Grandma Knows Best: Wisdom for Life by Doris Padro Allen
“They” say experience is the best teacher, and honestly, there’s nothing like sitting at the feet of a wise Grandmother sharing the secrets she’s learned about life. “Grandma Knows Best” is a series of interviews with Grandmothers, allowing us all to virtually take turns sitting with a wise woman. Today’s interview is with another woman who I’ve admired and been intrigued by for many years. A Puerto Rican Abuela (Abuela means Grandmother in Spanish) a true Boss Lady! Her story and insight will blow you away! I introduce to you, Mrs. Doris Padro Allen.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in New York, where I attended school from first grade through college. At the age of fifteen I met my husband, who was twelve years older than me. Two years later we married and after eight years of marriage and two daughters we moved to Puerto Rico. Not too happy with that decision but Our Lord had a plan.
Polaroid Corp was setting up a new subsidiary in Puerto Rico and I went to work for them on a temporary basis. The fact that I was bilingual and aggressive gave me the opportunity to quickly climb up the corporate ladder. Ten years later I was the General Manager, in charge of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands. Few years later we centralized all the billing and financials for all of Latin America in Puerto Rico. Although the job was quite demanding, I enjoyed every challenge and rejoiced meeting the goals set forth by the corporation, during thirty years. After thirty-nine years of marriage, my husband had an accident and passed away, at which time I decided to return to the United States and set up residence in Florida.
Did not think I would ever move to Puerto Rico or that I would live there thirty-one years. But growing up in a Christian home I learned that God orchestrates our steps, even though we might not always understand or agree with the path He sets forth. Currently I am on staff at Free Life Chapel as the Chief Financial Officer. I feel honored that I can work for the Kingdom.
Is there a significant life experience that has helped to solidify your Faith?
When I was three years old, I was stricken with polio. After spending several years in and out of hospitals, doctors informed my parents that I would never walk again. My mother, a woman of giant faith, proceeded to purchase a dozen handkerchiefs, brought them to church, had them anointed with oil and prayed over, and then wrapped my legs with the handkerchiefs. Every day she would pray and tell me I was going to walk again. Two weeks later, I awoke one morning and stated screaming as I told my mom that I could feel my legs and move my toes. By the age of five, not only was I walking but running just as fast as my brothers.
I am evidence that God can perform miracles and He has the last word. My faith in God has been the center of my life. All that I have achieved, I am clear that it was only by the Grace of God. He has afforded me a good life, lacking nothing and the faith to conquer one challenge at a time. I live with peace and joy, because whatever comes my way, I may not have the capacity to resolve it, but He does. I am the daughter of a King and nothing is impossible for Him.
Did you ever struggle with balancing home, work, ministry and time for yourself? What helped you?
As a working mom, time management is especially crucial to learn. It takes a village to handle all tasks that you must perform. You do not need to be Super Woman, and it’s OK to get help. I have been blessed to have a mother that was able to help me with my daughters and my home. My job required a lot of traveling, but I also had to learn to delegate whenever possible. When I was home, I was the wife and mom. I removed my Boss’s hat and my attention was for my family. We need to be present at whatever task we are involved in.
Your children grow up and move away; therefore you need to work on your relationships, spouse and friends. It is important to make time to develop these relationships in order to live a balanced life. It is a choice we need to make. It can be a struggle at times; however, we need to make the choice to balance our life with all the hats we need to wear. Not shooting from the hip, but instead planning chores, family and free time. It’s great to sometimes be spontaneous, but that will not work in some areas. You want people to respect your time, you also need to respect the time of others.
On the other hand, do not be so rigid trying to always stick to schedules that you cannot be flexible. With children, you need to be flexible. Things do not always occur as planned. Do not drive yourself crazy, be flexible, you cannot control all the variables in your life. Please do not think you have to be perfect. And above all, recruit your spouse. Managing time has to be a team effort. Everyone has to do their share. If only you can do it all, then you are going to be very tired. But, worse than that, your children are 30 years old and you are still handling their stuff. We need to raise assets for society, not parasites.
Do you have any advice on finding love as a single woman?
After my husband passed away, I never thought I wanted to get married again. You have to work on relationships, and did not think I wanted to do that anymore, however, God had other plans. As a single woman, I was not looking to get married again; therefore I was working on me. I enjoyed my family and friends, traveling and being full of joy. Not realizing it at the time, I had put myself out there. I was not a recluse and I was visible in my environment. If as a single woman, you just go to work and then home and do not get involved in your church, with friends, then you are hiding. Out of sight, out of mind!! You want to find the right person, therefore get to know the people around you and first become friends. Learn their likes and dislikes, communicate and do not settle. You deserve the best.
Do you have any advice for women struggling with low self-esteem?
I was taught, I am not better than anyone else, but nobody is better than me. You need to believe it. You are special. God knows the number of hairs on your head. He is into the details of each one of us. You are unique and wonderfully made. Do not allow anyone to put you down or take away your self-worth. You have to make the choice to seek The Lord’s peace and joy. You need to work on you. Be happy with yourself, so you can bring happiness to others. You cannot give what you don’t have.
Is there something that you worried a lot about back then, that you realize was not worth worrying about now?
I always thought I needed to have all bases covered and felt so guilty when I thought I missed something or when I did not divide myself into many more pieces. How absurd to think that it was me who always needed to cover all the bases. Should have been making more memories instead of doing more laundry, cleaning or whatever was so important at the time. Should have concentrated more on the valuable memories to be made than those things that I thought were so urgent today, but which you had to do all over again tomorrow. Children grow up so quickly. Before you know it they are in middle school, you blink and they are on their way to college. Next thing you know, you become a grandparent.
Want to hear from more Grandmothers? Check out the first two interviews of Grandma Knows Best with Mildred Greer and Joyce Thomas. Do you have a Grandmother you would like to recommend for an interview? Email me at SincerelyMrsMommy@gmail.com