Hey guys! Can you believe we’ve already had the chance to meet two dope mommas in The Motherhood Series? If you haven’t caught up yet, here’s Motherhood and Networking (Part 1) and Motherhood and Singleness (Part 2) from the series. Be sure to check those out!
Today, however, we meet a woman I’ve have the privilege of calling “friend” for many years now. She’s intelligent and fly, driven yet down to earth and pretty much a woman who’s presence you can’t get enough of! That’s why for the third installment of our series, we’re going to be talking to Christina Acosta-Martinez, founder of Growing Up Gorgeous (or GUG). GUG, exists to establish a community of diverse women in the South Jersey area who support, exhort and encourage one another along the journey of motherhood. We build genuine relationships with other mothers.
But resumes aside, if I could put my finger on just one word to describe Christina, it’d be genuine. Its no wonder this word stands out in her organization’s mission statement! Christina is wife to Miguel, girl-mom to Summer, Naomi and Bella and a friend and sister to too many to number. She has a real passion for authentic sisterhood while also being graced to mother her children alongside the love of her love. Join me now as we get a small glimpse into her world of motherhood and marriage.
When you first became parents, what key piece of parenting advice would have been most meaningful to you and your husband?
We had no idea that parenting would be so draining. (Disclaimer for when our kids are old and read this: We love y’ all, but raising little people is exhausting.) It would have helped for us to know that we both would be experiencing a life change that impacts every level of your well-being: emotionally, financially, physically, spiritually, and how you spend your time.
Before having kids, every couple should work on their well-being. Ask yourself: What areas of my emotional and spiritual health need to be adjusted? How are my eating habits? Have I invested in my own business & financial goals? What bad habits are sucking up my time? And so much more. Digging into those areas will help you approach parenthood maturely with a strong foundation.
What have you found is your greatest strength as a wife to your husband and mother to your children?
My greatest strength to my family is my commitment to them and their growth. I spend a lot of time praying for them collectively and individually because I want to see them live their lives to their fullest potential.
Over our seven years of marriage, God has answered our specific prayers for our family to thrive, and seeing those prayers answered has been incredible.
How does your husband fill-in the gaps when you fall short? How do you fill in the gaps when he falls short?
My husband brings entertainment and fun to our house when I’m an uptight mom. He has a way of getting us all to laugh instead of cry and survive the long days. I am a home school mama, so by the time daddy gets home, they need to be silly and free. He reminds me through his actions that our home needs to be a joyful place and that our girls are uniquely gifted. When I am anxious about their future, he steps in with the advice that they are already brilliant and have bright futures.
On the rough days, I bring the balance to help our family keep moving forward. I may plan trips to keep the momentum going…I help put the goals together. He’s the visionary and I help get it done. I make those things happen.
What roles do compromise and teamwork play in your home?
Sharing roles and working as a team has been a learning process for us. We both were raised in single-parent homes, by the opposite sex parent. (Me with my dad and him with his mom.) Although both our parents were amazing, neither of them could model an example of working together as a team. We have had so many disagreements over the years about how to run our home and work together.
A few things have helped us…
One, speaking up about what we need and moving on from the petty stuff. When I am irritated, I have to check my tongue and be quiet! Over time, the small issues become less important, and the heavy things can be touched back on after reflection and prayer.
Two, being willing to serve one another regardless of how the other person is behaving at the time. In other words, just because I am annoyed about dishes in the sink doesn’t give me permission to change my attitude towards Miguel or decide that I’m no longer willing to clean the kitchen. When we are eager to serve one another, pick up where the other left off, and look for gaps with the right mindset (how can I help vs. why didn’t you do this) we are much happier.
Lastly, we are both learning to slow down and let go of control. As a new stay-at-home-mom, this is so hard for me. I’m accustomed to having my income, schedule, and strong relationships with my co-workers. I consider myself a boss and want to call the shots. Our relationship is healthiest when I allow Miguel to lead and trust the Lord to show him the path.
What’s been the biggest surprise of sharing the responsibility of parenting with your husband?
The biggest surprise for me is realizing how much impact my husband has on how we raise the girls. I figured that because I am their mom, I would always know what’s best for them. But my girls are obsessed with their daddy, and his lessons to them hit their little hearts differently. It’s so beautiful to watch.
How do you and your spouse get on the same page when difficult parenting decisions arise?
We honestly haven’t dealt with this …yet. My girls are still little and thankfully nothing too complicated has come up.
What comes first, being a wife, being a mother, or is there room for a tie?
Oh, this is such a hard question! Some days your role as a wife will come first and sometimes your role as a mother gets priority because children have very demanding daily needs. What helps me not to neglect my relationship is to determine what non-negotiables keep us going strong. For example, we don’t allow the girls to sleep in our bed at night. We also take time to practice self-care. This helps us to function better as parents & spouses.
How do you stay connected to your husband while raising kids?
Feeling connected is so important. We make time to talk, laugh, and play together; this can look like taking the family for a walk, date nights, and even talking on the phone during Miguel’s commute from work. We also go to counseling as a couple to work through all sorts of concerns and to ensure we are communicating about more than bills & babies. I cannot recommend going to counseling enough!
What do you want your kids to remember about your marriage?
I want the girls to remember that mommy & daddy were committed to unconditionally loving one another & loving them. Our marriage is far from perfect, but we function in love, and we are proud to grow through this journey together.
Thank you so much Christina for sharing your journey! And thank you all for reading!
If you’re a woman who is looking for more community, realness and sisterhood amongst other mommas from all walks of life, check out Growing Up Gorgeous here!
And lastly, be sure to see what we’ve got cooking up next week in the fourth installment of The Motherhood Series.