I don’t want to spend too much time on that, because I want to stay focused on writing. I have a few more titles in mind.

16. Do you find it hard to share your work?

Very hard. And I’m still excited. I’m curious what feedback I’ll get, but, like I said… if my message helps at least one person, I declare myself satisfied. As the John Maxwell Team mentors always suggest: “If someone is out there waiting for your message, go help them! You don’t have the RIGHT to stand by and do nothing to help!”

17. Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

Yes. And that’s very helpful.

18. What else do you do, other than write? 

I love cooking, travelling and I’m passionate about photography. As my husband likes to joke: “I turn into a paparazzi when I grab the camera”.

19. What other jobs have you had in your life?

Editor/ journalist and public relations specialist.

20. If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? 

I have finished my university studies and have a Master’s degree in Ethnology and Anthropology, currently studying personal development materials. If I had to go to another university, I would probably choose Psychology. It would help me to address people better.

21. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Wherever my family is. But preferably in a warm country.

22. Tell us about your family?

I’m a committed family person. Married for… a little over 10 years, I have two young boys, spoiled by grandparents, uncle and maternal aunt. My husband is an amazing man, who supports me in everything I do and is a wonderful father.

23. How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I usually write on my computer/laptop, but there are days when I also jot down my ideas on my phone or on a piece of paper when I’m on the go, then when I get to the computer I create the story around that idea.

24. How much sleep do you need to be your best?

I need at least 6 hours of sleep. I know the ideal would be 8, but with two young kids and lots of projects… it’s hard to get everything done just during daylight hours. I do my most writing late at night, when it’s completely quiet in the house.

25. Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

There are several people, but I wouldn’t want to list and omit anyone. Most of all I am grateful to God… and I thank him daily for all that I have and all that I am.

26. Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

A successful career as a writer, for me, means having my audience resonate with me and my ideas, waiting each time for a new release with the hope that this time too they will have something to learn, or simply relax reading my work.

27. It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

As a beginning book writer, I don’t have a great marketing strategy in place yet. I’m still working on it. My targets are mothers who feel overwhelmed, mothers with sick children and mothers who want to become a better version of themselves. I resonate with people who are constantly in the process of growing, developing.

28. Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

The book started as a game. When my almost 3 year old boy was diagnosed with celiac disease, I was constantly struggling to explain to him WHY he was no longer allowed to eat gluten. So I started making up stories. Every night, I used to tell him about a little boy, Eric, who doesn’t eat gluten. And how he manages to overcome all the challenges. When appropriate, I also introduced his little brother, giving him examples of how Eric managed to handle conflicts with him in a way that no one got hurt and everyone had the most to gain. I started writing the stories, and then I got the idea to put them all together in a book. A book in which I also added valuable medical information, provided by a specialist doctor who is also a patient, so she knows very well what it means to keep such a strict diet. You can find it on Amazon: The title is: “Mom of Two: Parenting tips for raising healthy and confident children – Study case: Erik and gluten-free life at 3 years old”.

29. When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I like to meditate.

30. What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I remember when I had no children and I used to search the forums for any question about fertility, for example. Then, after I had my second baby, I desperately searched through books and the internet for solutions on how to divide myself between my two children, how to meet their needs and connect equally well with both of them… There will always be people looking for such things. It’s inevitable. And through my stories, I hope to shed some light into the lives of these readers. If after reading my book they’re left with at least 2-3 ideas, I declare myself satisfied.