The role taken on by the youngest child after a death in the family becomes quickly defined when there are no other male figures to become the head of the household. Marta’s father passed away during her adolescent years and she took it upon herself to take care of everyone, in particular her mother. She was the youngest daughter of four. With no brothers or other male figures in their home, she was raised in a matriarchal household.
According to Marta, being raised in a matriarchal household meant she had to control all the finances and maintenance of the vehicles because her mother had relied heavily on her father to take care of those type of things. “We are raised with some sense of it’s your responsibility to make sure that your parents are taken care of when you get older (Interview, Marta, January 29, 2016).” As her three sisters left home to start their own families, Marta stayed behind and now that she has started her own family, she continues living with her mother under the same household. Marta decisions were influences by the responsibility she felt she had as the youngest child.
She recalls that when in previous times, the youngest was not allowed to marry because their responsibility was to care for the parents during their old age. Although times were different the expectations she had for herself were to blend both her desire to care of her mother who never remarried and the family she had started. Besides economic incentives, family is a principal agent of identity development because it is often during our time with family that we learn about ourselves. Feelings such self-esteem, self-worth and love for family expressively impact an individual’s perception on how to th...
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the caldo de frijoles (Interview, Marta, January 29, 2016).
Being able to count on others that have experienced the joy of parenthood is vital to first time mothers. The children grow up emerged with a sense of generations of cultural traditions which helps establish a resilient racial identity. Decisions of cohabiting under a roof that involve her mother became easier as she was an additional resources for child care and child rearing practices (Welsh and Burton, 2015).
Establishing a social life takes time and once family life and occupation have adjusted and are under control, there could be hope of resuming a social life outside the roles of motherhood. In Marta’s case that became a New Years’ resolution since a mother’s well-being does not solemnly involved taking care of others but also remembering that if she feels fulfilled it will be projected.
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