Mother's journey

‘Be mindful of how great you are’

Dyanna Hoffman, left, with her daughter, Monique Alvarez, in 1978, and new mother Monique Alvarez with her son, Sam, in 2014. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

Dyanna Hoffman, left, with her daughter, Monique Alvarez, in 1978, and new mother Monique Alvarez with her son, Sam, in 2014.

Mothers pour tremendous amounts of love, energy, time and effort into their children.

“I only became aware of that after I became a mother,” said Monique Alvarez. “It’s mind-boggling to think of everything my mom did for me. My mom and I were always close, but Sam has just tightened the bond even more.”

Cortez’ first newborn in 2014, Sam Leonard Alvarez was born at 9:07 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2. He weighed just 4 pounds. Today, he’s 12.5 pounds.

“Eating is his favorite thing,” Mom said. “As long as he has some milk, he’s happy.”

Once a sleeper who took a nap almost daily, Alvarez said her sleep patterns have been interrupted as a new mom. She’s discovered that she has a new “high gear that automatically kicks in,” but she still enjoys her rest.

“Last night, Sam had his first six-hour stretch of sleep,” she said Wednesday. “It was awesome!”

Alvarez said she doesn’t have any fears of motherhood, but she does want to avoid worrying. She said it’s a contagious emotion that can be passed along to offspring.

“I want to be a happy mom,” she said. “I think that’s the greatest gift I can give Sam.”

At the first of the year, Alvarez thought motherhood would entail providing for her son’s every need and teaching him the best lessons she could. More than five months later as Mother’s Day approaches, she realizes the tables have turned.

“Sam teaches me something every single day,” she said.

Alvarez constantly wonders how her son’s life will unfold in the future, but her grandest hopes and dreams for Sam is that he remains mindful that life is an adventure.

“I want him to completely enjoy his life,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what he does just as long as he’s having fun. That’s what life should be about.”

In July, Alvarez will celebrate her seventh wedding anniversary with her husband, Derek. She said she is very appreciative of his helpful hand over the last few months.

“It’s really awesome when you have a great dad by your side,” she said. “I’m really thankful for that.”

“For all the single moms out there, I take my hat off,” she continued. “I have a lot of respect for them, because I can’t imagine how they do it. And if I could say one thing to them, Be mindful of how great you are. What you’re doing is important.”

Although more experienced mothers might consider her to be naïve, Alvarez said her advice to other moms would also include to remember that children are their own individuals. At least, she’s learned to respect Sam and his own independence.

“They might be little people, but they are whole people,” she said. “They have their own ideas, preferences and personalities. He’s got a say too.”

Still on maternity leave, Alvarez said she and Sam practice yoga in the morning, take walks when the weather allows, read Dr. Seuss in the afternoons and anticipate visits from grandparents every evening.

“Right now, my day is Sam,” said Alvarez.

As a first-time mom, Alvarez said the greatest challenge was letting go of an independent and adventurous lifestyle that she and her husband once shared and accepting a more responsible approach to life.

“My husband and I, we had so much freedom,” Alvarez said. “Now we find freedom in raising Sam. You have to let go of one in order to embrace the other.”

Born Jan. 2, Sam shares a birthday with his father. His grandparents are Dyanna and Vernon Hoffman and Debbie and Al Alvarez.