when i walked into the cocoon-like home of the montez family, there was a baby sleeping in the middle of the living room floor. he napped there for good half hour while visitors came in and out the front door, his sister munched on lunch and his mom and i leisurely chatted while folding his cloth diapers (cloth diapers!).
sarah is such a sweet mom. her voice is calm and gentle. her little olivia (who goes by olive) just turned three and adoringly calls her baby brother “hens” (for henry, who is one). while playing with olive’s early christmas present (a kitten named catniss), we discussed their family’s unusual sleeping arrangement, the ineffable relationship between a mom and her son and what it’s like raising your kids in the exact town you were raised yourself.
you’re running out the door, what do you grab to put on?
i always put on toms. usually whatever is on the top of the semi-clean clothes pile. half the time i get to the door and realize, i don’t have on a shirt.
what do you indulge in?
ice cream. i eat ice cream pretty much every night. after the kids go to bed, i dish it out.
ok, so you all sleep in the same bed? tell me about this!
as a baby, olive slept in a bassinet by our bed. bet would wake me up every 15 mins asking, “is she still breathing? is she ok?” finally, we just moved her into the bed with us. it was easier for me, because i barely had to move to nurse her. then when henry was born, we asked, “ok, how are we going to do this?” he tried the bassinet for a couple of days… but i didn’t want to leave him out! i just like snuggling with my babies!
what do you love about raising your kids in corpus?
i love that both of our families are here. olive sees my parents & bet’s mom several times a week. we eat
dinner at my parent’s house probably three times a week. i love that we can just pop over. and there’s no traffic here.
so how is the community of moms in corpus?
we started a “mops” group at the church… mothers of preschoolers. it’s been so nice to have a place where i can go and say the craziest things and they say, “ya, me too!” you can say really embarrassing things like, “i walked into the grocery store with tinkle all over me today.” and someone will say, “oh, i did that last week!”
i love that you’re raising your kids in the same town that you were raised in.
i know, i love it. when you go off to college, you say, “i’m never going back home.” but when i came back, i was like, “this is beautiful! how lucky are we? how did i not appreciate this growing up?” i love that i was baptized, confirmed and married in our church. my roots are in that church and now my kids’ roots are planted there, too. i love that i walk down the halls and people say, “oh, i remember when you were that size!”
what’s it like having your parents around?
i love that my parents are in my kids’ lives. they’ve always known mimi, pops & grandma. olive doesn’t see my siblings that often, so when uncle bill comes into town, there was a period when olive was like, “ummm, who is that!” there’s never that with our parents.
how was it having a boy after having olive?
super weird. i immediately knew i was pregnant with a boy. with olive, i was super super sick. with him, i didn’t feel anything and i just knew. i couldn’t imagine anything other than a girl… i mean, you see all the pink everywhere. i’m more girly, so i thought, “what am i going to do with a boy? how will i play with him? what will i talk to him about?” but as soon as he was born, i realized there is
nothing like a mother and son relationship.
and what’s that mother & son relationship like?
i can’t really explain it. i want olive to be a good woman, wife, friend and mommy. i feel like i’m preparing her for the future. but with henry, i think, “i don’t want him to ever kiss a girl! he’s my little tiny man forever!” i want to protect him.
with them still so young, how do you begin to instill your values into them?
they see everything. everything. i just live how i want them to live. being a kind person. being compassionate. having them see how bet and i are sweet to each other. being polite. saying please and thank you. this is the first christmas that instead of, “what is santa going to bring you?” we’ve been able to teach, “now why do we celebrate christmas?”
how have you balanced motherhood and marriage?
i don’t think i’m the best at balancing. up until a year ago, olive went to bed when we went to bed and woke up when we woke up. and that was really hard. there was never time for just me and bet. it was a business relationship. ‘i’ll cook, you take out the trash.’ once henry was born, i realized we have to have time. even just for me, i needed time where i’m not ‘mom.’ i moved bedtime earlier and earlier and now it’s at eight thirty. now, when it’s eight thirty, i’m like… ahh, i need my ice cream! usually that’s when bet and i will have a grown up conversation.
how has it been watching bet step up to the role of being a father?
i love watching that. he’s a great dad. they say, “a mom becomes a mom when she gets pregnant; a dad becomes a dad when he sees the baby.” reading them books, going on secret christmas shopping trips… watching his relationship with them is so special.