Monday, October 18, 2010

Parent of the Week: Maria

This week’s Parent of the Week is Maria. The first time I visited Maria’s blog, Tough Cookie Mommy, I knew I loved her. She is exactly that: tough. And I love it. She’s a New Yorker and she tells it like it is- the good, the bad, and the ugly. She will make you laugh, cry, and think, but you will love her.

Tell me a little about you- Who are you? What do you do? Hobbies? Do you dance in the car?

I am a native New Yorker who was raised in Spain until the age of 8.  Since my return to the States I have made my life in New York City and I love it here.  Don't let anyone lie to you, New Yorkers are great people who will never judge you and accept you at your best and at your worst.  Also, if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere in the world.  It is an unforgiving city where weakness is not tolerated and diversity is the word of the day. I am also a career woman.  I possess a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Spanish Language and Literature and a double minor in Education and Multilingual Journalism from CUNY.  Additionally, I also possess a Master of Science degree in Education in Literacy Studies, grades 5-12 also from a CUNY school.  I have spent the last 10 years as a Middle School English Language Arts teacher for the NYC Department of Education and I love my job!  My hobbies include reading, singing, and writing.  I don't dance in the car but I definitely sing in it.  Actually, I like to sing just about anywhere.

Tell me about your children.

It is my privilege to be the mother of two sons, ages 7 and 4, currently. They are the most important people in my life and everything that I do is for their benefit.  Both of my boys have unique and distinct personalities. My older son is sensitive and playful and my younger son is tough and independent. I am greatly enjoying watching them become individuals and interact with one another.  They are the best of friends and I love how they have become fast friends on top of being brothers.  I am so glad that I decided to have a second child.  At one point, my husband and I actually considered only having one.  Now that I see how my boys are growing up together, I know I made the right decision by gifting them with each other.

What surprised you most about parenting?

The thing that surprised me the most about parenting is how much it has taken over my life, in a good way.  It was difficult to adjust to losing my freedom to come and go as I pleased when I first had my oldest son.  I quickly realized that there was nowhere else I wanted to be or anyone else I wanted to be with besides my baby.  Despite my many academic and professional accomplishments, motherhood has truly been my greatest accomplishment and the accomplishment that I want to be remembered for after I am gone.  I want people to say that I was a good mother and I want my sons to feel that I was a good mother to them.

What one tip would you give other parents or parents-to-be?

One tip that I would give other parents is: don't be too hard on yourself. We do the very best we can to be the very best parents, spouses, employees, etc.  Sometimes, your ducks don't always line up in a row, especially when you have children.  You have to learn to roll with the punches and to pat yourself on the back for trying because it is easy to beat yourself up when everything is not falling into place the way you want it to.
How have you had to be 'Avant Garde' as a parent?
I have had to be ‘Avant Garde’ in the way that I communicate with my children and the way that they communicate with me.  I grew up in a household where children really had no say or input into what was going on around them.  As a result of this, I made a decision, early on to establish positive ways to communicate with my children in order to make them feel that their voices are being heard as members of this family.  It has not always been easy but extremely rewarding.  I am confident that this has opened the door for honest discourse between myself and the boys for years to come.


If you would like to be featured as an Avant Garde Parent of the Week or have someone you would like to nominate, please email me at deluna.jamie@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!  


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