A mother’s journey

Posted on May 06 2022

Motherhood is like being in school in a sense that mothers go through different grades and levels. From giving birth, to taking care of toddlers, teens, adults and then grandchildren. But while these stages are inevitable, mothers make a sincere effort to handle every step of the way with finesse, wisdom and being a beacon for their children and grandchildren throughout the journey.

Joy Santos of Koblerville, mother to pre-teen children Yumi, 14 and Rafa, 10, fondly recalls the time when her children would follow anything she tells them to do. “Now they know what they want and my parenting style adapted and changed by considering them and their opinions in my decision-making. I respect what they want and as long as I know there is nothing wrong about it then I’m fine with it. Now they are at the point where they are establishing their own personalities, I recognize that this is a critical time for them and for us parents,” she said.

Santos admits that raising teenagers in this day and age is challenging. “Setting boundaries is a very helpful tool for us parents. This generation faces too many distractions and access to the world that they need to know their limitations. I used to tell them that I am a cool mom to give them assurance that they can be comfortable with me like a friend,” she said. “But I also remind them to keep in mind that I am still their mother so they have to respect me.

While she takes time to be involved in her children’s lives, Santos said it can be difficult at time as she is a working mother. “I always try my best to be present all the time, be there for their activities and support them. …Raising a girl and a boy also poses a difficulty sometimes because of their differences . …As a parent, trying to meet each child’s need breeds balance. Fortunately, I have good, loving and sweet children that make my motherhood easy,” she added.

Cody South of Navy Hill, who is a mother of two and grandmother to six grandchildren, said that changing gears on parenting when you become a grandparent can be tricky. “There was once a time you were the one setting the guidelines, raising your own children and once they have grown and have had your grandchildren, it is important in my opinion to step back and give them the helm of the ship, so to speak, and let them steer the wheel. Trust that you have raised them to do so and just enjoy the ride (Of course that does not pertain to ice cream. Grandma has full control over the distribution of ice cream),” she said.

One of South’s biggest challenges as a mother and now a grandmother is spending time with each of her children and grandchildren. “I think many mothers will relate to this. I learned that it is so important to have one-on-one time with your children and grandchildren, no matter how old they become. It can be hard if you have a larger family…but this is so important in my book. I think a healthy balance on what activities are shared during grandma time is to spend time doing what your grandchildren love but also sharing the things grandmother loves to do.

“Grandma would like to pass on her hobbies, interests and favorite things that may be lost once grandmother is gone. My youngest granddaughter and I recently planted a vegetable garden together. She’s my dirt-loving baby girl, so it was a perfect fit for [us] as I shared the same thing with my grandmother. I am teaching my oldest granddaughter how to sew a baby doll quilt. Sewing is also a love of mine as my grandmother taught me to sew at the age of 8 and I cherish those memories with her and think of them often when I sew. On the flip side, my grandson has taught me that granny can still play B ball and shoot a hoop. I can now give him a pretty good round of it now, he is quite the coach at age 5 and says, ‘Grandma, you’re getting better. You just need to practice,’” she added.

South gives the word grandmother a different meaning. Not only does she become another set of arms for her grandchildren to hug, she makes sure that each little thing will leave “grand” memories. “It has been amazing. There are so many important lessons to learn and teach but for me the most important one that I learned has been my everlasting light since I first held my firstborn child in my arms,” she said.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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