Mama Needs Podcast - Episode 002

Jenn:  Hi, and welcome to the Mama Needs podcast.  My name is Jenn, and I am so happy that you’re with me today. This podcast is just for you because you matter. Each week I’ll be talking with another Mama. As most conversations with women go, we’ll cover a multitude of topics, but mainly we’ll share stories of motherhood, all the ups and downs, lessons learned, and how these Mamas practice self-care. Each episode is intentionally 30-45 minutes at the most because “ain’t nobody got time” to listen to long podcasts. So take a seat, fold your laundry, drink your coffee, do your dishes. I know you’re multitasking, and listen in. This podcast is sponsored by the Mama Needs subscription box. It is a monthly subscription box to remind you to take time for what you need – a little bit of self-care. I’ll be curating each box that includes four to six items: gifts for you, self-care tools, and ideas each month for how to practice self-care. Even better, the box is themed each month and a surprise. Go check it out at

My beautiful Mama.

My beautiful Mama.

Hey Mamas, welcome back to the Mama Needs podcast. In this episode I am so excited to introduce to you my Mom, my Momma. Her name is Selena, and I am really excited for you to listen in on our conversation that we had about Mamahood. I just wanted to say a couple things about her.  She is a wife and a mom and a grandma, and she has been teaching preschool for 30+ years, which basically means she is a rock-star because she teaches 4- and 5-year-olds how to read, and she has been doing it so long now.  She changes lives every day, so she is a very, very special lady. She was a stay-at-home Mom when my brother and I were little. She had been a nurse at a pediatrician’s office, and when she had babies she decided to stay home. Then all of a sudden, she changed careers because she didn’t want to be a nurse and be away from my brother and I all of the time. So, she decided to be a preschool teacher. She just basically changed careers, and I think that’s really awesome. So, when it was my turn to go to preschool, she also went back to work. I’m very thankful for the fact that she was able to stay home with me when I was little. Then, I was at the same preschool as her for a little while. She was home with us for holidays and weekends and summers, and basically she was the best Mom ever! So without further ado, here is my conversation with my Mom.

Hey Mom! Thanks for being on my podcast! The first thing I wanted to ask you was to tell us how you became a Mama. Tell us your Mama story.

Selena: Well, I got married when I was 20 in 1978. After we lived in our apartment, we bought a townhouse. When I was 22 and we had our townhouse and we had it all furnished, we decided that we wanted to start a family. We tried, and right away I got pregnant with my first child, Scott. It was a thrilling, awesome, and scary experience. 

Jenn: Tell us how you felt. How did you find out you were pregnant?

Selena: I don’t remember how I found out I was pregnant. I think just like you normally find out – you start missing cycles, and then I went to the doctor. I guess they did a blood test and found out that I was pregnant.

Jenn: How did it make you feel?

Selena: Well, I was very excited because it was something that I wanted a lot. All of my friends were having babies. It just seemed like it was the time to do it, so I was very excited. I was a little scared, but more than anything, I was just so excited and so honored to be able to become a Mom. 

Jenn: Then three years later the best child came along. Tell us how you felt about that.

Selena: Well, before I had the best child, I had a miscarriage. I was really disappointed. The doctor said, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry. You’ll get pregnant again.” He told me to wait three months. I waited three months and the first time I tried, I got pregnant with the best child.  I was very excited. There had never been a girl in the Rizzo family on our side, so I was hoping for a little girl, but knowing in my heart that I was probably going to have a boy. 

Jenn: And then I came.

Selena: Then you came, and you were…

Jenn: Wasn’t there some kind of an important football game happening that day?

Selena: Yes. For both of my pregnancies there was a major Miami Dolphin game. So, as I was having Scott and you, my husband was trying to be the doting husband, but at the same time watching football down the hall. Of course, checking on me, running back down to the nurses’ station, and coming back to check on me. I’m still married after 40 years; it must not have been so bad. 

Jenn: I guess not.  Before you had the babies, what kind of advice did you get? What was maybe the best piece of advice someone gave you? 

Selena: I think that the most important advice I got was from a lady in my church that just said because I was becoming a mother, it would be just the most exciting thing, but it was also an opportunity to invest in someone’s life and to raise them and help them to become an asset to society, which also terrified me! 

Jenn: Yeah, that’s good advice. Do you remember if someone gave you any really bad advice? Maybe a fellow mom or a nurse or someone like that?

Selena: No, you know, we weren’t so open to all of the different communication that we have now. No, I don’t remember any bad advice that I got. The best advice I got was from my mother-in-law. You know, after you have a baby you’re very weary and you’re very tired. She kept saying to me, “Don’t worry. At six weeks this baby is going to sleep the night.” At six weeks, my son slept through the night! I remember lying there thinking, “He’s sleeping through the night!” It happened! It was a wonderful, wonderful thing! 

Jenn: Yes, that is the best thing ever! So, we know that during motherhood we have really good moments and then we have really bad moments. Can you tell us a good moment and a bad moment you had that you remember? 

Selena: Well, I’ll start with the bad moments. The bad moments for us in our family were always when the kids were so sick because they were so sick and you can’t help them except for what you have at your fingertips – the drugs or inhalers or whatever. You and Scott were very sick a lot of times and it was very sad for us and we felt so very helpless. The good times were – you know, there were so many good times. We had such wonderful vacations. I guess one of the cutest times that I remember with you was when you learned to crawl. We had a pretty large house at the time and you would follow me crawling as I was picking up every morning. All of a sudden, when we would get to a corner, I hid around the corner and you went peeking around to see where I was and I jumped out and said, “Boo!” You were so excited, so that started to be a trend. Every time we got to a corner you would peek around and I would say “Boo!” So, when we picked up the house every day and you were crawling around, we would do that and you loved it.

Jenn: Aww, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that. That’s so cute! That’s sweet. Well, can you possibly remember your  funniest Mama story – or Grandma story that you want to share too?

Selena: Well, my funniest Mama story, I guess, would be the one where my son was seven or eight months old. He crawled up on the side of the toilet. He was very, very verbal. He was a jabberer from the get-go and spoke in his own language. He thought everyone understood him no matter what. So he would tell huge, long stories and look at you and laugh and just tell jokes and do all kinds of stuff, but you couldn’t understand a word he said. He started that very early. He couldn’t have been more than six or seven months old when he was crawling up onto the toilet and playing in the toilet. My husband caught him on video. He was talking and talking and talking, jibber-jabbering to my husband, just thinking what he was doing was hilarious. So we have a video of that. It was really cute. That would be a fun story that we always heard.

Jenn: Yes, that is the funniest story of our family. We just watched that, actually, at Thanksgiving.

Selena: I think we watch it every year since my daughter-in-law has come into the family. 

Jenn: Yeah, and his kids, Sally and Raymond got to watch it and they loved it. My kids loved it too. That was awesome! How would you say – I remember asking you one time – maybe it was late elementary school or maybe middle school – and I think I asked you if you had friends because you were always home with us. You had a job, but you were always home taking care of us, and it seemed like I know you had friends. You would talk on the phone with people but you never really went out and did things. So, how would you say you cultivated friendship during the trenches of motherhood?

Selena: Well, it was really hard because we didn’t have all of the communications that you do now. It was really hard to cultivate friendships if you were a stay-at-home Mom like I was when you guys were little. There weren’t a lot of things out there for moms, but I did get with my sister-in-law a lot and go to the park. That would be a time to get together. Of course, we were very involved in a church, so I visited with people on Sundays at church. But basically, people didn’t do so much. They didn’t get together a lot. Women didn’t leave their husbands at night with the kids too much. I would say the most time that I cultivated friendships was at baby showers or wedding showers or pot-lucks at church, talking on the phone. I had a lot of friendships that way.  We were mostly at home.  It was later on in life when you guys got older and I felt more comfortable leaving you that I did more things outside of the home.

Jenn: Do you think also that it was maybe because we were so sick all the time?

Selena: Well, that had something to do with it and also another thing that had to do with it was that your Dad had two businesses when you were little. My mother worked full-time so she didn’t always want to babysit. Mostly, it was probably because your Dad had two jobs and I had to be the Mom and the Dad a lot in the evenings. 

Jenn: Right, right. Well, along those lines, how did you practice self-care in some of the different seasons of motherhood? Like when Scott and I were newborns or later in life when you were older and had more independence? How would you say that you took care of yourself? Or didn’t? Either way.

Selena: Well, we didn’t really know a lot about self-care in those years, but I guess I was trying to think about it when you asked me that question. I guess what I did most when you guys were little was I met my sister-in-law, Cindy, and we took the kids to the tot lot or we would go to a small restaurant and have breakfast or lunch. Or we would go to the mall and walk. Then, later on I had seats on my bicycle and we would go biking. Those would be the things I did for self-care to get out of the house. I never left you anywhere, but I would take you with me. It was self-care because I was talking with another adult.

Jenn: You felt like you were getting filled up.

Selena: I took a lot of hot baths in the evenings. That was another thing I did. Then, later on I did manicures in my late 30s. It was really popular to get a manicure. To go to the beauty shop and get your hair done in my late 30s – I did that. Then, I used to get up early in the morning – like 5:30 – and do jazzercise with Jane Fonda. I know that sounds so old, but I did it. And of course, having quiet times with my faith was part of my self-care always.  Having time to meditate and think about the things of God. 

Jenn: Yeah, that’s good, and I remember many mornings waking up and coming downstairs and you were reading the Bible or journaling or something, and that always really meant a lot to me and I admired that. What was your favorite thing to do with Scott and me?

Selena: Well, when you were younger the favorite thing I enjoyed most was the days we had off school or the summers. We would go to Pizza Hut so you could redeem your personal pan pizza from BookIt. My other favorite thing when we lived in the North Miami Beach house was to go to the Oak Grove Park and ride our bikes or skate. You would skate; Scott and I would ride our bikes. Then, the third thing I enjoyed most was playing board games with you. We used to play a lot of board games on the days we had off school. 

Jenn: Yeah, those were awesome. I remember playing a lot of games, and of course when we went camping we would play Uno in the tent. We would do s’mores. Some of my favorite things that we did were vacations because they were always somewhere different and fun and a lot of places my friends weren’t going to, so it felt really special to go somewhere that nobody else was going and see things around the world. I’m always thankful for that.

Selena: That’s good. I’ll make sure your father hears those words because we weren’t sure if we were tormenting you or you were being excited because nobody is camping these days (this generation).

Jenn: Well, I have friends who camp, but I’m not quite there yet. I was just thinking: Every time I take a car trip with the kids and obviously, things are different now. We have I-pads and phones and things to keep them occupied. I always try to think, “what did I do in the car?” I know I had a walk-man for a little while that I would listen to. I couldn’t read in the car, I remember, because I would get carsick. I know we played license plate games. 

Selena: We used to play “A – My name is…”, the plate game, and we had a lot of things in the car to do as far as car games and stuff, but mostly you had to listen to music. We did a lot of singing because you got carsick. Scott could do more. He didn’t get quite as carsick as you. Somehow you entertained yourselves. Of course, you have to remember now we weren’t so big on the car seats back then. We had that big van so you could sleep in the bed in the back. You could read magazines and do things you wanted to do.

Jenn: (audible yawning in background) Hi Dad!

Selena: I’m sorry. He doesn’t realize what we’re doing.

Jenn: Ha, ha, ha! That’s fine! Well, someone was asking me about that, saying “We didn’t have anything like that for our kids in the car. We didn’t have I-pads, I-phones, whatever.” I just think, well, I somehow made it.

Selena: We had a lot of card games. We had a book with car games in it, and we played a lot of games with that. Of course, we did like everybody does and had snacks and drinks in the car and times to stop, but we played a lot of card games. You slept a lot, and Scott slept too.  Y’all were good sleepers in the car, which also helped. 

Jenn: Yeah, why can’t my kids be like that? I don’t understand.

Selena: You and Scott were very special people, I have to say.

Jenn: Well, thank you!

Selena: You had very complacent personalities. You went with the flow.

Jenn: Well, I will ask you one last question. If you could give advice to a brand new Mama, what would it be?

Selena: No Mama Guilt. Do the best you can with your children. Love them, hold them, cuddle them, and sing to them and rock them. Don’t worry about the things that you don’t do. Don’t fill yourself with guilt. It’s just not worth it. Be the best Mama you can be and after that, give the rest to the Lord.

Jenn: You have given me that advice before, so I can vouch for that. Well, Mom, thank you so much. I wanted to have you first on my very first interview because this is all about Mamas, and you are the epitome of Mom for me because you are the best Mom in my opinion ever. I’m very thankful for you and for our relationship when I was younger and now for our friendship as we are both grown adults.

Selena: I am thankful for it too, and you’re doing so much today for my ego. Thank we you!

Jenn: You’re welcome! That was so great! I love my Mom, and like I said, I’m so thankful that we have such a good relationship. I definitely had my moments in middle school where I probably was not very nice to her, but for the most part we have always been very close and into the same things. We would share clothes and shoes and still do. I just love my Mom so much! I don’t want to get emotional. I hope that you enjoyed that. I know I did. I love hearing her stories and some new things that I didn’t even know. So, the next episode will be up next week, and I am going to be talking with my friend Sara. I’m really excited for you to hear that episode with her. She is a mom to five, and she is hilarious. I know you’re going to love it. Until next time, You Matter, Mama!