Diane started her family at a young age. They eloped because they were in love and then they found out that they were pregnant. They were both teenagers when they got married when she was 8 months pregnant. The odds were against them, and everyone around them thought they were doomed to failure. As difficult as it was to start the relationship this way, without a lot of support, they have become so strong because of this, and really learned how to keep their priorities in order.
“Both sides were rooting for us to split up by the first six months.”
They started out their relationship with $13,000 Mexican pesos in savings, which is about $650 US dollars. They felt like millionaires and they thought that they had their life set up for them. They were passionate and excited and optimistic. They had the money and the love to get them through life.
“Everyone is going to have an opinion, but they are not going to show up at your door at 2am when you are up with your sick child.”
Contrary to what statistics would tell you, they did not fail. They are coming up on 14 years of marriage and now have 4 amazing boys and a unique, strong relationship. They have made it a goal to put their marriage above all else, which has kept their relationship strong as they have grown into parenting together.
“As long as you are good as a couple, you are going to be good parents. It you are not a good couple, the kids are going to suffer.”
As a young couple, they did everything together. They would paint houses for work, and Diane would tag along with her belly and do what she could to help out. They have always been equal participants in the relationship, and they have always been best friends. As crazy as it may have seemed for them to be going through this wild journey together as such a young couple, they were always certain that their love was strong enough to move mountains.
Throughout the years, they have kept the fire alive, and done whatever it takes to keep the marriage strong. They always make sure that nothing will take away from each other, and they make sure the kids know that the parents’ relationship will always take priority. With all the boys in school, they also take advantage of every opportunity they have to get together. Their schedule revolves around each other. They will send the kids off to school and then have breakfast dates. They will also take advantage of business trips or other ways to get some time alone together.
“With 4 kids, it is harder to date your spouse.”
They are very strong on the fact that their purpose is not to serve the children hand and foot. They will take care of the children’s needs, but not their every whim. This allows their children build their lives around them, instead of changing their lives to revolve around the children’s lives. Their children’s schedules fit in when there are spaces in their own schedules.
An example of this is how they spend their time in the evenings. The parents spend their time together. Often in another room, and always interacting with each other. When there are dinner requests, the husbands will take precedence. The parents rule the house, not the children.
This translates into their parenting style as well. Diane believes in allowing the children to learn how to make mistakes and learn from them. She does not want to hover over them or keep them from learning by doing things for them that they should be doing for themselves. She considers her job as a parent as preparing them for the future, and for the life that they will live.
“I don’t want to make them dependent on me. Their entire lives are ahead of them and they need to be prepared for it.
She makes self-care a daily practice. It is not something that she fits in if there is time. It is something that will always come first. One way that she does this is that she makes sure to exercise every day in the home gym. The boys are safe, and they know where to find her, but they also know not to bother her unless it is an emergency. She puts her headphones in and focuses only on herself without any interruptions.
“If you feel better about yourself, you will be a better mom.”
This gives her a chance to make sure that her needs are taken care of before she attacks the daily grind. Sometimes she has to make sacrifices to make this happen, but it is non-negotiable, because she has learned that the value of putting herself first not only helps her personally, but it helps her whole family.
“We all have the same amount of time. Right now, I have to get up at 4 in the morning to get it all done.”
They are a great example of how to make the most of the situation and in making marriage and family a priority. It would be interesting to really look at our marriages and our parenting and see how our actions are lining up with our priorities. Are we truly doing the things that we need to do in order to put our marriages first and raising our children to be who they have the potential to be?
Story about Diane Rodriguez Photos property of Rodriguez Family