Dariela Cruz-Gillespie, enjoying a relaxing moment with her daughter
Motherhood: Magical and powerful. No other love or role compares. A plethora of unforgettable moments — joyful, life-altering and at times challenging. The most honorable job in the world, one bestowed upon us by Mother Nature herself.
Today’s Latina woman, the New Latina, enjoys the opportunities that her life offers, as she balances the demands of a very busy life. She’s doing it all — working, building a career, taking care of family, and creating more opportunities for herself. Like everything else, her motherhood is the product of values passed on by mami and abuela, mixed in with new ideas and insights from her new generation. Here are some of the joys and challenges of the New Latina mother:
The Joys & Opportunities
The Power to Redefine Parenting: When it comes to parenting, the New Latina mother wants to choose the best parenting practices and values from her bicultural world of experiences. La chancleta no longer holds the power it used to. Desired behaviors in her children are encouraged and nurtured. Listening is key. Yet, her parenting is anchored on the same cultural values that made her who she is today — family unity, respecto, responsibility and dignity.
Raising Her Children with More Opportunity: We pass on to our children new opportunities — cultural, social and intellectual. We use all of our resources to raise children who are happy, confident, well-educated and worldly.
Raising Stronger and More Confident Girls: We take pride in raising girls who are strong and confident. We encourage self-expression in our girls, and help them navigate the journey of growing up as girls.
Spending More Quality Time with Her Children: Although our schedules are full and we lead busy lives, we value spending time with our children. We have the opportunity to play, talk and simply hang out with our kids — even when time is limited.
Life as a New Latina Mother
Along with the joys of motherhood, are the equally essential experiences of responsibilities and challenges. For the New Latina mother, the challenges are no less difficult. Whether she’s working, or a stay-at-home mom, the role of mother is full of demands.
Pulled Between Motherhood and Career: We love being a mother, but we also love our career (and being creative). Often, we feel pulled between the overwhelming demands of motherhood and our profession. We want to succeed at work and in motherhood. Finding a place (between motherhood and career) that feels right for us takes time (and lots of trial and error).
Super-Caretaker: The New Latina mother is a super-caretaker. As a daughter, her devotion and love for her parents keeps her connected and involved in her parents’ lives. She’s there for children, her spouse and her friends. Negotiating how much to give and take care of is always a challenge.
Raising Bilingual, Bicultural Children: As New Latina mothers, we want to make sure we pass on la cultura and the language to our children. But raising bilingual, bicultural children does not come easy. The choice and responsibility to pass on these gifts is on us — and it takes time and commitment.
Childcare Challenges: Like most working mothers, the New Latina mother often finds herself challenged by the choices she has available for childcare. Many of us have moved away from our extended family, so we may not have mami or tia to help take care of our children. With long hours of work, finding the affordable and quality childcare options can be daunting.
Tired and Over-Stretched: With a full-plate, the New Latina mother often lives a life of skilled multi-tasking. Our days are filled with one activity after another. And while we do enjoy our jobs and our family, at the end of the day we are simply exhausted. Finding “me time” is, well, never easy.
Life Is Beautiful
Despite all the responsibilities and complexities that motherhood brings to our lives, we absolutely love being a mami. We embrace all that motherhood offers, we do our best, we work hard, and we love deeply. Life as a New Latina mother is simply beautiful…
I will be joining AOL Latino’s Tu Voz En Tu Vida web channel, a Spanish-language site reflecting the voice of contemporary U.S. Hispanic women – to discuss the role of the New Latina mother during a Twitter Party on Tuesday, May 10 at 8pm. Please join me in the conversation. More information here.
All photos courtesy of Dariela Cruz-Gillespie talented graphic designer and photographer.