Mama of The Week: Meet Marlen Powery
There has been many learning curves in the past year or so since I became a mother. This made me realize that I have a lot more in common with others moms than I could have thought.
As mothers, we have a huge role to fulfill and an even bigger impact on society & our planet’s future. I believe it’s important to be informed, grow from our mistakes and to learn from watching others. There is a tremendous amount of learning that happens through the process of watching and imitating others. This is how our children grow up to be the person they become. In psychology, this is called observational learning, which is also sometimes referred to as modeling, shaping, and vicarious reinforcement.
Today I’d like to share with you more about a mother who loves to share her experiences with the world, hoping that her knowledge could impact someone’s life in a positive way.
Meet Marlen Powery!
Marlen is a young mom with a 12 year old daughter named, Angela. She describes herself as a fun person and a kid at heart. She believes she’ll never outgrow her inner child, as she loves “ice cream for dinner and chocolate for breakfast”. She’s a real & honest mom that acknowledges that her “nutrition could use a major improvement”. I mean, I think many of us could agree with her when it comes to our personal nutrition situation. I know I do!
Marlen is an independent, energetic, and driven woman. She is an animal lover, very creative & loves DIY projects! She says she “can be caring and compassionate but firm when needed”. She considers herself to have a virtue that can occasionally becomes a flaw. “Sometimes I care too much about other people's feelings and opinions even when they don't think twice about mine.”
Sounds like me, Marlen, I can totally relate!!
Here is Marlen Powery’s story:
Your daughter recently turned 12 years old. Congratulations, you almost have a teenager! How does that make you feel?
“The truth?? It terrifies me and excites me at the same time!!! I know it seems cliche but it does scare me. I feel that evil has always been around, but as the years go by it just seems to be getting worse and worse. You know, I've always spoken to Angie as a person, an individual. From a very early age, I tried my best to establish open communication with her and as much as I want to believe that we have that, I'm sure there are going to be things that she won't necessarily feel the need to share with mom and that's what scares me. The thought of not knowing what your child is being exposed to when you're not around is very unsettling. Then there's the fun side to it, you know, she's becoming a little woman. She's figuring out who Angela is and that's very intriguing for me to watch. From how she styles her hair to what nail color she wants or what choker she wears that day, it's fun to see her express herself. It's exciting to think about the woman she will become tomorrow. We've also reached that point where we can share clothes lol, which totally took me by surprise from one day to the next...but I'm still waiting for the day she finally likes sushi so we can have a sushi date lol!!”
How has motherhood been for you?
“Motherhood, wow, motherhood has been...it's been really, really hard. It's been grueling. It's been frustrating. It's been heartbreaking. Motherhood has been, hands down, the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life....but it has also given me some the best and emotionally beautiful moments of my life. I don't feel that motherhood came naturally to me. The love for my daughter was immediate but motherhood itself has been a struggle. I have cried and laughed many times, sometimes both at the same time. Sometimes I've thought to myself, Angie deserves better than you. I still wonder all the time if I'm doing this motherhood thing right, or if she's going to end up hating me when she grows up. I have felt guilt for being a working mom. I have felt guilt for not having a home cooked meal every day and for the nights that we just order pizza for dinner. I have felt guilt for not being able to give her more. There have been times where I have cried because I felt that I was too harsh on her but I have also cried some really happy tears.
When she hugs me for no reason. When she tells me "Mami, you're so beautiful". When I see her eyes twinkle when she talks about something she's passionate about. When I see her compassion towards animals. There's a wondrous side to motherhood too. There is no truer love, no love more unconditional and raw, than the love of a mother for her child. It gives me a sense of pride unlike anything I've ever felt before. Angie loves to dance and she would perform when she was younger. I remember watching her dance and feeling this overwhelming force of emotions just surging through my veins, choking me. It's this indescribable proud feeling...and it's in those moments where I see her being a happy kid, that I remind myself that I must be doing something right.”
You had your daughter at a young age. Was it hard at first?
“Yes, very much so. I was 19 when Angela was born. I was already out of my house. When I finally told my dad that I was pregnant he told me to pack up and go and so that's exactly what I did. I moved in with Angela's father and his mom, who received me with open arms, no questions asked. She even took in my dog at the time.
Unfortunately, I lost my mom when I was twelve years old to cardiac arrest, and I used to think, why couldn't my mom be here? My father didn't really speak to me until Angie was maybe seven or eight months old. Granted, now he adores that girl but back then it was tough. I felt I didn't have anyone. I had my mother in law, who was always more than willing to help but it was still hard. I was still attending college at the time. While all my friends going out and having fun, I was breastfeeding. It created distance in my friendships and at times I felt very lonely. It was wake up every two - three hours to feed and then be up at 6:00 am to get ready to go to my first class. My mother in law, used to work at a hospital and she worked the night shift. So, when she would get home at 7:00 am she would take Angie to her room and sleep with her. When they're newborns that's literally all they do, sleep during the day. But eventually, I stopped going to school around the time that Angie was becoming more active, probably when she was almost four months.
I felt exhausted. I was physically and mentally drained. I had stopped working once I hit nine months in my pregnancy but when I stopped going to school also, I felt like such a failure. Looking back now, I was still a kid myself. I was scared of everything. I was afraid of scratching her while I changed her diaper. I was afraid that I was feeding her too much or too little. I was afraid of not understanding what she would need. But I also took it very personal, if anyone tried to tell me what to do with her or how to do it. It was very challenging to try to be a mother when I myself was still growing and needed guidance myself.”
Would you say having kids younger is better than waiting till you’re a little older?
“Having kids is a monumental decision. I don't think anyone is ever fully ready to become a parent regardless of age. That being said, I think having kids when you're a little older is better than having them too young. Now, this is just my personal opinion, but I think everyone should live their lives and enjoy as much as they can before deciding to have kids.”
What are the pros of being a young mom?
“As a young mom, I feel I can relate to Angie a little better or on a different level than older moms. Since I had Angie so young, it's almost like we're both growing up and learning together in a way. I'm the mom and I'm raising her but she has definitely taught me a lot too. She's taught me to be selfless and she's taught me to be patient(still working on that one every day but I've gotten better). We literally fight like sisters sometimes, like who ate the last Oreo lol, but I think that has created a deeper bond for us.”
You have a blog where you mention that you love to read. What is your favorite book?
“Oh man, this is a hard one! I just love reading and getting lost in the world I'm reading, it's hard to choose just one! Ok, I'll give you my favorite series...Harry Potter!!!! Don't judge me lol. See? There's that inner child in me again! Aside from that, I love thrillers and mystery.”
You also mentioned that you had been wanting to start a blog for a while but never did because of fear of what people would think. What made you decide to go for it?
“I've always told Angie that she can do anything she wants to do. If she sets her mind to it she can accomplish anything. Well, how can I teach my daughter something and expect her to do it when I don't practice it myself? All my life I wanted to be an actress. Then I had Angie and I had to be an adult. I had bills to pay and this little human that depended on me for everything, so I had to put my acting dreams on the back burner and get a "real" job. I've always loved writing too(I know, I'm a nerd lol) and when Angie was about 1 and a half I wanted to start writing just for fun. I thought "Oh maybe I can have a blog" but then it turned into "Wait, I'm a mom now I have to be responsible, I can't have a blog." I thought that because I was a mom that meant I had to do what "normal moms" would do. What the heck is a normal mom even!? You know, I thought being a mom meant I was either a stay at home mom or a working mom. There was no room to be who I wanted to be or to do the things that I, Marlen as an individual, wanted to do.
As Angie got older, she would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and she would tell me what she wanted to be and we would just talk. Some time last year, we had a similar conversation and she asked me why I never did what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn't know what to say. I was speechless. All I said at the time was "I don't know mami" but it lingered in my mind. I never, ever want to hear my daughter say that she gave up on a dream. I think if I ever heard her say something like that it would crush me. One day I started searching how to create a website and one thing lead to another. I want to show Angie that yes, you really can do anything you set your heart to. No matter what it is, I want her to know that it doesn't matter who believes in you or who doesn't as long as you believe in yourself.”
How did you get over the fear of what others think of you?
“Um, I don't know that I've fully gotten over the fear of what others think lol. But when I turned 30(yikes, that hurts a little lol), I kind of just told myself "Ok, it's now or never. Whatever you want to do you have to do it now or you'll never do it." I don't want to live wondering every single day what if? What if I had done it? What if I had tried? Even now that I've started the blog I still over analyze every little thing. Sometimes, I think I shouldn't have posted that but then I ask myself why the f*ck not!? I'm not hurting anyone. I'm being me and most importantly the only person watching me that matters is Angie. I don't want her to pick up on my insecurities so I push myself through them. Angie is at a very vulnerable age, and I don't want her to pick herself apart like I do. I think becoming more aware of how my actions can affect Angie negatively has ironically boosted my confidence because I want her to be a strong, independent young woman and I don't want her to limit herself based on other people's opinions. The best way to show her that is to lead by example.”
Do you believe it’s important to teach our kids to not care about what others think? Why?
“Absolutely!! I think we need to nurture a child's individuality from the moment they first smile. That individuality could turn out to be something great that may one day make a change for the better in this world. I think it's crucial to teach our children that they are not what society thinks they should be. They should be who they are and we as parents should accept them as they are. Everything starts at home, the foundation that our children build on is the one we lay at home. If they want to rock purple hair let them. If we don't accept them as the individuals they are on their own then we are teaching them that they need to adjust or conform themselves to fit in with the outside world. Especially for girls, who are under daily pressure to be a certain kind of pretty and society is constantly telling them to fit into this mold. Instead of teaching them how to apply eyeliner let's teach them about inner beauty. A good heart is what makes you beautiful. Caring about animals makes you pretty. Being kind to mother nature makes you pretty. Helping someone in need makes you pretty. Not judging others by their race or beliefs makes you pretty. It's very easy to try to be someone you're not just to fit in with your friends at school because you care what they think. It's very easy to give into peer pressure out of fear of what your friends will think. What we need to teach them is self love. Let's teach them that everyone is an individual and it is that particular individuality that makes everyone beautiful. As long as you're a good person, you shouldn't care what anyone thinks. You should only care about how you treat others and how those around you treat others. Another person's opinion of you says a lot more about them than it does about you!”
Is life with a 12 year old harder than having a younger child? How so?
“Yes and no! It's easier in the sense that if they're sick they can tell you exactly what they feel instead of trying to play the guessing game with a screaming toddler. You're also entering a whole new territory with middle school, hormones, crushes, puberty, and mood swings. There's also a lot more backtalk...definitely not fun!!!”
What is one thing that you and your daughter have in common?
“Omg, people tell me all the time that we're more alike than we think lol!! We both love to dance but don't tell her that she gets her dancing from me because she'll deny it lol and we love animals. Every time we see a dog, we both yell "Omg perrito!!" in a really high pitched voice lmao. Even with our own dog, Bruno, it's impossible for us to speak to him in normal voices lol. Sorry, I guess that was more than one!”
You love spreading kindness and positivity. Is this something you’ve also taught your daughter to do?
“Yes! My motto for her has always been if you wouldn't like it done to you then don't do it to others. I believe something so simple as saying "Have a nice day" when you walk out of an elevator can change the tone for someone's day. I know that I myself have had days where I'm over people being rude and nasty, but then someone will let me into a lane and I think "Oh there's still some nice people out there". I try to remind her that you never know what someone might be going through or what conversation they might have just had a few minutes ago but sometimes, all it takes is a simple good morning to make someone smile.”
What is your favorite thing to do with your daughter?
“Movie night!! I always make it a point to have mother/daughter dates frequently but movie nights are my fave. We put on our pjs, get all our favorite snacks and ice cream! Sometimes we'll order pizza too. We'll rewind the same scene like ten times and laugh so hard our bellies ache!”
Would you eventually like to go for a second kid?
“LOL, I don't know why this question made me nervous! Honestly, I am completely fine not having more kids. I personally don't feel that this world is a place I'd want to bring life into but I won't say never either. Have I thought about it? Sure, I'd be lying if I said otherwise and for some reason I see a blonde little boy whenever I have thought about it lol. I don't know what my life might be like in a year, or even in a week for that matter...but I think that if it's meant to be then it will be.”
In your opinion, how important is a mother’s role in a child’s life?
“Extremely important. I think a mother's love differs from a father's love. I'm not saying it's better, I'm saying it's different. It is different. I think as mothers we can teach a child to be strong yet not harsh. I think by nature it's just harder for men to be in touch with their feelings. Whereas us women are more in tune with our feelings and are open to expressing them. I think it's important to teach children, both boys and girls, that it is ok to say how you feel and not be shamed for it. Dont' get me wrong, it's just as important to have dad build your confidence by telling you that you can run faster or climb higher, but moms nurturing love is what won't let the world harden you. There's enough of that already in the world.”
Can you write some words of encouragement for moms who are constantly feeling judge by those around them?
“I say f*ck what everyone else thinks. Seriously, f*ck them! People will always have an opinion. Even if you decide to do what they want you to do, they will still have an opinion. You're doing it wrong. You should do it this way. Stop letting other people dictate your life and telling you what kind of mother you should be. Only you know what works for you and your child. Mama knows best, trust your instincts. Enjoy every moment you can with your child. Know and believe that you are enough and you are not alone. I promise you not one of us has it all together!! Any mom that tells you differently, is full of sh*t! You are amazing and your child is lucky to have you!”
“Xoxo, Marlen <3”
This mama’s story is so touching!
Marlen is an amazing, inspirational momma that deserves for all her dreams to come true. She is definitely rocking motherhood!
Thank you Marlen for sharing your story with all of us. I have gained so much from reading about your life experiences, and I hope other moms have too. Thank you for being honest & keeping it real with us, you’re such an Awake Mama!
If you’re interested in finding out more about Marlen, feel free to check out her blog, marlenpowery.wixsite.com/empowered/blog.