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Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Rachel Gonzales-Mata

Photo: Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons, License: N/A

Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons

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Are you planning to always be the primary breadwinner?

I think so, yeah. My husband’s too dedicated to helping others in the community and non-profits. That’s his calling. I think, more than likely, it’ll probably be me.

Is it ever hard to be supportive when he’s spending so much time doing non-profit work?

Sometimes it is; it puts a toll on your family when you could use that energy to help support your family. But then you see the outcome of it. It helps not just one family, it helps multiple families, who are probably in a worse situation than what we are. So, to help them, it makes your heart warm, it’s for a good cause.

How do you think society views female breadwinners?

I think nowadays you see a lot of women doing it. I guess because we’re thrivers. If we see something we want to do, we’ll thrive at it, if it’s our goal. I think men have come to accept that they’re at home and they’re the children’s caretakers. You see it more often. I guess that’s what makes it work. Sometimes you have to switch that roll.

Do you have parenting and childcare support from your family and friends?

Most of the time we do it ourselves because not a lot of people know how to handle my daughter. So, that kind of puts a little burden on us. We do get some support, not as much as we would like. But we do get some, either his parents or my dad. Usually it’s just us because we know how to deal with our daughter in certain ways.

Has having kids has altered your career path?

Yeah, I believe so. They motivate me: A cause, a reason, why I do what I do. I want my family to be comfortable. I want them to be happy. I want them to have someone to look up to. I want them to have good values, good morals, good aspects of life … You don’t have to be deprived. Just because you live in a bad place doesn’t mean you can’t move up in the world … Just because things are hard, you can’t stay down. You gotta move up. Look at things better. That’s what motivates me.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of raising your kids?

Just seeing them happy. Knowing there’s love, there’s comfort, there’s emotional support there. We’re there as parents. Me and Jason were raised by single parents so just to know that they have both their parents and we’re trying to teach them the best.

What’s the most challenging aspect of raising your kids?

The most challenging is probably the financial status. And the time.

What can employers do to make being a working mom easier?

I guess being more accepting about family emergencies. I mean there’s that FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] but still you have to go through these things … Childcare, if it were a little bit more reasonable for working mothers, then they wouldn’t have to work extra, extra, extra hours just to pay that childcare, you know? Funding for childcare, not just for those who are minimal [low-income], at least try to help us who are trying to get up in the world. We’re like stuck in the middle. The harder we work the more it puts us back into that [low] financial status because the more you work, the more childcare you have to pay for. They want us to work, work, work, they enforce that, but yet … they don’t really realize the more you work the more you gotta pay, and the more you pay, how you gonna see your children? How can you raise your children if you’re out there working all the time? … OK, you meet the economic demands that the world expects of you, but they don’t see how hard it is, or the impact that it has on a child. Because now that child’s missing out on that parental guidance, love and support that no one else can give. They market [working fulltime] like it’s well better, but when you’re in the middle … it puts a burden on the family.

When you have free time, what do you like to do?

I like to spend time with my kids, try to go shopping. My daughter, she goes into these modes, so it’s kind of hard, emotionally, because you want to be able to bond more with your only daughter but you really can’t because of her mental illness. But I love being there for them, watching movies. Even just ‘hey, we’re all home, finally!’

Do you have anything you want to add about being a working mom?

That I sympathize with those who do what they have to do. I can relate to them as far as: we do what we have to do for our families. That’s something good. If it weren’t for our husbands, having that childcare or that support system, we wouldn’t be where we’re at now. It puts a burden on your family, it does, but the goal of it and the outcome is well worth it.

Rise of SA’s Female Breadwinners
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