“I knew I couldn’t give up. I had four children that depended on me and looked up to me.”


Francisco Rodriguez (My uncle)

My family celebrating my little sister’s birthday, my mom still celebrated even though it was late and she came from work.

Interview audio

Paula Rodriguez as a child was abused and mistreated. She was expected to do the work for her family and barely went to school. Though there wasn’t much school, she still worked hard to get good grades. When she turned 16 she got pregnant and was kicked out of her parents’ house.

Getting kicked out and pregnant was not going to stop her. She continued to work hard in school and worked several jobs to care for her child. She managed to do this without family or the father of her baby. She went to college, had three more children and graduated. Her children got to see her on her graduation day and from that day on they were stable and were happy.



Samantha Rodriguez: Hello this is Samantha Rodriguez, and I am with my mom uh, Paula Rodriguez and I am going to ask her some questions. My first question is what was it like growing up? How was your relationship with your parents and siblings?
Paula Rodriguez: Growing up was very difficult in the 90s, I didn’t really have a childhood. I was raised in a broken family and abused. My siblings and I didn’t really get along. At a young age I had to work to help my family. In middle school my dad made me go to work more then go to school. As the oldest daughter I had to help… with the house and my siblings. 
SR: My second question is what was high school like?
PR: Well after middle school I was kicked out from my parent’s house and I started to rebel in 9th grade and then 10th grade I got pregnant with you and I was working two jobs and selling candies in my high school. But I graduated at the top of my class.
SR: My third question is how did you feel when you found out I was on the way? How did your family members feel? 
PR: Well I was very excited but also very scared knowing I was pregnant. That was my motivation to do something with my life because I didn’t matter anymore I had to think of my child. I worked very hard, graduated with honors and went to University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business administration. I also invested in real estate. But my family didn’t really care I was pregnant.
SR: The fourth question is who is someone that helped you take care of me? 
PR: I didn’t really have any help but I always paid a sitter while I was working or going to the University. 
SR: Number 5 is why did you keep going through school? Wasn’t it hard caring for a baby and being in school? 
PR: Well I didn’t want to follow the norm what people expect of Latinas being teen moms and dropping out of school and it was extremely difficult to take care of a baby at such a young age but I wanted to set an example for you.
SR: Number 6 is How did you manage to make money to provide for you and I?
PR: I was very fortunate Since I graduated with a 4.6 gpa I got a scholarship but even then it was still very difficult. I had to work and take care of four children but I always managed.
SR:My seventh question is At what point did things start to get better? Like it started to become less of a struggle? 
PR: As soon as I graduated from Cal State Long Beach I felt that things were getting into place. My children were older and I- and my investment started to make a profit.
SR: My Eighth question is Did you ever want to give up? 
PR: I knew I couldn’t give up. I had four children that depended on me and look up to me.
SR: Number eight is [Mixed up numbers during interview, sorry] Are you happy with the way things ended up? Are you happy with how it is now? 
PR:  I am extremely happy with the outcome and I am, I always want more and I’m extremely motivated and ambitious so I always work hard for what I want and what my children need. 
SR: My ninth question is What is one thing you wish you could change? Or What do you hope to do in the future?
PR: There is no way I could have changed my childhood, I wish I could, but as soon as I became an adult I knew I was in charge of my life and my struggles are what makes me who I am. I don’t know what the future holds for us but I will always work to improve our lives.
SR:That’s all the questions, thank you for sharing mom.