In addition to the story posted on ESPN MLB analyst Jessica Mendoza and how she balances her career and work in light of having to be away from her two young sons on Mother’s Day tonight, there are some other things mom-related we covered in a recent interview:
Q: What’s easier for you to deal with these days: A full diaper at a restaurant, the perils of potty training or a poorly presented review of your TV work on social media?
A: I feel like those who critique me, I don’t necessary have to deal with them. But you just can’t ignore a dirty diaper in a restaurant. That’s true responsibility, you gotta deal with it. And the sad part is I like to interact with people. I’ll spend a good window post-Sunday night game looking at my full Twitter box, flooded with people writing things good and bad. I let it go and maybe once the weekend is over, I’ll get back on and chat it up with people.
Q: A story a few years ago in Fitness magazine asked how you define “mother” and you talked about how if the world were run by mothers, we would always have peace. That was pretty profound … but true. Have you thought more about that?
A: I just know what I feel, and the conversations I’ve had with my kids. In places I’ve traveled — Rwanda, South Africa, so many places around the world now — my reaction always to visiting a war-driven area is, ‘I never want to harm any innocent people or children.’ Maybe that’s more than just the mother in me. I’m sure plenty of dads feel the same way. But when I talk to my 6-year-old, sometimes he’ll say something like, ‘If we ever see a bad guy, I’m going to get him. He’s never going to live again.’ I have to explain to him that in my opinion, there aren’t any bad guys, there are just good people who sometimes make bad decisions. We need to give them an opportunity to become good again. Sometime, society puts bad people in cartoons or whatever, it’s ‘get the bad guys … get rid of them.’ It’s our job to educate our kids and tell them now to be good.
Q: How difficult must it be like to go to your son Caleb’s T-ball games and not want to get out there and coach him up? We don’t see you as much of a helicopter mom:
A: It’s really hard. You know, half the time, I’ll see him in the outfield, and he’ll call out, ‘Look, mom, I’m making dirt angels!’ And a ball will be hit to him, and roll right up to him, and he’s still lying there. It’s hard not to yell, ‘Hey, stand up!’
When he’s up hitting, I try to just let him have fun and just swing the bat hard. Make it simple. Part of me, sure, wants to help him, work on some mechanics. But he’s 6. At this point, it’s just having fun. Sometimes, having fun was hard for me to handle.
My dad is already putting him on camera, videotaping his games. It’s hilarious. When I’m gone some weekends and they have a sleepover at my parents’ house, they watch film. That’s my dad. I was doing it at the same age. But it warms my heart to think, the person who taught me everything, now he’s doing the same thing with my son, it’s the coolest thing ever.
Q: One child can be tough to handle. Two kids, sometimes it’s like it’s 10 times more degree of difficulty. How is it for you?
A: I actually love it more because they entertain each other a lot now. The can wrestle around more, and have fun together. My 6-year-old can read books to the 2-year-old. It’s really hard to imagine life without two — although it sure was easier at one time to pack up and go with just one. When I was playing pro softball, and we had a house in California and Florida, and I was playing in a different city each night — I look back on that and see, what we did was kind of insane. That did change a lot with two. It’s not as simple as throw it all in a backpack and here we go.
Q: Two boys. Ever think of trying to add a girl to the mix?
A: We talk about it all the time, but right now, with the way my career is going, that would be hard to fathom, another one. It’s funny that I’ve always wanted boys. The part of me that would like a girl is because I do so much speaking to groups of girls, mostly in the 12-to-18 range, trying to talk about body image and all things they are dealing with. But then I realize having two boys can be just as impactful, if not more. That’s the other side of it, how men treat women. I’ve been lucky to have a great dad treat me so well and generously, coach me up like he would his son and boys. Even in the field I work with, I know men can be as impactful as women in stressing equality. I might hear my 6-year-old say, ‘Girls aren’t as fast, mom.’ And as soon as those words come out, I see my husband react and I’ll sit back and say, ‘This is going to be good.’ I’m always telling him, ‘Just so you know, girls are faster, and probably smarter than boys.’