Monday, March 14, 2011
Up Close & Personal
I had the great privilege to speak to an amazing woman. Natalia Vallares. She has been a co-worker of mine for the past few years. She is young, a mother, a common law (wife) a student and very driven. Although she is very analytical (in a very good way), she is passionate about what she believes in and wants to make a difference in this world. I was touched and inspired with her answers to my questions.
How old were you when you started dating? Or fell in love?
I started dating when I was about 17 years old. The experience was somewhat of a
flirtatious, holding hands and kissing experience. I wouldn’t consider it be
love per se. However, during my first year of university I met a young man on
an online chat. We chatted for 3 weeks until we decided to meet in person. We
met each other for the very first time in a Starbucks coffee shop located in
Chapters. At the time I was very young and inexperienced and had mistaken this
feeling of physical and emotion attraction as love. In other words, at the time
I felt hopelessly in love with him. But now after 6 years in the relationship I
realized in the beginning I was more in love with the idea of being in love
than actually being a loving person to myself first and foremost and then
extending that love into my relationship.
Do you have children?
Yes, I have a son.
Did you get a chance to finish school?
During my second year in university I got pregnant. As a mother my academic life
was challenged however I am strongly committed and soon to complete my degree.
How old are you?
I am 24 years old.
How do you balance life, school, your son and partner all at the same time?
I ask my self the same question everyday. It is often very difficult for me to
balance my life. As hard as I try to manage my time life always seems to create
unexpected situations. I am very adaptable and flexible. I always say to myself
expect nothing. Be ready for everything. I strongly believe that you need to
live by your commitments, objectives, goals and etc. For example, I always tell
myself that regardless the challenges that come my way I will learn to see them
as opportunities in disguise and learn to work my way around them. Secondly, my
son is attending a full time daycare and I am very grateful for this opportunity
because it allows my son to be amongst children every day and develop his
social skills meanwhile I focus on the completion of my education and part-time
What is the hardest part of it all?
I think the greatest challenge in life is my relationship with my common law. My
partner and I carry a lot unresolved issues from our pasts. These unresolved
issues have manifested in our relationship as frustration and anger. One major
challenge is when my partner self victimizing himself by blaming others for his
current problems. As much as I try to be humble and not participate in his self
victimizing drama the issue still takes an overwhelming toll over me. I would
like to accomplish in having a relationship that carries the foundations of
love, peace, respect, and most importantly free will. No relationship is
perfect however if your relationship carries a lot of unresolved issues it
distorts your relationships communication and can often transform itself into
cynical and insecure individuals.
Another challenge is my financial situation. Every month I am living pay check
to pay check and I am not able to save. I am studying part time and working
part time and it is very difficult to save money.
There are no regrets in life, only lessons. Life is a journey.
What traditions or morals were passed onto to you by your parents?
If you really want something you have to work really hard for it. Secondly, my
father has always taught me to value education and encouraged me to higher
Are you a strict mother? Who is more firm, you or daddy?
I am not a strict mother. My mother is more firm than my father.
(I think she misunderstood the question)
What is the difference with this generation in comparison to your generation?
I observe this generation to be somewhat superficial. I see a lot of young
people who are not that intrigued to self examine their own lives rather
distract themselves with technological gadgets.
Where would you like to be in life or what would you like to see in your life 5 years from now?
I envision my life as a dedicated mother and career focused individual. I see
myself having completed my university degree and accomplishing a master’s
degree in political science or any field of my interest. I see myself owning a
wonderful home for me and my family to enjoy. Many windows and a breeze of
spring air blowing inside this warm welcoming home. I see myself dedicated in a
career that makes a social and/or political difference to my community. I see
myself working diligently as I see my son happy and playing with his toys in
front of me. I see myself dedicated to my son’s well being: always
participating in his life: education, psychology, financial and etc. Lastly, I
would like to accomplish in having a relationship that carries the foundations:
love, forgiveness, peace, respect, and most importantly free will.
What do you do for YOU? How do you relax or even have fun?
This is an excellent question. I thought about it for several minutes and I
realized that I do nothing specifically for myself to have fun or relax
Everything I do is either related to work, school, domestic tasks, my son, and
What was your most memorable moment?
Watching my son grow and develop into a wonderful loving are my most memorable
What was your worst moment?
To be sincere when I realized that I was unexpectedly pregnant and having to
deal with the reaction from my family towards me being pregnant was a very
challenging time in my life. After giving birth I suffered post partum
depression for 6 months.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of my son. My son is a living embodiment of joy, happiness. My son
is my daily reminder of seizing the moment, forgiving, letting go and having
Whatever happens happens for a reason.
If you could have one wish come true right now, what would that be?
To buy a wonderful home in the best part of the city!
What are the foundations you raise your son on? Some key principles you want him to pass on to his children?
Live a simple life.
Follow your heart.
Listen more talk less.
Your mind is the greatest weapon.
We may not have control on a particular circumstance in life but you do have
control on how to respond to a situation. And it is your decision as to whether
you will bring peace or conflict to a particular situation.
Take accountability for your choices and stay true to your commitments.
When you get in from school or a long day at work is it hard to be a happy mother?
It is very difficult indeed. After commuting from work to school and then
traveling back home I feel completely exhausted. I come home and the place is
upside down. Dishes are everywhere, my son is running around naked, and my
common-law is complaining about how unhappy he is at his work and thinking of
quitting. The feeling of not knowing how your going to hand in your assignments
on time, how I am going to pay the bills, potty train your son, clean the
dishes, emotionally support your partner and keep this relationship from
falling apart. The world suddenly spins three times and you faint. It is
important to try to be as authentic as possible and sincere with how your
feeling. Sometimes it just is what it is…and before venting you need to
acknowledge that what matters most in life are the respect, love and feeling of
your family members.
Do you believe in forever?
If you could say something to a working mother who also goes to school and has children but is struggling, what would you say?
Children learn not by what you say to them rather by what you do for yourself.
They are always watching our every move. Therefore, the best thing you can do
for your child is to never give up on your dreams. Be a living example of a
possibility. Their will be many obstacles along the way: relationship,
financial, time, family and etc. But regardless, you need to make the
commitment and take accountability for the completion of your education. Even
if it takes you twice as long…be true to yourself and don’t quit!
Liz, this is a poem I found online line that I find very encouraging. Thought I’d
share it with you.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but do not quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learnt too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit-
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!
Thank you so much Natalia. You are an amazing human being. So authentic and pure. I'm blessed to have you in my life.