Gone are the days when my home was always filled with about five busy schedules to tend to. Those were the years where the 24 hours in the day did not seem like enough. Between packing lunches, listening to the new chisme one of my three daughters wanted to share with me, and having to work all at the same time, I just felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Honestly, I felt like my life was always going to be un corre-corre.
But these chaotic days left as quickly as they came – or so that’s how it felt.
It’s as though one day I woke up and I was empty-nester; my children had all grown up and left to start their own lives. Even though I couldn’t be happier about this, it has led me to reflect on the past years where their days consumed mine. And frankly, I miss it.
Motherhood nowadays feels different. Well, I suppose it’s senior motherhood at this point. But there are a few things I can share about what had transpired before I got here.
Cherish the little moments
As a single mother, I remember placing most of my focus on putting food on the table. There were moments in my life where I had multiple jobs to sustain my family, so I couldn’t be bothered with anything that seemed to be “fun.” I missed many of their school shows, many extracurricular events, and activities that were defining to my children. Honestly, I was too tired even to pay attention to many things. But if I could do it all over again, I’d cherish more of the little moments. I’d be more present and let them know that I loved seeing them develop their skills. These things are important. I’m glad I got to witness a few events, but I would’ve loved to be at every one of them.
Be as supportive as you can be
As aforementioned, I didn’t have all the time I would’ve liked to give my children. My main concern was their wellbeing, but I knew I needed to talk to them too. The pain I felt when my own mother didn’t want to hear about my problems made me want to be a different type of mother. Now, I wasn’t a perfect mother – not by any means. However, I did try to listen to what my children had to say. I also encouraged them to do better and let them know that they were perfect in my eyes. I wish I had more guidance, though. I know I missed the mark a few times and didn’t realize it until it was too late.
Violence is never the answer
Latino households are toxic – or at least that’s what my youngest daughter tells me. I may not think this is 100 percent true because we have a rich culture much envy, but I can see her perspective. Many of us were taught things por las buenas o por las malas – and las malas was usually a violent punishment. Now that I’m older, I realize that this method was not the best one. It wasn’t even necessary. All it did was cause distrust, and that’s the last thing a mother should want. Thankfully, open communication has taken the place of such punishments, and I can see where things could’ve been improved.
The past is the past, and there is nothing we can do to bring it back. But there is a luxury in gaining more wisdom in senior motherhood – we are able to share it. Do what you’d like with this information, but know that I’m so proud of the new Latina mothers out there today; I can tell how compassionate you all are, and that’s a beautiful thing.