Monday, April 30, 2012

Mom-spirations- Irene

Irene Q.

I met Irene when she was an undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara. We had a few classes together here and there but most importantly she was one of the first members of Hermanas Unidas. Irene is the kind of person who brings the sunshine with her. Just happy, smiling and fun. Thanks to social networking I have been able to stay in contact with Irene and watch my "hermanita" become this amazing woman and Mother. Irene and I had babies about the same time. Then 16 months later she had another one. While I was still trying to figure out how to deal with a 6 year old and a baby, she was adding a 3rd beautiful baby to her tribe. She did it without skipping a beat. I am in awe of her mommy skills. She puts family, health and faith first in her life. And I love her whole outlook on life. She is the ultimate optimist and she is doing such an amazing job passing down this trait to her kids. When her baby Noah was born she wrote a letter to him and in that letter she said...

"Rule no. 1: be confident in your beliefs! Your power lies in standing behind your vision! That's the thing about believing, let nothing stand in the way of it son, nothing!"

What an amazing thing to teach your kids.

Here is a short interview with Irene....

Is your partner the type of parent you imagined them to be?  
I knew he'd be amazing, but the level of patience he has stuns me everyday. I mean I can flip in a minute, from happy to cranky-pants in .0005 seconds, but he keeps it calm and reasonable all the time. And just to make things interesting, our five-year old is just like me: loud, impatient, sensitive and wild. We surely keep daddy on his toes! He's also a complete hands-on dad! We have little ones only 16 months apart, so he's constantly changing diapers or making bottles and alternating nights with me to get up 3 or 4 times a night to feed our baby boy! He's truly a superstar dad!

Where did your kids names come from?  
I always loved the way Isaiah sounded! When I began dating Diego we looked up the name and found out that the Prophet Isaiah preached a message of non-violence and love! Right there, Diego was sold! And from there we stuck to the "ah" sound. Sofia (another BEAUTIFUL name) and Noah (another great figure from the bible)! So there you have it - our babies: "the ahs!"

Did you enjoy pregnancy? 

I freakin' loved it! Well not all the side effects, of course! I could have done WITHOUT excess saliva production and barfing, but the eating; boy, did I enjoy the eating! Each of my babies were gorgeous 9-pounders! I ate up a storm and loved all of the baby-talk that came with being preggo! Each of my deliveries were easier than the last and I went all-natural! It was empowering and beautiful! I even enjoyed the hospital stay and food (I'm a weirdo like that)!

What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received? 
In a lot of ways I get some of the best advice from my husband and he's just as new to this parenting thing as I am; yet somehow he's always contributing parenting gems! For one, he reminds me never to compare our kids to others! It's pointless and really unproductive! And besides, our kids rock! No need to compare! He also reminds me to not overreact! His anthem, "it's not that big of a deal!" In the end, spilled milk, crayon all over the walls, or bathwater everywhere but in the bath is LAUGHABLE! And what about families with REAL challenges? Moral of the story, chill out! After all, as they say, "if we took our "problems" and put them in a room with everyone else's we'd likely bow our heads and walk away in shame!" And the best advice of all, lead by example! Can't raise awesome kids, unless you're willing to be one awesome person!

What is the ideal Mother’s Day gift?  

If my hubby is reading this, I'll go with something super expensive and say there's no need to read on! Seriously, I love opening gifts, doesn't have to actually be expensive! I just love being surprised! So I can't wait for all of the surprises mother's day will bring! In fact, this is my kindergartner's 1st year bringing home gifts he personally made in class and I'm pumped to see what makes it home this mother's day!

What is your parenting philosophy?
I actually spent last night bawling! I was sitting at home, talking to my husband about my relationship with my mother. I told him about how all I've ever wanted was to make her proud though I often get reminded by her subtle and not so subtle comments, that I haven't quite done so.

In grade school, I wasn't "polite" enough. In high school, I wasn't as "kind" as the other teens, or as "helpful." In college, I didn't call enough and I didn't "care" enough. When I married, I did  it "backwards" being knocked up and all. And the list continues... In my mother's opinion at least, it continues. 

But the funny thing is, mom just wants the "best" for me and so she's hard to please and her opinions are slow to change. 

In fact, I'll never change her opinions of me. Still, I wish she knew, even after all the times she's said, "I've done it wrong" or "not been enough" or wished I was more like "so & so's kid" that all I've ever been is unbelievably happy! Life-to-good-to-be-true happy! One of God's favorites kind of happy!

My husband is amazing, my career is fulfilling, my children are brilliant, my home is full of joy and my friendships full of laughter. I feel blessed by faith. I am guided by my goals and moved by dreams (no matter how crazy they seem). I am full of fire. Everyday, I seek growth and feel an immense gratitude for life. But most importantly, I LOVE ME, all of me, just the way I am! 

Because I AM HAPPY!

So my parenting philosophy (discovered as of last night): I want my children to be happy for them, because of who they are inside and what they believe in. That they feel utter and complete happiness for themselves and know one else, regardless of anyone's opinion, even mom's.

Are you more relaxed with your second/third child? 
Totally relaxed with baby no. 3! I swear I almost didn't prepare a single thing before his birth! Maybe that's because I was too busy nurturing a 7-to-16 month old while pregnant! In the end, being chill about the whole thing has paid off! I was totally obsessed with my 1st born, but now having 3 feels like I could have 10 and nothing would change! We have our little routine (not the most structured, but our own) and I've come to be great at multi-tasking! We also have SO MUCH LOVE, barrels and barrels that just pour over! 

Who is your Mom-spiration? 
My sister Marcela is the Mexican Martha Stewart and her three daughters have turned out to be brilliant and respectful young women. They love being in each other's company and I'm like the extra sister in that house - a household constantly full of love, devotion, cupcakes, brownies or lemon bars (the list of pastries could go on). But I'm not just in it for the pastries, if I could reach her mom status by at least 1/3, I'd make one hell of a MOM! Marcela is 18 years older than me and in a lot of ways she was my mom growing up! So I've been blessed with her example since as far back as I can remember!

I asked Irene's husband Diego to share his thoughts on Irene as a Mom....
"I believe that what makes Irene such a wonderful Mother is exactly that makes her such a wonderful person. She is kind, compassionate and selfless while also being strong and confident. I thank God for entrusting out children to such a woman."

Happy early Mother's Day Irene. I am so happy we have reconnected. Thanks for sharing and please keep writing about parenting. Every time you post something I am floored at how poetic and beautiful you make motherhood and marriage feel. 


  1. Anonymous9:46 AM

    OMG Irene! Congratulations on the beautiful family and to be such an inspiring mom. For a split second you made me want a third baby! :) ~patti

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  4. Do it Patti, do it!

    Elissa, thank you again for your kind words! Means so much! I'm looking forward to reading about all of the other MOMS!


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