Birth Story, Boy Mom, Motherhood, Parenting

Being the Mother I Needed as a Child

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Mother’s Day made me reflect on my parenting style and what I needed as a child. I think about my mom so much. Every day actually. When my children are playing outside, when my children run up to me, when my children scream and jump, and create chaos. We couldn’t do those things growing up. My mom has always kept an immaculate home, everything has a place, no clutter, no piles, clean counters, floors… she does not buy frivolous items, only buys what she needs or will use, I mean seriously she is hashtag goals in all of those aspects. Growing up though she was very strict, we were not allowed to get messy, make messes, play with water, or make too much noise. We were all up early, cleaned the house, got dressed, and she would say, “nomas que se me ensucien” seriously we didn’t want to know what that meant, so we wouldn’t. I would always think, when I have kids, I will let them play, get dirty, be loud, create chaos…well the Lord answered my prayers and then some. I have three crazy, loud, messy boys.  All three were welcomed into the world by my mother. Last minute decision to have her in the delivery room changed our relationship forever.  I was in labor for over 26 hours with my first born and I had pushed so long (I was 25, a baby, had no clue how my body worked) that when it came time to deliver, I was exhausted. My mother who has always been a hard ass, no whining, put your big girl chones on and handle that shit kind of woman, told me, scolded me, in the delivery room when I said I couldn’t do it, she got in my face and said, “Si puedes, o quieres que te corten, andale, tu puedes”  and I delivered my almost 9lb baby boy. After that, I realized that although I was always close to my dad, I knew who I would turn to when I needed strength. As a child, she was not affectionate with us, and never said, “I love you” back when we said it, I always wondered if she even did, but now I know… My mom was a monolingual teen mom, miles away from the familiar, working in a factory two weeks after giving birth. She had no time for niceties. She was busy, and tired, and homesick, and lonely. I’ve talked to her about how hard my adjustment has been to being a stay at home mom and she said I should embrace this time, because it goes by too fast and she wishes she could have spent more time with us, but she had to work. I love that lady. I call her, “lady” and I know she loves me too. My heart aches for the sadness and loneliness she must have felt, and since there’s nothing I can do to go back in time to help her with that, all I can do is try to be the mom I needed as a child.

 

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Community Building, Motherhood, Parenting, Self Care

Creating Safe Spaces For Parent Life Realness

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I used to feel guilty for feeling the way I do about motherhood. I felt like I had no safe space to be comfortably be who I am, so I created one. I began sharing about our family’s daily life on social media, the good and the bad, the silly and the nasty, the joys and the heartache, and found out that I am not alone. I received messages and made genuine connections with people saying, “I feel the same way! I just don’t say it.” We are taught to be self sacrificing and that if we are not enjoying every second of parenting we are clearly not good enough. We compare ourselves to the other parents on social media but what we don’t see is that we are all struggling with something at any given time. People post cute pictures of their kids in coordinated outfits but don’t mention their kid refuses to eat anything but chopped up hot dogs smothered in ketchup, or show all of their outings but don’t mention that being home full time with kids can be lonely AF, or show them handling it all like a boss but don’t share that they’ve had stressed induced diarrhea for days.  I hope to create a safe space for parents who like me realize that it’s not all fun, that this is a tough job, but community and laughter make it easier.  So please join me for some parent life realness.

Community Building, Motherhood, Multicultural Children, Parenting

Raising Multicultural Children

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Although multiracial and multi-ethnic families are not new to the US because of colonialism, immigration, and slavery, it wasn’t until the 2000 census that one could identify as multi-ethnic. Raising Japanese Mexican American children has been a beautiful learning experience. It has been a unique journey where we as a family have learned more about both Japanese and Mexican history and culture and have developed a strong sense of pride from identifying as Hapa. Hapa is a Hawaiian term used to describe someone that is part Asian or Pacific Islander. I describe our kids as Hapa Chicanos.

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We are very blessed to have many multicultural families in our lives. It is awesome to share experiences because even though we share the fact that some of us have Hapa children, the Japanese and Korean, or Mexican and Puerto Rican experience are very different. I am thankful to live in California where about 30% of Hapa families in the U.S reside because we are able to participate in several Japanese and Mexican cultural events. Recently we have attended FandangObon and Fiesta Matsuri  where being multiethnic is celebrated. My oldest has attended Tanoshii Fun Camp and that has been an amazing experience for the whole family.

Exposing my children to both Japanese and Mexican culture has not been difficult because as I mentioned we are lucky to live in Southern California. I wonder what it’s like to be a multicultural family in much less diverse parts of the country.  If that is your experience, I’d love to hear what it’s like.

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Learning dance steps from Nobuko Miyamoto  and Quetzal’s Martha Gonzalez in Leimert Park