Saturday, May 7, 2016

::Momma's Day Series 2016:: Alicia's Story

::Momma of Dos Guest Blogger Post:: 

Please note that this post was written by a guest blogger in collaboration with Momma of Dos and as part of a current mini-series. Please feel free to contact each writer individually for further information about their blog.

Hello, Fellow Mommas! 

I’m Alicia, I’m 40 years young. I was born in Houston Texas on July 29, 1975, at Jefferson Davis Hospital on warm, summer afternoon. I’ve been married for 15 years to my love Rusk Elatassi, we met when I was a graduate student at St. Thomas and he was a senior. We have two boys Alexander (Alex) who is 13 and Maksim (Max) who is 8.  

I’m the oldest of four to Alicia and Jose Araujo, as the oldest I’m bossy and authoritative yet super protective of my siblings and my parents.  I hold loyalty above all virtues and am fiercely protective of my family. You mess with them, I will roar and I will bite!  Lol!! 

I went to Jeff Davis High School in the Near Northside and graduated in 1993, my neighborhood was lively and fun and at times dangerous. My house was next to a bar that had the best Tejano music jukebox and that became my nighttime lullaby, the borrachos were a sad side show.

I had a beautiful upbringing on 1816 Chapman, there was music, dancing and carne asada every Sunday.  My mom was a stage mom before you heard of Dance Moms, she’d make our folklorico dresses from scraps and do our chongo with lots of “Dippity Do” Gel and tons of AquaNet Hairspray.  My dad drove us kids to performances, it was lots of fun! 

Upon graduation, I went to St. Thomas University and became a teacher at the ripe old age of 21. 

I was 27 when I had my Alex, Rusk and I had been married two years and we discussed having kids early because his parents are a little older than most and because my mom had just finished her battle with breast cancer.  I understood that time doesn’t wait for sickness and health, I also knew that having babies while you’re young gives us the best quality in terms of eggs and life in the womb.   We got pregnant the first month we threw caution to the wind. The getting pregnant part was easy it was my pregnancy that was difficult.  From week 8, I suffered from Hyperemesis, a condition where you vomit incessantly and become dehydrated.  I spent a few days with IV when I was around 11-20 weeks along, I was miserable and at times wondered if maybe I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. 

My sickness played mind games with me, depression seemed inevitable. Thankfully I had an amazing support system in my husband, my family, and my in-laws.  Since I couldn't stand strong smells, I couldn't cook and my angel Mother-in-Law took over for me. My mom gave every possible “remedio” in the world, nothing helped all I could do is stick it out till the end. Thankfully on March 11, 2003, I gave birth by C-section to a robust chunky baby boy who made it all worthwhile.  Four and half years later I experienced an even worse pregnancy, the morning sickness started earlier and lasted longer.

It took me a least two years to get over the traumas of my pregnancies. 


1. How was your first year?

My first year of mommyhood was ok, easy, I had a lot of support from my in- laws and my family.  I’m grateful that everyone jumped in to help me with the baby, my husband is an only child so my mother in law spoiled me by taking the baby when I needed a break.  She had all the time and desire to take over for me when I was needing to go back to work.  I never got any judgment from her or my mother, they knew me well enough to know that I needed for my own sanity to be back at work ASAP.  After my Max was born I was definitely much more carefree and this baby was much easier to manage, to this day this little boy is an easy loving kid. 

2. Was it all that you expected? 

I expected that it would be rough the first year. I knew that there would be no sleep but I expected that.  I learned pretty quickly that my Alex was a needy baby, and I kept him at my bedside all night, thus it was hard for him to sleep by himself.  It was a tough transition for both of us, we wouldn't sleep and I couldn't let him go.  The second time around I placed the baby straight away in the crib. He adjusted fast and so did I. I breastfed both boys but not for long, I wanted my breasts back! 

3. What advice do you have for other new Mommas? 

I  always tell new mommas that they should trust their momma instincts.  That although we can read every book about parenting in the world, only YOU know what is best for your baby.  You are allowed to not follow every single piece of advice, you are allowed to be cranky and tired.  I tell young moms that they should find the support of someone when they feel like they are going to lose their mind.  Give dad responsibilities and don’t take it all on yourself, he needs the opportunity to be a dad. Don’t go nuts because he didn’t  change the baby on “time”, because he missed a bottle, trust that he’s the dad and he can take care of his baby too!

4. We all struggle daily with so many self-issues; what has been your favorite quote, book, movie, item, or website that has helped you keep strong and move forward: 

I have a daily struggle with anxiety.  I have managed this by exercising and listening to my SiriusXM satellite radio.  I listen to shows that make me laugh and make me think. I love to challenge conventional wisdom and when others defy expectations I love to hear about that. My anxiety can be paralyzing and I’m quite proud that I’ve never taken a pill for it, it goes back to my mindset and how I learn to manage my emotions with humor and satire. Books like the Andrew Carnegie memoir and traveling reminds me that life is good and my issues are small compared to the world.  

I learned a mothering lesson in the least place I expected the hills of Peru.  Rusk and I were traveling to Machu Picchu, I noticed how the Pacha Mamas carried their babies on their back everywhere they went.  Those toddlers were the happiest babies I had ever seen.  I realized that this American idea of detaching from your kids to build independence was ridiculous, these children seemed happy and mama didn’t follow a set of rules, she did what came natural to her. She fed and nurtured her baby on her own terms, without a medical book and benchmarks. I came back a different mother, I let my boys roam and cuddle on their own terms. I swore to myself that I would follow my own set of rules for mothering, that I wasn’t going to be a helicopter mom or a soccer mom or any other label mom.  

I was simply going to be  Alex and Max’s mom, that’s all!

Contact Alicia: 

Yes! I want to hear from other mommies!

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