When I was pregnant for the first time the advice that I received the most was to get sleep because I was never going to sleep again. I was already a mom to two fur babies who woke me up constantly in the middle of the night so I didn’t really take this advice too seriously. And the thing is that no matter what advice you get, what books you read, what mother adjacent experience you may have had, nothing can prepare you for the realities of becoming a first time mom. It is just impossible to comprehend until you live it and see how your body, your mind and I dare say your soul, will react. It is an intense and difficult transition and it is all encompassing especially at the very beginning, so it isn’t until you kind of feel like you have the hang of it, that you can even recall who you were before you became a mom.
I am deep into motherhood. Almost 6 years and 2 kids later, and I am seeing the fog lift. I used to be someone totally different. I loved that person. I loved that life. I miss her sometimes. I’m on team hashtag no regrets over here because becoming a mother was all part of the plan, but hey, I’m only human. Of course I miss some of the things that I took for granted before having kids.
Here is a list in no particular order:
1. Real uninterrupted sleep and sleeping in till whenever I wanted on the weekends.
2. Loud crazy sex. I co-sleep and this is no longer an option unless I want to wake up and scare the baby…
3. Eating leisurely and not having to think about cooking various meals to accommodate the kid’s picky eating habits of the week.
4. Being able to be spontaneous. Freedom! Only answering to myself!
5. Going out to adult places and doing adult activities. I get to do this sometime, but not very much. We always have to accommodate the kids.
6. Watching adult TV and movies. Kiss anything rater R or PG-13 even goodbye. I didn’t sleep train so my kids are watching whatever I watch. I know, my bad.
7. Just being me and my husband in the house. The quiet, the solitude, the just-the-two-of-us-ness of it.
8. Being able to wear whatever I want and staying clean throughout the day. Kids are gross is all I’m saying.
9. Getting ready leisurely. I’m the last to get ready and by then I’m stressed and flustered.
10. Quiet time to binge read a book. Quiet in general. Oh, the constant talking sometimes kills me!
11. Being uninterrupted. I. Literally. Cannot. Finish. A. Sentence.
12. The luxury of only having to think about myself. This!
13. The luxury of wasting time. If I had only known then what I know now. Sigh.
Moral of the story is, life changes when you have a kid. (Duh) You will never know how it will change you for better or worse, until you experience it. Good luck out there first time mommas!
What are some of the things you miss from your pre-mom days?
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your pre-mom self?
Would love to hear from you!
making mom friends
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was make mom friends. I am being very deliberate about not just saying friends, because a mom friend is very specific. A mom friend is someone you can go through motherhood with. A mom friend is an ally, a confidant, an ear, and a fellow soldier in the trenches.
I was one of the first to have a baby in my friend circle. I knew nothing about babies, or baby things. Out of sheer luck, a childhood friend, who had already had a baby, moved back to our hometown, where I still lived, and she walked me through what it felt like to be a mother. She drove me to the big box baby store and showed me all of the things that I would need. She helped me to understand the vast transition that I was about to go through. And even with her being so kind, generous of her time and thorough, I still was not prepared for what motherhood would feel like to me.
Not gonna lie, this transition was rough. My son came into the world via emergency c-section, he was 2 weeks old when we move to another county, my husband started a new job, my parents moved in with us, being a first time mom was not what I was expecting and I for sure had postpartum depression. We went through a huge upheaval in our lives. I was suddenly in a new place, living another life and had no friends.
I don’t know how I managed to do this, but I gave myself a mission: to find mom friends. I joined every mom group I could find nearby. I went to every parent and child class that I could attend. I saw other moms, saw how they interacted with their babies, and I talked and asked a ton of questions. These groups helped me become more comfortable in my role as a mother, helped me feel more comfortable in my new community, helped our new multigenerational family become better acclimated.
These groups were a blessing. And while I did not make the type of mom friends that I was looking for at that time, you know, the fellow Mamacitas that would day drink with me at the park while we shit talked about the crazy things our kids did, the groups were a wonderful resource.
My son is almost 6 and I have a second child now. My close friends did eventually start having kids and I did eventually find a mom friend group in my new community. My world has grown immensely. And while I have always said that I am not good at making new friends, I proved to myself during one of the hardest times in my life, that I can. That I could. That I did.
What was your experience making mom friends?
Do you think having mom friends is important?
What do you think the benefits of having a mom friend group have been for you?
Would love to hear from you!
Post-birth, the unmentionables
I love being pregnant. I feel healthy, strong and vibrant. I’m that mom that takes a weekly picture of her bump, publishes it as a pregnancy journal, and then prominently displays it on a shelf in the living room for anyone to look through. I love the changing, ever-growing bump and everything else it ripens with it. It’s getting the kid out of me that is problematic. I’ve had 2 c-sections and right after them, it feels like a death and a birth all at once. The person I was, the body I had inhabited is gone. The baby I hold in my arms and this new body that I share, granted, in a very awkward way, have to be nursed into being. The baby and my body change over the course of the year. Each becoming independent, beautiful, whole again.
My moms version of the sex talk was threatening me to not get pregnant or else, or calling me a whore when I came home too late in my very early 20’s and because of this, there were so many things I didn’t know. I read so much about parenting, a little about giving birth, and nothing regarding post birth.
My big generalization for this week is that our mothers did not prepare us for any aspect of the birthing process because it was considered indecent and probably gross to speak about anything related to women’s bodies. It’s getting better, but women are still embarrassed to speak to each other candidly about these experiences.
What do you wish someone had told you about the postpartum experience?
I wish someone would have told me that having a baby was going to make me a better version of me. I’m stronger, more patient, kinder, more efficient, more determined.
Do you think motherhood has made you better?
Did your mother speak candidly to you about any aspect of the birth experience? Making the baby, housing the baby, birthing the baby, being with the baby?
Would love to hear from you!
Talking to our kids
Momming while Latina in the American suburbs is a nuanced balance between instinctually parenting based on what I experienced as a kid, and implementing parenting skills I am expected to know based on my mama peer group. And to be honest some days it’s a toss-up rather than a conscious choice. There is a battle between the reactionary angry or dismissive mama I can be based on my upbringing, or I can be a self-aware, patient, kind. It really depends on a couple of factors. How well did I sleep last night and how many glasses of wine/cocktails/beers did I “responsibly” drink with dinner. (I can hear my mother, “Grocera, sin verguenza!”)
I mean the way I speak with my children, and not just to my children is weird. I treat them like actual people! Even as babies and could not possibly respond! I know, so progressive of me. It’s like I respect them or something?
This, just the amount of talking and sharing and expressing of words and feeling and drawings and colors that represent words that explain feelings. Oh. My. Goodness. Is it any wonder that my 5 year old never shuts up?
The modern American mother that I am becoming talks all the time. The traditional Latina mother that I was raised by did not. She gave commands. She gave reprimands. And when I got old enough, was not afraid to give some very traditionally female insults. I’m sure you can guess some.
Open and honest communication, building a relationship based on trust and respect, being conscious of what I say to and about others, truly understanding the importance and weight of words, listening; all skills I had to figure out along the way, and definitely not what came naturally when I began my parenting journey.
My huge generalization for the week is that Latina mothers from that time did not talk to their kids as much as we talk to our kids now, nor in the same way. How much and how do you talk with your children? Is it similar or different than how your family spoke to you when you were a kid? Was healthy communication an emphasis in your home or was it not existent? What factors contributed to this?
Would love to hear from you!
What is a Mamacita?
When you think of a mom, what images come to mind?
When you think of a mom, do you ever think of her as her own person? I think we tend to forget that moms were once girls and then women with their own lives and goals and feelings.
I often explain to my five year old that I am not just his mother or his little sister's mother, or his father’s wife, but also my own person. Yes I take care of everyone but I also include myself. I take care of myself. I am a mother and while that identity does encompass every aspect of my life and my personality, it is not all of me. Even if I am in full mom mode, I still feel like myself. There is a self-assuredness that this moment I am living is chosen and fleeting and so I enjoy it. I know that inherently I am still sexy, I am still pursuing my goals, I am a complete person exercising her full self. This is hard, takes constant reminders and is not overtly obvious. You will not see me with my kids at the park and think there goes a sexy fulfilled woman. No, you probably won’t even notice me. But that’s not the point. It’s not for the passers-by. Feeling good is for me. Feeling like a mamacita comes from within.
My huge generalization for this first episode is that in our mom’s era, in the countries in which they grew up or became mother’s in, the identity of being a mom thwarted any other identity they may have had. Mothers were not seen as whole human beings. They were just seen as moms. They could be working moms, but Mom with a capital M took over everything.
This is a podcast about starting conversations. So please, what is a mamcita? What makes you feel like a mamacita? Do you feel pressure to be one way or the other, either the sacrificed mother or the mom who can do it and have it all? Are either of these roles even attainable or realistic?
Would love to hear from you!
Wendy writes blog posts that turn into conversations for the Mamá Cita Podcast.