Argelia Atilano, the popular journalist and co-host of the well-known show “Omar y Argelia,” is very open about sharing her role as the mother of her daughters, Camila and Ana Bella.
“I remember going to the stores and looking at baby clothes; on television, I paid a lot of attention to disposable diaper commercials. I was very sensitive to this,” says Argelia.
She did not have a very comfortable or happy childhood. With many deficiencies and an absent father, she had to deal with those memories as an adult.
“I was a lonely and fearful girl, lacking love, food, a home, and toys. But that marked me so that I always had in mind that my daughters would not suffer what I suffered. My husband Omar and I would provide them with what little Argelita lacked,” she adds.
The birth of her first daughter, Camila, now 14 years old, filled that void, eliminating those memories.
“We filled her with love; during pregnancy, I dedicated myself to decorating her room, buying the necessary things. I prepared, read books, talked to Omar, we were ready,” says the presenter.
After living with deficiencies and insecurities, her life changed when she went to university, having her own space, a bed, food, and feeling more independent. That helped her go through transitions in life.
“But it wasn’t easy; these were years where I had to keep facing my reality. When the weekends came, I would return to Boyle Heights, and there I remembered where I came from. I remembered my origins,” Argelia Atilano says.
But in university, she also learned something that she now passes on to her daughters.
“I learned not to derail, to stay firm, not to succumb to temptations,” she adds. “My pregnancy was very beautiful, a great event. I never stopped working and exercising. The only problem was at the time of delivery. I went for a medical checkup, and the doctor became very serious. I had run out of water, and the baby was in danger. We had to go to the hospital for emergency care.”
When her daughter Camila was born, she and Omar were determined to always be present and share all the responsibilities for her care.
“I relied on intuition, if she had a fever, I would put wet wipes on her. Omar, on the other hand, insisted on going to the emergency room,” she says, smiling.
Her second delivery was simpler, without difficulties.
One of her secrets as a mom, she says, is the desire she had to change her story, not to repeat the same patterns.
A piece of advice for mothers facing great challenges, especially in the Southeast, is to seek support from organizations and churches.
“There will always be resources; the problem is that we often don’t look for them. Now with the world of social media, it’s easier. My mom didn’t have money, but she sought help. At Christmas, we never lacked a toy. She went to Toy Drives and got them,” she says.
Now, Argelia Atilano biggest challenge is being the mother of two teenagers.
“They start to change; every now and then, they give me a hard time. The phone has taken away some of the time I used to spend with them. I’m jealous of the phone. Now, they prefer friends, and I understand. We have to learn to let go. I define myself as a firm and friendly mother. I’m achieving it; they trust me. I respect their silences. I’m very proud of what I’ve done as a mother,” she adds.
Sometimes doubts creep in: “Did I spend enough time with them? Did I play enough?”
And as a final question, I ask, “And won’t there be a third son or daughter?” and she bursts into laughter.
“It’s the million-dollar question. For me, the magic number was four. Then we lowered it to three, but… I’ve already turned forty! Circumstances didn’t allow it. If God had wanted it, we would have had it, but the factory is closed,” she says, laughing.