Esposa Barbie

I have a pretty united family. I’m lucky to be close to 2nd and even 3rd cousins.

I have a 2nd cousin who comes from a family of GORGEOUS people. 4 sisters who are just a bunch of models. Tiny frames, long dark locks of hair, who’ve birthed the most beautiful babies with the tiniest of baby bumps and on top of all that: they’re nice. Ugh, some nerve, right? 😛

My cousin, “Bibis” as the familia dubs her, and her husband came into town for a few days. It was business trip for him, and she tagged along to come and visit. We got to meet her 11 month baby boy-gorgeous, of course-and she was 20 weeks pregnant with a baby girl, who would also turn out to be gorgeous.

Bibis Familia

My Prima and her seriously gorgeous family

We sat around the table sharing stories and yelling at each toddler to stop doing their travesuras.  In between reganos, my prima was asking a lot of questions. Here I was, with 3 babies under 3 and she was overwhelmed with the idea of having 2 so close in age. She hung onto every word of advice I had. It was actually a sweet moment for me, because we never really got the chance to bond while growing up hundreds of miles  apart. As she made mental notes, she then started asking about cooking and recipes, and how I managed to do it all.

I began to nervously laugh and think “cook…cook….recetas?[recipes]”  It did not compute.

She went on to describe the struggle she was having with mixing certain peppers, and spices, and how it never really turned out like her mom’s, and continued to ask me cooking techniques I knew relatively nothing about. As I shrunk in my seat, I kept channeling the corners of my brain to find SOMETHING I could respond with and  caught glimpse of my Esposo’s face. Jaw-dropped, salivating at the mouth with big puppy dog eyes.  I knew he wasn’t slobbering over my cousin, but the delicious description of her culinary creations.

As she started describing how she cooked for her hubby and in laws, glimpses of her stay at home mommy routine, and and date nights, my mind began to swirl “Is that what I’m supposed to be doing? ” I thought, “Cooking everything from scratch and watching my children at home with a beautifully contoured face and blown out hair?! OMG I SUCK AS AN ESPOSA!”

The jig was up. I could no longer make half ass tacos, rice and canned beans and pass it off like my mom’s food.  And it probably wouldn’t kill me to shower more than a  few times a week. I blamed my lack of cooked meals and makeup on my pregnancy. I truly did not enjoy cooking while prego..but, I already had the baby….so it was time to get my  big girl panties on, and get my hands dirty.

As this revelation came over me, I realized I was very impolitely ignoring my prima. Her words transitioned from the Charlie Brown adult “wah-wah” back into actual words, as she asked if I made enchiladas.

DING DING! My mind travelled back to the 2nd week of marriage when I slaved for hours in the kitchen making a beautiful dinner for my new hubby. The images of that evening faded into focus, and suddenly, in the middle of my explanation, the details became clear.

tried to make chicken enchiladas with under cooked chicken, and red salsa EXPLODING all over the kitchen as I put too much water in the blender…and how I ended up ordering pizza instead. And the next time I did make anything close to enchiladas, it was microwaveable “taquitos” (which are really burritos) with a jar of salsa poured on top and pre-shredded cheese on top. Basically, HEB and Monsanto made it for me.


But I couldn’t let my genuinely interested, gorgeous prima and her tiny pregnant belly reminiscent of what it looks like when I’ve eaten too many beans know just how low on the wifey totem pole her own cousin was. So I stuck with “beautiful” enchilada dinner story. Spinning my red salsa explosion into a cute “oops” spill, and the undercooked chicken into chicken which was juicy and tender. I’m pretty sure my Esposo smelled bull crap, but thankfully he blamed it on his bad memory and went off to rescue our son Ocho who locked himself in the bathroom

Yep. I lied. Well, I exaggerated. Nah, I think it’s safe to say I lied…sorry Bibis! I’m coming clean now. I did NOT make a grand cena de enchiladas [enchilada dinner]  and up until this past month, I rarely cooked at all. I’m a big fat phoney! OK in reality, I worked full time 8-5 or 6 or some nights, even 7 and also worked on weekends, so I didn’t have time to do what I wanted, and be home and help around the house. I knew she wouldn’t hold it against me, but what I was really doing was lying to myself. Maintaining the wifey standard to MY expectations.

What I took, however, from my lie exaggeration and conversations with my Esposa Barbie prima during her visit is that there’s no such thing as a perfect wife. We can’t have it all. She had her shortcomings she laughed with me about, and we exchanged stories about things we did, things we were clueless about, and other things like how to be stylish mommy-feminists with traditional Mexican values, we’re still trying to figure it all out even as we have human lives depending on us.

Oliver and Me

Her son Oliver was all over me and his new prima

So I know I’m not alone in this Experience. Even better, I know I’m in great company.

My prima and I during her visit...on my bday!

My prima and I during her visit…on my bday!

5 thoughts on “Esposa Barbie

  1. Marisela S. Akle says:

    I’m glad you’re taking the time to observe and share these details as an esposa-mother-professional. We are definitely no barbies and that is actually great because it is in our flaws that we find laughter, genuiness and growth as family and within us. Thank you Janeli!!


  2. Irasema says:

    If it makes you feel any better I sent Antonio to the emergency room the first time I cooked for him. =) Love reading your blog sweetie and no worries you will be a great cook sooner or later and of later never comes its more than okay. Your children or marriage won’t be hurt by it because of the great woman and role model that you are as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece and so on. Love ya!!


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