There’s so much to admire about Niurka Maldonado. Not only is she the mother to two adorable girls, she’s a talented writer (working on her first book!) and a supporter of women taking ownership of their talents. She is also a former biochemist and medical writer. Niurka is currently homeschooling her girls and is a passionate advocate for self directed child led learning. We’re looking forward to her first book for children! Niurka shares the ways becoming a mother has led her to deep spiritual and interpersonal connection and more!
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
This interview took well over a month to come together, primarily because I kept tripping up over this one big question. After all, I’m not a CEO, musician, or influencer, but I’ve come to realize, it’s not about the things I’m not. It’s about what I am contributing from my heart to the outside world and that, for me, is authenticity. To paraphrase the magnanimous Serena Williams, I am not perfect, but I am perfectly Niurka.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a mom?
Deep, deep, deep spiritual and interpersonal connection. For most of my life, I felt very much like an outsider, but since becoming a mother, I’ve found that through conversation and genuine curiosity, the part of me that greatly craved the feeling of community and belonging has been greatly satisfied. I can just show up as me and that’s enough for others to reveal who they really are, and I’ve loved them for it. The number of strangers who have, over the course of a few conversations, become a member of my soul family has blown me away.
Do you have a Beyond dream that you are pursing?
I’m writing my first book. I’ve loved writing my entire life, and I’m good. I feel my power through the written word, and yet, constant self doubt have kept me from really putting myself out there. I didn’t want to be vulnerable or exposed. I didn’t want to put myself out there, but I was inspired to begin working on a children’s book with themes touching upon gentrifying neighborhoods after seeing a picture on a friend’s instagram page. Since starting, I’ve had two other ideas for books I’m going to write for children. Its like once I decided to just be me and risk failure, I had access to a creative stream of ideas previously hidden from me.
What relationships and activities help you stay connected to yourself?
The relationship I have with my husband is unlike any I’ve ever had with another person. Freedom is important to both of us, we each need to feel like we can be our true selves. He craves and feeds off of social interactions and I crave going deep within myself and gathering knowledge, exploring all sorts of topics by binging on books or podcasts. Classic extrovert and classic introvert. We’ve always had the silent understanding that we would each protect the other’s “home base” in that sense. We bring a bit of each other’s world back to our family home, and it’s a really happy place. We don’t make each other feel wrong; we celebrate each other and take an interest. Basically, this is a highfalutin way of saying, I don’t have to go to a bunch of parties, and he doesn’t have to read about the history of Geometry. As for activities, this took some time to figure out, but it finally all came together for me when I read Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning“. Everyday, I meditate, say affirmations, practice visualization, exercise, read, and write in my journal. It really brings me back into my own heart.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
I guess I would say that my mantra is growth happens in discomfort. I try to do something that makes me a little uncomfortable every day. I’ll invite a stranger and their kids over for dinner or attempt a more advance pose in my yoga practice. Things don’t always go well, sometimes I look like a complete idiot, but when it does work out, it’s spectacular, and I’m never bored.
What causes and topics are you most passionate about right now?
I would say homeschooling. I read “And the skylark sings with me” by David H Albert, and it completely changed my life. I knew I wanted a different experience for my family and I and how we function in the world, but I didn’t know how exactly that would be. After reading his books, I had a better understanding of the level of freedom and enchantment I wanted for my days and for my husband and children’s days as well. I wanted our home to encourage true self discovery.
How do you think we can change our culture from one in which a woman is expected to be a “perfect mother” to one in which she is encouraged to discover and explore her evolving self?
I think it’s extremely important for women to take ownership for their talents, strengths, gifts. To truly understand the complexity and needs of women, the world needs to come to terms with the immense power we have in our possession, and that can only happen when we leave the fear behind that we will only be celebrated as mothers.
Favorite go-to’s for:
Beyond Food (what do you cook & where do you go locally?)
Beyond Content (Books & Podcasts)
Oh what a cruel, cruel question. I’m going to force myself to name only three books and three podcasts. Here goes: Books: Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, and The History of Counting by Denise Schmandt-Besserat. This one is a picture book, but completely brilliant and appropriate for any human.
My favorite podcasts are “I can’t stop spending” which really helped me to come to terms with the amount of money I was spending unnecessarily on extra crafts, books, and educational activities for myself and kids, Julie Bogart’s “Bravewriter”, which I consider soul food, and Christine Hassler’s “Over It and On With It”, which has helped me tremendously on my path to personal growth.
Bird in Brooklyn is my favorite shop of all time.
It’s embarrassing to admit I don’t have a fancy gym membership, but I’m completely obsessed with a yoga show that used to run on the Oxygen network called Inhale with Steve Ross. I’ve found some old footage of it on youtube and practice along with it religiously every day.