The challenge of being a mother in Mexico

When I think of Mexico, two things come to mind: The fabulous and delicious cuisine and the over 112 million people who work every day and try to get the BEST out of life.

I’ve just turned 32 years old and I know that what I appreciate MOST about my life are my two children, my 7 year and a whirlwind of a 4 year old. Three years separate them and it was enough time for me to realize that a family of three was not my ideal. The three years also meant that my children were born in two different presidential terms, my daughter during Vicente Fox, the man who encouraged Mexico to choose to end a period of over 70 years of presidents from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, and my son during Felipe Calderon; both Presidents from the National Action Party. Mexico dared to make a change. Did we choose wisely? Or did we go wrong? We are many millions of people and we have a saying that “we all carry the world in our heads”.

So we all have our opinions. As we’re about to begin a new six year leadership, what do I see? Honestly, it is a very difficult political landscape because much of the country hoped and wished that the other candidate would be our next president. I also see a very weak economy where the arrival of more and more foreign companies in our country have created a mirage in the desert that they will boost our economy and benefit our ordinary citizens, but how far it is from the truth!

 We do not realize we are entering into a vicious cycle to that is very difficult to get out of, in which our money is working hard for foreign firms, the money that we once spent in our own country is leaving us and generating income for other nations. I see my friends and acquaintances that have been forced to close their small businesses and must turn to seeking employment with these foreign companies.

And what education we can expect during the coming six years? Will we continue with the reform proclaimed by Felipe Calderon in which high school is mandatory and free, convinced that education forms character and helps young people find their way through life? Yet I wonder, mandatory for whom? Only for those who live in cities and have the opportunity to attend? Who can get to classes that are scheduled are to start at 7:00am and end at 1:00pm with teachers who may not attend because they are on strike fighting for fairer wages or just attended by those teachers who feel it is their duty regardless?

And finally, I can’t fail to mention the environment from which we all draw breath but unfortunately concerns few of us, even with something as simple as depositing garbage in the can rather than tossing trash out the car window. Our city governments want to capitalize on land that should be left for green spaces, people still waste water cleaning the streets with garden hoses, and generations like mine which were taught to take care of our environment seem to turn a blind eye.

As a mom, I put a lot of emphasis on water conservation in my home, to teach my children to only use what is necessary. And I pay special attention to homework and having quality time with my kids, which doesn’t necessarily involve spending money. I really like that my kids appreciate the time we spend together when we are at the playground, visiting with relatives or simply going for a walk together.

Being a mom is a challenge, particularly for me because patience is a virtue that I don’t have, although my husband has and that is something in a person that is appreciated and valued by me. But still, in spite of my many flaws, I work hard at being a mom and guide my children to be happy and fully realized human beings, and if they succeed, that will be my legacy to our nation.

Written by Ana Chávez for Caras de México. Click here to read more articles examining Mexican identity.