Mami’s secret weapon for sleep!

So a couple of weeks ago I promised to take you all step by step, day by day through our struggles as we moved Carina back into her own bed in her own room and reclaimed our bed as our own.  But there actually hasn’t been much to document.  There hasn’t been much of a struggle at all.

On the first day, I decided to try using Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bubble Bath & Wash to start off our bedtime routine.  I was hoping that the calming scent would help in relaxing her and making bedtime easier.  And to my surprise it did!  Carina splashed and played in the bubbles.  She was so excited to get into the tub because of the bubble bath.  Now that was definitely a first.  Typically transitioning into the bedtime routine was very difficult for her and she tried her hardest to stay up all night until my husband and I eventually knocked out.  But with the bubble bath, it made it much easier.  The bubbles stayed in the tub for a while, well I haven’t timed it, but long enough for her to play and tire herself out. 

Carina also tends to have sensitive skin.  Her skin will react to any harsh lotions and also switches in diapers brands in the past has caused issues as well.  So this was very much a concern for me before I used the product.  But according to Johnson’s the bubble bath was “hypo-allergenic” and had been dermatologist approved.  So for the past couple of weeks, since we’ve been using it, I’ve watched her skin closely and she’s had no reactions of any kind to the bubble bath. 

After she comes out of the tub, I massage her lotion onto her body to get her a little more relaxed and then we read my favorite bedtime story, Good Night Moon.  I tuck her in, kiss her goodnight, turn off the light and then off she goes to dream world.  And off I go to enjoy a nice quiet night with my husband.  My husband and I have both been a LOT happier since gaining our privacy back at night, and Carina is sleeping a whole lot better too!    

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Scrubbing the Tub

As I knelt in the bathroom today, scrubbing the tub, my roots came to mind. I’m one of those Latinas. Not the ones that were born in a Latin country, but one of the ones that were born here. My parents were born in Puerto Rico and raised in 2 worlds, there and here. I, on the other hand, was born here. Only visited the island once in my life. Our familial ties to the island having long been stretched too thin by the hands of time.

My parents were progressive. My father being the first in his family to graduate college, law school and go on to become a lawyer. My mother graduated high school and went on to work full time in Corporate America for 30+ years. My father was the primary nurturer to us and my mother cooked, sometimes when she felt like it anyhow. Other times, it was every person to themselves to find dinner. I am no stranger to cereal and eggs for dinner. That was normal, part of life. My mother washed her own clothing and at some point so long ago that I can’t remember when ceased to wash all of ours. I washed my clothing. My sister washed hers. And my dad washed his and my brother’s.

My husband is one of those Latinos. Not like me, but born on the island. He didn’t come here until he was 19 years old. He still struggles to speak English. His mother doted on him, his father, and the rest of his brothers and sisters. She never worked outside of the home as far as I know. Her days were filled with nurturing their family. Cooking, cleaning, washing, she does it all. When my husband came to the US, he had never lifted a mop, washed a dish, or his own clothing to say the least.

And somehow, my husband and I met, fell in love, and got married. If he had known how un-domestic I was, he would never have married me. He sees me “serving” him as an act of love and devotion. I see “serving” him as being demeaning to me. So we often get mired into the same vicious circle of an argument. Him questioning my love for him because I don’t want to jump up and serve him dinner. I mean for God’s sakes, I’ve been taking care of the kids all by myself all day. Could he serve himself and give me a break? And me questioning whether he appreciates the sacrifice and the commitment that being a Latina wife and mother every minute of every day entails.

I was raised to be independent and now here I am being forced into a mold that I wasn’t built for. How do you just become the quintessential Latina when you were not raised by one? No one else seems to understand how I feel belittled, how I feel less worthy when my husband comes home and I have to jump up to serve him. Then continue to clean, help the kids with homework and so on while he sits in his boxers scratching his balls on the sofa watching ESPN. And I’m supposed to be happy. How do you find happiness in that? I look at my daughter, who is only 2 and being formed now for her future, and wonder what the future holds for her. A life of servitude for her family under the guise of nurturer? A husband who pitches in and cares equally for the children and the house? And my sons, will they do the same that they see my husband doing to their wives one day?

In the mirror, I see the marionette strings tied to my back and wait for the familiar pull of my husband’s hand. For him to guide me in the direction I should be going. For me to jump up, the happy puppet that I am, to cook, to clean, to smile, to laugh, to be reigned over. A lump forms in my throat; I swallow a tear and go back to scrubbing the tub.