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Category Archives: Parents

Expectations

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I was recently speaking to a lovely, smart, high raking executive, who’s also a latina, mom, and an immigrant.  She was telling me that due to her particular circumstances her family’s expectations of her were for her to be an unwed, teenage mom.  

For some reason that really struck home.  It was something that I’ve never thought of, that I’ve never reflected back on and yet, WOW…  

Let’s start off with the fact that my parents really have no idea what it is that I do professionally.  My mom knows that I’m smart and wonderful and all of those fabulous adjectives created to be generally supportive.  My dad is happy that I married a good man and that I have a good life and whether or not I actually “do” anything is neither here nor there.  My best guess is that this blissful ignorance is cultural.  

Growing up, I had my own views on things, and one of them was image.  I often told my mom “who cares what I look like now?!  I’m in school, I’m a teen, now is the time to take advantage of my freedom” and I did.  

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Then I found myself on a wonderful journey of life, and learning that had nothing to do with a traditional education, but again to my family my path has always been misunderstood.  To the point that I wonder if I’m crazy, or if they’re not listening.  What’s even more hilarious, frustrating, ironic is that they gave me the foundation for my career.  When I was born my father already owned his own business, so I was typing and taking messages at a VERY early age to the point of being able to run an office by 14.  Yet at one point in my life my father suggested that I was a secretary, which left me a little stunned as I looked at him and said, “Papi, I HAVE a secretary”.  

I gave up on trying to explain to my parents what it is that I do eons ago.  They see that I’m happy (and in my dad’s case he sees that I’m married and happy) and this makes them happy, y ya.  Until I told them about going to the White House with the LATISM Top Bloguera retreat.  

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Yes, they were excited, but what struck me was the phone call I received from my mom after sharing pictures with her, “mija, es que para mi ir a la Casa Blanca y a l a luna es lo mismo“, in other words, going to the White House is as attainable as a trip to the moon.  Which I appreciate.  It is a pretty big deal, depending on what circle you’re in.  For me it was an honor, one for which I am very grateful for, and  but it’s a little overshadowed by my wondering, is it that my parents had no expectations from me or that the world is so amazing that they did not want to achicar las posibilidades (limit my possibilities)?

Either way, I tell you what… it’s given me the desire to aim for the moon!! #SiSePuede #YesYouCan

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Y padres (parents) let’s give our little ones something to aim for.  Perhaps giving them concrete ideas (astronaut, doctor, inventor, teacher, mother, race car driver, all of the above) and positive role models (within the community, not just on TV).  Let’s have our little ones shoot for the moon!  Even if they miss they will land among the stars. 

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A cocinar!

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Ayer a la hora de comida le dije a mi niña que íbamos a comer arroz, “is the rice fresquecito, acabado de hacer?” me pregunta mi niña, a lo cual le respondo que no. Al preguntarme porque, pienso que es porque no tengo tiempo para hacer arroz, porque se me ha atrasado el día, porque todavía tengo una pila de cosas que hacer, porque no me gusta desperdiciar la comida y que calientar al arroz de anoche no tiene nada de malo, pero para hacérselo corto, le digo, “Puedes hacer arroz fresco, o te comes el arroz que ya esta hecho”.

Mi niña es un poquito complicada, me imagino como son muchos niños, y adultos.  Algunas veces me cuesta mucho trabajo para que haga lo mínimo y otras veces se bota y haces cosas que me dejan con la boca abierta.  Anoche fue una de esas ocasiones.  En cambio de alegar, agarro una olla y se puso a hacer arroz!  Claro que la di unos “tips” antes de empezar y le medí la sal, y estábamos juntas, pero ella hizo el arroz y estaba tan orgullosa de su trabajo!!  Esta mama paso su tiempo con su hija admirándola con orgullo, y les sugiero que le den oportunidades a sus niños que hagan más cosas solitos.

Dejen que pasen un poquito de trabajo para que aprenden a agradecer las cosas y para que aprendan a trabajar para alcanzar sus metas.  No todo en la vida es fácil, y prefiero que aprendan estas lecciones conmigo jovencitos de una forma sencilla que cuando estén grandes, en la calle, o en la universidad y se sientan solitos, miedosos y los errores le traigan problemas grandes.  Así que si a los 6 años mi niña cocina el arroz, more power to her!  Es causa para celebrar lo que hizo en cambio de pensar que so una mama mala.  Y si, mi niño cocina también. Todavía no lo hace solito, pero en mi hogar si comes, cocinas.

XOXO



Just because they’re selling it, doesn’t mean it’s right.

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Something happened when my daughter grew into a size 6.  I stopped buying her clothes.  The days where everything I saw was “soooo cute” were replaced with horror.  Sweatpants with words on their bottom, padded bras, strapless dresses… it was all too much.  Without really making a conscious decision, I just stopped buying her clothes.  It took me a little time to realize what the problem was, it wasn’t that my baby had grown out of the toddler section into the little girls’ clothes, it was that for the most part, little girl’s clothes are completely inappropriate.

Think about it.  Why is it ok to dress our little angels in miniskirts?  What message are we giving our daughters by buying them padded bras?  They are paying attention and if we allow them to dress scantily now, we are telling them that it’s perfectly acceptable to dress in a provocative manner.  And in a few years, when they enter that tween and teen years, will it still be “funny” or “cute” when they want to wear a miniskirt?

This phenomenon of dressing children in our image isn’t just for girls.  Most of the boy’s clothing is “street-style”, hoodies, skulls and crossbones, dickies and plaid shirts.  Are we raising gentlemen or gangsters?

Parents, what examples are you setting?  Are your clothes too tight?  Did you brush your hair today as you ran out the door to run the kids to school? Do you dress like your kids friends? Are you kids embarrassed to be seen with you?  It’s just as important the example we set as the clothes we choose for them.

All children have their own likes and dislikes.  My daughter loves glitter, as I’m sure most 6yo’s do, but I’ve taught her that if everything has glitter on it – top, pants, shoes – you just look like a big piece of aluminum foil. No one can appreciate what you have on.  When she told me she wanted pants with glitter on the bottom, it was that she wanted embellished clothing, not that she cared where it was, but unfortunately, this is what she sees on other kids, so this is what she asks for.  As parents, our job is to guide them.  Our children don’t know the perils of dressing provocatively, or of the endless choices out there, so talk to them, offer solutions and be frank.  Not every child has the same rules that we do in our home, and that’s ok.

Cultivate your child’s individual style now, so that they are confident in their choices later on, and able to be proud of what they are wearing, whether at school or at abuela’s and you will save yourself a lot of heartache now as well as when they are older.

The Move

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When you think about the many families who have been uprooted and have lost their homes, I shouldn’t complain, and trust me when I tell you that I am grateful everyday for what we have, but catholic guilt aside, let’s be upfront and honest. Moving sucks.

We recently made the move from urban to suburban and…it sure is dark out here! 

Sure, there are great things like the fact that I haven’t seen traffic since we moved out here, and that I’m conveniently located to EVERYTHING, and that practically everything has a drive through, and did I mention I haven’t seen traffic? But I also haven’t seen people.

Yeah, yeah, there are people everywhere but they’re not as friendly as city dwellers, and I get that same look I used to get in the 70’s in Georgia that went hand in hand with the question, “what are you?” plus people here keep asking me if my very caucasian looking kids speak English…

I’ve just started a new job which I’m thrilled about, but my search for childcare is bleak.  Apparently everyone wants to take care of my kids, but with their kids at their house, and I’m just not comfortable with that. Sittercity and craigslist aren’t as commonly used here, so I’m going  to the churches, even though I’m not a churchgoer, to network for a sitter.

Frick has been a champ, starting a new school mid-year without a hitch, but there’s no parent list, no invitations allowed in the school and despite the fact that I’m making it a point to arrive early to introduce myself to other parents as we wait for the kids to come out, they aren’t very interested in making small talk.

My husband and I keep telling ourselves that it would have been a totally different experience had we moved in the spring or summer.  I guess we’ll see what happens in a few months, and if the first thaw works with the families as much as it does with the foliage!

“I had no idea” aka “When your child enters school”

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Last year Frick was in PreK.  They played.  They sang.  They danced.  It was so much fun!  So much fun in fact that she craved more.  So we did “homework” at home.  Mind you, I’m not an educator, and I’m not very patient so God bless my cutie for actually wanted to learn with me.

This year as we were “lucky” enough to have been accepted into a Magnet School (urban speak for what suburbanites consider normal).  It’s not my neighborhood school but it holds promise.  The promise of a “better” high school, therefore a greater chance of higher scores and a great college.

Mind you the entire “selective enrollment” process is more like entering college then what you would expect for Kindergarten, it is after all just Kindergarten!  Well here in Chicago we don’t mess around when it comes to the “right schools”. It’s a two-tiered system.  You have you innocent little preschooler tested as “gifted” which are tests administered verbally by college students to preschoolers in an alien environment to ensure the best success.  Well, we did that.  I did not tutor my child in advance like some do, but we did test.  Then we filled out the paperwork requesting entry into one of the “better” schools, stood on one leg, rubbed our bellies, patted our heads and waited… and waited… and waited.

Am I crazy?  Was the question I got from an education reporter, “your neighborhood school is just fine!” Which she’s right, it is.  But according to the current information available from “those in the know” the reason parents are chomping at the bit to get into a “good” kindergarten is because this sets them on a path for success.  The chances are greater to getting in since not all parents at this age are willing to go through the process (trust me, it’s a nail biter and I did feel slightly ridiculous during the whole thing, until I received the acceptance letter).

So why am I telling you the harrowing tale?  Because you my dear, yes you with that adorable baybe pulling at your hair while you read my blog post.  And you, with a 5th grader.  And you, dad, yes you too.  We must not only be involved in our children’s education – as we show them through our actions that we care – but we must be involved in the policies.  We must learn, we must speak, we must make changes.  Or else you too will end up driving 90 minutes each way to get your little one to school in the morning.

When two worlds collide – a family vacation

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My husband is a wonderful man. He is Puerto Rican, old school, has a great heart is strong, loving, and a caveman. I chose him for all the reasons we choose our mates. He completes me, he is Ike my parents, perhaps eve bit like my dad.

My father is a wonderful man. He is Cuban, really, really old school, has a great heart is strong, in recent year has learned how to express his feelings, and is a caveman.

My husband is either angry or ok. You are either on my father’s good side, or your not.

My father is 78 and as his age progresses, his health well, as his doctor tells him all the time, he is a young old person, but he is old, so the body changes and difficulties arise. This is one of the reasons that we have taken a 12 day vacation to visit my family and stay with my dad. In anticipation of our trip, he bought a new fridge and prepared the house months in advance. He was thrilled to see his grandkids.

My husband, because he knows that I miss my family dearly and that the kids love seeing abuelo agreed to stay at my dad’s house, albeit begrudgingly, but he agreed nonetheless. Something that I realize is a great scarified for him to do especially since I had witnessed them both do the “gorilla dance” – and that’s considering that my dad likes him!!

So here we are, day 10, my 41st birthday and I am managing both my father’s and my husband’s feelings, playing the diplomat and translator to ensure all ego’s are intact. The kids are having a blast, my husband was ready to go on day 2 and I’m exhausted.

Has it been worth it? Absolutely. Will we do it again? No. I think both the men in my life will agree with that. 😉

Fear not the brush!

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Or the concealer, or the hairdryer. Seriously ladies, I know we’re all busy and have far too much on our plates, but love thyself. I see women everydaythat would look, and feel, so much better if they just brushed their hair! How can it be that we’ve gone from the fabulous world of flapper girls to the bleck world of sweats? I am the first to admit that looks are not everything, after all I’m no beauty queen, but I am a glamour puss, and you could be too! Think of me as the stranger that tells you there’s toilet paper on your shoe. You’re a little embarrassed, wonder why your friends didn’t bother to mention it, but grateful somebody said something.

Let’s be frank. There is no such thing as gender equality. There never will be. As far as I’m concerned some bitch burns her bra in the 60s and I’m stuck opening my own doors and carrying my bags?! Not to mention the fact that we work more than men, earn less, carry the home and raise the kids (manny’s & stay-at-home dad’s, all 5 of you, please excuse me). Although these things are a part of life that despite my best efforts I alone cannot change, I WILL NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO TAKE MY FEMININITY!
So, ladies…repeat after me:
  • I will not leave the house without some form of makeup (the amount of makeup increases with age, but a little concealer, lip gloss and mascara goes a long way)!
  • I will not wear sweats anywhere except the gym (seriously, have you looked at your ass in those things? And the sweats with words, no matter how much they cost, are no better)!
  • Uggs are fugly (need I say more).
  • I will at the very least put my hair in a ponytail (or do something that tells me I ♥ myself)
  • Heels are my friends.
  • If the butt sags in my pants, I will throw them away.
  • I will love the woman in me and by doing so, my daughter will also love herself.
  • I will not confuse being feminine and glamorous with being smart (these things actually go hand in hand, frankly it’s hard for me to consider someone of no substance beautiful).
  • Glasses can be chic (embrace your thing, just do it with a little flair)
  • I will not let any man out-dress me (drag sistah’s, I ♥ u, I learn a lot from you, but I’m the real deal)!
  • Just because it fits, or is in fashion DOES NOT MEAN IT’S FOR YOU (it’s more important to look good than to be “hip”, find the style that fits you!!)

You can do it. No one will laugh. Yes, significant others will wonder what’s going on, but don’t let that stop you. There are thousands of how-to makeup videos on you tube, the style network is about…style, and being broke is not an excuse, there’s a lot of glam in thrift and discount stores. Try it for a week and you will see that the world will look at you with a little more respect, and that you will feel better, walk a little taller…and you may even learn how to sashay!

XOXO
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