I'm not going to pretend that being any kind of mom is easy because of course it isn't. It's tough rewarding challenging stuff, but I do have to say that being a Latina mom comes with a particular set of challenges of its own. Challenges you may not have anticipated. What makes being a Latina mom harder than you think? Oh, let me count the ways!
1. It starts with a name. Choosing a baby name is a big deal; choosing a baby name if you're a Latina mom means you have to consider what it will sound like when mangled in English and in Spanish. For example, realize that if you name your child Noé, a whole lot of kids on the playground are going to be calling him "No Way!" On the flip side, if you name your kid Savannah your Spanish-speaking relatives are going to chuckle when they call her "Sábana."
2. Bilingual doesn't just happen. Planning on raising a bilingual child? Well, it's gonna take a whole lot of effort and commitment on your part. And even when it doesn't seem like your child is learning both languages you are going to have to keep at because if you don't, it's NOT going to happen.
3. You'll feel like you are between a rock and a piedra at times. The non-Latinos in your life will expect you to be some kind of authority on every single Latin American culture, but your own Latino relatives will let you know quite clearly that you are raising a gringo who needs to learn more about their culture.
4. You'll be mistaken for the nanny. I'm serious. I've taken my kids to the playground and on more than one occasion I've been asked if I'm the nanny. I've answered, "Nope, I'm the mama."
5. You have to choose what parts of culture to pass down. You love your Latino culture, but that doesn't mean you agree with all of it. You may want a cuchara de palo or a chancla to be nothing more than a wooden spoon or a flip-flop. And that's OK.
6. Family never ends. When it comes to extended family, you've got a whole lot of 'splainin' to do. The non-Latinos in your life don't understand why your kids have so many tías and tíos when you've only got one brother that they know of. It's because technically they are not aunts and uncles, but like third and fourth cousins, and who has time to keep up with all of that? So slap the title of tía or tío on them and just be happy for family.
7. There will be a manners culture clash. Sure, you think you are all Americanized and stuff, but when it comes to certain manners, you're going to be all Latino old-school. None of this dropping your kids off at the curb when they're visiting friends. Nope, you go to the door and meet the other kid's parents. Same thing when you pick them up, you don't honk and wait for your kids to run out; that's just plain rude.
8. Food becomes all about culture. You will start to use food as a way to teach your children about your culture about your family. Meals become so much more than meals, they are lessons and love.
9. You HAVE to raise them to be proud. Let's be completely honest, even in this day and age your children are going to hear and see some nastiness directed at Latinos even if it's unintentional. You have to instill a sense of pride in them from the very beginning so that no matter what they see or hear, they know that being Latino is a beautiful thing and NEVER something to be ashamed of.