In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m going to tell you the truth about motherhood (according to me-of course). Most of you, if you are moms, already know this. Which means you are evil geniuses, letting the rest of us believe the hype. Oh yes, “motherhood it’s the best thing in the world” or “it will change you forever” along with “ You will wonder why you weren’t a mother sooner.” That my dears is all Hallmark make belief.
Yes, motherhood is the most amazing thing in the world, but it is not for everyone. It is also not for the weak. It definitely does in fact change you forever, because you do not know exhaustion or worry until you’ve become a mother. You might not know self-doubt until you become a mother, because first time mom’s-we doubt every single decision we make after giving birth. Some of us might in fact wonder why we didn’t do it sooner because we’ve come to the realization that having babies in our mid to late 30’s is f’n insane and exhausting. What I would do to have the energy I had while dancing those nights away in the club. Do you all remember those days of barely sleeping and going to work the next day? Now I can’t even get up early to go for a morning run like I use to prebaby. If he’s still asleep, might as well stay asleep too.
But I’ll tell you this, I wouldn’t change a damn thing.
With that being said, I’m also no longer the “…oh really? Why?” sad head tilt to the side when women say “I don’t’ want kids” those days are gone. Now I say “good for you!” These women know what they want and are not going to fall prey to societal or cultural norms that somewhat make us believe that we have not become a woman until we’ve had an offspring or gotten married. If you’re not Brown, you are probably gasping at this concept, but honey it is true. Who cares if you are the first to graduate in your family. PhD? Who cares, unless it’s your husband’s then it’s “si, mija que Bueno” True story.
For instance, I knew if I wanted to hurt my mother I would say “I don’t want kids!” I would get the “how did I fail” look from her. It was the hardest thing for her to hear, but the funniest thing for me to witness. I know, I suck.
Motherhood is amazing. It has taught me so many things about myself, life, and humanity in general. I’ve also felt the most beautiful emotions and felt the worst type of anger too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
I’ll be honest the good outweighs the bad, but damn the bad hits hard. For example, my son who is five just made me see red for the first time ever. I reached a new level of anger that I had never achieved before, or I don’t remember at least. He was having the worst day, I tried everything I had in my tool box, but nothing was coming through and he was just challenging me every step of the way. I swallowed my anger. I physically felt it go down my throat and spread like wildfire throughout my body. I was full of it. The result no screen time for him for two days. Me? I ended up with a migraine for two days. Yup, emotions when not released are a trigger for me. It was the worst thing for me, I felt like crap. I couldn’t believe how angry he had made me. This tiny human, had such an effect on me.
Was it control? Maybe. I’m so use to being an authority figure and here’s this tiny human standing his ground. I was trying to figure out how I could have gone around it differently. But I don’t think I could have. I should also say that I was recovering from my first COVID shot and had been feeling crappy the day before. Maybe this affected my reaction, I honestly don’t know. What I’m sure about is that I was angry and in pain.
I didn’t know it then but I felt it afterwards, I was disconnected from my son as well. I was still caring for him, making sure his needs were met. Sitting through 2 days of zoom class, until I couldn’t handle my migraine anymore. When my migraine went away and I journaled my emotions, I felt better. That night, as my son asked me to cuddle (which he hadn’t since we got into it),I obliged, and I couldn’t stop kissing him, I realized I hadn’t done that for the last couple of nights. I realized then, I had emotionally pulled away from my son. That night we went back to our night time routine of snuggles and kisses before bed.
This realization made me feel shitty, my poor son. But he was okay, generally speaking, he was okay. I hadn’t done the work. I hadn’t processed my feelings and it was affecting our relationship. I’ve realized how important it is for us that I process my feelings. I should have taken a time out to process them.
I realized why we have some shitty people walking this earth. They never gave themselves permission to feel and process whatever they were feeling. They pushed these feelings aside and kept going, not good for anyone.
This also made me realize why it’s so important to be your own person and put on the oxygen mask first. I’ve gotten into discussions (some heated some not) regarding mother’s maintining their individuality. For some, if you’re a mother your individual-self no longer exists. It’s all about your children and/or family. You no longer matter. This is such a fucked up patriarchal and outdated concept. This is why we have so many damaged humans walking around, and let’s not forget Betty Ford Centers. We also see many Silver Divorces now, people are realizing they are not happy. It takes guts to call it quits after decades together, but they are putting themselves first. Let’s not forget that some of these folks are the same ones that coined the “stay in it for the kids” antiquated love song. To this I say, “Bullshit. You leave because of the kids. You leave before unhappiness becomes hate. Before the hate becomes violence. Before the violence becomes a cycle.”
We can’t lose ourselves in mamihood. Our children add an extra layer to who we are. Keep your hobbies, girl’s nights, book clubs, and even if you don’t do it often self-care routines. My mother taught me this when I had my son, she kept reminding me that I am a woman who happens to be a mother. It will never work if you put mother first. She would urge me to go out with my friends, at first I hated this, but realized the benefits of it for both my son and myself. Like everything else, it’s a balance. You don’t want to be so consumed by motherhood that you completely lose yourself. They become your world, you smother instead of teach independence. You raise your child in a bubble which leaves them useless when faced with real life. You’ve become so dependent on your child, that you feel lost when they “leave you” and try to build their own identity outside of your shadow. That’s too much pressure for your kid, they should not be your entire world, just a part of it. You also don’t want to be that mother that lets their kids fend for themselves. that’s not just neglect it’s abuse. Balance. My dear, balance.
Having kids makes you feel things you have never experienced before, you go from both extremes: love and anger. I’ve never knew love like I did before I held him in my arms. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I felt when he first said “mami” or reached for me. I look at his pictures when he was little and I’m overcome, I have to go to him and kiss him each time. Even now as I’m writing about him, I have to stop and stare at him and I’m received with a “Why are you looking at me for?” and let me tell you I don’t ever remember being that angry.
But aside from the emotional rollercoaster, I love experiencing everything for the first time through his eyes. It brings back the wonder of the most tiniest things: butterflies, bubbles, dandelions, colors, the ocean, rain, and pizza. How many of us have taken pizza for granted as we’ve grown into adulthood and have sophisticated our taste buds?
I’ve learned to be flexible. This is the biggest lesson. You cannot rush kids. No, ma’am. You definitely can’t. It’s wasted energy. They don’t understand time and they honestly don’t care. We know about time, so we have to be planners and we also have to give ourselves a break when things happen. For instance, you’re ready to go. You’ve asked the potty question a few times. You get the same “no” response. Then as you are carrying everything out the door you get the “I have to pee” or even better you’re in the car, buckling them in and you get the “mami I have to poop” FUCK! Flexibility. It’s the only thing that will help you. Plus, some extremely understanding friends and family, which I’m blessed to have.
When I text the “I’m sorry, I’m running late” which usually happens if I’m taking my kid with me. I always get the “Don’t worry”. I’m so apologetic when I see them and they all say “Don’t worry, I get it. You have the nugget.” This understanding is pure gold to me. I don’t remember if they were this flexible before I had a kid, but they definitely are now and it’s a blessing.
Motherhood is tough, but it really isn’t. I mean it’s common sense. But…yet it is because you don’t want to screw this tiny human up. You want them to be a blessing everywhere they go, not assholes. You don’t want to screw them up so bad that you are all they talk about in therapy, but maybe enough that it gives them character. It’s a thin line. Really thin. They are the legacy we will leave behind, which should be enough to keep you awake at night.
Honestly, I’m a realist. I’m going to do the best I can and pray for the best. I’m going to establish a strong foundation, the best I know how. I will not transfer my hurt or insecurities, but give him all that is good in me. I will pray that is enough, I will not be a helicopter parent. I will provide him with the best tools possible and he will have to take it from there. That’s why it’s important for that foundation to be strong. He’s strong willed, intelligent, and sensitive he can definitely bring some light into this world. But he can always choose darkness, that’s on him. Not me. I’m building up his tool box, he can decide what to do with it once he’s out there in the real world.
Sounds hard, right? It is. If anyone tells you differently, they are BS-ing you. Being a parent is not something you can take lightly. We are all doing the best we can, which is why mommy shamming is something I don’t understand. Nobody does it perfectly. Your way is not the best and only way, it’s just what best works for you. Don’t believe the hype on all of those mommy blogs or influencers, they are just emphasizing the good and not mentioning the bad. Which makes sense, we all want everyone to believe we have it all under f’n control even when we don’t.
- Not everyone’s body bounces back. Shit, girl, birth is the closes to death you will ever be you think your body is ready to go on a 20 mile hike afterwards and fit into size 2 immediately after? Nope and nope. Celebrities have trainers and nanny’s. Even if you are able to fit into a size 2, I’m sure you’ll see a change in your body elsewhere.
- Peeing on yourself is inevitable for either of you.
- Pregnant Glow. That’s sweat, it’s not a glow. It’s sweat. You get soooo damn hot when your pregnant.
- I’m a vegetarian that has a hard time getting my own damn kid to eat vegetables. Thank god for smoothies.
- Formula is not the devil. Not all of us can produce milk. Not all of us can produce enough milk. Not all of us want to nurse our babies. That’s all okay, that’s why formula was created.
- One kid is enough. For some reason Latina women of all ages feel the need to convince me of having another kid. Apparently my kid is lonely as an only child and I should really take that into consideration. I mean, who cares if I’m a single parent. These women don’t understand the concept of boundaries. Everyone has their own story as to why they only have one. My oven, my rules. If I find me a great man, I might pop out a couple more. But having more as single mother is not an option for me. That’s just me. Needless to say many other women out there that maybe can’t have more, we just have to get better at really thinking before we speak.
- You know your kid more than anyone. Trust your gut.
- Extra screen time is okay, if its between that and your sanity. Hand them the tablet. It’s okay. No judgement here.
Mother’s, we are doing the best we can. We have our own shit to deal with and most of us are working our hardest to make sure our kids don’t carry that load. Mothers are f’n superheroes. Seriously. Since, I’ve had my son I’ve stepped up my game, I’ve faced many fears professionally. I’ve found my voice, I’ve taken a stand and stepped into my values. If things don’t align with them, I pass and have no trouble calling it out.
You see I’m a single mom. I need to keep that balance for my son. I need to show him that women are strong, intelligent, and chingonas. Women must be respected, heard, and appreciated. While making sure he is surrounded by strong men, that are in tune with their emotions, intelligent, and driven. As a solo parent, I have extra work. But luckily for me I have a village. I have men in my life that have stepped up and filled this role.
Please, please also don’t pity single mothers. We are strong and fearless and willing to take on the world. We have to. Many of you have already labeled us as weak and have discarded us as casualties of our surroundings. But trust me, single mothers are the fighters you want on your team. We don’t fuck around, we have a lot on the line. You come for our cubs, you will lose. You come for our pride, you will definitely lose. We don’t play.
My son is my greatest teacher. Not my greatest accomplishment, my education, career, and realizing that I’m a separate person from my son is. He is my greatest and brightest blessing. That he definitely is. He is my biggest motivator. He pushes me to act and strive for greatness, because that is the example that I want to leave him with. I might not be rich, but I want him to know that we are descendants of kings, queens and warriors. We always took a stand for what we believed in. We always defended what we thought was just and right. We never held our head down low, we always stood tall with the support of our ancestors looking down on us. We are sun-kissed and we embody greatness.
On this Mother’s Day, I want all the Mami’s out there to know that I see you. I hear you. I know you are trying your best. I know you smile, when you might want to cry. I know you leave a lot unsaid, many dreams untouched. Because of this you are golden. You are the biggest and brightest star on this planet. You my dear fellow Mother, are a Warrior. Xena don’t got shit on you babe!
Feliz Dia De las Madres and thank you for being on this journey with me.