15 years later, a double blessing
Photo credit: Andrea Colombi Photography
An Amazing Mom is one who embraces her role and gives it her all. She knows that part of being a great mom, means being balanced and staying true to herself. Recharged and ready for whatever may come, she manages the ups and downs of motherhood, accepting the inevitable changes along the journey. Gabriella Alcantara embodies this definition. After 16 years of being mom to her equally amazing son, she got the surprise of her life! We’re honored and excited to feature her as this week’s Amazing Mom.
In October 2016, my motherhood journey changed forever. I went from being mom to my then 15-year-old to being a mother of 3! A huge surprise blessing!
Born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, I moved to South Florida at 18 to attend college. Upon graduating, I married an amazing guy. Nearly a year later our son was born. We talked about having more children (and my son begged for a sibling probably every day from age 6 onwards) but the years just flew by, and before we knew it he was a teenager. My ‘baby’ boy is now an admirable and respectable young man and big brother to our two precious baby girls. I’ve always wanted a daughter, and divine intervention set in. God with his great listening skills and impeccable sense of humor, graciously blessed me with not one but two!
Over the past 15 years, after obtaining my Bachelor degree, I endured many chosen professional changes. In a quest to gain more time with my growing son, I resigned my corporate position with a large national company after 7 years, and took some time off to regroup and shift focus. In 2013, I decided to get my real estate license and became a real estate agent. I enjoy helping my clients find the perfect home for their families or helping another family relocate or dealing with commercial clients, helping their businesses grow. The nature of the business and schedule allows me not only the flexibility to be there for my family more, but also to contribute financially. Today, I’m still enjoying that career path, on a selective, part time basis, while balancing being a wife, and the best mother I can be to my twin baby girls and teenage son.
On the challenges of motherhood:
My current short-term challenge with twins, is choosing which crying baby to comfort first when I’m alone with them. My heart breaks for the baby left crying so I can tend to her sister. To avoid this, I always try to have daytime help at home or when we’re on the go. Our parents have been amazing at helping out and giving of themselves and their time. My gratitude for family is never ending!
My greatest challenge as a mother is raising my children with the values and capabilities that I think are so important to survive and thrive in today’s crazy world. Could I realistically protect my children from negative influences as they grow? Am I able to shield them from hurt and disappointment while still nurturing and cultivating their independence through personal experience? How do I teach and encourage them to grow up to be their own people and find their own sense of purpose?
From the moment I became a mother, my constant goal has been to raise contributing, respectful and well-rounded members of society and the world. I want to help them to be resilient yet empathetic and to recognize their own potential. Everyone has their own personal gift to contribute to the world that defines their existence, and I believe my job as a mother is to nurture that in my children. It starts in our household, where there are no perfect people only works in progress, there are no mistakes, only lessons and from all negative experiences, there are opportunities to become a better person… and love! There’s lots and lots of love!
On her best mommy moment:
I was unsure about how the large age gap between our teenage son and our newborns would fare. But every time I look at them together, it serves as a reminder that you never know what will happen in your life. We can plan all we want, but essentially God has a much bigger plan for us. Watching my son play with his baby sisters gives me an overwhelming feeling of happiness, knowing our family is blessed and complete with our new additions. Even with the age gap, the immense love and satisfaction of siblings who adore each other, is nothing short of amazing. I can’t help but enjoy these little moments and revel in the true feeling of this unparalleled accomplishment in my life. A feeling every mother can relate to.
On keeping her sanity and recharging her batteries:
I always try to give myself a time out. Part of the reason I kept partially working from home after my twins were born, was to retain a sense of productivity and balance, apart from being a mom. Whether my time out is running errands or having a date night with my husband, it keeps us sane and recharged as individuals and that makes for the best parenting.
Managing a teenage boy’s schedule and keeping up with his hobbies, homework and academics etc., while trying to be the best mommy to two 7-month-old baby girls is no easy feat, but it is a doubly rewarding one. I also find peace and enlightenment through my spirituality and in every given moment of solitude, I pray or give thanks. Ironically, it is motherhood itself that allows me to keep my sanity. Each day I’m reminded of the 3 biggest achievements of my existence. I’m humbled and honored that God has entrusted me with the responsibility of another human being, let alone two at the same time!! Knowing that there are three children watching and mirroring everything I do and say, and how I treat others, keeps me in check. I’m a work in progress and learning as I go. My biggest lesson these days, is not to mess with 2 hungry babies!
On advice for new moms:
· You will sleep again (but stock up on that coffee). Those tiresome hours turn into months that fast forward into years. Before you know it, you’re holding your adult son or daughter’s hands, where those tiny baby fingers used to be. The truth is that there will come a time when our children won’t need us. Savor every waking moment that they still do.
· There is no right or wrong way to parent. You will figure out what works for your own child. This goes for everything from breastfeeding, formula feeding to vaccinating or choosing the type of schooling. No one knows your own child better than you do. I’ve seen children excel in the worst situations, so no matter what your individual situation or challenge is, there’s always room to overcome it. But it requires work, time and sacrifice on our part as parents. It’s okay to cry, feel discouraged and question every decision you’ll ever make. In the end you will figure out what’s best for both you and them. Your time and devotion will pay off the day you realize your kids have grown up to be amazing people.
· I encourage new moms to prioritize your kids but to also prioritize yourself and your marriage. Make your own happiness just as important as your family’s, take time to do the things you enjoy. Join a mom’s support group, volunteer for your favorite charity, do fun things and connect with other moms. You will still be able to give your children the 100% of you they deserve, while being a generally healthy, happy and well balanced person.
· Be your child’s parent not just their friend, they will need lots of unconditional love, guidance and accountability (a true support system) through their whole life, at every stage, through their victories and struggles. This will lead them on the path of successful adulthood. Don’t be afraid to discipline and encourage your children. Teaching manners and respect is priceless and rare in today’s society. These are characteristics, which no one can take away from them. Your children need to know that you’re there for them with open arms no matter what.
· Becoming a parent is truly the greatest blessing and honor I can think of, we have one shot at this, make it your best one!
Gabriella' Alcantara is a Real Estate agent serving the South Florida market. Check out her page here!
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