“I think I did pretty good for being a statistic kind of, of ‘Oh she’s a young mom so she’s gonna be screwed’ But I kind of went the other way.”


Alize Benavidez

Anayeli Benavidez and me (Alize Benavidez) taking a picture while at families house. Posted for Mother’s Day.

In 2005, Anayeli Ugarte found out she was pregnant. Her life abruptly changed when her daughter came into her life. But she still loves her kids the same, even if she wasn’t able to follow her dreams. 


Anayeli went through more struggles than she should have at 16-17 years old. But she didn’t end up as a statistic. “But I think I did pretty good for being a statistic kind of-, of “Oh she’s a young mom so she’s gonna be screwed” But I kind of went the other way,” she says when she reflects on her accomplishments of being a young mom.  


You guys are everything. Everything I do is you guys, all I think about is you guys….” she says, talking about her two kids. She shares of her hopes for them, not wanting them to go in the wrong direction. That’s how much she loves her kids. 


Faith Alexis Ramos
Our trip to the LA zoo after our vacation in Mexico. We (Alize, Isreal, Isreal III, and Anayeli Benavidez) were enjoying our last day of vacation with the rest of our family.


Alize Karina Benavidez: Why do you not like Jim Carey movies?
Anayeli Benavidez: Mmm they’re kind of dumb to me, they’re not my kind of movies. [They] make no sense. I don’t know, I just don’t like it.
AKB: Okay, what do you like to do when you’re not at work or school?
AB: Sleep, or watch movies, or shop.
AKB: You shop a lot. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? 
AB: Uhh, my grandma just cause she took care of me when I was little and then I didn’t see her before she passed so.
AKB: From grandma’s side or grandpa’s side?
AB: Grandma’s side.
AKB: What do you miss about being a kid or a teenager?
AB: Not paying bills, I miss that very much.
AKB: If you were my age, would you be my friend?
AB: [of] course!
AKB: Why?
AB: Cause, uh you’re like me. Smart, you like school, yea we would get along. 
AKB: Kay, what was life at my age like?
AB: Simple, easy.  School, home, and then that was it.
AKB: What was the day I was born like?
AB: Scary as hell, and painful.
AKB: Who was there?
AB: Your dad, my mom, your Grandma Blanca, Myrna [laughing] and Lupe.
AKB: And they were all just in there with you?
AB: Yea. 
AKB: What accomplishment of mine were you most proud of- or are you most proud of?
AB: Uhm, a lot but getting nominated for that scholarship program. That was pretty cool. 
AKB: Uh what was your motivation for going back to school?
AB: You guys. So I can give you more stuff and opportunities, I guess. And for myself, not to do this- the work I do already for the rest of my life.
AKB: When you found out you were pregnant, what was your initial reaction?
AB: With which kid? [laughing] 
AKB: Me! [Laughing]
AB: I was like holy [explicit] my mom’s gonna kill me. That was my reaction. 
AKB: And was it easier when you had the baby?
AB: Yea, because I was older.
AKB: I guess. Have I lived up to your expectations as a daughter?
AB: Yes, you have. 
AKB: And what- like, expectations did you have?
AB: For you to be- to apply yourself in school, for you to not be these little wild little girls. For you to keep your eye on the prize like I said. 
AKB: Do you have any regrets?
AB: Not going to college sooner [laughing] like right outta high school cause it’s really hard. 
AKB: Like cause it’s harder and you don’t under- like [under] stand the newest things or like it would have just been easier. 
AB: It would have been easier because it was fresh, now I forgot. Everything. 
AKB: Are you proud of me?
AB: I am, of course I am! You’re awsome. 
AKB: Alright, as a big sister yourself, what can I do to be a better sister to the baby?
AB: Be patient, and let him come into your room [laughing] and play his toys. And help him, like not just blow him off. But help him learn more.
AKB: Then it’d just be easier for like-
AB: For him, that would be a lot easier for him. You help him cause you’re the older sister. 
AKB: Guess so. Why did you choose to be with dad, what attracted you to him?
AB: He was kinda cute I guess, and I don’t know, he made me laugh. And he would annoy me sometimes and I guess I kept coming back! 
AKB: He was funny. Did you ever have to, like, do his homework or not?
AB: He actually would do my homework. 
AKB: He would?
AB: Yea.
AKB: Huh, interesting.
AB: Believe it or not. He wouldn’t do his own but he would do mine.
AKB: Huh. In what ways am I like you?
AB: You’re a lot like me. I mean your attitude, your calm, you like school. Yea, I liked school back in the days. 
AKB: And in what ways am I not like you?
AB: Um, I think you’re more shy than I was. You kinda- I kinda talk a lot more. Yea.
AKB: You had a lot more friends and you still have those same friends. 
AB: Yea, but you just have to not be afraid to meet new people. And not be like- don’t expect everybody to meet up to your expectations. Doesn’t mean you don’t have to talk to everybody or you have to do what everybody does, just take everybody in the same. Don’t follow their back steps or don’t follow their bad influences but accept everybody the same. And just don’t be afraid to go out there and talk to people, meet people. 
AKB: Even if they’re like different than me or have to like- just accept [inaudible]
AB: It doesn’t matter, even if they’re not as- have as good grades as you do. Or even if, you know, they’re way smarter if you think that. It doesn’t matter, you just take everybody in the same. You still follow your path and you still do what you need to do or what you think is right but you let them do what they do, that’s not your responsibility but you still take everybody in the same. 
AKB: Is there something you’ve always wanted to tell me but never have?
AB: Mmm, not really. I always tell you everything I want to say. I don’t think I keep stuff.
AKB: [awkward laugh] Yea cause we talk a lot. 
AB: Yea.
AKB: What’s the best thing I can do for you right now as a sister and a daughter?
AB: Help me in the house and help me with your brother because if I’m at school, I’m more out of the house than I was before so I need you to kinda get in there. Not have to like spotless clean the house but help me pick up a little bit, when you’re done with your homework help him with- read to him, ask him his numbers, ask him his letters. That would be a great help. 
AKB: When I was little what did you think I was gonna be when I grew up?
AB: A makeup artist [laughing] Cause, you were all about the YouTube makeup stuff. 
AKB: I did your makeup that one time. [laughing] 
AB: Yea, with all kind of colors too. 
AKB: M’kay, what age of mine did you hate experiencing the most?
AB: When you were one and two, cause you were terrible. 
AKB: Why, was I terrible? What do you mean?
AB: You would just get into all kind of stuffs, you weren’t bad or you wouldn’t like fuss or cry and stuff but you would just do all kind of travesuras that I would be like “Really? Like, you’re really just writing on the wall like that, Alize.” And you would write your name too so you couldn’t even lie about it. 
AKB: Oh yea [laughing] Okay, is it weird that I’m pretty much almost a teenager now?
AB: Yea, cause I think I’m pretty young still and I’m like “[explicit] she’s fourteen already” Well, almost fourteen. So yea. And all my friends are like “Oh, this is my first kid.” And I’m like, “Oh no! Mine’s already old.”
AKB: Did having kids stop you from accomplishing your dreams?
AB: I hate to say yes, because I don’t want you to feel like you’re, you know, I regret it or anything or you-you stopped me. But I couldn’t do more because I had a responsibility. That’s why I always tell you, don’t do that! Do as I say, not as I do. Because it’s gonna make it a lot easier on you,  a lot of easier- a lot easier on the kids, you don’t have to stress so much. So, that stopped me because I didn’t want to do- I wanted to do so much and I couldn’t because I was needed at home, with a kid. That’s why. 
AKB: What dreams did- like that stop, like what did you want to do?
AB: Originally I wanted to be a police officer, which I, you know, if I could I would still do it. But now I kinda think about it. But that’s what I wanted to do. That was what I’ve always wanted to do, and I couldn’t. I mean I could’ve, instead of being a medical assistant, go into that but medical assistant is short. You do it quick, so I just got into something that, I- I kind of like, you know, going to the doctor and being like “Oh this is what they do” But this is not what I wanted in the first place, it’s kind of what was offered and was easy because it was short.
AKB: And it was like available at the time. 
AB: Yea
AKB: What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?
AB: Trying to manage everything, trying to go to work, and then come home and make sure everything’s done here and making sure you guys stay track on homework and making sure I’m not screwing you guys up. Yea, it’s pretty hard. It’s a lot of responsibility. 
AKB: And it’s even harder when you have school and you don’t get to see us a lot. 
AB: Yea, yes exactly. 
AKB: When you think of Israel, the baby not my dad, how would you describe him?
AB: He’s hilarious, he’s a character that little kid. I think he’s gonna be the class clown, I think he’s so smart, like you. But he just-
AKB: Goofs around.
AB: He’s goofy and he’s more sentimental, so that kinda-
AKB: Messes it, like-
AB: Yea, kinda brings him back like he’s sentimental and he gets frustrated when he can’t do things so that makes him angry. He’s full of emotions. 
AKB: What do you hope for his future?
AB: I hope he is applied to school like you are, I hope he knows how to handle patience more. I still want him to be goofy and funny cause he’s- it’s his character but I just want him to be okay with being wrong sometimes. 
AKB: Yea cause when he’s- he doesn’t like to be wrong. 
AB: No, he hates being wrong.
AKB: What are you most proud of?
AB: About who?
AKB: Just in general what are you most proud of? 
AB: Like myself? 
AKB: Anything you’ve done or like when you think of like being proud of something like some- that first thing that comes to mind.
AB: Going back to school. I mean it’s hard but, I think I was a young mom and I still got a career, I’m just trying to further it now. But I still did it by myself, I still finished high school, I still got some- some college I guess, and I’m going back for more. I have a good job, I have my own car, I live on my own- well, you know, with you guys. But I think I did pretty good for being a statistic kind of, of “Oh she’s a young mom so she’s gonna be screwed” But I kind of went the other way. 
AKB: Yea. Was being parent- was being a parent easier the second time?
AB: Yea, because I was- I was a kid with you. So I was growing up with you. And with the baby I’m- was older, I already knew what to kind of expect, I had more patience. I didn’t have to start from the bottom and be like “Oh I don’t have my mom now, who’s gonna buy me this?” I had it together. 
AKB: It makes it easier. Were the things you wish we could have done more- what were the things you wish we could have done more when I was younger?
AB: Mmm, I think probably have more of a free space for us. Because, when you were younger you mean?
AKB: Mhm
AB: Because, when you were younger I was young so I had to depend on other people so we didn’t have our own space. I kind of limited your space in the house because it was just one room. I feel like you needed- we needed more space to- for you to, you know, express yourself or whatever without having to kind of hold you back because there’s more people in the house. Know what I mean?
AKB: Mhm. What’s your wish for me?
AB: I wish that you accomplish whatever you want to accomplish, you follow whatever dream you have, straight out of high school you get your study going, you get a career that you love that you’re gonna enjoy doing everyday, that’s gonna make your life easier for when you want to start your family you’re already set on your own. You’re gonna enjoy your life, that’s why I tell you “Work hard now, so when you’re older you don’t have to.” You’re gonna love what you do so it’s not gonna be work it’s gonna be- I want you not to suffer, not to have to limit yourself, not to double think whatever you wanna do because you don’t have it. I want you to be set. Love and all that stuff is gonna come when it’s gonna come, but I need your life to be set where you’re not gonna have to struggle. That’s what I want. Like if when we’re older and I’m like ninety something, and I die, I don’t have to worry about you. I don’t have to worry about “What is she gonna do without me?” You’re gonna be fine, that’s what I want. 
AKB: For me to be able to like take care of myself. [inaudible]
AB: Yea, for you to take care of yourself, not to depend on anybody, be able to take care of yourself enough to not worry and not stress so much like I do. 
AKB: To make it easier
AB: Yea
AKB: Kay, the last question is, do you love me?
AB: Of course I do! I love you with all my heart- well half of it cause you know, the other half is the little one. You guys are everything. So of course I do. Everything I do is you guys, all I think about is you guys, even though you guys annoy me sometimes. So of course I do. I love you with all my heart, very much. 
AKB: Well I love you too.
AB: Good, you better.