Isabel Gonzalez-Smith is the founder of Chicago Latina Moms, a group of more than 1,800 Latina mothers/mothers-to-be that connect, uplift and celebrate each other. From hosting mom’s night outs, to Spanish storytimes, playdates, workshops and more, they aim to create a community where moms feel supported, appreciated and recognized for their hard work in their families, communities and careers.
There are many mom groups here. What inspired you to start Chicago Latina Moms?
During my pregnancy with my first son, when I searched “Chicago Latina moms” on Google, all the results that came back equated motherhood and Latina women with crisis. Teen pregnancy, domestic violence, homelessness are all very real issues in our community, but we also deserve a space to simply gather, share and grow together, like other mom demographics do. Today, mothers in our group have become best friends, business partners, colleagues. We are a strong community and a family, what I had always envisioned and hoped it would become.
How does the group support each other in the journey through motherhood?
Moms post questions from any point of motherhood and always get supportive, kind responses back. One thing that our members have said was that we are a safe, empowering space free of judgment and drama. … There is a lot of wisdom shared to our moms at different points of connection. We also feel strongly about supporting the members of our community who have businesses and putting our money back into our community.
What are some local issues the Chicago Latina Moms group is paying most attention to?
The death of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez and her baby has devastated our community, as it highlights the need for safe spaces for families to sell and donate items to each other, but more importantly the treatment of Latino families in the social justice system. At a national level, what is happening in our country with detention centers and family separations is beyond unacceptable and horrifying to us. We are always working collectively to pull resources and opportunities to make an impact on these issues.
Sadly, mom shaming is a common problem. As moms, how can we lift each other up instead of tear each other down?
Remember that we are all moms! We are simply trying to do our best with what we know and what we have. Don’t assume the worst of people when you misunderstand them. And create safe space for parents to learn and grow together. We can accomplish so much when we pull our community together and stand strong.
Children: Rafa, 4, and Emiliano, 2
Perfect fall day in Chicago: Climbing around and chasing each other at Dvorak Park
Parenting must-haves: Books, lots and lots of books. Wooden blocks. An emergency plastic grocery bag tucked into the diaper bag for wet clothes or trash!
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.