¡Bendición Mami!

Mother’s Day in the US is only 1 day away. As I was on the subway this morning I found myself remembering many of the traditions that my mother passed along to us and how I am already beginning to incorporate my favorite one with my boys.

En la cultura latina it is very common to have children ask their parents for a blessing. In my family we typically do it as a greeting, so every interaction between my mother and her children begins with “Bendicion Mami“. She then replies “dios te bendiga mi amor” and if possible gives us a big kiss and hug. My mom has always been extremely affectionate with us. Often kissing and hugging us even as adults. I believe that the ritualistic aspect of asking for my blessing since I was a small child have made this an automatic action as soon as I see or speak to my mom.

As an adult with children of my own I still ask mi mami for my blessing every time we interact. There is something about this that feels so good, safe and loving. DJ is 2.5 years old, and every morning I ask him to ask me for his blessing, in the hopes that it can become a part of our relationship. I know he’s very young but I hope that after repeating the same actions daily, both he and his brother can feel the same way I do about it. It provides me with a way to feel closer to my mother. To feel her love from her daily blessings and from her embrace. I can only hope it does the same for my boys.

What are some traditions or rituals that your mother or caregivers shared with you? And how have they impacted your interactions with you children?

Have you started any traditions of your own with your children?


Confessions of a working mom

Whether you work from home, work outside the home or you are a stay at home mom, balancing life as a mom can be challenging. Somehow, the hardest days are those from Monday-Friday.

In my case I work for a non-profit organization where I spend my days counseling mothers and providing them with valuable parenting and child development information. This part of my day seems to be the easiest part. I schedule clients…they come in and we talk…then they leave.

The fun begins at 4:40pm every weekday as I run out of my office, grab a cup of coffee and make a dash for the 4:48pm uptown train. Three trains later at 5:36pm I arrive at my stop, which is just 4 blocks away from my children’s daycare center. I have a short 24 minutes to get to the daycare, set up the double stroller, get the boys ready with hats and coats as I ask the daycare staff how their day went. I have to also remember to carefully take with me any artwork or projects that were done that day. I say carefully because Doran, my 2.5 year old always get upset when I accidentally damage in any way his artwork. Interestingly enough, once we get home and I display his precious work he is the one who ends up ripping it up. Seriously?!?! But hey, I will do anything to prevent a meltdown on the way home, so I don’t mind being careful.

Once both boys are in the stroller bundled up I try to take the faster way home but Doran goes: “nooo not that way Mami…we go this way” as he points to the opposite direction. I confess that I oblige because once again, I’ll do anything to avoid a crying, whiny, kicking toddler. 15 minutes later we arrive at our apartment building and I have a very tough decision to make. (sidenote: I moved into the same apartment building where my mother lives when Doran was 10 months old) Do I go visit grandma knowing that she will have dinner ready and can offer a little help with Doran as I feed baby Aiden? Or do I go home, just me and the boys, and pray that in between 6:30pm and 8:30pm I can have dinner ready, both boys fed and bathed and ready for bed by 8:30? Whatever decision I make I am somehow never satisfied. Going to grandmas guarantees food and a little help. But it means that I will be constantly trying to get the boys to focus on things other than mami’s telenovela on TV, It also means that by the time we are done eating, there won’t be time for much else other than to go home and  get the boys into their pajamas. If I am lucky daddy will be home to help, but on most nights I’m just not that lucky :-/.

If instead I choose to go home and brave it on my own I usually feed the boys something quick like frozen veggies with some kind of starch like pasta or potato, and a protein which is usually chicken breast (because it cooks fast). I then have to decide who needs a bath more. Although i will admit that lately I have been putting both boys in the shower together. All the splashing counts as a bath right?

This and a lot more happens every night in our house within a two to three hour window. By the time I put the boys down I’m so tired I fall asleep with them, and before you know it, it’s 5:30am and it’s time to do it again.

I often wonder how other mothers in similar situations manage the day-to-day? How can you successfully nurture two children, blog, work, parent, breastfeed, run a household,  have a slither of a social life, and still  have enough energy to style your hair and put on make up? Lol.