TUESDAYS 10|9c

Household Manual: Gerardo's Family

  • By Kathy Mejia

Please don’t judge a book by its cover

There’s more to being a Latin mother!

 

WELCOME TO OUR CHAOTIC HOME!

Enjoy the peace because this is the last time you’ll see the house this quiet!

It is a very busy house with frequent visitors and constant houseguests. We operate a complete open door policy in the Mejia house and anyone can drop by unannounced at any time.

I hope you are used to having a lot of people around the house because in 21 years of marriage I can honestly say that there has never been a time where we’ve had the house to ourselves.

By now you've figured out I married Rico Suave, the 90's sex symbol! Not only famous for those insanely catchy lyrics but also for his womanizing ways! I met Rico, whose real name is Gerardo, in Mexico in 1992. I was a young model and beauty queen and he was the suave South American heartthrob who stole my heart.

I hope you haven’t dated Gerardo in the past…because I think he dated half the women in the country in his heyday! 

These days, Gerardo is a lay pastor and a pillar of the community and that influences our home life quite a lot. Every Tuesday we have bible study when people from the community descend on our home to praise God (and eat!).

Our family is made up of myself, Gerardo, our twelve-year-old son Jaden, our outspoken 17-year-old pageant queen daughter Nadia, and four dogs (including a new puppy that hasn’t been housetrained). My oldest daughter Bianca has moved away to school in Ohio.  

Even though our house is crazy, Gerardo and I have what you might call a very traditional marriage. Gerardo is the man of the house and the disciplinarian. I am the maid and the cook. Nobody else in the house lifts a finger. Some of my friends say it’s dysfunctional but I don't get it!

My friends and family say they admire me for living and thriving in the midst of the chaos and for sharing my life with someone who had it all, lost it all, rose up again and is constantly scrambling to stay there.   

For the first half of our marriage Gerardo never quit being ‘Rico Suave’, he continued to play the heartthrob and was still the womanizer. After ten years of marriage he came to me and said, “I haven’t been the husband you think I have.” It was hard to take but we survived it!



HOUSEHOLD ROLES

We work along what you might call traditional gender roles. I do everything around the home. My kids do nothing. I make their beds every day, pick up after them, clean and tidy their rooms and cook them several meals a day all on my own. Everyone leaves their stuff, their clothes and even their underwear just lying around because they know I’ll pick it up. I even smell everyone's underwear to see if it’s dirty or not.

 

I swear if I didn't clean up a ‘spill’ or a poop from the new puppy no one ever would. They would walk over it and complain about the smell. I didn’t even want another dog! But Gerardo just brought it home and that was that.

 

Gerardo is on the phone or computer 24/7 trying to close deals, indulging in his insane obsession with social media or even tracking my daughter Nadia on his smartphone app. He needs to know where she is at all times. His phone is NEVER out of his hand.

 

After the man, the myth that was Rico Suave, Gerardo was in A&R for a long time and he is still in the music business. He’s still a huge international star especially in South America where he continues to fill out 15,000 seat arenas. Last year his music was used as the President of Ecuador’s campaign song! The downside of that is that he travels a lot for work. Last year he was gone 7 months out of the year and he'd only stop in for a day or two then leave again. He's trying to do better. Right now he is consultant for a music and multimedia company and has more time for his own things.

 

My role is to be the mom and the devoted wife. I don’t have anyone else clean the house or cook meals, that’s my job and it takes up pretty much all the hours God sends to do it.

 

OUR CHILDREN

I have been blessed with three amazing children and they really are my best friends.

Nadia is 17 and a handful – independent, strong-willed and hot-tempered (that she gets from her father!). She has no filter and you never know what will come out of her mouth. Nadia is the reigning Miss Teen Beverly Hills!  Yes she is a pageant girl and a model – she takes after her Mom too. Her hot temper leads to big fights occasionally though. She can be very determined and things can get explosive!

My son Jaden is 12 and he’s my baby – he’s like a marshmallow – tough on the outside but gooey on the inside. He acts like a “too cool” rapper around his friends, but he’s really sensitive. Jaden is a cuddle bug and, like me, loves writing - he often wants us to write together before bedtime. I also keep a journal every day (Gerardo read them recently so I’m super careful what I write in there!).

Jaden is a straight-A student and doesn’t cause us any trouble – yet! He has tons of friends and they come over every day, play video games for hours on end and nearly eat us out of house and home! He plays video games too much but I think it’s made him smarter. He wants to design games for a living when he grows up.

My oldest daughter Bianca recently moved to Ohio and I was really sad to see her leave the nest but I believe she moved away to gain some much-needed independence. At 20 years old, Gerardo’s strict 10pm curfew was too much for her to deal with. Not my rules... my husband’s.

 

 

DISCIPLINE

All the kids have a strict 10pm curfew and Gerardo will even keep an eye on where Nadia is using his smartphone app to track her. He also forbids any boyfriends from going upstairs. They’re scared of him!

 

Other than the curfews strongly enforced by Gerardo, we really have no rules. There are no bed times. I'm usually asleep and Jaden is still up playing video games. He’s an Xbox junkie.

 

Gerardo does all the discipline in the home. I'm usually not in agreement but I have no voice in those matters. Discipline is usually only needed to control Nadia's temper which, unfortunately, is only fueled by Gerardo's. 

 

The kids all come to me for advice first though and beg me to talk to dad for them. I've always measured my parenting by how much my children love me, which is enormous!

 

 

COOKING & EATING HABITS

 

Like I said, I do ALL the cooking: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. On Tuesdays we have the bible study group who come to our house for the evening. I will cook for all of them with no help or assistance and do all the cleaning up afterwards. In 10 years no one has ever offered to help me with clearing up afterwards. I’m used to it now so I just get on with it.

 

My daughter Nadia is an amazing cook and, as well as modeling, wants to pursue a culinary career. She’d love to open a restaurant one day if her modeling career doesn’t take off. I rarely let her cook though because the mess she makes in the kitchen is just not worth it. Even for the tastiest of meals! 

I cook BIG meals; never anything simple. Gerardo expects that and wouldn't understand if I cooked something small, pre-made, or from a box. He’ll sit down at the dinner table and say, “serve me” like he’s a king! I suppose I’ve served him for 21 years so I better serve him good!

 

We pray before all meals. And we try to eat together but it seldom happens and when it does it sometimes seems awkward!

 

CLEANING & CHORES

I do everything. Absolutely everything. Mostly because I don't like the way it’s done or trust that anyone will do it better than me and I will have to redo it but also because it’s expected of me.

APPEARANCES 

We are a pretty casual family. I LIVE in my workout clothes. Yoga pants, and shirts from my morning workouts. Since I'm cooking and cleaning all day it just makes sense.

 

I’m a former model and “Miss West Virginia” and I am very body conscious. I like to do yoga 3 times a week and I run a lot – I recently did a 5k! I’ve lost 60 lbs. over the last couple of years and I’m enjoying smaller dress sizes again!

I love yoga. I love the relaxation of it and stopping my mind for an hour. Running also helps to clear my mind. Exercise is my escape.

If I am just hanging out in the evening I am a jeans and vintage T-shirt kind of gal. Gerardo is also casual around the house but he still thinks it’s 1991 and never wears a shirt!

R-r-r-r-ico!  Suave!

When I get the chance I love to get dressed up and ready for Gerardo’s business meetings but aside from that, Gerardo and I rarely spend any time going out together just the two of us. 

Nadia is a typical teenage girl who loves fashion and clothes and likes to look good. Since she is a model she often gets clothes for free. But her dad always has the final say on anything she is wearing. Nadia doesn't always pass wardrobe inspection by her father when she leaves the house. She pushes the limit though! I think she looks cute but Gerardo has the final word. Nadia would tell you that Gerardo is too in control, too strict and that he is unrealistic.

DAILY ROUTINE

Our daily routine starts early! I wake up at 6:30AM and first I tidy up any mess that happened after I went to bed! 

At 7am, I wake Jaden and get him ready for school. He can be a picky eater, but breakfast is his favorite, so I make him a big breakfast so he eats at least one big meal a day. I usually make homemade waffles and freshly squeezed orange juice. He’s not a bowl of cereal kind of guy! After breakfast I take him to school at 8:15am.

Once I’ve dropped Jaden off at school I’ll usually go to yoga. Exercise is really important to me not only to keep my weight steady – I battle it every day – but also it gives me valuable head space.

I get back home around 10:45 and I clean the house from top to bottom, pick up clothes and do laundry and any household maintenance. Gerardo likes fancy meals each night, made from scratch, so I plan the meal, do the grocery shopping, start preparing dinner and then I get a chance to shower!

Jaden comes home at 3:30 and he always has a pack of friends with him. So I make them a snack and finish preparing dinner.

We eat dinner at 6 – usually not everyone is around because of schedules. We say grace before every meal. Once dinner is done, everyone goes to do their thing while I clean up.

On Tuesday nights, we host bible study for people. Some have long hair and tattoos but they are all there to hear the word of God, so don’t be scared.

They will show up around 7 o’clock, and I provide dinner for everyone, usually a big baked pasta dish or an Ecuadorian meal. Sometimes I cook out in the outside kitchen and we just serve it up buffet style with paper plates.

Everyone eats around 7:30 then at 8 o’clock Nadia will sing to kick off the worship. She has a beautiful voice. After that Gerardo gives his message to the group.

Once worship is over, people are free to hang out around the house and talk with Gerardo while I clean up after everyone. Gerardo doesn’t want anyone to help because he doesn’t want anyone to feel like they have a burden – they should just be coming for the message. So I do it all.

Other than bible study Tuesdays (they can go on pretty late) I go to bed at 9, and read and write for a couple of hours. Gerardo and I will pray together before we go to sleep  - but we usually don’t fall asleep at the same time. Gerardo catches up on TV after dinner and usually comes to bed at 11:30.

That’s my typical schedule, but we often take trips into Hollywood for meetings, travel for Nadia’s pageant and modeling stuff, and I also do volunteer work at the school.

SOCIAL LIFE

My social life mostly revolves around our children, the Bible study crowd and any of the multitudes of houseguests. The amount of people coming through and staying is chaotic. Gerardo believes because he has been blessed with a home that the doors should be open to anyone so we ALWAYS have someone living with us. If I was ever here alone I don’t know how I’d act. 

Gerardo and I don’t have much time just the two of us, other than at the house with other people around. I wish things were a little different but that’s the way things have been for a long time now and it seems to work fine.

My hope for you this week is, firstly, that you stick around! I believe a little chaos is good for the soul and that the beginning of great brilliance starts with chaos!

If it becomes overwhelming, then retreat to the front porch swing or lock yourself in my closet! The truth is my life is EXHAUSTING so enjoy this moment of peace and quiet because it’s all about to end!

Oh, and try to resist my sexy husband, he’s irresistible!!

 

Kathy


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