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Many moms in the BCB Community have been with us since the start. Ria Pretekin is no exception. While she started coming to our events when she was pregnant, she has continued to support BCB by sharing her adventures of motherhood with us on a regular basis. You can follow her and her family @urbanohana.
By Ria Pretekin
Motherhood has taught me so many life lessons. Some big, some small and mostly the unexpected. Small things like the fact that pretty, glass Christmas ornaments towards the bottom of the Christmas tree will never survive the toddler years. And big things like exploring what it means to raise my children in a multicultural, multigenerational, interfaith family.
Identity exploration is a key part of my job. When I first started at work I thought motherhood was something completely separate. Nearly seven years later, I realize that my career and motherhood intertwine and both play a huge role in who I am today.
At work we create and live out equity stances that we share within the organization. In exploring who I am as a Filipino American woman, I have really had to explore what that means to model embracing my identity and culture to my children.
It is my responsibility to pass down our family’s story to my children. I want to be intentional about the ways that I raise my children. In uncovering and discovering the skin I am in as a Filipino American mom, living and working in a context where I’m not in a large Filipino American community, I have had to make opportunities for learning about the culture. I think about the things I consider as I raise my daughter and son to help them form their own cultural and religious identity.
Motherhood allows me the space to explore Filipino American history and culture. Whether sharing Filipino food or bringing up the need to recognize Filipino American History Month at work and at my daughter’s school. For the past two years, my daughter and I presented to her class for Filipino American History Month. We shared what it means to be Filipino American and discussed the ways in which the Filipino diaspora has contributed to America’s past and present.
We also shared that during the holidays our family is intentional about learning and participating in both Catholic and Jewish traditions beyond Christmas and Hanukkah. As a family we are exploring the values that are important within our family and our faiths. As I reflect on who I am and what it means to be Filipino American, it is ever evolving and I believe my role at work has helped me become a better mother. I am constantly learning and discovering the ways in which I interact with those around me, and what it means to be the voice for Filipino Americans when we are not represented. I am discovering how to instill that in my own children.
We don’t have to force ourselves into boxes or categories. It’s not about being the perfect mom or the hot mess express mom, to be Jewish or Catholic, to be Filipino or white. The most important lesson that motherhood has taught me is that we don’t have to exist in these binaries. It is up to me to figure out where I belong. I define who I am, on my own terms, and I hope to hold that space for my own children. I have let go of the idea of fitting in and instead discovering what it means to belong.
Make sure to check out more about Ria and her family on BumpClubandBeyond.com.
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