The Motherhood Project: Steven

“I am truly blessed. And whenever I look at my kids, even when I am sad about Verna having died and missing out on their lives, I know Miguel and Maya are here because Verna and I loved each so much.”

Name: Steven | Children: Miguel 18, Maya 10

*I am so excited to go out of the box with this feature! Steven contacted me telling me that he is both the father and mother to his children since his wifes passing. This was a fun, interesting read for me and a different perspective than what we’re used to seeing on The Motherhood Project. I sent him the same form I send all the mothers and let him answer as he wished and love what his responses were.


My son Miguel is 18 and my daughter Maya is 10. I currently am the resident relations director at a local retirement community. After a 17-year hiatus, though, I have applied for my teaching credential and hope to return to the classroom in the fall. I am working on a memoir of the cancer journey our family was on from when my wife was first diagnosed, while pregnant, in 2006 until her death in 2010. It is tentatively titled It’s Not About The Breasts.

Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: My late wife enjoyed both pregnancies. For her first one in mid-1997 and early 1998, she actually glowed during the pregnancy, a golden sheen across her face as she went for long walks or to the movies. We talked to our son often while Verna was pregnant. I read poetry and sang mellower versions of rock songs I liked, such as Robert Palmer’s “Doctor, Doctor” to him when he was in her belly.

How was your delivery experience?: Her delivery experience for Miguel was hard. Her waters broke on Saturday but she was in inactive and active labor until early Monday morning. Then after Miguel was born she hemorrhaged and had to have emergency surgery. But she did get to have the whole process be drug free as we followed the Bradley method. Our doctor even massaged her perineum with a bottle of olive oil we brought as per the directions in our birth plan.

With Maya, however, Verna’s labor and delivery were entirely different. It was 6 days after she’d been diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, so Verna was induced and eventually Maya was born via an emergency caesarean. I think Verna felt the entire experience was surreal. Two weeks after Maya was born Verna started her chemo treatments.

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to being a parent?: Now that I am a single parent, I’d say that is my biggest struggle as a father and mother. I am alone. I have friends and neighbors who help—a lot—but I am the one doing laundry, cooking meals, driving my daughter to gymnastics or school, helping my son apply to colleges. And I often feel tired and wish I had more help. My daughter gets frustrated because I do such a crappy job braiding her hair.

What is your biggest strength when it comes to being a parent?: My biggest strength is that I am often calm when I need to get so much done. I think that has a calming effect on my kids (or maybe it’s vice versa as they are also very easy-going). I think having a sense of humor helps.

What is your parenting style?: My parenting style is usually relaxed, but I can be reactive at times. I favor in theory the idea of logical consequences, but there are times when I just get mad. I have never, ever hit my kids. I rarely make them take a time out. Only a handful of times for both kids together, maybe.

What is your favorite part of the day with your children?: My favorite time of day with my daughter is after dinner when we play a game and then I read to her before bed. She talks a fair amount like me so I get to hear all the inside stuff that has been going on with her. With my son, it is usually after my daughter is in bed and he is doing his homework or playing video games and listening to music on his iPhone and watching YouTube videos that he will open up and start sharing part of his day.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: I have a few inspirations when it comes to motherhood. First, I want to be the best possible parent to honor my late wife, who loved being a mother and was devoted to all three of us. Her mother was also amazing, and loved her family unconditionally. Both my mother and her mother put their families first, even if my mother was often too emotional. But she always made my brother and me feel loved, and that is very important, maybe most important, for kids.

Advice for mothers who need a little boost?: My advice to mothers who need a boost is don’t think you have to do it all. Lean on family and friends. And always make time for yourselves, whether it is drinking a hot beverage at the local cafe and reading a book or getting exercise or hanging with your girlfriends. Make time just for yourself.

Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself/children?: I am not a big shopper, though I do use Amazon a lot. My favorite place would have to be Kohl’s because they have great bargains on very decent clothing.

How has being a parent changed your life?: Being a mom and dad has changed my life in amazing ways. I never knew I could love two people so much. Sometimes the love is so powerful and profound I feel that my heart will burst from the sublime joy. I am truly blessed. And whenever I look at my kids, even when I am sad about Verna having died and missing out on their lives, I know Miguel and Maya are here because Verna and I loved each so much.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you!

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