A lot of women say they felt like a new person when they became a mom. And I share that sentiment. Having the responsibility for a tiny human who completely relies on you is quite a big deal. While you make not become a perfect human all of a sudden, you will definitely take that new responsibility seriously. When you become a mom you can’t just do whatever you want anymore. Each time you want to leave the house, you have to make sure someone will be watching your child. Being a mom means putting your little one’s needs first. Most moms do not only understand that but they take it to the extreme. Since “mom guilt” is a real thing, most moms think they have to dedicate every single second to their child(ren) and feel selfish when they do anything for themselves. This can in return lead to depression, anxiety, feeling unfulfilled, and a lot more. Ever heard the saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup?” It is so very true. In the beginning, when I had my son, I thought I would have to be the only one taking care of him and always be around him. I got comfortable with my reality of wearing the same PJs for days and sporting the dirty hair top knot indefinitely. But I learned to let go and find myself again. You can be a good mom without losing yourself. Here are a few tips on how:
Stay connected with the outside world
Being home alone with your child 24/7 even if it’s only for the first couple weeks/months can be very isolating. A lot of moms feel like they have to do it alone. But it is so important to have a support network. Even if it is just asking a friend a question about baby-related issues. Some people think that so many moms turn into mom bloggers or mom influencers to chase clout. But I know plenty of mom bloggers and can attest that what most of them love the most about being part of this scene are the network and human connection. During the first weeks when you cannot leave the house with a newborn, it is a lot easier to connect with other moms online.
Meet up with other adults
You might be an introvert and not interested in spending time with others. After all, what can be more fulfilling than yummy baby snuggles? Hear me out! I am the biggest introvert in the world and nothing sounds better to me than alone-time. When my son was born, I really did not want to see anyone and just catch up on sleep whenever I could. However, now that he is older, I do appreciate a mom’s night out from time to time. While I make sure that I still get enough me-time by going to the gym, working out, getting mani-pedis, etc, I truly believe parents need some child-free time every once in a while. It is so important to stay in touch with your friends and hear what they are up to. I made it a point to only surround myself with inspiring people. So each time, I hang out with friends, I feel refreshed, inspired, and learned so many new things. Even if you are super-duper anti-social, try to just have a grown-up night (or day) with adult conversations even if it is just once in a blue moon.
Have goals and follow your dreams
Most parents feel like their children give them purpose in life. And I concur! But it is also important to not lose yourself completely and still follow your own goals. Maybe you want to get in the best shape in your life? Go for it! Who says moms can’t look fabulous. Make sure you get in that healthy food and gym time! Maybe you’re pursuing a promotion at your job? Go get it! Or maybe it is your own business? You are never too old or too busy to follow your dreams! And it does not make you a selfish person when you do not dedicate every breathing second to your offspring. Remember: there will come a day when they will move out of the house to follow their own dreams and have their own family. And you do not want to look back at your life thinking you missed out on life.
This is me at a Mom’s Night Out event. Follow me on Instagram for more updates.
I remember when social media first emerged, it was all exciting for me and many others. It was an interesting experience to create an online identity and communicate with your friends through this new medium. Who would have thought that, fast forward, social media would become such a big part of our lives? Quite frankly, you can almost say it has replaced actual life for a lot of people. Most people I talk to, tell me they rack up several hours per day on these apps. As a blogger, it is part of my job to use my phone and maintain a presence on these platforms. That is why it is even more important to me to give myself a break every once in a while. Not only are social media detoxes beneficial for my mental health but they also free up a lot of time that I can now spend on something useful. However, this does not mean that you have to be completely excluded from the fun. Here are some tips on how you can limit your social media use without going too radical:
Create a morning routine that does not involve your phone
One thing that has helped me a lot to reduce my overall use of social media apps was to shorten the overall window that I use my phone during the day. I guess you can consider it to be like intermittent fasting – just for your phone use. Clearly, one of the best life changes I have made is to NOT use my phone first thing in the morning. I used to wake up turning my phone on immediately. Not only was this a waste of time but it would also stress me out to read a work email or see some due bill right after opening my eyes. Now I put my phone on airplane mode throughout the night and take some time for myself in the morning to meditate, stretch, and drink some strong Cuban coffee in peace before my family wakes up. This sets a whole different tone for the rest of the day.
2. Set a bedtime for your phone
By the same token, I made it a habit to not use my phone anymore 1 to 2 hours before going to sleep. Back in the day, I would be on my phone until I would fall asleep. This usually led to poor quality of sleep and a fogged-up mind upon waking up. I rather calm down from the day now instead of reading some annoying news in bed that gets me all wired. I highly recommend using airplane mode at night as opposed to just putting it on silent so you are less exposed to the radiation from the device.
3. Break the habit
We are all creatures of habit. Once we are used to constantly and mindlessly opening our IG or Facebook throughout the day, it is difficult to stop this automated behavior. It takes about 21 days to break a habit so chances are that you won’t be able to quit cold turkey. But there a ways to transition away from it. I usually try to reserve some time where I get to check my social media apps. It is much more exciting to look at the app after a day or a few hours of not having checked it as supposed to be checking it non-stop zombie-style. In the beginning, I would still catch myself a lot opening and closing these apps. I slowly transitioned away by having other entertainment on my phone that does not require me to scroll or do anything, e.g. subscribing to interesting Podcasts that you can open when you’re bored and do something else in the meantime. Also, I really got into Audible and it helps me stay entertained without scrolling, liking, commenting, or otherwise being mindlessly entertained by the Zuckerberg universe.
4. Shut off notifications for social media apps
This one is a gamechanger and goes hand in hand with what I mentioned above. You will constantly open these apps and get suckered into them when you see notifications pop up. Just carve out some time during the day when you check whatever comments, messages, and tags people have left you. Trust me – these things can wait and do not have to be answered the very second they are posted.
5. Don’t take your followers’ engagement on your account personally
A lot of people take it very personally that some of their followers never engage with their content despite watching every single story. Personally, I think these are silly first-world problems and we should not waste any time on what other people do or do not do. I made it my own principle to NEVER check who views my story and/or who likes my stuff. Yes, of course, I have an idea of who is very supportive and who seems to be more of a hater. But life is too short to worry about why people are the way they are and I can find a better use for my time.
If you have any more tips, drop them in the comments and talking about social media, give me a follow on Instagram if you like.
I remember there was a time when I religiously believed everything the billion-dollar fitness and diet industry tried to sell me. Especially the myth that carbs and sugar are BAD for you. After all, having a great body shouldn’t be easy, right? That’s why stunning physiques are purely reserved for those who put in the most work and restrict themselves the most, right? I lived a sad existence in which I could not any carbs after 2 pm including fruits and no foods whatsoever after 6 pm. I did that because some non-qualified fitness online advised people to do so. At night, I would be dreaming of food while chewing a whole pack of gum to curb my hunger. I would constantly think about food and was stuck in a vicious cycle of overeating every single day after my overnight fast. I broke out of this madness and am happier and healthier than ever. Here’s how I did it:
Get in tune with your body’s needs
I was restricting myself diet-wise to look better, feel better, and be healthier. But what really happened is that food was consuming my thoughts 24/7. Not only were these habits detrimental to my mental health but they also made me feel anything else but comfortable in my own skin. I was constantly over bingeing on so-called healthy foods like salads because these were the only foods I allowed myself to eat. After all, I had strict categories of good and bad foods. Also, I was just so hungry during the day since I would never eat after 6 pm. This led to me being bloated, full, and sluggish all the time. Hence, I was far away from my goal of feeling sexy. Without a doubt, what is going on in your mind can affect your physical health. But my mind and body were completely disconnected from each other. I would crave things like banana bread but instead, I would eat tuna and eggs and be completely unsatisfied. I took a look at other women who have a naturally lean physique and to my surprise, their diets often wouldn’t consist of mountains of grilled chicken breast. I would see a lot of them eating rather pleasant feel-good foods just not tons of it. I started to fantasize about that being me but I was way too deep in my oxic habit of considering some foods off-limits that it was difficult to make a change. Sometimes all I wanted was a cookie but since carbs and sugar equaled bad for me, I would instead eat a huge salad with triple the calories that did not hit the spot AT. ALL. This brings me to my next point.
“Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salad”
There is one book in particular that inspired my transition into Intuitive Eating called Skinny Girls Don’t Eat Salad. A former swimsuit model and fitness junkie tells her story of how she went from restricting herself (which often led to overeating) to having a healthy relationship with food. The title in particular caught my attention. Like I mentioned before, I often observed women that are in shape and HEALTHY. I did not see them restricting themselves or obsessed with food. I grew up going on various vacations to the South of Europe such as Spain, Italy, or France. I saw a ton of beautiful healthy women who would not follow any kind of fad diet. French women would eat their croissant with joy, Italian women would enjoy their homemade pasta with a glass of red wine, and Spanish women would have really late dinners that go against any intermittent fasting rule. Notably, they all really enjoyed food AND life. In addition to looking stunning, I noticed that most of the women in the countries tend to live very long and healthy lives.
My journey to food freedom and mental health
Now that I spent a good amount of time talking about what didn’t work, let me get to the part where I fixed it. I unintentionally did something that experts call “Going all in.” Fitness YouTuber Stephanie Buttermore has famously documented her All-In-Diet journey. To give you a very short and straight-to-the-point explanation: after you have spent a long time restricting yourself, you relearn to feel hunger cues, to stop full, what your body needs, and basically everything that intuitive eating entails. I went through something similar without noticing it. When I first moved to Miami, I thought that everyone here looks absolutely fabulous and put that same pressure on me. Plus, starting an intense MBA program as well as the hot weather all curbed my appetite. I was eating a very low-calorie diet plus doing cardio every day. Not only was I restricting myself but I was also denying my body the fuel it needed. There were times when I broke down because of that. After I graduated, I worked a very taxing job with lots of standing and often no breaks until the very end of the workday. At that point, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I turned into a bottomless pit when it came to eating. I would only have an unpaid 30-minute break where I would stuff myself with everything I could find in the cafeteria. Moreover, I had equally big breakfasts and dinners. The numbers on the scale started to go up rapidly. Eventually, I regulated this behavior when I got a less stressful office job and fell happily in love.
The way through a woman’s heart goes through her stomach
Newly in love with a like-minded foodie, I would eat around town with my new boyfriend and explore all different kinds of restaurants. Funnily, this did not only restore a healthy relationship with food for me. But also bounced back to a weight I was very at without even trying hard. I was like I unintentionally died the All-In-Diet. I learned
1) what my body needs
2) when to stop eating when I had enough
3) that there is no such thing as good or bad foods
I pretty much ate everything I wanted. We would often order dessert (if not each time we go out). The key to intuitive eating is not the same as “everything in moderation” as it has nothing to do with restriction. Once you are in tune with her body, you will automatically stop at a few bites of the cake because you do not want to get in a sugar rush. Equally, you won’t eat too many fatty foods that make you feel sluggish. And you will most likely crave something fresh and light for dinner after eating a heavier lunch.
Forbidden fruit effect
Last but not least, I like to conclude by saying that I believe that not restricting yourself, or not categorizing food as good or bad, makes less healthy food options less exciting for you. It is like the forbidden fruit effect where you really want something just because you cannot have it. If you stop giving chocolates so much importance, you won’t crave them as much. When I was in my dieting phase, I could never control myself around foods like that. Now, I peacefully co-exist in my house with all types of foods and mainly turn to the healthier option as they give me the fuel I need, make me feel better, and make my skin glow. When I want some chocolate, I just eat a piece and move on. Even the sound of the word “cheat day” makes me cringe as I find it extremely toxic to harshly restricting yourself and then binge on one day of the week.
Obviously, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist, so this article is purely an opinion piece. But if you want to get more information, you can find a lot of registered dietitians post useful information on the topic when you follow #intuitiveeating on Instagram.
While I do not live under a rock, I sometimes feel like I do when people talk about some famous people I have never even heard of. The same applies to Rachel Hollis. But after her recent TikTok rant that she also posted on her IG account (and just deleted today), pretty much everyone and their grandmother must have heard about her.
Let me summarize real quick what I learned about her from some quick internet research:
Rachel Hollis is a mom of 4 kids who was married to businessman Dave Hollis until 2020. She is a mompreneur, author, MLM coach, motivational speaker, and influencer. She amassed a huge following on social media especially after posting a relatable picture of her postpartum body. In the past, she has been criticized for plagiarizing.
The infamous now-deleted rant:
The infamous non-deleted non-apology:
If you have read my article about Hilaria Baldwin, you already know I’m not a fan of the entire internet ganging up on a person after they did something wrong. I usually tend to feel like I have to defend these people because after all, we are all human. And humans make mistakes. Being in the public eye makes it even more difficult as everyone watches your every step. However, Rachel’s condescending video and followed-up non-apology left me scratching my head a bit. Her annoying delivery was not the only thing wrong with this video. Instead of owning up to her mistake, she made it worse by posting a terrible apology on her social media five days later.
Here are some of my issues with this:
Housecleaners are hard workers and deserve respect
I do not take any issue at all with her having someone clean her house. As a matter of fact, we also have a wonderful woman coming to our house. We appreciate all her hard work so much and she has become like family. Why did Rachel Hollis feel the need to diminish her housekeeper’s work by repeatedly saying that “she cleans toilets?” It is just very condescending and in poor taste!
2. Don’t conflate income with hard work! They are not the same.
As mentioned above, she makes some statements that make it sound like she works much harder than most people, and that is why she is more successful than they are. Amongst other things, she mentions that she is one of the few people who wake up a 4 am every morning. Honey, I hate to break it to you but I know plenty of women who do that simply to make ends meet and without bragging about it. There are tons of single moms out there without any support who do this on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, my wonderful, above-mentioned cleaning lady is up and running at 5 a.m. every day hustling to take care of her family and send money back home to her family in her home country. All while having a smile on her face and never acting as if she works harder than others. Maybe it’s time to take a piece of that humble pie. You live a privileged life! Waking up at 4 a.m. to go to the gym does NOT make you the hardest worker in the room Which brings me to the next point.
3. PSA: Women who are with rich dudes, stop calling other women poor!
So, let’s address the elephant in the room. Rachel married a Disney executive at the age of 21! He helped her open her first business(es). From there on, she started her career as an author, motivational speaker, and blogger. It is much easier to start these types of careers when you have a husband paying for all the bills. Most women I know do it while working full-time at a company AND raising kids because they simply do not have the luxury. I have noticed this several times that women who are together with rich dudes tend to look down on less affluent women. Girl, you need to take a seat and chill. You would not be where you are without the financial support of your now-ex-husband.
4. Bragging about being unrelatable
Ok, her uncomfortable rambling on how she does not want to be relatable is cringe-worthy as is. But what makes it so hypocritical, is that her entire career on built on being relatable. Her breakthrough moment on social media was when she posted a picture of her “mom bod” including stretch marks. People liked that down-to-earth attitude and she gained a following that she was able to sell her books and MLM products to.
5. The comparison to great women in history
I think we can all agree that her caption was even worse than the video. She lists some of the greatest women in history such as Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Malala Yousafzai who were all “unrelatable AF” just like her. No! Simply no to an influencer comparing herself to an abolitionist who freed slaves. Simply the no-est No there ever was.
6. Late non-apology followed by a second attempt at an apology
She did not address the serious backlash she got after this video until 5 days after posting it. She issued what must have been the worst apology ever on her IG which read something to the extent: Sorry you guys felt that way but I still do not understand what was wrong about my video and it’s my team’s fault I let so much time pass. Obviously, this only made the crowds furious so she just issued another apology today and also finally deleting that horrific post. Scroll below to read it.
Since any apology is better than none, I’ll give her some credit for that. But words are very powerful and she has hurt a lot of people with what she said. Since I could not live with myself if I would end a post only bashing a person without saying anything positive, I want to add something. I do commend her for her career, her success, and raising four children which is not easy at all. But the way she talked about it in such an arrogant, condescending manner was just plain offensive. I hope she considers using her words more carefully in the future and using her platforms to lift others up instead of putting them down.
The other day when I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I couldn’t help but open an article from Parents Magazine called “Millennial Moms Choose Formula Feeding for Convenience.” The article was fairly short and it stayed very much on the surface not really touching on to any details. Here is a quick summary of its key points:
A formula brand surveyed moms in 2017 on their baby feeding habits
Formula feeding has increased a lot
While the vast majority of moms over 35 feels guilty about formula feeding, the majority of moms 34 and younger does not feel guilty about giving their baby formula
The nr. 1 reason that the moms stated for formula feeding is convenience
Moms reported that they would breastfeed if their maternity leave was longer, and moms with multiple children were less likely to breastfeed
The article concludes by stating that breastfeeding is beneficial but that the world is not making it easy for moms to do so due to short maternity leaves (or the lack thereof), nursing shamers, and lack of provision for pumping moms
I felt like this article left a lot to be desired. Without a doubt, the real reason why so many women turn to formula is that society expects mothers to go back like nothing happened after they had a baby. The word “convenience” is completely misplaced in my opinion. Convenience is when you order food because you do not feel like cooking, or when you do not clean up because you rather want to chill. Modern society making it impossible for mothers to do it all can hardly be considered convenient. It boggles my mind that this article emphasizes how millennial moms do not feel guilty about formula feeding. It is the society that should feel guilty about the way moms are being treated nowadays. There are several reasons why moms may not breastfeed and there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about it:
Breastfeeding is extremely challenging for working moms
A lot of families nowadays depend on both parents’ income. Hence, many mothers nowadays do not have the luxury of staying home with the child/children even if they would want to. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not offer paid maternity leave and the allowed amount of non-paid leave is only a meager three months. Most European countries offer paid maternity leaves ranging from anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Before 2020, working from home was not a common thing. So, if moms who breastfeed go back to work 3 months or less after giving birth that means they will rely heavily on pumping. Needless to say that it is a huge sacrifice moms make by leaving their little baby with someone else to go back to work while being sleep deprived (most babies do not sleep through the night at that age and getting ready in the morning with a newborn takes extra time which means less zzz’s for mom). But pumping is a huge ordeal. Having to pack the pump every day with its gazillion pieces in order to take it to work makes you waste a lot of precious time in the morning. But not only that, it is very uncomfortable and time-consuming to take a break from work every 2-3 hours to pump for at least 20 minutes and then wash the individual pump parts every single time. I would not even consider my situation the worst since my office was able to provide me a private room with a connected bathroom where I was able to wash my pump. I would take storing bags (which are pricy by the way) and ice-packs to keep the extracted milk as well as a microwavable sterilizing bag. However, I still found it extremely challenging and exhausting. So I cannot even imagine what these poor women have to go through who work in shared offices with worse conditions. Hence, the word “convenience” is very out of place. It is almost impossible to perform at work while doing the excruciating pumping at the same time. This is why I believe a lot of working moms resort to formula. Additionally, breast milk production is a supply and demand kind of thing. Since babies extract the milk most efficiently, pumping also lowers the milk supply which brings me to the next point.
Milk supply issues
Exclusively breastfeeding is very difficult for a lot of reasons. Society puts a lot of pressure on moms regarding nursing. Before I was a mom, I vowed that I would exclusively breastfeed given that breastmilk has so many benefits. But when I gave birth my son was born coombs positive with low bilirubin levels so I was encouraged to give him formula to get the bilirubin out of his system. Then at home, after not having slept for days, I took my husband up on the offer to take some of the nightshifts. Skipping several nursing sessions at night also led to a decrease in my supply. When I was researching methods on how to increase your milk supply, I was surprised how many women there are who have serious issues with their milk supply. I would have never thought that after seeing women bragging on Instagram about their freezers full of pumped milk, that there are so many women with a low milk supply.
Hence, it is safe to say that exclusively nursing, as much as moms would want to, is not the easiest thing to do. I did actually feel guilty about not being able to exclusively nurse. But looking back, I realize I did what I could. Now, I have a healthy and smart 2.5-year-old and I do not feel that nursing him exclusively would have changed anything. I encourage every young mom to not feel guilty about her choices. Motherhood is tough and we do the best we can.
If you are a new or expecting mom, I highly recommend you check out Baby and Sunshine and their wonderful, high-quality products for mom and baby. Whether you decide to nurse, they offer a variety of beautiful and useful items. But if you do nurse or pump, you will find their amazing nursing bras and clothes as well as pumping bras in their collection. Baby and Sunshine empowers and supports other moms by collaborating with other small mom-owned businesses. They even have a Facebook group where Mompreneurs get to connect and support each other. Thank you, Baby and Sunshine, for sponsoring this post.
When bringing a child to this world, parents naturally develop the instinct to protect them. While there is nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby, it is heartbreaking to see a small child waking himself or herself up from coughing and crying. But the dreaded moment when your baby develops his or her first cold will eventually come. And once they go to school, they will be getting sick all the time. You must call your pediatrician right away when your baby has any symptoms of a cold.
If your child has no fever and you have made sure with your pediatrician that it is a common cold, there are not a lot of things you can do. Pediatricians do not recommend any type of medicine for very young children. However, there a few tips that you can apply to help your little one get through the cold quicker and with lighter symptoms:
1) Natural Remedies Honey is an effective natural remedy to alleviate cough. Just make sure you give it in small doses as the high sugar level can be detrimental to the baby’s teeth. Also, giving lots of liquids is crucial to the baby’s speedy recovery. Make sure your baby stays hydrated by either nursing a lot or giving lots of fluids in bottles. Moreover, the more your baby gets to sleep, the better it will be for his or her recovery. Zarbees has developed organic medicine for babies with a cold which basically consists of honey and vitamins.
2) Steam to clear the sinuses A humidifier in the room helps. You can buy one at almost any supermarket, pharmacy, or order online on Amazon. They have some cute ones that look like an elephant. Refill the water every night and turn the humidifier on while your little one sleeps. Make sure you clean the machine regularly to avoid the creation of any mold. Also, you can take your baby inside the bathroom only dressed in a diaper and let hot shower water running. This creates a natural steam sauna which helps clear the sinuses. Obviously, do not actually put your child in that water as that can burn his skin.
3) Get that snot out! One of the main issues about small children getting sick is that they cannot blow their noses so the mucus travels down creating a cough. One of the best inventions ever for parents is the Nose Frida. It is a small device that helps you suck out all the liquid yuckiness out of your child’s nose. Before having kids I used to be so disgusted by this but now that I am a parent, I can say that it is truly a lifesaver. You hold a small syringe-like apparatus that is connected to a bendable straw against your child’s nostril and suck out all the mucus. Don’t worry there is a filter so you can’t get any snot into your mouth! My son hates this device and so do most kids. But it is very helpful to get over a cold and to decrease coughing. Ensure to follow the cleaning instructions after every use and keep this device hygienic to avoid any further spread of bacteria. The Nose Frida also comes with a baby-friendly saline nasal spray which helps to soothe your child as well. There are also electric version of the device like the Nosiboo which makes the progress more convenient and less gross for parents.
4) Soothing chest rubs Ok so this one might be more of a Miami superstition but the Cuban people here swear that Vicks Vapor Rub is the cure to a lot of ailments. And I can confirm I had positive results with it as well. There are some soothing chest rubs particularly made for babies. Make sure you pick one with good ingredients such a Eucalyptus, lavender, and/or beeswax which are petroleum and menthol-free. Tip: rub it into the baby’s feet, put socks on overnight, and see how much better your little one feels the next morning.
5) Preventative Measures
Last but not least, it is always best to prevent your little one from getting sick altogether. You can get over-the-counter vitamins for babies that you give them every morning. Moreover, it is important to practice good hygiene. Make sure you thoroughly wash your child’s hands with soap and warm water and bathe them once they get home to wash off the germs. Consider getting your child clothes and bed sheet made out of quality organic materials. These are farmed without the use of pesticides. Pesticides can cause allergic reactions and lower the immune system.
Keep in mind that I am not giving any medical advice as here as I am not a doctor. I am giving you tips based on my experience. However, I have done extensive research and received most of these tips from pediatricians so I am confident in sharing these.
I know I’m a little bit late to the party but today I’d like to comment on the controversy around Hilaria Baldwin. For those of you who don’t know, Hilaria Baldwin is actor Alec Baldwin’s second wife. Together they have 5 children. It all started when she posted a picture of herself a few weeks after giving birth to her youngest son. In this picture, she is holding him while she is wearing what appears to be underwear. And she looks absolutely fantastic! Definitely not like a mom of 5 who just gave birth.
Comedian Amy Schumer then took to her own Instagram jokingly reposting that picture pretending it was her. That picture ended up getting a lot of negative comments directed at Hilaria calling her attention-seeking and accusing her to have posted the picture with the intention to show off her flawless body. Due to the negative response, Schumer decided to take that picture down. However, since Hilaria had gotten so much attention with this post, people started investigating especially focusing on her cultural heritage and her past. Moreover, some old friends came out claiming that Hilaria has pretended to be from Spain but that her real name is Hillary Lynn Hayward-Thomas and that she is from Boston. It turns out that while Hilaria has appeared to be Spanish in the media, she is American born with no Spanish roots at all. Nonetheless, she did visit Spain a lot and grew up bilingually. Her parents currently reside in Spain as well. Hilaria’s deep admiration for the language also shows in the fact that her five kids all have Spanish names. For the longest time, her Wikipedia article and other sources have stated that she was born in Spain and she has been featured on the Spanish language magazine Hola! The general public has criticized Alec and Hilaria Baldwin harshly for fabricating that false image of her being Spanish.
Evidence Nr. 2: Hilaria asking how to say “cucumber” in English
Evidence Nr. 3: Hilaria talking in a Spanish accent:
Evidence Nr.4: Hilaria avoiding the question of where her parents are from by saying that they lived in Spain
This whole story hit close to home for me because there are some parallels. So I wanted to dig a little deeper to make up my mind on how I feel about the accusations of her creating a false narrative and her intentions on this.
A little bit about me
I was born and raised in Germany to a German mom and an Iraqi father. However, German culture was the only culture that I grew up with and German was all I spoke until I learned foreign languages in school. As a matter of fact, I never met anyone from my Dad’s side of the family, nor did I know the language and barely anything about his culture. So even though it was such a big part of my heritage, I was completely disconnected from Iraqi culture. Nonetheless, my distinct looks made me stand out and I faced discrimination because of my ethnicity. German people never made me feel like I am part of theirs and always treated me like I am a foreigner. I was treated pejoratively by teachers and bullied by other children. But even as an adult, people would pester me with accusations of not being German because I “do not look German” and my last name isn’t. Needless to say, I never felt quite at home there and do not have a lot of very fond memories growing up there. My parents tried to protect me from racism but telling me to not disclose my heritage to people or lie about it. Being a parent myself now, I see why they did it but I do not necessarily agree with that as growing up that way contributed to the identity crisis I had as an adolescent. I moved to Miami, FL almost nine years ago and have never looked back. If you have not been here, you may not know that Hispanic culture and the Spanish language are very dominant in Miami. Hispanics or Latinos make up 70% of the population with most of them being fully bilingual and some of them only speaking Spanish. People often assume that I am Hispanic from the way I look I like and from my first name Isabella. And by often, I mean all the time. I have never felt so much at home like I feel in Miami. Everyone here thinks I am part of them. Some actually question it when I tell them that I am not Hispanic. Even my YouTube and Facebook think I am Latina and always display ads in Spanish. This is the opposite that what I have lived through in Germany. Additionally, I need to point out that I love Latin culture, music, and the Spanish language. . Hence, I feel like I can sympathize with Hilaria while not fully condoning what she did. Here are my two cents on the issue
What could have motivated Hilaria to act like she is Spanish – and did she even act or was it all a misunderstanding?
1) Did people just assume that she is Spanish or did she create that image?
My native Spanish speaking husband has confirmed that Hilaria’s Spanish skills are on point. To speak a foreign language without an accent, she must have spent a lot of time in the country with native speakers. In any of the evidence presented above, it does not seem like she flat out lied about her heritage. She just seems to evade the question and beat around the bush. Hence, I assume that she probably likes the fact that people assume she is Spanish so she felt no need to correct them. From my own experience, I can say that there has been such a plethora of people thinking I am Latin American. It really does not bother me at all and I cannot control what people think. I never said I am Latin but since I am a blogger, I have people following me on my social media accounts who I do not know personally. Lots of these people believe I am of Hispanic descent even though they have been following me for years on these platforms. Part of it could be that I sometimes do posts in Spanish or add Spanish music. Like I mentioned above, in Miami the Spanish language is spoken as much as English if not more. So I am just going with the program and assimilating by communicating in this language as well. I do not ever see Hilaria say that she is in fact Spanish but it seems like she has created that image as she finds it flattering. However, her husband did say in a late-night show that his wife was Spanish. So I do believe that they were certainly working on creating a certain image in the media even though Hilaria herself never flat out lied.
2) Being Multilingual
One of the criticisms towards Hilaria is that she acts like she had a Spanish accent. There is even an instance on a TV show where she asks how to say the word “cucumber” in English. Obviously, since I do not live in her head, I cannot 100% know if this is an act. However, being trilingual I can confirm that it does happen that I mix up languages. It even happens with German, my native tongue, that I sometimes cannot think of a word right away. And about the accent, I have also seen that happen that people adopt an accent. In Miami, it is a very common phenomenon that a lot of people who are not Hispanic develop a Spanish accent because many people around them have one. She probably imitates the accent on purpose but since we do not know 100%, I give her the benefit of the doubt on this one.
3) Identity Crisis
I have noticed that recently a lot of Caucasian people feel the urge to be part of a minority. I cannot pinpoint exactly why but I can guess that they want the feeling of belonging somewhere special. Also with white supremacy on the rise, they might want to distinguish themselves from those kinds of people. A few years ago when it was the latest fashion to take DNA tests from 23andme or Ancestry. I have seen many friends being overly excited about having some percentage, even though a very low percentage, of Ashkenazi Jewish or Native American heritage. You may also remember the infamous story where Elizabeth Warren claimed she was Native American due to a very low percentage in her test results. Subsequently, she was wildly ridiculed. I believe Hilaria felt that “just being white” was not special enough and her fascination with the Spanish culture might have led to her act. She probably thought it was more exotic and felt the need to be part of it.
4) Cultural appropriation?
After the Hilaria scandal emerged, many people compared her to Rachel Dolezal. Rachel Dolezal was a white woman who acted like she was a black woman. Not only did she make herself look like she was of African American heritage but she was also the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I do not necessarily agree with this comparison. Whites portraying Blacks has been historically very problematic as “Blackface” is a racist act that has been used to ridicule Black people. Hilaria is not acting like she has a different race, I believe that she has a deep admiration for that Spanish culture combined with low self-esteem about her real identity.
5) Name Change
I guess in the bigger picture, one can say that changing her name from Hillary to Hilaria was part of the plot to create her Spanish persona. But I can also say that in Miami, it is very common that people who are called Jorge commonly go by George. This is not to hide their heritage or to act like they are White American, it is more to make it easier. So I do not think that this slight change is that much of a big deal especially if people have called her that for a long time.
After analyzing the situation, I can clearly state that I do not agree with what the Baldwins have done by creating an image of Hilaria having a Spanish identity. However, I do not believe that the media witch hunt on her is merited. She appears to have a strong admiration for Spanish culture to the point that she really wants to be part of it. However, I hope that people will move on to being confident about their own heritage and identity. It is not ok to pose like a different color or race. A lot of people have suffered from racism due to their ethnicity. Hence, putting on another race like clothes because it seems more exotic and more interesting is inappropriate and resulting. I hope that the Baldwin family can recover from that scandal soon. They are a beautiful family the way they are. Clearly, her motives were not racist but deep admiration for Spain and its rich culture.
If you have a few more minutes to spare, here is a video I made on the topic:
The end of the year 2020 is nearing and at this point, it would be redundant to point out what a crazy year it has been. Clearly, a lot of people are hopeful that things will change for the better in 2021. It is very common for people to have New Year’s resolutions to improve their personal life. While there is nothing wrong with setting some goals for yourself, there are a few resolutions I would recommend for all moms to implement in 2021. If you do not have them in place yet, these goals will surely make mom’s life easier.
Set an early bedtime for your kids…and stick to it
Maybe you don’t see yourself as the type of mom who is into routines and strict rules. Or, to quote the movie Mean Girls, you are not a regular mom but a cool mom. But studies have shown that putting kids to bed early means better mental health for mom as well. An early bedtime is considered before 8.30 pm. Evidently, an early bedtime has positive effects on the child such as overall better-quality sleep and even long-term effects such as learning abilities and reduced likeliness of obesity. But recent studies have proven what we already knew: it also increases mom’s quality of life when the children go to bed early. Getting a well-deserved break, some me-time or couple time, and more sleep for mom makes her happier and her life more balanced. If you do not have a set bedtime in place yet, you can check out this article for more tips.
2. Ask for help
This sub-headline is pretty self-explanatory but somehow most of us moms think we have to do it all by ourselves and have such a difficult time asking others for help. But in all honesty, not only is it ok to reach out to others, it is something you definitely should start doing in 2021. There is a reason that the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” exists. But you got to pick up the phone and call your “village” aka your family and friends and ask them to come over and babysit, or whatever else you need help with. More likely than not, you have helped people in the past or done favors for them. You can also pay it forward by helping out your friends or family members with their kids.
3. Get healthy without buying into toxic diet culture
A lot of women set the resolutions to lose weight every.single.year. Somehow they believe that 2021 might be the year when they will finally get into vegetables and CrossFit even though none of this has happened in previous years. I do believe that it is important to become the healthiest and strongest version of yourself for your kids – but probably not in the way you are thinking. Mental health and a good balance are extremely important for all women. Moreover, it is important to point out that physically healthy is not the same as being skinny. Keep in mind that the fitness and diet industries are a billion-dollar business so not every article you read or every ad you see may have your best interest in mind. The best thing that I started doing in my life was to ditch any diet or “lifestyle change” including categorizing foods as good and bad which is extremely toxic. I started listening to my body and doing portion control. It made me enjoy life more and stress less about food. Before, my whole life pretty much revolved around food. I was so obsessed with making sure that all my meal options are healthy and that I eat before 6 pm to the point that it would affect my personal life. Being more flexible with food has made me a more relaxed and easy-going mom. I don’t pick places or activities anymore based on how healthy the food is they offer, I pick family-friendly activities that are fun for my son. If this means that we will have to eat some chicken tenders every once in a while, so be it. I do not adhere to a strict dinner time schedule either when we’re out having fun. Past-me would have probably put her child on some organic-only healthy diet. But now I let my son have cake and juice at birthday parties without a problem.
4. Spend quality time with the kids
When I talk to people whose kids are already grown up or to parents who lost their kids, they all have one thing in common. They all tell me that they wish they could still carry their kids, play with them, and how much they miss the time when they were babies. Clearly, I have never met any parent who tells me that they wished they would have spent more time doing the dishes or working. Try to enjoy the little moments when they want to play with you or hug it even it means you won’t have the cleanest house that day or you have to take a break from work. This does not mean that you have to be completely irresponsible but taking an extra 5 minutes here or there to hug your kids and be in the here and now cannot possibly throw off your schedule that much. Furthermore, these little precious moments of joy also give you the energy and love you need in your life.
“You cannot pour from an empty cup” so make sure to fill up your cup every once in a while. Make sure you find a little time for yourself to do things that you enjoy doing and recharge your batteries. As already mentioned above, thanks to modern technology there are so many services nowadays that make your life easier and help you save your precious time. Not only that, they actually help you save money. When I order groceries online, I see what everything adds up to and it is easier to stick to my set budget as opposed to just going to the supermarket and adding everything that looks great.
We are getting close to the holidays and nearing the end of the year. This year has certainly been very different from every other year before. While this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, it truly has left some scars for a lot of people. Some people may not be able this year to buy a lot of toys or any toys at all. But I am here to say that things will be better. What kids remember the most are experiences. So despite any hardships you have encountered this year, I encourage you to make this a memorable holiday time with your loved ones. After all, you made it through one of the toughest years of our lifetime. That alone makes you a warrior and is proof that you can accomplish anything that life throws at you. Here is my open holiday letter to all the moms out there.
To the working mom:
You above all would know what it means to make sacrifices. In order to help contribute to the household income, you have sacrificed spending precious time with your babies and woken up tired to drive to work to spend hours there to drive back in traffic. You may have left your baby with someone else since they were a few months old and may have experienced the tremendous inconvenience of pumping at work. This year, you had an almost impossible task. You had to work from home while taking care of your kids and possibly even homeschooling them. This just shows what a true badass you are at multi-tasking. We all know that you had too much on your plate this year and commend you for accomplishing the impossible. Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones! You truly deserve it!
To the stay-at-home mom:
You dedicated your life to your children being there for them 24/7, educating them, teaching them right from wrong. You never get an hour lunch break, paid time off, or a bonus for excellent work. Often, people try to dismiss your job as being easy but I see you and appreciate you. You have managed to guide your family through an emotionally draining time and were there for them more than ever without any breaks. I really hope you have the most joyous holidays with the home you created for your family!
To the involuntary SAHM:
If you have been laid off this year even though you really liked your job and wanted to keep it, rest assured that you have done your very best and it is not your fault. COVID-19 closures have been financially challenging for a lot of businesses which forced them to restructure which oftentimes means laying off people. I know there are a lot of you out there who had to somehow manage to support your family without getting any income. Your time will come! The economy will recover and you will get back in the workforce. Maybe this is a good time to reflect or where you want your life to go career-wise. Do you even want to stay in the corporate world? Is there a skill you want to learn to further advance in your career? I hope that for now you can put the worries aside and enjoy the holidays with your family. Remember: the sky is the limit and you can achieve anything you want!
To the expecting mom:
Congratulations on your new addition to your family! A baby is such a blessing no matter what the circumstances are. You certainly got pregnant in quite a crazy year! Due to COVID-19, most hospitals and OB/GYNs changed their policy to not even allowing the baby’s Dad to be part of the ultrasound, one of the most amazing experiences for a pregnant mom. You are probably quite sad about the fact that you cannot share the joy of your new baby with your significant other and have to go through all of this in isolation. But if there is one thing to know about motherhood is that moms are extremely strong and so are you! You will have plenty of time to share the joy of having a baby with your loved ones once you have given birth and things have gone back to normal. To be quite frank, there is not such a thing as the perfect time to have a baby so just enjoy the ride. If you want to plan a virtual baby shower, here are some tips in this article. But for now, just enjoy your holidays with that beautiful growing belly of yours!
To the mompreneur:
If you have your own business and you’re a mom, you are basically a wonder woman. It is very admirable and takes a lot of guts for a woman to follow her dream and start her company to support her family. This year might have been a disappointing year for your business. Many people lost their jobs this year and had to keep their money together which means sales may have plummeted. Or maybe you had just reached momentum before the pandemic and now it went all down the drain. But don’t worry, mama! You will find the same willpower you had when first opening your business to get yourself back on track. Maybe you will have to tweak your business model and change up some things but one bad year does not mean you have to give up your dreams! I wish you the most amazing holidays with your family. And don’t forget: you’re a Rockstar!
To the mom who had the best year of her life:
You may be one of those unicorns who cannot relate to any of the above. Your company’s sales may have skyrocketed this year. Or you may have kicked ass at work and gotten a raise. Or you may have had a serious quarantine glow-up and gotten in the best shape of your life! If you feel like 2020 has been YOUR year, you may not want to openly celebrate it out of empathy for all the losses and hardships others have experienced this year! But I am here to tell you that you did an amazing job! You managed to turn a negative situation into something positive which is a true gift to have. I hope you get to celebrate during these holidays and end this year 2020 with a bang!
As you can tell, no matter what everyone’s individual situation was, most moms had some challenges this year to deal with. If you know a mom and would like to cheer her up for the holidays, check out Baby and Sunshine’s holiday boxes that are still available until 31/12/2020. In order to give back, Baby and Sunshine will give a mini box to a family in need. Head over to their Instagram to nominate a mom/dad in need who is currently pregnant or has a new baby.
I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful time with their family!
If you have gotten pregnant during the craziest of all years 2020, let me first start by saying: Congratulations, mama! A baby is such a blessing and brings so much joy no matter the conditions. However, this year might be a particularly tough year to get pregnant if you are someone who loves to celebrate pregnancy and the expansion of your family with the other people around you. If you are like me, then you are someone who has been having a Pinterest board with baby shower ideas for a long time. You might be afraid that the outbreak of COVID-19 has just thrown out your whole vision of a picture-perfect baby shower (and the gifts that come with it), out of the window, but don’t worry, I got some alternative ideas on how to throw a virtual baby shower and share the joy with your loved ones.
Let’s Get Started
Mama, you deserve to be celebrated and so does your new baby! So, let’s make this virtual baby shower happen! There are actually a lot of advantages to hosting a baby shower online. To name a few: people from out of town or people who are sick with a cold still get to attend. As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law who did all my party favors and was supposed to MC my shower had a fever in the week of my event and was highly advised by my other SIL who is a doctor to not attend to avoid getting me sick so close before giving birth. Moreover, it is generally really not a great idea for pregnant women to be exposed to a lot of people as pregnant women have weakened immune systems and cannot take any cold or flu medicine. Your first step should be to make sure to download Zoom and then send out virtual invites on your baby shower, e.g. from Evite or you can create a Facebook group as well. Just to make sure that older family members who are not too tech-savvy still get their invite. You might want to opt for a text message, email, or good ole’ traditional snail mail for these people. Hopefully, you have someone who can help you with all of this. And don’t worry about not getting any gifts! Nowadays, it is super easy to have an online registry where the items get sent directly to your home. But there is an even better gift idea tip I would like to share with you that I wished would have been around when I was pregnant for the first time. Baby and Sunshine has amazing subscription boxes with everything a new mom needs for herself and her baby. Your friends and family can also opt to send you a one-time box. The boxes have different sizes and are priced accordingly which means this can be the perfect gift for everyone – for those on a budget and for those who want to give a very generous gift. There are so many things I love about these boxes but let me list a few:
All items are made out of premium quality such as organic cotton, bamboo, and cashmere. Not only are these materials very comfortable but also gentle to your baby’s skin making rashes a lot less likely. Their sleep sacks, baby clothes, and baby clothes are a lot nicer and softer than the ones you find at other baby stores.
They can pack the contents of your hospital bag in one box. How awesome is that! So many moms are so stressed about what to put in their bag. I would have loved to just delegate that task and just move all the contents of the box in my bag to avoid that headache.
You actually get to personalize your boxes. Thankfully, most of my friends and family have great taste. But there were a few baby gifts that I may or may not have returned. Here, you get to actually let Baby and Sunshine know what you are looking for.
You get some awesome mom items as well. People tend to forget about moms and only buy stuff for the baby but moms need to be taken care of too in the postpartum stage. They even have awesome postpartum belly binders that will help you bounce back quicker and comfy clothing that you will need after giving birth
They collaborate with other mom-owned small businesses giving you plenty of options to choose from. Recently, they even added skincare products by Baby Bear Naturals to their repertoire. I was so excited to hear about that as a woman’s skin usually suffers after giving birth due to the changes in the hormonal levels. This will give moms to chance to practice some self-care after giving birth.
It can still be a Pinterest-Worthy Baby Shower
In order for you to feel like this is a special event, I would highly recommend you still dress up and get dolled up like you would for an in-person baby shower. Make this a day to remember and decorate the house so you have a nice backdrop. A balloon arch looks super cute and maybe add some letter balloons or some baby balloons. Again, you should not be doing all of this alone and have someone help you. Another reason to make sure you are dressed for the occasion is so you get to take some nice pictures to keep as a memory of this joyous celebration. In all honesty, I do not think that you need to hire a professional photographer as most modern phones take amazing pictures but that is obviously up to you. You can also use the picture to send out a sweet Thank You card to everyone who attended later. Little Pickle Memories offers beautiful cards and other paper items for you to memorize your pregnancy and child’s first months in this world.
Have a host
As mentioned before, do not do this alone! Baby showers are meant to be organized FOR moms so they do not have to worry about anything and they get celebrated while being gifted items that they need for the baby. The last thing you need is to add extra stress to your last trimester. Additionally, “preggo brain” is a real thing and you may or may not forget half of the things you had planned. Have someone be the host of the entire event who guides attendees throughout the baby shower. Thankfully, Zoom has mute buttons for every participant that the host can control so things do not get too chaotic. Additionally, Zoom has a feature where questions pop-up on everyone’s screen allowing for some baby shower games even though it is a virtual event. Questions can include: what advice do you have for the new parents? What were your pregnancy cravings? Or you could even play some of the traditional baby shower games such as “Guess the belly size.” If you wanted to you could send the winner a virtual gift card from Starbucks or someone similar. The host could also coordinate for key people to hold a short speech like the grandparents-to-be giving well wishes to the expecting couple. If you are willing to ship out prizes, scented candles are always a hit. You can check out the online store Happy Momma Merch for some of their hand-made candles. If you wanted to go all out, you could even create some cute gift bags that the attendees could either pick up before the event or you could ship to them if your budget allows it. These could be bougie little bags with a piccolo bottle of sparkling wine so there could be a virtual toast for the mom-to-be. To give it the typical brunch feel, you could also include a cupcake, some non-perishable snacks, and a party favor of your choice.
I hope these tips can help you create the baby shower of your dreams even if 2020 put a damper on your plans. But even if you are not planning a baby shower, if you are currently pregnant and know someone who is, please check out Baby and Sunshine. They currently have an amazing offer where they will donate a mini box to a mom or mom-to-be in need for every box purchase. You can also check them out on Instagram or Cratejoy .