My mami is a great mother. She raised three children, along with my father, during a time when there wasn’t as much “help” as there is these days. That is, she never read a parenting book or sought the advice of parenting experts. I’m sure her and her friends shared complaints and some advice with each other, but this probably came in a very informal manner while they had their café y pan.
On top of the generation’s ideals, my mami also started being a mom at a very young age. She basically had to learn it all herself; being a wife, mom, and becoming a woman are all things she learned on the fly. In retrospect, I see now that she essentially lived her life for us. My two brothers and I were her life. Sure, she held some jobs at various points, but never was it a career. She had friends, but that I can remember, they never took the time to have what we now call a girl’s night out. She also didn’t have hobbies.
Fast forward 30 years later, and my mami is now “retired” – from being a mom and from working. Of course, moms are moms until the end. But, all three of her children are married, out of the house, and have children of their own. She provides an entirely different mami role these days. This is the time when she should be enjoying her free life, taking part in various activities, hobbies, and get-togethers. Right? However, because she spent the bulk of her life living for us, I’ve noticed she finds herself in a special place as a woman.
Two reasons, actually, contribute to my mother’s current situation: she’s the caretaker for my father who has dementia, and she didn’t allow herself to be anything but a mom when raising us. In defining herself only as a mom without paying attention to herself, as a woman first, she’s now in the position of not really knowing what to do with herself. Of course, this is my opinion from observing her, but I often see it reflected in her actions and conversations.
It’s a situation I hope never to find myself in. I think I’m on the right track so far. I work full-time, have my own business, travel, and try hard to balance my roles as a mom, wife, and woman. It’s not always easy, as many women will attest. But, after seeing my own mom’s struggles, I believe it’s important. I don’t want to have to depend on being needed by others (my children) in order to be happy. I plan to be happy with my life, my husband, and myself, regardless of where life takes my children.
Because of that, I am content in showing my daughter (and soon my son) that I have my own time where I may do things without her. She sees me working and knows why it’s important. She understands when I need to travel by myself and knows that it’s for work. As she’s said to me when leaving for a conference, “You’re going to go learn with your blogger friends.” Yes, baby girl. I am. And, then I’ll return home and continue to show you how great it is to be a woman with many interests and passions – all while still being a great mom, just like your abuela.
Do you find it difficult to define your role as a woman now that you’re a mom?