Season 1 Finale
When we first started this podcast, we knew we were making something special. Something for a niche community: Latina moms, from a certain generation, who also happen to listen to podcasts. Along the way though, we’ve realized that while we are creating a product for a niche community, it can be consumed by everyone because no matter who you are, or where you come from, the truth is that motherhood and the topics related to it, are universal. Plus, you know what else is universal? Laughter and friendship. And if you’ve listened to our podcast at all, you know that these two things are at the core.
Alex and I make a pretty good team. We have danced together, played together and now embarked on learning an entirely new industry, and all of the skills that go with it together. It has been an exhausting and at once exciting endeavor. Exhausting because learning to do something new always is. Exciting because the response, while not representing an exorbitant number, has been a wave of love and positivity, which in the end is the greater sum. We laugh a lot and since we did not set out to create comedy, in fact, we intended well researched, informative and fun, we had no idea that the most repeated comment would be that listeners laugh along with us.
The laughter and the shared experience of momming while Latina has resonated with our very special niche community and we are so thankful. You know how they say you learn to be a mom with your first born child? Well, we learned to be mom podcasters with Season 1. And you know how they say by the second child you get it right? Well, same. See you for Season 2! Launch date to be announced.
And as always, would love to hear from you!
Drowning in kid stuff
Kids require an enormous amount of equipment. You have all the gear for sleeping, feeding, transporting, dressing, cleaning and entertaining. Because kids grow so fast, once you are in the never-ending loop of kid stuff, you are kind of stuck in it until they are independent.
It begins with the baby shower. I don’t really know how long the baby shower tradition as we know it has been around, but it is all dumb in my opinion. The only part of the modern day baby shower that I think is genius, is the registering for gifts part and making the guests buy you things from this list. Honestly, without this guided list, my baby would have been born and I would not have had any of the necessary items needed for taking care of a baby. First of all I hate shopping and at that point in my life, I had never been around babies so I really didn’t understand all of the gear that would be needed. I was very fortunate. I got everything on my baby registry and then some.
And then the baby, (babies now), kept getting more stuff from well meaning family and friends, who are so lovely and just want to support and bring joy to these children, until the accumulation of kid stuff started taking over the house and one day, I woke up and it looked like a Toys r Us and a Gap Baby had exploded in my house. I was pretty good for a long time about keeping most kid things at bay, but then I had a second baby and now we have kid stuff in every room and it truly stresses me out. I am by no means a hoarder. The opposite in fact. I am constantly donating and getting rid of stuff and still, more stuff just appears.
I don’t think I had that much stuff growing up. No, I know that I didn't have that much stuff growing up. This is probably why I also don’t think that much stuff is necessary.
I am two kids in and the most useful items have been:
Honestly, the useless list can go on and on, but that's just me. I just don't like having that much stuff.
How do you keep the kid's stuff from taking over your house?
What items have you found to be the most useful? Which were the least useful?
Would love to hear from you!
Mother’s Day is this weekend and we thought that it would be interesting to discuss the complexities of the mother daughter relationship. Then, we actually thought about it and decided that maybe therapy should come first before we let ourselves fall deep into the emotional well, that is our own relationships with our mothers. I mean, really, we started this podcast as a creative way to talk shit about our mothers and the way they parented us. It was to be a converter of sad and traumatic events into comedy. We are only 20 episodes in, and while we are no longer just talking shit about our mothers, we are definitely not in a place to really delve into our mommy issues.
So… I poured us a cocktail and we decided to watch Bad Moms instead. Alex had never seen it and I really did not remember it. We laughed. Alex cried. We loved the moral of the story. Basically, this movie reminds us that we are all “bad moms.” The perfect mom is an unattainable illusion. The expectations placed on mothers are ridiculous. If we buy into these ideals of what motherhood is supposed to look like, we will never be good enough and always be unhappy.
Let’s face it, this whole model of perfection and unrealistic expectations is placed in all the roles inherent to women. We are supposed to be perfect at everything, our jobs, our relationships, at home, as mothers, and look perfect while doing it all and having it all.
After watching the movie and grazing the surface on some of the mommy issues that came up for us while we watched, we concluded that on mother’s day, along with accepting presents and praise, we should also practice a little bit of self-love. Let’s practice being nicer to ourselves. Let’s practice being patient with ourselves. Let’s allow ourselves to make mistakes and not be perfect. Let’s allow the “bad mom” in us all to emerge, show us how to have fun again and put the “priorities” into perspective. We are so, so, hard on ourselves. Let Mother’s Day be the beginning of a newer and kinder relationship with ourselves.
How will you celebrate Mother's Day?
How will you practice being kinder and more patient with yourself?
Would love to hear from you!
Alex and I both have bicultural children. We are always trying to figure out how to instill in them the cultural traditions and cultural identity that we grew up with. It’s hard. Our kids are growing up in a different world. One in which we have to re-educate ourselves regarding terms like Latinidad.
I like the word Latinidad because to me it sounds very similar to La Unidad, unity. But apparently I am totally wrong about this because as I’ve researched this term and have learned about how it has been used, I have come to realize that it is just another umbrella term that does not quiet encompass the diversity that exists in the Latin American diaspora. This umbrella term just assumes that we are the same type of demographic and this could not be further from the truth.
Politicians, marketers, content creators want to speak to us and appeal to us because we are a fast growing population who will soon be approaching our peak earning years. Having a term like Latino, makes it easy for them, the people in power, the patriarchy, however you want to call it, to put a very diverse population into a very neat little box. The real question here is: is it easier on us to be or become Latinos in the US or is it just another confusing term of identity we have to adapt to and learn to be a part of?
Honestly it’s both easier and confusing. It is easy in the sense that I can just say that I am Latina and most people know what I am talking about, and what that kind of sort of means. Latino/a/x provides a point of reference mainstream America understands. It is more confusing though because it is added layer of identity. I have to be from my country of origin. I have to be American. I also have to be this hybrid Latino in the US that is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, depending on where in the US I reside.
If it is confusing for me, imagine how it is for my kids who happen to also be bicultural. This is my challenge as a mom. How will I teach my children about all of the spaces that they inhabit?
How do you explain Latinidad to your kids?
Is this a term you identify with?
Would love to hear from you!
In the 1990’s there was what the media dubbed the Latin explosion, referencing pop artists such as Ricky Martin, J-Lo and Marc Anthony who were successfully doing cross over albums. I remember my teenage self thinking finally, we (Latinos) have arrived. But as it happens with most trends, the idea of the Latin explosion was fleeting.
It wasn’t until recently that I started noticing more Spanish language programming on Netflix, and then learned about the conscious efforts of said company to appeal to and coerce more Latino viewership that I thought to myself, ok Latinos must be trending once again.
But now that we are popular again, are these bigger entities political, commercial and the media, that are trying to coerce us into backing their ideas, purchasing their products, or following their brands, going to do us justice or will they just perpetuate stereotypes that the the mainstream culture is comfortable with? Will we finally get a chance to be real people living in the US with universal problems or will we still be portrayed as two-dimensional caricatures?
In the past, the representation of Latino women in the media has been extremely stereotypical at best. We have been portrayed as the sex pot, the maid, the gangster or as immigrants that cannot speak English, or speaks English with an accent. And while I admit that all stereotypes are founded in some truth, and that we all know one of these archetypes in our own circles, what is missing is everyone else in between. Real, complex, complicated, people that straddle and navigate both worlds with ease and distress.
All I’m saying is that if the powers that be want to appeal to the Latin market and get the Latina experience right, they should check in with real Latinos from all walks of life. They may learn that we have more similarities than differences and that the part about being Latino can just be descriptive and not necessarily all defining.
What are some stereotypes of the Latina woman or mom that you’ve encountered in the media?
Do you see yourself accurately represented?
What would you like to see in the portrayal of Latina women and moms in the media?
Would love to hear from you!
There is a story about my childhood that goes something like this. I am a baby and I am crying without consolation. In modern times, this would be considered colic. In the olden days, my mother was told that I had been given the evil eye. Whether it was done intentionally by a jealous friend, or unintentionally by a passerby that just had la mirada muy fuerte, or a strong gaze, is unbeknownst to me. The solution to my colic, err, evil eye, was to have someone rub an egg all over my body. The idea was that the egg would suck up the evil eye magic that was making me cry. After they had rubbed this salmonella covered egg all over my tiny baby body, they cracked the egg. The yolk was dirty, and so the magic had worked. I was evil eye free! After that my mother was advised to put a bracelet made of gold and red beads on me to prevent this from ever happening again.
Who was this person that performed the evil eye ritual, who knows? Was she paid? Most certainly but who knows how much? She must have been the town curandera or bruja, or witch doctor, or whatever you prefer. The point is that my mother believed so wholeheartedly as to put her baby in the hands of this “trusted” stranger?
Our lives are filled with so many superstitions. Even today, when we consider ourselves more educated because of the advancements in science and technology, we partake in superstitious rituals "just in case." These rituals are a way to make us feel like we have control over what is often times uncontrollable, like luck, love, and the opinion of others, to name a few.
What are some superstitions you grew up with?
Do you find that these superstitions are true or provide comfort or a sense of control?
Are you passing down these superstitions to your kids?
Would love to hear from you!
What does this even mean? I guess I have been a good girl because I have been a good person, but I know that the connotation of this phrase is much more weighted. It has the patriarchy written all over it. It is dripping with sexual undertones. It screams cultural gender norms at me. This is not a phrase I ever use with my daughter. It is a phrase I would employ in the presence of a dog and even then, I would prefer to use the dog’s name.
I understand how it can be an automatic phrase used when parenting. It is a seemingly simple phrase that kids can understand. But good and bad, boy and girl, black and white are not simplistic opposites. They are very nuanced and complex terms. I am not saying that I know what would be a better alternative. In parenting I am really just trying my best but mostly making it up as I go along. All I know in regards to the phrase “good girl,” or more specifically, “be a good girl,” is that I do not use it.
Usually I have written about a topic before we talk about it on the podcast. This episode was improvised. Honestly I do not remember much of what was said except that the reason I never use the “be a good girl” phrase, is because it is confusing. Be a good girl means do not do bad things. Why not just say “don’t do…” fill in the blank? I also never use this phrase because I do not want my daughter to equate actions that are seen as “bad” as descriptions of her character. The action may be bad, but she is not, therefore she does not have to be a "good girl" or be anything really. She can just be herself.
In Spanish there is no phrase that is used in parenting that is the exact translation of "be a good girl." We say "portate bien," which translates to "behave well." I definitely use that phrase often, but I don't use it as a threat the way my mother would use it, engaging a stern voice and a severe gaze. Rather, I use it as a friendly reminder.
Do you find yourself using the phrase "be a good girl," with your daughter?
What are you really trying to say when you use this phrase?
Is this something your mother said to you?
Would love to hear from you!
It’s Safe to say Latino culture is male chauvinist oriented and generally revers the machismo persona. There are a lot of factors that come into play. Catholicism which is inherently part of being Latino, proliferates the idea of traditional gender roles as the best way. What does this mean? Women in the home and men at work. But it starts earlier than that. It starts with how we treat our kids and the differences that exist in how we treat boys versus girls.
There is a juxtaposition between what culture may dictate and what is really being practiced in the home. For example, I am always reminded of a scene from my big fat Greek wedding where one of the aunts says The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, meaning the woman is the one that navigates which way the head or man is going to move. While Latin culture may adhere to the man as the ruler of the home, it is matriarchal in the sense that the mother figure, usually the grandma is the one that is the most respected in the family and often times consulted on important matters.
I hope to become the matriarch in my family.
I am thankful that my kids are growing up in an era when the world view is shifting on so many topics specifically those around gender. They will have a world that is much more open to them and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop as people. They will be able to define themselves as they see fit and hopefully will not be shackled to cultural expectations around gender. In a way and because I am part of two cultures, and grew up straddling both, I grew up in a changing era but also experienced what it is like and what it feels like to be rooted in these traditional gender roles.
My big generalization is that in our mother's time there was a stigma associated with not following traditional gender roles.
What do gender roles mean to you? What gender stereotypes do you conform to? Which do you challenge? How will you explain gender roles and gender stereotypes to your kids?
Would love to hear from you!
I had a baby in December of 2019 and by March of 2020 we entered this never ending pandemic. I had a newborn and a 4 year old who needed my attention all of the time, but I was hopeful, optimistic, or maybe just naïve, but I swore that the pandemic would pass quickly just like other possible pandemics we had lived through. I had just gotten myself off the couch and back into the studio. I was feeling myself and managed to have one fabulous week. We went to a fancy dinner party, 4 year old and a 2.5 month old in tow. I dusted off my stilettos and wore white. That weekend I also had a girls night out and went to a speakeasy wine bar and classical concert. After recovering from a second c-section and settling into my new identity as a mother of two, I felt like I was starting to live again. And then the safer at home order came.
I leaned into this stay at home mom thing and really just stopped doing anything that was work related, or that had to do with anything about me. I learned quickly that it was not a sustainable way of living. You can’t be everything for everyone and nothing for yourself.
I have been extremely fortunate during this pandemic. I have not had to worry about anything except not getting Covid. I live in a beautiful place. I say this all the time, but really being at home in 2020, I have really lived in my beautiful place and I have really appreciated living in this beautiful place. I hate to even have a complaint because I know that what I am saying is coming from a place of privilege and really, how dare I? My 20 something self would roll her eyes at the current me and remind her to toughen up because we know what it’s like to have real worries.
But as a mom with 2 small children during a pandemic, this is what I am supposed to do right, complain? I don’t know, I can’t… It’s hard because my kids are great, but yes, it has been extremely hard to be a mom during the pandemic. My kids know that their job is to play and to learn. I am the mom and so I facilitate all of this. What does that mean for me? It means I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the floor playing. I’ve walked a million steps on our daily walks around the neighborhood. I’ve made up hundreds of stories and games. I’ve talked about little kid things until my brain started to disintegrate from lack of actual use, because you know, it’s a muscle. If you don’t use it you lose it. I shrunk an inch and lost so many brain cells, from lack of use and from my quarantine hobby of drinking cocktails. I played dammit! If my kids so much as allude to some bull that I never played with them I am going to disown them.
Yes, I feel very strongly about this, but for good reason. My mother didn’t really play with me. She would say “quieres que vaya a llamar al ejercito para que venga a jugar contigo?” First of all, what?! “Do you want me to call the army to come play with you?” I don’t even know where she got that from, what it means or why she would say this to me. All she had to do was be honest. “No I don’t like to play.” “No, I’m busy doing blah blah…” “No, I hate you.” Whatever, but it all goes back to communication and talking to our kids. The truth never occurred to her but this saying, which she said a lot, because I asked her to play with me a lot, was the right thing for her to say? In my little kid brain it was like a threat and a no at the same time. It’s so weird because with my kids, my mom is on the floor playing, dancing, laughing. It’s unrecognizable to me.
My big generalization is that our Latin mamas did not play with us because they were not aware of the cognitive benefits of playing in children. The idea that kids learn through playing is a new concept and so for them playing was just not necessary.
Did your parents engage in active playtime with you? How much do you play with your kids? How have you coped with the monotony that is every day with a kid?
Would love to hear from you!
My mom always said del amor no se vive, one does not live off of love. I always hated when she said that. It sounded so horrible, especially since my idea of romantic love came from the melodramatic Telenovelas I watched in the evenings and the romantic comedies I watched at the movies on the weekend. I always fancied myself one of the heroines, waiting for love to come and sweep me off my feet. And in a way, I was. I waited and waited and waited until I started writing sad poetry about my aging virginity.
As a kid I remember going to Toys r Us. This was a pretty big deal in my house because my parents never bought toys. I was allowed to pick something out and I picked out Heartthrob, The Dream Date Game from 1988. It was basically a bunch of centerfold cards or headshots of eligible bachelors, and I’m sure there were rules to the game too, but I never got to play with anyone because I didn’t have friends at that time, and I don’t think I even spoke English, so all I did was look at the cards and pick which boys I liked best solely based on looks. And that is how I would continue to pick boys to like for most of my youth, which is probably why I never had a boyfriend growing up. The “cute” or “cool” boys just weren’t into me.
My parents were pretty strict when it came to boys and dating anyway. I wasn’t allowed to go on dates, boys couldn’t call me on the phone, I think? Honestly my parents never said I couldn’t date or have boys call me on the phone, but I assumed as much because anytime any of this came up my parents made me feel ashamed for even thinking about it, or patronized, because how could a child understand the complexities of what a relationship entails? This could of all been something I made up in my head, but there it is. I did not date until college and I did not have a real boyfriend until I was in my 20’s.
Valentine's Day has always been a downer, except for my dad. My dad would always be my Valentine. He would bring me a flower or a teddy bear or a balloon, you know, the stuff you can buy from the guy selling them at the stop light. It was cute and thoughtful and my best memories of a contrived holiday that has for the most part just made me feel lonely and unlovable. If he ever brought my mom flowers though she would say, estas se van a morir. Porque no me das el dinero mejor, or “these are going to die why not give me the money instead.” Once he put money in the flowers and she was both happy and insulted.
My big generalization is that our ideas and expectations of romantic love will never live up to reality and that this hyped up holiday is not doing anyone any favors, but rather creating more reasons to feel bad about ourselves and our love lives.
Have you ever had a good Valentine's?
What were your ideas of romantic love before having experienced love?
My mother used to say del amor no se vive, one does not live off of love. Did your mom have any of these totally unromantic sayings?
Would love to hear from you!
Wendy writes blog posts that turn into conversations for the Mamá Cita Podcast.