Growing up with a Latina mom means that you likely have a long list of sayings and things your mom used to say and do that maybe doesn't make sense unless you're Hispanic. I am sure that many of those things impacted you in some way. Some of us experienced the infamous chancla (slipper), or the vaporú (Vapor Rub) cure all, and maybe your heart tingles when your hear Sana Sana Colita de Rana (Heal Heal Little Tail of the Frog), I told you it may not make sense!
So for Mother's Day I wanted to honor and pay an homage to our Latina moms (mine below with me) by sharing stories from powerful Latinas that I admire. I hope that in their stories and mine your heart warms as you remember your own mom, abuela, or mother figure. Happy Mother's Day.
"Heal, heal, little tail of the frog. If you don't heal today, you'll heal tomorrow."
Brendah Campos, owner of By Charms, who creates beautiful and elaborate flower crowns and accessories (pic below) shares her story. "This phrase has been expressed in my family for generations. My mom (pictured below) grew up hearing this words from my abuelita (grandmother). I also remember when my mama would say this phrase to me whenever I would get hurt por traviesa (trouble maker), lol. Now it's me who uses the same quote with a loving kiss and a gentle care, whenever my 3 year old son bumps his head or gets hurt from playing."
She adds, "It's a cute way to sympathize with the child from the pain they feel from getting hurt. Until this day I am not sure if it actually takes the pain away or if it has been scientifically proven to work. One thing I know for sure, is that it mentally and emotionally comforts us to hear these loving words and feel the attention and true compassion from mama, with the belief that it will heal soon, if not today, it will tomorrow. It's a very enduring custom I keep and hope my son keeps and continues to use with his future kids someday."
“Don’t cry, because crying is not going to solve the problem. Just get on it!”
Susana Bauman founder of Latinas in Business, a national initiative that advocates for the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman and my business mentor shares her story.
“My mother died when I was very young, only 14 months old. However, God blessed me with two mothers, my dad’s sisters, who raised me and my sister. Countless anecdotes could be remembered here but there is one particular saying that I still remember to this day. Though they have been gone for many, many years, when I’m sad or troubled and I feel like crying, I still hear the voice of one of them telling me, 'No llores, porque llorar no te soluciona el problema. Solo ponte a resolverlo!'"
"Enjoy life before you have your own children. Once you have them your life will only be in theirs for you to enjoy."
Nadia Hernandez is a Latina mom blogger, event planner, and founder of Capturing Cultura, one of my favorite mom blogs. She writes about her journey as a mamá and how she embraces cultura with her family. She shares her story.
"My mom (pictured below) would always tell me and my sisters to enjoy life before we have our own children. She was right. Having our children has made us appreciate our children even more. We are more invested in their education, development, and childhood memories. She also said that we would feel this mommy guilt for not being able to do everything perfect as a mom. This mommy guilt is born out of the love for my child. While I may never be the perfect mother, I can aspire to be the best mom I can for my daughter and future children. I have learned this from my mom. I will always love them, I will always be there for them, I will always encourage their dreams, and I will cry with them during their hardest moments."
Nadia continues, "Mom, thank you for being an amazing mother to me. Your unconditional love has shown me to take this mom guilt and turn it into a drive for me to be the best mom that I can for my children. I may not be perfect, but they will know that I love them unconditionally."
I love this! What great advice because we all know how much parent guilt we all carry. We're doing our best.
"When someone is sick, in the hospital, in jail, or when they need you the most, you should be there."
I asked my sister Dasy Perez, a preschool teacher with 18 years of teaching experience and contributing blogger to Mi Legasi what she remembers our mom telling her the most. It's interesting hearing what resonated with her and what stuck with me. This is what Dasy had to say, "I always remember my mom saying this because when there are difficult situations or hard times you remember the people that were there for you. For example, when our aunt suffered a brain aneurysm and had to be hospitalized for months, we always remembered all the good times, but during this difficult time it was our duty to give back and be there for her and her family. We always think about the good times but tend to ignore when people are going through difficult situations. Tenemos que estar ahi por las buenas o las malas (We have to be ther in good times and in bad). Although, I was never able to have children, I always thought that I would pass this down."
"I tell you for your own good."
As a mom, wife, and founder of Mi Legasi there are many things that my mom used to say that I remember. However, I specifically remember my mom saying "Te lo digo por tu bien" during my teenage years when I was quite rebellious. I remember I came home late one night and had been drinking. That night I remember my mom looking at me but not yelling at me or even saying a word. I went to bed. In the morning she sat down next to me, never yelling and simply had a conversation. She explained the dangers of a young woman drinking alone and said, "yo como mamá te digo las cosas por tu bien." (I, as your mom tell you things for your own good.) I will never forget that conversation. The grace, self control, and unconditional love that she showed me that day forever stayed with me. Gracias 'amá. (Thank you mom). Now when Victoria has a meltdown, after she calms down, I have a conversation and many times will tell her these same words. She's only 3, but I can honestly tell you when I am calm and conversing she listens.
Our mamás, abuelas, or mother figures had and have lots of wisdom, probably passed down from generation to generation. These words are usually accompanied with the weight of experience, pain, and sometimes hardship. I know my mom like many mamás and abuelas of her age are strong and tough with backbones of steel. There's a reason why so many have feared the Latina mom! Their strength too has been passed down for generations and even the frailest of women have stories.
So on Mother's Day let's celebrate these guerreras (warriors) before us and continue telling their stories to the next generations. Though we may grow in different directions like the branches of a tree we cannot deny our roots. Feliz Dia de Las Madres.
Did your Latina mom have a saying that stuck with you? Share your story with us and the rest of our comunidad :)
While it may be easier as adults to celebrate a deceased one's life, a child that experiences the loss of a loved one can be a very traumatic experience. Helping our kids Honor and remember the dead or departed in a positive and creative way can help them better deal with their emotions and better understand why we as Latinos honor this tradition. Here are 10 way we can Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with our kids.