5 Minutes with a Northwest Arkansas Mom: Monica Herrera

Everyone, meet Northwest Arkansas mom, Monica Herrera! She’s a fun mom who knows proper manners (and teaches them to kids!). Read on to see what we mean:

Childrens’ names and ages: 

Isabel (13) Natalia (almost 12) Lucas (7.5) and Pablo (6)

Where do you live and what brought you to NWA?

Currently we live in Centerton but are looking to move to downtown Bentonville.

We got relocated here in 2005 from Mexico City, by then it was only my husband and I. By 2010 we had two girls and we got relocated to London and then Singapore. Every time we came back to visit family to Mexico, we would stop by in NWA to say hi to our friends. Crystal Bridges was still being built by the time we left and every time we came, we found something different and more exciting. Once we knew our time in Singapore was coming to an end, it was a no-brainer that this could be home once again.

We missed having four seasons, being closer to family, and the quality of life that NWA offered as well as the cost of living for a family of 6.

Tell us about your etiquette business. What prompted you to start it?

I had a successful career in Mexico City but when the opportunity came for us to move to NWA, I didn’t think about it twice. After moving here, I had to change my career background and I found a job at

Procter and Gamble but when my first child was born, we decided it was best for us for me to become a stay-at-home mom. While living in London and Singapore, I wasn’t able to work due to visa restrictions and when we moved back to NWA my youngest was only 9 months old.

After he grew up and started going to Preschool, I decided it was time for me to go back to a paid job but it had been almost 10 years since my last official job, so it was difficult trying to get one.

One day, talking to one of my best friends and expressing my frustration at it, she mentioned that maybe I should teach children manners and etiquette since I was good at it and my background in Mexico was in the hospitality industry so I had some of the knowledge needed.

I thought about it and decided it was a good idea. My husband suggested I should look for the best place I could find to get certified to teach and that is how it started. Life pushed me to become an entrepreneur.

What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you as a mom most recently? 

While at Sunday Mass, we were praying the Creed: “I believe in God… and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…” suddenly my 13-year-old turns to me and asks: “How can Mary be a virgin if she had a child? I thought you needed to have sex to become pregnant”, so, yeah…. Try to explain that to your daughter while people around you keep praying ?

Where are your family’s favorite places to play in NWA: 

Weather permitting, any trail. We love Coler Mountain in specific or going to the lake in the summer. Amazeum or Crystal Bridges if it’s raining or very cold.

Tell us about a recent trip you took:

Our last trip was to Colorado. Believe it or not, I learned how to ski at 40 (3 years ago) and once my youngest learned (he was 3) we all hit the slopes together. Now they even do blacks and I am the worst of them all but still try to keep up with them. It’s a fun activity we all enjoy plus I get to burn some calories ?

Share a typical day in your life with us:

During school days, I wake up at 5:30-6:00 am. Prepare breakfast and lunch for everybody and take them to school. After that, I try to go to the gym or go on a walk or hike with the dog. Make a quick stop at the supermarket if needed and come back home to do some house chores and cooking.

Take a shower and get ready if I need to give a lesson before or after school.  I leave home again at 2:30 pm and become an Uber mom after I pick up children from school and take them to their different afterschool activities. If I have an afternoon lesson, my husband will help me with the Uber responsibilities.

Either one of us cooks dinner and we all sit at the table and talk about our day. Children take their shower and I usually put the boys to sleep. Depending on how late it is, we might squeeze some time with the girls to watch some TV before bed.

Fridays are usually reserved for Pizza or Meat and a movie. Weekends are hectic depending on volleyball tournaments my daughters may have.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer, where would you go? 

Mexico to visit our family. We had to cancel our trip last December because my family got infected and my parent’s immune system was compromised so we decided to stay here. It has been more than a year since the last time I saw them.

If you could magically learn a new skill, what would it be?

Learn a new language or how to fly an airplane.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? 

After finishing high school, I went to Canada for one year as a babysitter of 3 little girls. I could barely speak English. It was in a very small town where nobody spoke Spanish. It was difficult at the beginning. Not only did I not speak the language well enough but the 3-year-old was afraid of me because she thought I was going to be like Mary Poppins and take her away with me.

If you got an unexpected gift of (a lot of) cash, what would you do with it?

Pay debts, invest it in a new property, or travel with my family.

How do you relax when the going gets tough? I like doing Yoga or go on walks. Wine also helps ? (kidding…. Not really)

Who do you most admire? Why?

My mom. My youngest sister had cerebral palsy and even though doctors said she wouldn’t live past 15, she never gave up on her and she ended up passing away last year at 38. The last years for her had been very rough and she persisted every single one of them to keep her comfortable.

Also, she got diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2007. Doctors gave us very little hope and yet she miraculously recovered from it saying she couldn’t go away knowing my sister still needed her. She underwent two major surgeries plus chemo and radiation. The tumor is still there but she is still alive and fighting.

She is the strongest person I know.

What do you most want people to remember about you? 

That I made everything possible to make them feel comfortable and respected while in my care. I try to be kind to everybody.

One word to sum me up: Resilient