Mamá Crush: Brenda Rincon
Hi Friends! I am excited to share another installment of my Mamá Crush series, featuring the lovely Brenda Rincon. I met Brenda years ago when we collaborated on youth development issues for our respective nonprofits. Her poise and elegance always struck me then, and continues to do so to this day!
Years ago, during one of our countless meetings, she spoke out against the notion that women "can have and do it all." Her words followed me - especially now that I have become a mom who has chosen to stay home to raise her child full-time.
I loved interviewing Brenda because hearing her talk about her daughter made me nostalgic for my own baby (even though Ximena is still a baby!!!), but also because I was reminded that we need to continue examining our vision of motherhood. I recently read this article, about how women are working themselves to death.
As we continue to strive for balance in our lives - as working professionals, as mothers, as entrepreneurs making a living from home - it is critical that we hear the stories of women who have paved the way for us, so that we understand that following our dreams is not always easy, but that it is definitely always worth it.
So, without further ado...
On Brenda: I’m 43 (yikes!). I was born in Mexicali, and came to the United States at age 4. I have 3 brothers. I graduated from Coachella Valley High School in 1991. I studied journalism at USC, where I met my future husband. He grew up in East LA. We moved to the Coachella Valley in 1998. He’s a CPA, and I currently run a math tutoring business. Our daughter, Sarah, is 16. Sarah is everything to me!
On her routine: I’m in the midst of the most awesome, most terrible transition – getting used to not being needed as much. Sarah got her driver’s license in June, and it seemed that overnight she became a little adult. She knows her responsibilities and no longer needs me pushing her along all morning as I did for so many years. I still make her breakfast and pack her a lunch because I want to make sure she is eating healthy, but not because I have to. While I love to see her grow into her own person, I’m not going to lie…it does suck to not be needed as much.
Our evenings are different now, too. For so many years, I planned my day around pick-up and drop-off times. Now we all get home at different times. I try to cook most weeknights, so eating dinner together is definitely the goal. Then Sarah disappears into her room to do homework for the rest of the night.
On her parenting philosophy: My main goal has always been to provide my daughter with a loving, supportive environment and provide her with the tools she needs to live up to her God-given potential and to be happy. It’s definitely easier said than done! I’ve learned that there is no perfect parent, and to not beat myself up too much for my many missteps. I’m amazed that, given all of my mistakes, she has turned out okay so far!
On family adventures: We love to have adventures! We love to learn and experience new things together. We love the arts: concerts, film, museums, literature and theatre. I took her to see her first musical, Chicago (so not age appropriate!) when she was 3 years old at the McCallum. She sat on a big cushion so she could see from our seats way in the back. She was enthralled! I can still picture her little face beaming with happiness! Theatre is a big part of her life. She is active in her school’s theatre department, as both an actor and stage manager. It makes me happy to see her involved in something she loves so much.
On a favorite motherhood moment: All of them! Even the very difficult moments, the ones that only she & I know about, are beautiful in their own way because they brought us closer together. As Sarah gets older, I am hyperaware of the fact that I’m running out of time before she goes off to college in less than two years. Every moment seems so poignant and sentimental and significant. She still hugs and kisses me like when she was little, and I wish I could make those moments last forever.
On self-care: My biggest indulgence is time away with my girlfriends from high school and college. After spending time with these amazing and supportive women, I feel refreshed and ready for the world again. We call it group therapy! Or is it wine therapy? I forget…
My college friends are just now starting their families. Though having a little one when they were going out and staying up at all hours of the night was hard, it is awesome being able to get away with some of my oldest friends now!
On making space for her husband: When she was little, it was so hard to make time. It seemed any time away from her was somehow work-related. We didn’t have too many date nights! As Sarah gets older and more independent, this is no longer an issue. We often find ourselves at home alone wondering how the heck it’s possible that we have a 16 year old daughter! We go out to dinner a lot more, go to movies, and have even taken a couple little trips on our own. It definitely feels weird!
On the best piece of parenting advice she has ever received:
From my mom: “Dejala ser ella!”
From my dad: “Dejala comer dulces!”
On her hopes and dreams for Sarah's future: Sarah is a woman. This is the first time I have ever said that out loud, but she is a woman now. Over the last few years, I have seen a countdown clock in my head ticking away the minutes I have left with her before she goes to college. Recently, the ticking has gotten significantly louder.
Ultimately, as she keeps growing and learning, as she gets ready to go off to college, and beyond - I want her to be a happy, confident, independent, self-sufficient woman who makes her dreams come true and works hard to make the world a better place. (No pido nada, verdad?)
Thank you so much, Brenda!