With four kids, I've lost track of the number of times someone has said, "You must have your hands full!" or sometimes, "Are they all yours?" No, really, I was asked that by an elderly man in a grocery store just a couple days ago! I just smiled and said, "Yep!" Having four kids in Spain is considered a massive family - we even qualify as something called "familia numerosa" which means "numerous family" and applies to families that have three or more kids.
I think I always knew I wanted a big family and I even had this idyllic vision in my head loosely based on a country song - Just Another Day in Paradise by Phil Vassar:
The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills - overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk's gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don't kick it
I promise I'll fix it
Long about a million other things
I believed it would be this hectic, blissful life with stress and also filled with love. I'm certainly not wrong about that idea, but the difficulties of feeling like a good, connected parent to four kids is a bit more than I imagined (for me). I love having a big family - there are so many fantastic things about it! Built in playmates and friends, lots of laughter from different corners of the house, sweet family picnics and movie nights, the list goes on.
Sometimes I wished I could connect to each of my kids more and be less bogged down in the practical (laundry, dishes, bathtime, putting shoes away, etc). Enter Denise Suarez - parenting coach. My husband and I decided that, although we firmly believed we were great parents doing the best we could with what we had, our family would benefit from a few months of parenting coaching. It has been life changing for us. To be honest, the ideas are mostly not so new to us, but having someone to check in with at a specific time each week and someone to quickly message when we had questions about something that happened with one of our children at school was a massive support.
And I think we all know how I feel about support! The more of it the better. So I thought sharing an interview with Denise would be a great way to learn more about her and get the word out about parenting coaches!
Where are you originally from?
I am from the Philippines.
What brought you to Madrid? How long have you been living here?
I moved to Madrid in 2011 so I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary this year! I decided to move here because I wanted to live abroad. I have a Spanish passport and my aunt was living in Madrid at the time so it seemed like a good destination. My initial plan was to live here for a year or two and then move elsewhere to take a Master's Degree in Child Development - that didn't end up happening, but I do think that I definitely have had first-hand experience on observing child development!
How did you decide to become a parenting coach?
My passion has always been children. I want all children to feel loved and accepted, and I realized that the best way I can do that is by loving and supporting their parents. I decided to become a parent coach because I want to guide parents on feeling confident in themselves and being able to trust their children.
What tips do you have for parents of newborns?
It's okay if you don't love your baby immediately. It's okay if you don't feel this maternal bliss that everyone else speaks of. It's okay if there are times you want to throw your baby out the window. All the feelings that you're feeling are okay.
Can you share some strategies specifically for parenting during the pandemic? How can families welcoming a new baby with older siblings in the home during Covid times prepare?
Manage expectations. When it comes to parenting during the pandemic, be kind to yourself and decide what's really important to you right now and what you can let go of. Focus on the things you can control. Celebrate all the wins, big and small.
When welcoming a new baby with older siblings, talk to the older siblings in advance. Tell them what might happen and how they might feel. They might feel contradictory emotions and that's okay. Prioritize spending 1:1 time with them after taking care of yourself and the baby.
What's your favorite place in Madrid?
My favorite building is the Palacio de Comunicaciones, and since having kids, I have really begun to appreciate the parks and forests Madrid has so close to the city center, like Casa de Campo and Dehesa de la Villa.
Learn more about Denise at her website Denise Suarez Con Cariño !
Thanks so much for sharing with us Denise.
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).