Just a Mother, another Cuban Mom,

Rosa Martinez

Mother and daughter in Havana’s Chinatown. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – I have written about my experiences as a mother on more than one occasion and I’ve received both criticism and praise in response. I’m not looking for either, I’m just another mother, another Cuban mother, with all of her ups and downs.

I wonder how many times you, mother, have gone beserk because after clearing the table and washing up the breakfast dishes (ready to go out to work) you realize that your eldest daughter who should be the one to help you out the most, has left her bed undone and her room is an absolute tip.

You think about calling her on her cellphone which you made so many sacrifices to buy, in order to keep an eye on her (although if we’re being perfectly honest, you did it so she wouldn’t feel left out). Then, you remember that you only have enough credit on your cellphone for emergencies and you say: “I’ve got you now”, like you did when you were a child.

But, when she comes back home, you’re no longer annoyed and it’s not worth bringing up.

The next day, you wake up with energy that only a mother can muster in spite of all these shortages… And, just when you think your day is going to go smoothly, you realize that you’re shouting, and that maybe some neighbors are listening to you (how embarrassing) because the youngest of your girls doesn’t want to go to school, again, and pretends that she’s got pain here and there…

Look here girl, get off to school because I’m not playing about.

The afternoon comes around soon enough and it’s more or less the same old story; it flies by between Math and Spanish homework (one studies with a lot of love, the other isn’t as passionate), a snack you have to improvise out of nothing, the dinner you also have to conjure up…

You secretly wish that your girls would spend the day hibernating, like some animals do, so you can rest from being at a stove without liquefied gas all day, school snacks, fights between sisters, of waking up at dawn…

The following day always seems like it’s going to be different, but it really isn’t. This time, you have to deal with a rebellious teenager who doesn’t fit into any clothes you can afford or she just wants more than you can give her.

You discover that you wish they would grow up quickly because nobody can put up with this, these girls are driving me mad…

Suddenly, that day you wished for comes along, as if by magic.

A great-aunt comes from the countryside to your home looking for your two little ones, who aren’t so little any more, so they can spend the two-week school break with her.

And, just like that, you finally have a lot of time for yourself. You go to the hairdressers’ to sort out your mess for hair which you can never style, and you even dye your greys which give away your real age; you visit some old university friends who you haven’t seen in centuries because they live on the other side of the city, and things keep coming up you always put it off. You wake up later in the morning, and there isn’t a great deal to do about the house.

Then, you see that your house is organized and clean, but it feels dull. That the beauty of your hair isn’t really that important, because the most beautiful eyes in the world can’t see it. That you have so much time, but you don’t even know how to use it or want to.

And, you feel this deep pain for all the times you wished they were far from you, or asleep, or I don’t know, and you find yourself inconsolable, crying, wishing that the days would pass by in a flash until you can finally hug them again…

Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

3 thoughts on “Just a Mother, another Cuban Mom,

  • April 30, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Yes Cuba is a beautiful and terrifying country all at the same time. I try my best to provide for my family there but even though I have cucs you can not always get what you need. I take as much has I can when I go to visit but it is never enough. The country could and should be the “pearl of the Caribbean ” once again

  • April 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Your last sentence is so true Thomas. Spending most of my time at home in Cuba, observing those struggles of everyday life and noting that the western countries appeared from about 2013 that undefined ‘change’ was occurring in the country, motivated me into writing Cuba Lifting the Veil, because I wanted westerners to know the reality. Rosa in her contributions, reflects that reality.

  • April 27, 2019 at 7:01 am

    I feel your anxiety. It’s hard enough to manage your life when you have everything at your disposal. Throw the lack of most things into the equation and it 10 times more difficult. Who can you turn too in the times of great need when your about to loose it? Most westerners have no idea the struggles of everyday life in Cuba.

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