Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting, but always beautiful day of an older mom like you!
Except when you begin at 5:30 in the morning, it doesn’t feel so beautiful or hot. So, today is a special day, because I’m no longer hiding from YouTube. What does that mean? I have been getting a lot of professional advice that the podcast should go on YouTube, but I really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to show myself on YouTube.
So, for a while, I hid behind pictures, which is what made it easier. You know to transition and actually getting on camera. And that made me wonder, where is this self-doubt coming from? Why do I feel this way? I mean, I’ve spoken in front of audiences as large as a thousand, as small as eight, and to be honest with you, my biggest problem has always been one on one. I’m a real introvert and I always come off as standoffish. And I’m often told that I can be very intimidating and I’m not sure why because most of the time that I’m told something like that, I can honestly tell you, the person that I was speaking to, I was just quaking in my boots.
First of all, because I’m so introverted. And second, because my mother’s voice always comes out in the back of my head. You know, the woman that always told me not to look like an India, which is a real derogatory term in Mexico used for darker-skinned, more indigenous looking people. And the truth of the fact is, that I do look very Native American from Mexico. And I owed that to my beautiful grandmother who was a pure-blood Michoacan Indian, from Los Altos de Jalisco.
But, back then, different types of beauties were not considered. You had to look a certain way, preferably, white. And my mother did look very white. She was so white, she was pale. I mean, this woman was milky, milk-white. She did have dark eyes but a lot of her family members had green eyes or blue eyes. And so, given the fact that skin color and a particular look was so important to my mother, I often wondered, why she married my father. Because my father, like me is very Native American looking. (Handsome devil, let me tell you!). And a big drama queen. Always very exciting.
So, I get that he charmed her. I get that she found him incredibly exciting. But I’m still surprised that she married him because I spent my whole life hearing from her that I should do my best not to look the way that I do. And it was kind of hard! How did you change everything about the way that you were born? So, most of the time, I spent it trying to dress in a certain way or to wear make up a certain way. And certainly (I think I’ve spoken about this before on one of my podcasts), I never wore anything that indicated my indigenous background.
In fact, growing up if I attempted to do so, my mother would just have this absolute huge, huge, huge fit. And in any case, she would have this huge fit and it would just completely undermine my confidence. It would devastate me. Not just at that moment, but for days, months. Ugh!
I can remember one day, I was about to go out on a date and she commented. It was something among the lines of, ¡Quitate eso…! “Take that off! You look like an Indian!” In fact, those were her exact words… and it just ruined the date. Ruined the date! The whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way that the date must see me. And, you know what, we were in love. He thought I was beautiful. He really always thought I was beautiful. He was the first person that called me beautiful. He was the first person whose eyes sparkled when he saw me.
And I’m not talking about that today just because I’m putting my face on YouTube for the first time. But also because, as I thought about what I was going to do today, I thought about the reasons that I lacked the confidence or… No, that’s changed. Let’s say, the comfort level to appear on camera before you, is my mother. Right?
My mother undermines my confidence every step of the way since I was growing up. And I thought to myself, what a horrible thing to do to a child. What an absolutely horrible thing to do. I think I find her words more devastating than I did more than my father’s abuse. And I believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that our mothers are the people that build us. Right? They are the person in our life that has the most influence on who we turn out to be. We spend more time with our mom than we ever do with our dad.
And it made me think about my own conversations with my daughters, especially as they enter these teen years. They could be so challenging. I mean, I go from adoring them one moment, to wanting to throttle them the next. And it’s so interesting to me, the different levels of confidence that they were born with, to begin with. And that they developed or that they evolved into overtime.
Emmy, for example, has really high executive skills. She’s very pretty, she’s very creative and very talented. She’s also extraordinarily charming. People just gravitate towards her. But at the same time, she is the bud of a lot of envy and a lot of negativity. Not from people in general, but there’s always one or two persons in her life that just really come down on her. And a lot of it has to do with that person’s own feelings of insecurity (which is not to say by any stretch of the imagination that Emmy’s perfect). But as more of a reflection of the person who’s doing the criticism than it is with Emmy.
But Emmy really takes this too hard. And that means that I spend a lot of time building her up, okay? Reminding her of her positive qualities, even as I tempered that with the things that she needs to work on because you also don’t want a child that’s so conceited that they can’t ever look at themselves and do some self-examination and see where they need to improve. And let’s face it, I’m 54, you might be 60, you might be 31, we all need to work on something.
Andy, on the other hand, is definitely an individual. You heard that saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way?” She’s going to get out of the way every time because she’s not interested in following and she’s certainly not interested in leading. She wants to do her own thing at her own pace at her own time. And she really has that self-possession that comes with being an individual.
She knows she’s not perfect, she knows she’s not false, and very frankly, she doesn’t care. Which is amazing to me! But at the same time, I sometimes forget that she’s still only a child and that she still needs me to bolster her up at times. And that even though she might look completely confident, she doesn’t always feel the confidence that she portrays. And it’s my job to help her feel it.
The one that I have the hardest time with is Dora. Because Dora has a poker face. And whenever she’s not confident, when she’s not feeling it, I finally learned that her reaction is to look angry, to look mean. To just glare. And in the past, I was like, what am I supposed to do about this? Why is she so angry? Why did she want to be mean? But now I understand, any time those types of feelings are portrayed in her face its lack of confidence.
And that’s difficult for me because she came into my life later so I didn’t get to know her and be around her to the point that she was a baby. She came into my life when she was almost eleven years old. So it took me a while to figure this out. And it’s also taking me a while to understand and figure out how to temper building her confidence and at the same time let her know that type of behavior is not acceptable. It really doesn’t make her any friends. It really doesn’t help her. Her response is oftentimes, “You’re not on my side”.
But that’s not true, I’m always on my children’s side. Always. In fact, there’s nothing they could ever do that would make me turn my back on them because they’re mine and I know they’re not perfect but I’m always going to love them. They’re always going to come first. Yup! I’m that kind of mom. You know I hear some moms say, “Well, it’s me, then my husband and my children; or it’s me then it’s my children”. I can’t do that, okay? I am part of a culture in which the children come first and that is a part of my culture that is just deeply embedded and I’m very proud of. My children come first, I come second, and my husband whom I love very much comes third. That’s just the way it is.
So, whenever my children feel that I’m not proud of them or that I don’t understand them or that I’m not on their side, I really take it to heart because they are the most important people in my life and they’re always going to be the most important people in my life till the day that I die.
I often wonder what it’s gonna be like when I have grandchildren, how I’m going to feel about them, I mean just like my children. But… I figure I have years to figure that out, right? And I plan on being a spoiling meemaw, so, not the same thing. Or so I tell myself. But I digress…
So, back to the point. I am still learning to work through Dora’s issues. But it’s a work in progress. And after almost two and a half years, she finally broke down and she cried with me. And I think that that is a significant break in our relationship. It means we’re finally developing our comfort with each other. And I’m hoping that that also means that she understands that while I’m not her biological mother, I still love her as much as I love the girls that I gave birth to because she’s mine and that’s what’s most important.
So, I know I’m going to make mistakes. We all do with our children. But, I’m going to do my best, my absolute best, to always build them up. To learn from my mother’s mistakes; to constantly learn from my mistakes; to continue to take responsibility for my mistakes and be the best mother that I can be in this crazy imperfect journey that is motherhood. So, after hearing this episode I hope you will come and check me out on YouTube and let me know what you think about my performance today.
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