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.