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My Immigrant Parents Sacrificed So Much For My Success That I Felt Guilty When I Decided To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom

Being a stay-at-home mom is a title I never thought would apply to me. I didn’t grow up dreaming about a wedding or life with my future husband. Having kids and getting married were life events that I thought could happen someday, but I wasn’t too concerned about when or if that “happily ever after” that society feeds us would arrive.

Fast forward to this moment, when I’m watching the sun go down in the window of my five-month-old son’s room as he masters the fine art of rolling over. It’s not where I imagined I’d be, but I know it’s exactly where I need to be, because right now, I’m meant to be a stay-at-home mom.

@quetzal_photography_ / Instagram

Accepting that, however, hasn’t been easy.

My parents escaped war-stricken El Salvador in the 1980s to come to Los Angeles, where they have worked hard to achieve their piece of the American dream. My dad worked long arduous days at multiple jobs while my mom was the quintessential ama de casa. As a first-generation americana, it was ingrained in me to take advantage of my birth-given opportunities: go to school, get a career and lead a “better,” or more conventionally successful, life than my parents.

This was the plan. After graduating from high school, I was off to college in San Francisco. While there, my parents were still working hard to ensure I was able to complete my degree, helping me pay for my tuition, textbooks, inflated rent — everything.

I eventually graduated from college with a degree in journalism and began a career in marketing, working as a copywriter. My success was the happy ending my parents sacrificed their lives for. I saw the pride in their faces when they talked about my education and professional achievements, and it felt good.

@sanfranciscoworld / Instagram

After working in San Francisco for several years, I returned home to LA with my boyfriend-turned-husband. Two years past, and I was 30 and pregnant. A trabajadora, I worked throughout my pregnancy, learning to juggle assignments and meetings with the effects of never-ending morning sickness. I worked up until three weeks before my due date, the first decision I made that prioritized myself, as a mother, and my son.

(Courtesy of Sandra Ventura Razo)

My little guy arrived five days past my due date and after more than 14 hours of labor. I spent those first three months acclimating to mom life. It was tough, rewarding, draining and empowering.

As time passed, the day I would return to work was looming. I thought I would feel excited to get back to my career, but to my surprise, all I felt was dread. Then that was followed by guilt. I didn’t want my maternity leave to end, and I felt ashamed that I was doubting whether I wanted to go back to work.

My parents had given up everything to get me through college, so what would their sacrifices be for if I decided to stop putting my degree to use — if I became a stay-at-home mom?

While filled with guilt, I decided to postpone my return to work outside of the home indefinitely. Now, instead of eight-hour shifts at my desk, my day consists of never-ending pumping and breastfeeding. Rather than meetings, I am comforting and reading to my son. Instead of afterwork dinners or drinks, I am giving my little one a bath and trying to coax him to bed by 7 p.m. so I can get two hours to myself to eat and sit before I sleep and do it all over again the next day.

@pamsoprani / Instagram

This may not look like success by dominant societal standards, but I’ve learned that it is to me. I listened to my heart and trusted my instincts, and, for me, that has been a greater personal triumph than any promotion or job title.

My parents’ hard work has helped me become the person I am today, someone they remain proud of. Their sacrifices, and their strength, wasn’t to give me material success but rather to provide me with choices.

And in this moment, being a stay-at-home is the only choice for me.

Read: She Was Barely Coming Down From The Excitement Of Getting Into Her Top Choice University When She Discovered She Was Pregnant

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

I’m what they call a millennial Latina mom. That means growing up I often endured the old school style of Latinos parenting where chanclas and “quieres pow pows” were meant to be the end all be all of “bad” behavior. Today, even despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has voiced their strong opinion that corporal punishment, physically disciplining your child, isn’t just inappropriate parenting, you can still find in our culture memes and jokes about la chancleta. And while the rate of spankings have gone down in recent years, polls have shown that those “good, hard spankings” that you might have “turned out alright” in spite of can cause long-term harm.

Here’s a look at the reasons why we have to stop spanking our kids.

Pow-pows teach the wrong lesson.

 
“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

“It’s better to be feared than loved” is a sentiment often touted by managers and leaders who have an odd understanding of proper management. Mind you this phrase was also created by Niccolò Machiavelli a politician and philosopher who often encouraged dishonesty and the killing of innocents in certain situations in his work. Sure, this method of teaching which chancla culture stem from might encourage your child to cower at the sight of you when your raise a flip-flop but it also teaches them that you are not to be trusted particularly in a stage in their life when they are just learning.

Chanclas teach kids that they can get what they want by being physically violent.

harryswife801 / Twitter


As parents, we’re physically stronger and bigger than our children. When we use our size to overpower our children and try to get them to behave a certain way we’re teaching them that to get what you want you can abuse those who are smaller and weaker than they are. This is a classic example of why kids who are often abused at home often go to school and end up bullying their peers.

The reason for the spanking gets lots on them.

andheri5 / Twitter


They may forget why they are being spanked in the first place. They’re doing so much to avoid #lachancla that they can’t even fathom why they are in trouble.

Adults can lose control when expressing anger physically.

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

When you give yourself a chance to hit your child you put yourself at risk of being an abusive parent. As adults we often experience so much stress and have a hard time coping as it is when we are frustrated, upset, sad or tired. When we start to hit our kids during moments of stress, our minds ultimately begin to associate the feeling as a release for the mind. Soon enough you could look to abusing your kid as a way to stop feeling stressed out.

It could damage your relationship with your child.

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Studies on the effects of physical punishment have found that the more spankings a child receives, the more likely they are to become defiant towards their parents and authorities, which means a decrease in the quality of their relationships with their parents.

You may not get the reaction you are looking for.

“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

When spanking a child it’s likely that your initial intent might be to correct your child’s poor behavior, but what extents will you go in the moment of punishment if the reaction you want doesn’t happen?

You become the bully

 
FanGirl / Twitter

Kids are resilient and remember everything. Why let them think of you like that? After so long they will start to remember. Why become the bully instead of the parent?

Disrupting their self-confidence

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

It’s almost like being in a relationship and feeling like you are emotionally being tortured. That’s what it’s like for kids. Even though they lose to test you and think everything is funny. Doing this constantly just is not.

You’re bullying a future child who will go onto get bullied by others

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

Then parents wonder why their kids are being bullied. Even being yelled at furiously. Many kids end up becoming the bullied from being bullied at home. What’s more, children are more likely to become adult victims of abuse when they are older if they think that their parent’s abusive behavior is appropriate.

They won’t be a leader

 
vikypicon / Instagram

Growing up I was always taught the future of a Latina is being a leader. When you instill bullying or fear how is your child going to be a leader when you aren’t?

You’re not strong

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

Spanking your kids can cause kids to think about all the pain they have to endure instead what they should focus on.

It’s really not that funny

 
lgbtdaniela / Twitter

La Chancla is classic even to Latinos. All in all, it’s not as funny as many people put it.  Realizing this is not a funny way to discipline will help in the long run.

Older peers aren’t that powerful

 
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Every generation is different. It’s okay to give lessons to your parents or grandparents gave you. Have your own form of parenting to make your own mark.

I don’t want to be that parent

Modern Family

As a mother I don’t want to be pushed so using positive reinforcement is the way to go or you do end up feeling like spanking is the way to go.

Our world is already full of violence

dulcedolan / Twitter

Fueling to the fire isn’t what Latinos are about. We want peace even within our families. We don’t want to be the stereotype on why the world is the way it is. This all starts at home.

I’m not the reason why mental health is out of control

journoresource / Twitter

Our kids are the future. This means their mental health can become at stake when spanking as a form discipline.

I’m not their friend but I am their role model

hakire / Instagram

This is the main part of being a Latino mom. Uplifting to do better than what you had. Even if you had a great life before motherhood.

 You’re raising an influencer

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Making sure your child knows their worth is important. By spanking your kids you may instill a notion that they aren’t.

 It’s the 2000’s, not 1950!

 
I Love Lucy

Things have changed. That even includes parenting. It was okay to spank your kids but after all this time look at what it has put on our society and our future. What does it really teach you as a Latina Mom. Be strong and better than that.

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Model-Activist Denise Bidot Proves You Don’t Have To Be Your Daughter’s Best Friend To Be A ‘Cool Mom’

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Model-Activist Denise Bidot Proves You Don’t Have To Be Your Daughter’s Best Friend To Be A ‘Cool Mom’

Since first stepping on the catwalk more than a decade ago, Denise Bidot has been serving fly curvaceous looks that captured the entire world’s attention. But as an international model, shooting for brands like Forever 21, Target, Levi’s Jeans, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Old Navy and Lane Bryant, and becoming the first plus-size woman to walk for straight-size brands during New York Fashion Week, the Puerto Rican-Kuwaiti beauty delivered something greater to the fashion industry: a body revolution.

The Miami-born modelo, who currently splits her time between the “Magic City” and New York, has been a central figure in inserting ideas of the grassroots body positive and fat liberation movements into the mainstream world of glamour and vogue. By breaking barriers and refusing to stay quiet on body politics, Bidot, alongside a growing collective of model-activists, brought visible change to the industry, with big brands and media alike increasingly, albeit slowly, showcasing more diverse and inclusive representations of fashion and allure. With the trade shifting, the Latina veered her attention toward changing societal perspectives, creating the No Wrong Way Movement in 2016. For the last two years, the online space has been encouraging individuals everywhere to embrace their most authentic selves through a blog, speaking engagements and a YouTube channel.

But after years of working tirelessly to reshape dominant culture and industries into one that is accepting of, and empowering for, full-figured, vivacious Latina women like herself, Bidot this year decided to bring the body revolution to her own community as a host and mentor on Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina. In its 10th season, the revamped beauty contest ditched limiting size and age restrictions as well as took on a new tagline, one that resonated with Bidot: “Sin tallas, sin límites y sin excusas.”

(Courtesy of Univision)

“I think I live by those statements. Sin tallas: Who knew I would ever be a model? Who cares about my size, look at all I’ve done. Sin límites: These girls felt limited. As minorities as a whole, we don’t think we can make it because of where we come from, our color, our accent. But we are telling women none of that matters. If you dream big and work hard, those limitations no longer exist. We can climb through together. Sin excusas: With no more limits, there’s now no more excuses. All your dreams are waiting for you” Bidot, who was invited to join the show after participating as a consultant to improve the inclusivity of the program, told FIERCE.

The 32-year-old has called the experience of judging and mentoring for Nuestra Belleza Latina the “most rewarding project she’s ever worked on,” both because it is the first time in her career where she felt she was able to be her full, true spirited self and because she can identify with the girl contestants and audience battling insecurities, believing in themselves for the first time and seeking a change in the dominant representation of feminine Latinidad.

“I think it’s a dated mentality. For so many years, we needed to fit certain standards to be the perfect Latina. I don’t think it’s the case currently. Shows like NBL are changing that. It’s the beginning of a change we will see 40 or so years from now. Someone has to be the first. It was damaging for me growing up,” Bidot said. “… But the modern Latina woman doesn’t feel represented by that anymore, so while that may still predominantly be the case in most markets, we are working toward a different future, and I hope it’ll allow women to see themselves and feel empowered.”

(Courtesy of Denise Bidot)

But as Bidot, a mom to a 10-year-old daughter, knows well, media isn’t the only influencer in how girls and women view themselves. Parents play a critical role in raising youth to be strong, smart and confident, and each of these qualities, she says, helps make them formidable in a culture, society and industry that still largely hinge on women’s and girls’ insecurities.

Here, the curve model and self-love advocate shares lessons on raising an empowered, body-positive girl.

1. Resist The Urge To Baby Your Daughter.

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5th Grade Groupie . ????✏️

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Don’t baby them. Instead, talk to them. “I talk to my daughter like a loving equal. Now she is 10 years old and carries herself with maturity and a wonderful confidence, and I’m like, ‘oh girl, yes!’”

2. Stay On Top Of The Few Things You Can Actually Control.

While Bidot prides herself on being a cool mom, she’s the first to admit that she’s also a stringent mami. “I’m very strict on sugar, on hours sitting in front of the TV, on what games she’s playing and on which social media apps she has. We are navigating a different world, so learning as we go and listening is important, but don’t give them the kind of freedom where you no longer know what’s happening. Control what you have control over, what’s inside your house, because once they leave, you don’t have control over those outside influences.”

3. Have Her Repeat Affirmations To Herself.

Affirmations, Bidot says, are key. “Sometimes we are uncomfortable looking at ourselves in the mirror or hearing our voices. We just always put ourselves down. For me, it’s been important to have her in the mirror talking to herself, saying: ‘You are beautiful. You are strong. You are worthy.’ At first, she laughed and was like, ‘Mom, for real?’ And I get it. I laughed, too. But it matters because you’re putting these words out in the world, and you start understanding and believing them. Words are powerful. Listening to herself and looking at herself is self-development.”

4. Make Your Hija Your Plus-One.

Instead of looking for a babysitter so that you can go to Paris for the weekend to feel alive, Bidot says it’s more worthwhile, for you and her, to feel alive with your kid. “I’m single, so she is always my date, but when we travel, we learn about the world together. That has taught me as an adult, so I can’t imagine how she sees it. It’s crucial for her to know that the world is bigger than our town or our country. People have different cultural values. They have necessities. It’s an eye-opening experience that shapes their character. Don’t be afraid to take trips you are dreaming about with your kids. These moments and experiences will strengthen your bond. We talk about our trips with family. You don’t have to take them often, but when you can. I’m fortunate to travel for work and add her ticket on. I’m a single mom, so I have to bring her. But she adds more value, more love.”

5. Teach Them But Also Let Them Form Their Own Opinions.

Personally, as a mom, I see it as my duty that the one child I raise is equipped to take on the challenges life brings. I do this by teaching her, telling her to do affirmations and be kind to everyone, to make sure she is strong and confident. We know insecurities happen. It’s impossible to be strong and confident 100 percent of the time, but we have to allow them to build a core sense of self and empowerment. We need them to see things with their own perspective. With my daughter, people tell her things and it bounces off of her. She doesn’t let a comment someone makes ruin her life.”

Read: 7 Body Positive Latina Models That Are Killing The Fashion World and Beyond

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