If we had to choose one word to describe Cris Martinez Gijón it would undoubtedly be generosity. Since we invited her to be part of our Cherubina & Friends, she shared with us the intimacy of her family, making the doors of her house wide open. After a long professional career, Cris decided to throw herself completely into her most important project: her family. Thus becoming a full-time influencer and fond mother. And together with her husband Álvaro they form the perfect tandem, masterfully leading the logistics of a family of 8.
Q: We know that before you became a fond mother, your professional career was at the very top. Can you tell us a little more about your studies and your experience?
A: I studied Business Administration at the University of Malaga and when I finished I joined the audit department of a multinational, but I wasn't happy and left after three years. I decided to take a break and travel to the US, to improve my language and enjoy an international experience. My parents almost had a heart attack but I needed to reflect on what I wanted to do with my life.
Upon my return, I decided to invest in myself for the first time and did a Master's degree at ISEM, the first business school specialized in fashion companies. The opportunity to work at YODONA magazine arose and after almost 5 years I joined the GYJ Editorial Group as part of the events and sponsorship team, with heads like Cosmopolitan or MariClaire. It was a super unforgettable but short experience, since my husband was offered to lead a project in Seville and thinking of the best for our family, we decided to bet on his career. We moved to Seville in April 2016 and in August our second daughter, Candela was born. Since then and until the confinement I went through various jobs but I was not able to fully rejoin the labor market, because my family project was a priority.
Q: How did you organize to combine work and three children?
A: Performing real juggling with a lot of routine! Although I have always had the help of our dear Mari Carmen, who helps me with the house, I believe that it has been key that my husband and I function as a team. We are both equally involved and collaborate equally.
Q: And at what point did you decide to dedicate yourself fully to your family project?
A: With the birth of the twins, family logistics became complicated, because Gonzalo was admitted to the ICU for 26 days. And meanwhile, we had 4 very young children at home who needed our full attention. That month with so many trips to the hospital and especially with the uncertainty of how our son would evolve, I decided to throw myself into my family and dedicate myself exclusively to it. I felt like it really was the place I needed to be.
But of course, on the other hand, I had the need to contribute to the family economy, so it was in that summer, August 2019, when I decided to try my luck with Instagram. And I started almost by chance, with the aim of sharing with my friends the funniest moments of my family and our logistics. I never imagined that I could make a living out of it.
Q: What is the best thing about being the mother of a large family for you?
A: In my opinion and from my experience life changes you infinitely for the better. This does not mean that I wasn't happy before, which I was, but now my happiness has multiplied by six!
Having so many children, beyond the stress and tension that it of course generates, has brought us closer together as a married couple. We have understood that true happiness consists in both looking in the same direction and that every effort has its reward.
But not everything is idyllic, I never imagined that it would be so self-sacrificing and that I come from a large family and I know what my parents had to fight to get us ahead. But until you're in the skin of a mother of a large family, you don't know what it can be.
From the outside it looks super nice and people's messages are greatly appreciated but we have had to give up many things.
Q: For the mothers who read us, do you recommend any top plan to do with children?
A: I am one of those who think that with children you have to spend quality and quantity time. Because children are children only once in their lives. My husband and I will have time to enjoy thousands of plans alone. But now I feel the need to spend as much time as I can with my children.
And as for plans, I think the key is not so much the plan itself, but making each plan special and fun for them. We love taking the bikes and taking walks through the María Luisa park, the 8 of us together. But if I had to say one, one of the best plans we've ever made has been to go to the Castillo de las Guardas Zoo, we've already gone like 3 times!
Q: I'm sure they ask you about it a lot, but we need to know, what is day-to-day like in a house with 8 members? How do you organize to get to everything?
A: Our day starts very early, we all wake up at 7 AM and we have an hour and a half to get everyone ready and leave the house. While I take care of mini Cris's bottle, Álvaro takes care of breakfast for the adults. Then while he is brushing his teeth and combing his hair, I am dressing them. Then it is our turn to dress and clean ourselves while the children are distracted by playing. Finally we prepare backpacks and go to school.
When Álvaro has to leave early or isn't home for work trips, I admit that sometimes I want to lock myself in the bathroom and cry, but then when I see myself walking out the garage door a feeling of pride invades, because I've been able to do it all by myself.
But that's not all! When I come back from school, I have to help Mari Carmen at home since she only comes 4 hours a day and doesn't get to everything. I also give mini Cris a walk and I try to advance the Instagram content that I have pending, make everyone's meals and feed mini Cris. At 5:00 p.m. we pick up the children from school and after having a snack and playing for a while, we go up at 7:00 p.m. to start the showers and dinner.
One of the times we enjoy the most at home is before going to bed. The children rush to the end and we laugh a lot with them. They tell us their things, we play their songs, they dance... and so on until 9:00 p.m., when they all go to bed.
When they fall asleep we have a haven of peace for Álvaro and me that we take advantage of to chat, read or watch our series.
I think we don't organize ourselves badly, we don't get overwhelmed and the key is that we are both very clear about what we want and what we are fighting for. This makes it all make sense and move forward.
Q: Any advice for those who dream of starting a large family but don't dare?
A: Many wait for the "perfect time" to start having children and need to control the economic terrain. And although I recognize that it is an important factor and that unfortunately it slows down many marriages, I consider it essential to have a very clear scale of priorities. You have to be very aware that a large family will require sacrifices and resignations. And you have to work hard on generosity, since you have to share your time with your family and only if you have it very clear will you avoid frustration.
We started our family being mileuristas and living in Madrid. But since the day we got married, we have fought intensely to fulfill our dream of forming a big family.
Many thanks to Cris, Álvaro and the whole family for sharing their time with Cherubina!