How Latina moms preserve their culture at home: Comida, musica é idioma

Whether teaching their children to dance salsa, cook a traditional dish from their country or choosing one brand over another, Latina moms appreciate tradition and loyalty.

At the 2017 Hispanicize conference in Miami, Hispanics come together to learn, share and represent their cultures.

One of the live focus groups offered was sponsored by Latinamoms.com. The panel featured three Latina moms, and the conversation focused on how Latina moms shop, where and why. Taking it a step further, they also touched upon how Latina moms parent.

After attending the panel, I asked some of the same questions to my Latina Mom friends on Facebook. Here is what I learned:

Which brands do Latinas think markets to appeal to them?

  • Pampers — It is a very diverse brand that has been trusted in the Latino community for a long time and is also active on social media.
  • Johnson & Johnson — An international brand that’s been around for a long time. One of the panel Moms grew up in Venezuela and said, “I feel much more comfortable with brands that we have in Venezuela like Pampers and Johnson baby. Nestle is another one, but that is mostly because I am used to them, I think.”
  • Target — A company that is invested in the community, which is very important to Latinos. Prices are good and it is very easy to shop not only in the store, but with the Cartwheel app as well.
  • McDonald's — It has many ads in Spanish and has recently been coming out with healthier options, which is also something the Latino community is focusing on.

How do you preserve your Latin culture in your home?

Food, music and language.

Michelle Jacques, a mother of two of Colombian descent who now lives in Ave Maria, Florida, said, “When I lived in Miami, the Publix I went to sold ‘cafe con leche,’ pastelitos, empanadas, etc… Living in Naples I feel like it’s much harder to find certain things in grocery stores.”

But that doesn’t stop her. She still cooks with her children and especially makes sure that on holidays, they experience the kinds of foods that these moms grew up with. Although the foods are not all as readily available, they are important.

“Music is huge!” said Stephanie Colon, a Puerto Rican mother of two, “both in PR and DR, music is a part of our culture and heritage. Not only in enjoying the rhythms and beats and dancing but also in every Latin family, you will find musicians. It’s in our blood.”

And while there are many Spanish-speaking parents who do not teach their children the language, these Latina moms feel strongly about their children speaking Spanish.

“I think my Dad would slap me if my kid didn’t speak Spanish and know his culture!” Jazmin Rojas, a single mother of a two-year-old boy who was attending the panel, said.

This is Rojas’ second year attending the Hispanicize conference. She is a blogger and Latina mom.

One of the topics that came up during the panel discussion was the use of the “mapo,” which is a slang Cuban word used to describe a makeshift mop that’s made from two large sticks and a towel.

Most cultures have something like a “mapo” that is specific to them and that they are proud of.

Rojas said that her mom uses a mapo, but she doesn’t have time for that.

“I love my Swiffer and I use all of the attachments!” she said, laughing.

What do you take into account when deciding what to purchase?

Price, quality and simplicity.

Rojas doesn’t buy Pampers because she feels Target brand diapers do the same job for a better price, but she buys Aveeno lotion because her son has eczema and that helps him best.

For Jessica Friedman, a Cuban mom of one, quality is most important as she prefers all-natural and organic items, which tend to be more expensive.

When it comes to cooking, there are many products that are considered more authentic than others. For example, PAN, which is the dough mix used to make arepas, is traditionally used in the Venezuelan community.

“We Venezuelans would die for arepas!” a Venezuelan mom said.