An Interview With My Mother

Let’s start by saying my mother is amazing. Let’s follow that by saying I didn’t truly REALIZE how amazing, selfless, and strong she was until I had a kid myself. Don’t worry; I feel like a jerk about that too. Nothing has bonded me closer to my mother than BECOMING a mother. Looking back at the challenges she faced, I have no idea how she did it all those years with nothing but a smile.

My mom was a young mother from Croatia. She didn’t speak any English when she first came here and in quick succession had 3 children. She raised us full time as my father worked long shifts to make ends meet. She made every meal from scratch, made dollars stretch, made sure she didn’t raise 3 little hellions. Our family is loud, aggressive, and opinionated, and she did it all with quiet, humble grace with no expectations from anyone. She listens, observes, and sees more than she lets on. She picked her moments and gently guided her children where they needed to go. Being her fiercely independent kid, I missed appreciating these gifts she owned until much later.

So now when she has advice… I listen. When she shares a tip… I take note. When the day is hard… I call her. During this month where we honor mothers, I want to let mine have her say.

*You raised three kids, and Dad worked crazy hours. How did you manage without losing your mind?

LOTS OF COFFEE, and I did cross-stitch needlework every night to calm myself. Keep at least one hobby you enjoy at all times.

*What were your healthy, cost-effective, go-to meals for us?

I’d buy dried beans and make bean stew. It was hearty, filling, and had lots of protein. I’d also do lots of vegetables, lots of potatoes. You guys all liked soup. Kids really like soup; you should make it more!

*How is being Baka {Croatian for Grandmother} different than being a mom?

When you are older you have more time to appreciate your grandkids. You’re calmer, and everything they do is special to you. You are not in charge of disciplining them, just loving them. You get to love them even more than your kids in a way because you appreciate it all that much more. Grandparents get a bad name – we aren’t trying to spoil your kids; we just have learned how to enjoy them in a way we maybe couldn’t with you guys.

*What do you wish I would do differently as a parent?

To not worry so much! Worry and stress steal your joy. If I could have done that different as a parent I would have. That’s my regret.

*What do you think you see parents worry about too much these days?

We used to be a bit freer with kids and less judgy about things. You guys attack every little choice. I’ve never seen such craziness about formula or nursing. I also feel parents overcorrect their kids a lot. Kids now watch the parent in a situation for cues of what to do and don’t learn on their own. If a kid doesn’t want to hug me, don’t make them! If you see a pattern or a trend correct it, but don’t keep making the kid feel on trial. Let them be a kid!

*What do we have available to us today that you wish you had raising kids?

OMG! {Baka really dropped an OMG here you guys.} That’s a long list! I LOVE THOSE FRIGGEN FOOD POUCHES! That is the best thing ever! The availability of breast pumps is neat – we didn’t have that option back then. Also much better baby bottles! Boiling glass bottles is awful!

*Are my daughter and I similar? If so, going from 2-3, what should I be looking out for?

You were too clever for your own good at this age and would tell EVERYTHING I said to anyone! WATCH WHAT YOU SAY. M is like you in this way, and she is GOING to embarrass the heck out of you. {She chuckles a bit.} Karma maybe. You both love to eat and eat everything. She’s also good at endearing herself to anyone as well – you both have big personalities. Large defiant personalities. Good luck with that! {Another chuckle.}

*What is your best advice to me at this point in my life?

If you love your kid the way I loved you, everything will be fine. Everything else will work out.

*Do you have any advice to the moms in general?

Have fun, enjoy your kids because they grow up before you know it. Time goes so fast, and life is hard: complications, things fall apart, more moms work, and it’s just not that simple, I know. Find balance. Somehow. I was young and didn’t know how important that was then. Thought I had all the time in the world. Remember being mom is something special, and if you do it right it’s the thing you will appreciate most in your life. I know it has fulfilled mine.

In this month where we honor moms, here’s to all you moms. And to my amazing mom… all my thanks, respect, and love.

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Ana T
Ana T. enjoys sharing her life observations with a healthy dose of humor as she navigates life with her pint size sassy sidekick M {November 2014}. She comes from a loving, loud Croatian family raised in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2008 she made the jump to Houston where she full time practices and teaches optometry. 2014 - 2015 was a blur of survival for her: difficulty conceiving, a rough pregnancy, a seemingly happy marriage shattered in a Lifetime Story–esque way. Being alone as full-time single parent/career woman with a newborn living miles away from her family definitely wasn't the plan. Despite all this, Ana T. and M are tearing up play spots, eating their way through town, traveling all over, and THRIVING. Ana T. is into trying out and laughing at fitness fads, ridiculous Facebook statusing, and at 34 still searching for ANY craft she could have a smidgeon of talent in {currently it’s knitting… stay tuned}.



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