Monday, June 25, 2012

A Real Mom, Living In The Moment: Martha

Let me introduce a college friend, and my cousin, Martha Vasquez Sosa. Although, Martha is my cousin, I did not have the opportunity to really know her until she began going to college at SEU with me (we come from an extremely large family). She has such an incredible heart; it is easy to fall in love with her almost instantly. Martha was even so kind to grace us with her talent by playing her viola is I walked down the aisle on my wedding day. She has, on more than one occasion, encouraged me and given me advice on ways to encourage and teach my children at home. Martha is one of those teachers who teach out of her passion for children and not the paycheck……
Martha: I’m a proud wife, mother to two beautiful boys, and 3rd grade teacher in central Florida. I play viola in a string quartet. I love word games like Scrabble and Words with Friends, and I’ve recently been diagnosed with ADD and I’m finding my groove.

 I haven’t always been okay. Years of counseling and prayer have helped transform me from an abused, depressed child into a somewhat productive, pseudo-normal person.

I grew up in a multi-family setting and moved at least twice a year. With so much instability, school became my safe haven. I poured all my energy into school and was desperate for the encouragement and affection my teachers gave me. Music was my outlet, and I was blessed with music scholarships to fund my college education. God made a way—and here I am married to the kindest man on the Earth, raising 2 precious boys, with the job I've always wanted.

I’ve embraced my past. It’s mine. It formed me and prepared me for the little lives I teach every day. I learned first-hand what NOT to do--and the life altering impact adults can have in the lives of children. I also learned God’s will is perfect and His grace is sufficient.

Are you a Scheduled or Non-Scheduled Mom? What are the benefits and downfalls to your choice?
I'm a proud unscheduled mom! Learning and beauty are found in spontaneous moments and organic living. Yes, for sanity's sake, we have a time to eat and a time to go to bed, but the rest of the day holds a loose "bucket list" of things that need to be accomplished as we get to them. Sticking to a schedule is more stressful--so much my consciousness is focused on the schedule, that I'm unable to enjoy the moments, discoveries and laughs with my kids. It's like a child struggling to sound out words in a story...the decoding is so labored that at the end of the story, he doesn't know what he just read. I never want to allow what is "supposed" to happen steal away the magical moments with my boys. 

What is your biggest Mommy Pet-Peeve?
My biggest mommy pet peeve: parents who do not parent; parents that expect the teachers to teach hygiene, manners, character, etc. It breaks my heart that, on more than one occasion, I've had to actually teach a 2nd grader how to set his/her alarm, how to set out clothes for the next day, how to bathe at night (even if you don't want to), and to put on CLEAN clothes after he/she gets out of the tub, how to make breakfast for themselves and younger siblings and how important it was to make it to the bus stop on time..."yes, honey, I know mommy and daddy are still sleeping, but I'm counting on you to be responsible enough to get yourself clean, dressed and ready for school." ::heartbreaking:: But kids will rise to the occasion. Every time. 

Given the opportunity, what- if anything- would you do differently as a Mom?
One thing I would do differently as a mom was journal. Daily from the time I found out I was pregnant. I wish I could recount each day with my boys and know the smallest, meaningless milestones...alas...

Did the way you were parented shape that way that you parent your own children? How?
Yes, my parents shaped the way I parent. My dad was in prison most of my childhood and my mom was dealing with her own issues and finding the answers at the bottom of a bottle. I actually made a list of qualities that I would/would not replicate. My dad has a strong work ethic, my mom snuggled with us everyday, my dad is hilarious, and my mom is frugal... I observed not only my parents, but also my youth pastors, pastors, my friends parents, etc. I took notes, prayed and asked for wisdom. I knew I'd never be a perfect mother, but I did want to be a thoughtful, prayerful mother. I wanted to act and speak with purpose. 

What is your biggest Mommy “Aha” moment?
My biggest mommy "aha" moment was realizing that these tiny little people have enormous personalities, complete with their own decision making skills (irrational 2 year olds) and an agenda carved in stone. All those times I said, "My kids will never __________" came flooding back to me. 

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a new Mother?
The best piece of advice I would give to a new mother would be this: Don't compare. Don't compare yourself with other moms. They are crying and confused sometimes, too. Don't compare your baby with other babies. Each miracle is perfectly crafted with God's hands and desperately needs prayerful, wise parents to prepare him for the purpose God created him. Embrace the tearful moments. And if you're exhausted, you're doing something right. Having a child has cemented all I've known about God's character, selfless love, patience, and beauty...

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