Upside Down in a Good Way: An Interview with Priscilla Castillo

By Martelle Esposito

This week we talk with Priscilla Castillo, mom of 2 girls, ages 6 ½ and 8. After 8 years of trying to have children and thinking it wasn’t going to happen for her, she’s in awe of her girls and happy to embrace the chaos that comes with motherhood. It’s hard work and humbling, but that doesn’t deter her passion for creating a childhood full of stories and family inside jokes and teaching her girls to be kind and to care about others. 

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What are you most proud of in your life?

I'm a work in progress. I don't think I have a singular moment besides having my two girls.

What makes you, you?

I’m originally from Arizona and think that’s what makes me different as a mom living and raising kids in New York. Personally, though, I love making people smile and laugh, and I'm also very silly. I don't take myself too seriously. I'm also very sarcastic, which can be a hard trait to have while having small kids around me. I also love talking to the point that I sometimes forget where my story was going to which you will hear me say "se fue el avion" which means to me, "the plane went away," and I have to get my thoughts back together.

What is your passion in life? 

Being a mom. Sounds like a typical answer, but it took 8 years to have my first daughter, and I didn't think it was going to happen for us. But, here we are with two of them now. I put so much effort into making sure they have what they need but also try to make sure they appreciate it. I never want to let them down, and I want to create a childhood full of magic. We have many stories and silly inside jokes because I want them to look back and feel they had a childhood full of happiness. It doesn't mean we don't have hardships as a family. It just means we don't let them define us. 

Do you have any words of inspiration to live by to share?

Be nice. Be caring. With all the craziness in politics, it has me in fear for the world my daughters are living in. People have this mentality that they don't care about things until it happens to them, and then it’s too late. I never want them to be that selfish. We talk to our kids about what’s going on in the world and how important it is to be nice and care about others. 

 What does the transition from not being a mom to being a mom feel like? 

I tell everyone who's trying for kids or on the fence about having kids to not wait for the perfect moment. It doesn't matter how prepared you are, children turn your lives upside down in a good way.  When I'm not around my girls, I talk about them and have to remember not everyone wants to hear all my crazy stories. But, I am in awe of them. So, just have fun and enjoy the process because it’s legit life-changing.

What has been most surprising to you about your role as a mom? 

How humble it makes you. I will apologize to my girls if I've been moody or unfair and yelled at them probably more than I should have. Their mama is still a person who makes mistakes. 

What’s the best thing about being a mom?

Their unconditional love in all the craziness that can happen in the world, the news. If you’re having a bad day, one hug from them and you are reminded how loved you are by these little people.

What’s the worst thing about being a mom?

You won't know if you messed up with your parenting style until they are adults and they say, hey mom, you remember that time you yelled at me, well that sucked. Haha, I'm not sure I'm ready to hear my mothering reviews when they are older.

What’s the weirdest thing someone has said to you related to motherhood?

In general, when I hear about people talking about motherhood like it’s so much work. Well, duh, you are raising a human. It should be work, and it’s the most important task you will ever have. Does it mean you have to give up on your wants and needs and dreams? No. But, remember you chose to have children, and in that you chose to take on that responsibility. 

Can you describe a time when you really felt your mom power?

Every night when I tuck them into bed, I think, yay we got through another day. But, really I try to make the most of whatever situation. We live in the Bronx and have a small back yard. For the last 3 years, I've set up an above-ground pool. That thing was pure evil to maintain, between the neighborhood kids trying to throw things into our yard and the raccoons taking swims and ripping the liner. The girls loved their swimming pool, and I loved that I gave them this small thing that brought them pure joy to just be a care-free kid.

What advice do you have for other moms for unlocking their mom power? 

Remember what works for one kid doesn't always work for the other. It’s amazing how they come from the same household, have the same amount of love and attention, and can still be so different. So, it's learning to tweak your interactions with them in ways that work for them without making the other kid feel the difference in parenting. Also, don't sweat the small stuff I catch myself on this all the time. I can get so frustrated because, I mean, how many times do I need to repeat myself? But, then I have to think, well, really is it that big of a deal in the first place or am I making a big deal out of nothing? I'm telling you being a parent is a very humbling experience, so in the words of Kendrick Lamar, "Be Humble."