#SpotlightTuesday Latina mom–Dariela Cruz–bilingual family lifestyle blogger, on everything MamiTalks

The first time I met Dariela Cruz, she was walking around, camera in hand, taking pictures. I thought she was a reporter from a local paper, hard at work capturing her next assignment. I didn’t want to bother her then. As luck would have it, we crossed paths again a few hours later and introduced ourselves. We were at #WeAllGrow15. That’s when I discovered she wasn’t a reporter; she just loves photography and capturing images that inspire and motivate. A blogger for over 10 years, Dari calls her blog MamiTalks, a photo-inspired, bilingual lifestyle blog. Meet Dariela Cruz!


MB: Where were you born and raised? When did you come to the U.S.

DC: I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I came to the US in 2001 after living for 3 years in Mexico City working as a graphic designer. I decided to come and work here, try new things!


MB: Were you raised #bilingual and #bicultural?

DC: No. I learned English while living in the US as a kid for 2 years while my mom was doing her masters. I was 9 and 10 years old back then and went to school in Berkeley, I was fortunate to learn to read and write and English and I think that made it stick better. My mom always tried to teach us a lot about world culture and made me interested in seeing beyond what was in Venezuela. I think that made me more open to new cultures.


MB: How many children do you have? Are you raising them bilingual?

DC: I have two. Yes, I’m raising them bilingual and bicultural.

MB: Your website is a place where multicultural parents can learn and be inspired about family life. Are most of your posts drawn from what is going on with your own family?

DC: Yes, most of my posts are real life experiences from what we do and what happens in our family. Lately, I’ve been drawn to talking about our adventures outdoors, because that’s what we are enjoying the most. But I love to add DIY projects and recipes once in a while too.


MB: I understand you love traveling; what has been your favorite place to visit to date?

DC: I love the Caribbean so much, the weather, and the beaches, that’s why I have to say Playa del Carmen in Mexico is my favorite so far. I was there a long time ago, but I want to go back with my family!


MB: You also love photography. What is your favorite subject to photograph?

DC: Taking photos of my kids, is one of my favorite things! Although when they get tired, I like taking candid photos of other people if they are willing. One of my other favorites is sunsets and urban landscapes.


MB: How did you decide to start MamiTalks? How often do you post? Is that your favorite platform? I see you on Instagram every day.

DC: I moved to the US and most of my family wasn’t here, only my sister. When I had my first born, Adrian, I started MamiTalks as a way to share with my friends and family (that lived far from us) how our life was with the boy. In fact it was called “Nuestra Vida con Adrian” (Our life with Adrian), and when Maya came along I changed the name to MamiTalks. It has always been a great creative outlet for me, a place I can call my virtual home. I post about one time per week and I love Instagram the most, that’s why you see me there often!! I think it goes well with my photography too.


MB: What is your favorite bilingual activity you do with your children?

DC: As they grow, I have to say I don’t do as many bilingual activities with them. The one thing I keep constant is I read in Spanish to them, and if they pick a book in English they know I won’t read it to them. Sometimes we make my husband try and speak some Spanish and that’s always fun. I love to see the kids helping him translate what he wants to say.


MB: Favorite bicultural activity?

DC: I love to make a Day of the Dead altar. This is new for me as well since in my culture we don’t really celebrate that day. But I have done it now for 3 years with the family and it has been such a great experience. The kids learn more about the heritage and our loved ones that passed every year.

MB: How do you find a balance between work and home?

DC: When I started my business I established my work hours. That meant that my kids had to go to daycare while I worked (even though I was working from home). I realized I work best when I’m separate from my family so I can concentrate and focus. Knowing that really helped because there is always that “ideal” situation in many people’s mind: you’re at home sitting in the sofa working with your laptop, while your kids are joyfully playing by you, perfect! Right?

I think that might be true for some people that know how to balance a life like that, for me it isn’t, but knowing yourself can help wonders in how to set up your business and you have to be strong and hold up to criticism.

I think that for your business and home to stay happy and healthy, you are to be happy and healthy first.

There are always ups and downs, and some days I have to work fewer hours because I need to go to a school activity, but then there are other days that I stay up late at night and work a lot more hours. In the end it all balances out.


MB: What helps you stay focused and motivated?

DC: It helps me the most to go outside and play, sometimes by myself, sometimes with the family, but I always find motivation outdoors. To keep connecting with the Arts and with nature with my camera in tow, that keeps me going!


MB: What is your message for parents raising children in today’s world? Especially to parents raising children with two or more cultures?

DC: Don’t ever give up! It takes time and lots of patience. You might think that your kids are too old to learn a language or a new culture but it’s never too late, as long as you believe, keep on going!


MB: What is your message for Latina moms that are considering working from home, like starting a blog, while raising children?

DC: Analyze yourself and determine what is the best situation for you, for example, if you know it will be hard for you to work alone, set up an office or become a member of a co-working space, but make sure you know yourself well before deciding which route to take. We are not all cut with the same scissors! Also, there is a huge online community of Latina moms out there, reach out! We are here for each other!!


Dariela Cruz, founder of http://mamitalks.com/about, a Latina mom that inspires us to be fascinated with language and culture.


Bai, Bai for now,