When you become a mother, you often have to look toward other mothers for advice. You think back to the things your own madrecita did, and your abuela, and your tias, and all your friends. Sometimes you reach out to them for help, while other times you might completely do the opposite of what they advice (because hey, it’s 2018 and gender norms are for suckers). Seriously, though, moms these days seem to be taking a much different approach than that of our own mothers before us. For some, it’s due to being the first generation to grow up in the U.S. For others, it’s a matter of doing more for our kids than our own mamis were able to. I spoke with a number of Latina moms to find out how they’re parenting differently than abuela and this is what they had to say:
Maritere: 60 – Los Angeles, California – Puerto Rican
”My mom is Puerto Rican. I raised my children differently than my mom in many ways. In her time, children were not given any explanations for a decision nor were we allowed to ask the ‘why’ of a decision or allowed to ask for an explanation. It was usually, ‘because I say so.’ My children grew up understanding that they could be listened to and they were allowed to ask why or why not, and also had the chance to argue a point of view and give their opinion. It was important to me that they use their voices and that they understood that even if we still said no to what they asked for, we valued their opinion.
My children also grew up understanding that parents weren’t perfect and that we could make mistakes. I said, ‘I am sorry,’ to my children when I knew I had made a mistake. I felt like I owed it to them to acknowledge that I wasn’t perfect and that I was doing the best I knew how. My mom would feel bad for acting a certain way (overreacting by yelling, as an example) but saying I am sorry was not something parents did in my time. All that said, I truly believe my mom did the best she knew how and I would never venture to judge her parenting skills. All moms do the best job we know how with the best of intentions.”