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Feliz dia de las Madres!

If this holiday finds you feeling JOY and fully CELEBRATING you as a mami, your mother, maybe your abuelita and the other mothers around you-- then I want you to know that I am smiling and holding that joy with you today.


For some, this holiday may stir up some complicated emotions. There was a time that I did not want to celebrate this holiday at all. I wanted it to be over as soon as it began. I wanted to NOT be reminded of the mourning that was required of me in not experiencing the same kind of relationship with my own mother that I saw friends and others experiencing. I felt sad! And friends I had who had lost physical contact with their mothers, either because they had passed away or because of distance.. they also felt a sadness.

I came to understand that it was okay to embrace all of the complexities and dualities of this day. I can celebrate AND mourn today. I can rejoice in my mothering AND I can feel the grief of what was not had.


If this latter experience is more aligned with how you are feeling today, I want you to know that you are seen.

Just last night I posted on Twitter and Instagram:

if you are a daughter without a mother physically emotionally painfully without a mother i see you i hold you i honor you on mother’s day and every day

The beautiful thing about facing grief and mourning of not having a "mother" meet our needs the way we may have longed for growing up or maybe still long for, is that it creates an opportunity for someone more powerful and wise to step in. Just as we have an inner child, we have an Inner Madre. We remother ourselves with the Knowing and Wisdom of this Inner Madre who we can access whenever we like, whenever we need

This Inner Madre is always evolving. This Inner Madre is reminding us that we are safe. This Inner Madre is showing us the way forward.


This Inner Madre is is ALIVE and actively ensuring that we are unfolding into a future ancestor, our future Abuelita selves, towards healing our matriarchal lineages.

Just as you are letting others CELEBRATE who you are as a mami, the mami your children chose, so should you celebrate this Inner Madre that is caring for your Inner Child daily.

Here are FOUR tips and activities on how to bring in the Inner Madre today if you are feeling challenged by this holiday:

  1. Write a love letter to your Inner Child from your Inner Madre: Find a quiet space with a journal or even utilize your Notes app. Center yourself with your breath. Write a love letter to your Inner Child from your Inner Madrecita to help you reconnect with her. This does not have to be a novel. This can simply be a few affirmations, or a few lines on a post-it. The idea is to keep at the forefront of the relationship between your Inner Madre and your Inner Child. You can let your Inner Child know he/she is safe. Speak from your corazon. Allow yourself to cry if the tears come. You do not need to dwell on what you did not receive or what you do not feel you have even now. This is about reminding your Inner Child that anger, rage, sadness, grief-- all of that complexity of feelings-- is okay to feel.

  2. Write a note of appreciation for your Inner Madre from your Inner Child This, again, does not have to be drawn out. It could be 2-3 things that you are grateful to yourself for. How often do we stop to look at our mental and emotional labor and think: Wow, I have accomplished amazing things in my day-to-day and in my healing journey." Not often enough! Tell your Inner Madre (your highest self) all of the things you love about her. These are truths. When we begin to doubt our worth, our value, we can come back to this reminder from our Inner Child and know that these are facts that we can use to re-ground ourselves in gratitude and self-appreciation to replenish our Inner Madre who works so hard to keep us evolving and keep our children safe, nourished, and whole. 3. Nurture your interests, appreciate your uniqueness Spend time today eating your favorite comida (it's frijoles con chorizo I already know), listen and dance to some favorite songs, wearing something that makes you feel YOU. Nurture all of the things that make you FEEL GOOD and more like yourself. For example, whenever I want to remind myself of who I truly am-- I braid my hair into two trenzas. I wear my hair like this for a while and it brings me back to a sense of authenticity. It also makes me feel connected to my grandmothers Josefina and Tomasita, who wore trenzas in their early years of mothering as well. This brings me to my third tip. As long as it is not harming anyone, you have permission to do anything that brings you a sense of freedom and full alegria.

  3. Reconnect to your ancestors and to yourself as a future ancestor Reconnecting to our ancestors-- either by looking at photographs of them if it is possible, imagining what they may have been like at our age, or creating an altar with items that carry their essence-- could give you an access point in reconnecting to your Future Abuelita Self. Your future Abuelita Self is the fully actualized embodiment of your Inner Madre.

These are just a FEW activities and tips we can engage with today to celebrate our Inner Madre.

I hope that this was supportive of you today and that you find so many moments of joy at your disposal. You are so brave. Eres tan valiente and you should be so proud.


xoxo, Leslie --

p.s. if you want to dive deeper into Madre Wound work, which discusses not only our Madre Wounds but all of the factors (colonialism, Marianismo, feminismo) that contribute and that impact us as Latinas/Chicanas specifically, check out these upcoming offerings:

Healing the Madre Wound: Remothering the Latina/Chicana Mother

Criándome, Cuidándome: Reparenting Ourselves While Raising Our Children - The Series

p.p.s. if you are looking for a way to stay connected to parenting support that is rooted in nonviolence, social justice, decolonized ways of being in family, and cultural honoring and sustenance, subscribe to my mailing list HERE.

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Updated: May 8

Dear white “parenting expert” friends,


First of all, let me thank you for doing what many consider important work. As an emerging voice in the field of parent education and coaching, I have benefited both personally and professionally from the work you’ve done, the books you’ve published, the cute and encouraging Facebook posts and Instagram graphics you’ve created for people to share. I’ve often shared them myself.


Secondly, let me again thank you, albeit a bit facetiously this time, for contributing to the conditions that led to the creation of Latinx Parenting. You see, it had been years that a frustration had been steadily growing in me. Yes, I appreciate you as I mentioned above, but I want to share an observation that has become increasingly clear and frankly unacceptable and later follow up with some clear requests.


Let me be clear that this bone I’m about to pick dry belongs not only to me, but to countless other non-white parents, families, and parenting experts of color that I’ve had an opportunity to engage with, and often on the back of this shared qualm. Some of us have even created whole damn conferences to address this systemic foolery in the parenting world.


The disappointment is this, and I’m just gonna say it:


The parent coaching and education world is too. damn. white.



It's true. Everywhere I turn, there’s another digital conference with no speckle of melanin in sight. Or maybe one speckle. It is never above 10%. I’m very serious, I count the number of speakers, then the number of non-white speakers, do the math, and feel my chest tighten. We are not seeing ourselves represented. And it’s more and nauseating each time.


I’ve tried to tell myself that it shouldn’t bother me, that you’re not to blame, that you don’t know any better. I tried to convince myself that you mean well and that’s all that should matter.


But that’s NOT all that matters.


What matters are our voices. What matters are our stories. What matters is that you hold yourself and the organizers that invite you onto their stage accountable. It matters that you don’t let us continue doing all of the heavy lifting, all of the equity work, all of the labor to bring the perspectives of Latinx & Black, Indigenous, People of Color (or BIPOC as is commonly used, for my unknowing white friends in white worlds).


We have been driven to build our own tables now because it’s clear we’re not welcome to sit at yours. And that’s okay. And... it’s also not okay, because we need you to dismantle white supremacy in this field too. And if you have a platform with an audience of any color and you’re not using it at least partially to do that.. I’m side-eyeing you. 👀


To quote my friend Trina Greene Browne, founder of Parenting for Liberation, in a podcast episode which was a part of a “Parenting Decentering Whiteness” series hosted by myself and Cindy Wang Brandt of Parenting Forward:


“I AM asking a lot.”


Yes, we need you to do more. A lot more. We need you to use your privilege to hand the mic over to someone who hasn’t spoken yet. We need you to stop assuming that all families have the resources, capacities, privileges to do things the way you expect parents to do them. We need you to do this even though it’s not going to make you any money. We need you to acknowledge your privilege. We need you to wield it in support of parents, families, and children that look very different than yours. We need this now.




By now you’re probably thinking “Heavens to Betsy, you’re right, Leslie! I never noticed! What ever can I do to prioritize equity and be an ally in my field?!”


I’m so glad you asked. To save you from too much head scratching, I wanted to offer you some support and free Latina labor.


First, lets make sure we’re on the same page about the facts: If you’re invited to be a part of a panel, summit, conference, parenting expert conga line, WHATEVER, and you look around and see that most if not every other panelist/speaker is also white— THAT’S A MIGHTY BIG PROBLEM.



Now, here are JUST 10 (not all of the) WAYS YOU, AS A WHITE PARENTING PROFESSIONAL OR WHITE PATRON OF THEM, CAN USE YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE TO BE AN ALLY TO NON-WHITE AND MARGINALIZED PARENTS AND FAMILIES (unless you really DGAF about non-white marginalized parents and families or racial justice which is also possible and is a bigger problem and I hope you get yourself some anti-racist education.)


  1. Tell the organizer this fact: parents want to hear from diverse voices, and you’re noticing that there’s no seasoning in this meat loaf. If you’re the organizer, this should be an easy peasy lemon squeezy fix (see number 9).

  2. Tell the organizer it’s NOT enough to have one or two token people of color, if there even are that many. A good rule of thumb is: there could always be more.

  3. Straight up refuse to participate if you have been the one invited unless there is more representation from various cultures, races, and SES perspectives. You may be given some side eye, but those of us who see your allyship will invite you to our prima's quinceañera.

  4. Be critical about the language used in the invitation and promotion. “For all parents”. Really? What is “all parents”? What kind though? Let’s be real-- if a panel of 12 parenting experts in a summit looks like an episode of Friends: it's not for all parents, it's for parents who look like they also hang out at Central Perk.

  5. Ask the organizer what steps can be taken to use this as an opportunity to dismantle not only adult supremacy over children, but white supremacy which, if you haven’t noticed or had your spectacles off this entire post, has problematically seeped into the parenting world by virtue of the continued lack of representation.

  6. This one is important and has less to do with the micro-aggression that is exclusion in parenting conversation spaces, and more to do with the macro-aggression of perpetuating racism by not talking about it. Encourage your white and class-privileged coaching clients and parents to talk about privilege, inequities, and social justice to the children in their homes. That’s part of good parenting too. It’s not just about wooden toys, organic snack plates, kids yoga and a calm corner for little Bryce. Little Bryce needs to understand systemic oppression, so help parents understand how it’s their job and their children's to dismantle it for a more racially just world.

  7. Recommend parenting books by non-white Latinx & BIPOC parenting experts. If you can’t find many, fund them. (My Venmo is @latinx-parenting.) And while we’re here, recommend children’s books by non-white authors about non-white characters. Those you CAN find a lot of. The Conscious Kid can help.

  8. When you see a line up you’ve been invited to or are considering buying into, instead of thinking “Yippee! I get to be a centered story AGAIN!” think: “Wait a sec, who isn’t being seen here? Whose voice is being silenced by omission? In what ways am I benefiting from this exclusion?”

  9. Reach out to non-white Latinx or BIPOC and ask them if they would want to join your tables. To be fair, we may not actually want to if we sense tokenism and refusal is our right, but you can definitely try!

  10. If you don’t know any non-white parent coaches or experts (another massive problem), I invite you to familiarize yourself with some of the incredible voices from the non-white parenting world I’ve had the privilege of meeting over the last year, in addition to Trina and Cindy who I mentioned above:


Akilah Richards of Raising Free People and Fare of the Free Child Podcast

Nikolai Pizarro de Jesús of Raising Readers and author of the book Ring the Alarm: the Hope of Black and Brown Communities: A Zero to Five Parenting Guide for Low Income Black and Latino Caregivers

Yolanda Williams of Parenting Decolonized and her partner Crystal Stampley of Conscious Parenting Time

Jasmine & Mo of Parenting is Political

Iris Chen of Untigering

Mercedes Samudio of the Diversity in Parenting Conference and author of Shame Proof Parenting

Krissy Coggins of Krissy's Couch

Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens of The Conscious Kid (Also check out their research on how Dr. Seuss was a racist, boom)

Andrea Landry of Indigenous Motherhood

Sylvia Poareo of Connecting Within

Stacey Patton, author of Spare the Kids

Melissa Carnagey of Sex Positive Families

Yesenia Mendoza-Menchaca and Pablo Menchaca of Somos Padres

Gabriela Blanco of Healing Parents


...and those are just the ones off the top of my head (!) and it isn’t even close to all of them (!!). The point is-- WE OUT HERE!




We exist right next to you and are now inviting you to turn your head and look at the richness and possibility that could exist in the line-ups you create or are invited to be a part of.


If, so far, this letter has somehow triggered you, made you feel offended or threatened, or caused you to feel an urge to call the police or call your sister to complain the way you might about burnt tuna casserole, I encourage you to be reflective about why it is stirring you up and and whether it’s a cognitive dissonance flare up. For some of you, it may not feel good. For others, it may have created a welcomed awareness.





What I hope, though, is that you have taken this as a necessary call to action. My fingers and toes are crossed that you have been able to put yourself in my huaraches and hold this call to make a shift with value and empathy, the way you ask parents to hold the needs of their children.


I look forward to seeing the mosaics you demand to see in the parenting world and begin to wield your privilege to uplift our voices, our stories, our offerings for families in the same, or more pronounced, way that you uplift yours.


From my soft heart & my fiery gut,


Leslie Priscilla Arreola-Hillenbrand

Founder, Latinx Parenting



p.s. If you're reading this and want to add a Latinx or BIPOC parenting coach or influencer onto this list , please comment under this post with their name and contact details below!



p.p.s. if you are looking for a way to stay connected to parenting support that is rooted in nonviolence, social justice, decolonized ways of being in family, and cultural honoring and sustenance, subscribe to my mailing list HERE.

Latinx Parenting Instagram

Latinx Parenting Facebook Page

Latinx Parenting Twitter

To support this work: Donate via PayPal

Donate via Venmo

Learn about Upcoming Events:


www.latinxparenting.org/upcoming-events

Parent Coaching:


www.latinxparenting.org/coaching


Free Offerings:


Video Platicas


Resources

Facebook Group: Latinx Parents Practicing Nonviolence (For Latinx Parents ONLY - Allies and Non-Parents Group opening soon)


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The internet is packed with memes about Latino parents that use la chancleta o chancla to beat their children. Although chancla memes can be funny, corporal punishment in children is a serious problem and needs to be abolished from our culture. Hitting, beating, pinching, striking or slapping a child is abuse and is damaging. Here I share 5 reasons why parents need to stop using “la chancla” as a disciplinary resource.




1. It Causes Confusion


Corporal punishment teaches children that violence is acceptable in the name of affection. It tells them that it is okay for an adult to hurt a child. It can influence children to look for approval and affection in the wrong places and in the wrong ways.


2. It Creates A Cycle Of Violence


La chancla as a disciplinary resource can easily escalate to abuse. Research data shows that those that beat their children were also physically punished when they were young. Did you know that there is a direct correlation between physical punishment in childhood and aggressive behavior in the adult years?


3. It Hurts Relationships.


La chancla affects trust and open communication interfering with the special bond between parent and child. Corporal punishment has long term effects in the emotional being of children and parents, too!


4. It Is Ineffective


Some people think that la chancla helped them to behave better, however, this is not exactly right. The decision to behave better is based on fear rather than self-motivation. La chancla as a disciplinary resource doesn’t teach the child self-control and how to resolve conflict.


5. Alters Brain Development


In a 2009 study, researches found out that corporal punishment in childhood alters brain development decreasing the amount of gray matter in some brain regions that have been linked to addiction, depression, and other mental disorders. Heartbreaking!




WHAT CAN A PARENT DO INSTEAD?


Oh, I know that those little rascals can sure drive us crazy, but I have good suggestions that may help you whenever the situation with your child gets challenging.

  1. Breathe. Breathe and calm down.

  2. If #1 doesn’t work (because sometimes it. just. doesn’t. work,) please withdraw from the situation, make sure your kids are safe and come back when you have control of your emotions.

  3. Also it helps to educate yourself so you can understand why your child is doing what he or she is doing. I have learned that there is always a reason. Maybe your child is tired, needs attention or has a basic need that has been neglected.

  4. Learn other techniques that you can do to discipline your children such as time outs, giving them options, natural consequences, etc.

  5. Remember that they are children and they are still trying to figure out boundaries and learn self control.

  6. Get to know your children and build a  relationship of trust with them.

  7. Parenting is not easy and requires a lot from us, if you feel that it is too much to handle, please don’t hesitate to seek help. It is not wrong to accept that we need help.


LET’S BREAK LA CHANCLA CYCLE

OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.


From the Hispanic Mama Blog

by Linda Lopez-Stone



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