I was recently on a business trip out in California and as I was talking to some team members out there, I started to notice more and more that the parenting experience is very similar regardless of where you live. I had lunch with one mom and she talked about the pressure to breastfeed with her second child, even though she wasn’t able to with her first. People who were around while she struggled the first time were making comments like “well you are least going to try to breastfeed, right?” As the conversation progressed, we went through the typical mom conversation of pregnancy woes, hardships with giving birth, daycare and judgmental friends, family and strangers. It dawned on me after the workday ended and I was back in my hotel room that we had so much in common but came from completely different places and backgrounds.
This lead to an idea for a new series; Mom Chat. I’m going to interview moms when I travel to find out how we are similar, how we are different and to gather as much parenting knowledge as I can to use with P. I know there will be differences in opinions and different ideas about how to raise kids but I thought it was interesting finding common ground in a place where I don’t quite fit in.
The first interview I did was with the lovely hotel manager Alana in San Diego. She was very cheery and we had already engaged in conversation about our kids before I asked her if I could interview her.
City: San Diego, California
Occupation: Hotel Manager
Little Ones: Daughter, 11
Mom Y’all: What was your hardest moment as a mom?
Alana: Coming to reality, I felt like I was dreaming. It didn’t seem like reality. I cried and couldn’t figure out why she was crying (when she was a newborn). My mom was telling me how to swaddle her and was so fast and I couldn’t do it. I was really sad and I would cry because I just couldn’t figure it out. I felt like I had Post Partem but I didn’t, I just was really sad about everything.
Mom Y’all: I can understand that, I had PPD and everything is so difficult and you don’t really know what to expect.
Alana: Right, and people give you advice but you are still figuring it out for yourself. I tried breastfeeding but it just wasn’t working and her father said that it was so much better and would help her to be smarter. It’s a lot of stress.
Mom Y’all: It is really stressful, I tried pumping and that didn’t work. My husband was supportive but didn’t really know how it felt hooked up to the machine most of the day, trying to eat and then taking care of the baby in between. His suggestion was just to turn the machine up but that just stressed me out to produce more.
Alana: They just don’t know how it feels.
MY: Being at home was the hardest for me. I loved her and wanted to take care of her but I knew staying at home wasn’t for me.
Alana: I’m the same way, I knew I didn’t want to do it. I have a lot of respect for the women who do; I don’t know how they do it.
MY: It’s crazy how tough it is with just one and there are women out there staying at home with like 5 kids.
Alana: Yeah, everyone kept telling me that I should stay home like 6 weeks but I went back to work at like 3.
MY: My daughter was in daycare at 3 months so I totally understand.
Alana: I had her in daycare originally but the daycare wasn’t okay with the diet I had her on. They wanted her to eat what they had and not what I provided so I pulled her out and thank God, my mom was able to watch her.
MY: So what was your happiest moment as a mom?
Alana: When she started walking and talking. (Her face showed that she was going back and forth trying to decide which one but looked extremely proud of both.) At first, she said Dada and then I said, “No, say mama.” Then she got her voice and said “Mama.” (She contemplated some more, still beaming thinking about her saying “mama.” Hmmm… walking or potty training but walking for sure.
MY: My daughter is 9 months old and I’m really excited for the snuggle phase. Right now she cuddles but really just when she is sleepy and wants to play with you.
Alana: The cuddles are the best. Those ended around 5 years old. My daughter is 11, but my favorite age was 4/5. They are really starting to develop their personalities and you can start to see who they are.
MY: Mine is already sassy, I can’t imagine how she is going to be then.
Alana: (giving me the just wait face) laughs
Alana: You have to watch what you say around the kids, they are little sponges and they soak everything in. The music now is crazy too. I looked back and noticed she knew every word to a song she shouldn’t know and I knew I couldn’t listen to it anymore.
MY: Ugh, I’m so bad about listening to rap in the car. My husband gets on to me about it but I just don’t think about it.
Alana: Right, you are so used to doing your own thing and then you have to think about the fact that they are soaking everything in. I looked in the rearview to check on her and she knew every word to a song on the radio. That’s when I knew I needed to listen to something else.
MY: Dang it, now I need to make sure to pay attention to that. The stuff they say on the radio is not what I want her learning.
Alana: They go through a cussing stage, their brains are like little sponges soaking everything in. They pick it up from you and then they are cussing at the grocery store and it’s embarrassing.
MY: I’ve definitely heard some little kids at the grocery store cussing.
Alana: And you know it’s from the parents. They hear it from everywhere, they pick up stuff at daycare too, if other kids cuss then they pick it up.
MY: 11 years, wow.
Alana: Yeah, it’s crazy now with YouTube and everything they have access to. My daughter has a phone but I have all of her messages going to my phone and she doesn’t have the internet.
MY: It seems like they are getting older so much younger they look older too. I’m going to make P where overalls for the rest of her life. (laughing)
Alana: Yeah I only let my daughter wear Bermuda shorts, not the shorts that they let the little girls wear now.
MY: So, what is you biggest fear as a mom?
Alana: I don’t want my daughter sucked up into this environment that this world is producing, that is my biggest fear. I teach her to be leader and not a follower and because I’m outspoken she’s always very outspoken. I tell her every day to be herself and not let other people influence her. She always says something new every day. She uses a large word I’ve never heard her say and it amazes me with the different things she says, she’s so smart.
MY: If you could give a new mom some advice, what would it be?
Alana: Follow your instincts, it’s okay to listen to other opinions but don’t let it get in your head. I listened to everyone and I was so scared to go to sleep because of SIDS, I thought I was going crazy. I stayed up all night long and was terrified of what was going to happen if I slept.
Final Thought from Alana: I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world, sometimes it is difficult, like right now she is stressing me about getting a fur beanbag chair but they are like $189 so it’s not going to happen. It’s cute but the price is crazy. They are all over amazon and everywhere but the cheapest one is like $89.
Alana was so kind and friendly and from the way, she spoke about her daughter, an incredibly proud mother as well. Coming from completely different parts of the country, working in different industries, and having different ideals we still had so many similarities. The main thing I took away from our conversation was to instill positivity that Alana has with her daughter in P. I want her to know that I support her, think she is smart, and teach her that she doesn’t have to be like everyone else. When we were talking about her teaching her daughter to be herself she mentioned that every day she tells her to be her own person and not follow what other people are doing.
Let me know if you liked this interview and what your thoughts are about the different things we talked about.