Día de las Madres

No, You’re Not Imagining It — You Know You’re Turning Into Your Latina Mom When…

As Día de las Madres gets closer this year, sip a Coronita and ask yourself: Am I turning into my Latina mom? 

If you don’t think you are, remove your chancleta and whack yourself with it, because a Latina mother’s force is strong. And whether or not you like it, there will always be moments where the plátano doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Hear it from me, a daughter to a Puerto Rican woman from Bayamón who points her lips (instead of a finger) at every mannerism I’ve picked up from her, from the good, the bad, to the chisme worthy. 

mitú spoke with a few Latinas to learn about the specific things their Latina moms do that have stuck to their own way of being.

We’ve already mentioned pointing with lips, and here are just some of the other ways that yell: you’re becoming just like mami.

1. You save plastic bags…inside plastic bags…inside plastic bags…

Stand-up Cuban-American comic and writer Elizabeth (Eli) Rodriguez puts it this way: “You know you’re turning into a Latina mom when you start saving plastic bags inside more plastic bags because you can use them pa’ la basura.”

Mhm, I also save every grocery store bag just to repurpose them as trash bags, not to mention any type of quick carrier option. There is a special container in my pantry and cabinets just for plastic bags.

2. You overfeed every single person you see.

Now, as someone who has been una flaca my entire life, you can guess the first thing my Latinx family screams when they see me: “¡Oye, flaquita! ¿Por qué no comes?” Meanwhile, I’m scarfing down as many pasteles, tostones, y mofongo as possible. 

You know that “follow your gut” phrase in English? Well, in the Latina world, it’s follow the comida to your gut. Even if you end up being a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner like Melissa Gauna, who grew up in a Mexican family. She told mitú: “My mom wants to make sure we eat, and eat well. No matter how old we are, it’s always “¿Ya comiste? or ‘No has comido, ¿verdad?”  Now she does it with her grandkids, “Pobres, estos niños no han comido.”

Aside from overfeeding, there’s a cooking skill very particular to Latinas that would cause more of a shock than a bloated belly…

3. You flip tortillas on the comal with bare hands.

It’s a well-known fact that Latina moms will test hot pans with their own bare hands? This pyro skill is one that Johnson has also inherited. She said: “I know I’m turning into my Mexican mama because I love to impress all my white friends by flipping tortillas on the comal with my bare hands.”

Removing hot baking sheets from the oven without mits is another Latina power worthy of a Marvel movie. You just don’t fear heat when you’re in the kitchen.

4. You embrace the power of prayer, healing with rhymes, or lighting candles.

Religion, spirituality, and magical healing powers run through the veins of so many Latina moms. Disney’s “Encanto” is real life, I swear.

Angela Burks, founder of La Vida Mom, remembers her Salvadoran mom singing to her to make her feel better. When her own kids get hurt, she sings “Sana, sana, colita de rana,” just like her mom did, which is “like magic that their boo boo’s disappear,” she says. Adding: “When I caught myself doing it for the first time, I was like, whoa, I did not expect that to happen. It was almost like a reflex, I didn’t even think about it.”

Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Melissa Gauna painted the picture of her mom “waving her hand in the air in the form of a cross, blessing us, and praying over us,” every day before she went to school. She said, “Now I find myself doing this with my kids, and I wave my hand in the air making a cross.”

Candles are often used as a healing tool with Latina moms as well. Lauren Johnson, co-founder of BerryLemon, told mitú: “I know I’m turning into my mother when I gotta light my 7-day candle when I have a big change going on in my life (I swear they work, I don’t care!).” Oh, they work! Don’t diss the candles, or you’ll make our Latina Burn Book. 

And where there’s a cleansing, there’s cleaning…and more cleaning…and more cleaning.

5. You clean while blasting oldies before having a visitor over, and use “Agua de Violetas like it’s Febreze.”

I remember the days living with my Latina mom who kept me off the kitchen floor for hours because it had to finish drying. And if one foot stepped on that wet floor — ¡chancleta! 

Stand-up comic Eli Rodriquez chatted with mitú on this topic too, and she gave another classic line: “You know you’re turning into your Latina mom when you have to mop real quick because viene visita.” And then “using Agua de Violetas like it’s Febreze” right after. And don’t even get me started with laundry! If you’re not using Fabuloso, ¡olvídate! 

Some Latina moms might have a specific day for cleaning, too. La Vida Mom’s Angela Burks told us: “Saturdays are cleaning days and everyone in the house knows when I turn on Marc Anthony, Los Hermanos Flores, and Hector Lavoe it’s cleaning time.”

And at times, our mamas might get a little sassy when they don’t feel like cleaning at all. BerryLemon’s Lauren Johnson has a Mexican mom who makes it known. And now, Johnson does too. “I know I’m turning into my mom because I am now the one yelling in the kitchen after dinner about how nobody is helping me clean,” she spilled.

Growing up Latina is a vibe all right. And only a sliver of Latina momisms have been mentioned. 

6. And, of course, we couldn’t leave out all the very valid points below.

“You know you’re turning into your Latina mom when you have to run home to watch your novela (even though it’s on demand).” – Eli Rodriguez

“I know I’m turning into mi madre because my blender is stained red with ancho.” – Lauren Johnson

Then there’s the fact that it’s always cold enough to wear a sweater, the first food group is beans, Vicks cures all, and pissing off a Latina mom might result in a chancleta or pulled ear – ¡ay, ay, ay! The list extends as long as it takes to make proper pasteles.

And we, the daughters, are right there doing the exact same actions while realizing just how much we live and breathe, and are, our Latina madres. 

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