Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This

Education
What Raising Kids In SoCal Really Looks Like

Madai Rodriguez

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
LAist)
Our reporting is free for everyone, but it’s not free to make.
LAist only exists with reader support. If you're in a position to give, your donation powers our reporters and keeps us independent.

Madai Rodriguez

San Bernardino • Age 26 • Former Uber/Lyft driver

Lives with Edgar (husband), Ariel (3) and Delilah (2)

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)
Support for LAist comes from

“Ariel has autism. So she sometimes is really, she could be really active, but sometimes she could be really, really, kind of like, tired. So this one, she was tired and then I didn't hear a sound. So when you don't hear a sound you think she's doing a travesura (something mischievous). It's funny because she's not hiding. She's sleeping. So she took some toys out of her toy box. She went inside, and she just falls asleep in there.”
About Parenting, Unfiltered
  • We gave point-and-shoot film cameras to 12 Southern California parents of young children and invited them to document their lives in the Fall of 2019.

  • Join this group of families, from South Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino, as they show us what parenting really looks like, through their eyes.

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
For LAist)

“My husband was putting some, like, safety to the cabinets because my daughter Ariel, who has autism, she climbs, so she goes everywhere. So I have to secure the whole house.

“One time, she broke her arm. I was working as an Uber driver. And I remember I was all the way to Manhattan Beach that day. And my mom called me. She never calls. I said, ‘Something happened.’ And she was crying and I [heard] everybody crying.

My mom didn't know how to call 911. She didn't know how to speak English. She didn't know how to say, 'I need help'.
Support for LAist comes from
"So I was all the way in Manhattan [Beach] and it was rush hour. It was two, three hours to get here.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist )

“I [had] the privilege of having my mom...Because my brother passed away almost two years ago, she spent a year and a half with me and she was taking care of my girls when I was working.

“I think it's a really emotional moment for me to see my mom play with my daughters.”

“I was working, Uber driver...I always start at downtown L.A. So I end up [in] Burbank, then going to Downey, then going to downtown again, and then you [end] up, ‘Oh, it's the beach.’

“...So I thought it was a nice view because it's, it was so stressful getting rides one by one. So I dropped somebody and then I just wanted to take a picture of the view.”
Support for LAist comes from

“I had the application on...and my ride was sleeping. So it was traffic time. My ride probably just got out of work. And then I had to take them home and I was stuck in traffic. Yes, so I just wanted to take a picture of the traffic. It's pretty amazing because they're like, they trust you more when you're a woman. They fall asleep.”

About the Malibu bench sign: “Yeah, that was really far. Sometimes I ended up all the way to Calabasas. One time I ended up all the way to Ventura.”


“Sometimes when we had… a day off, the day was not to get rest. It was to go to the market and get food.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist )
Support for LAist comes from

“Delilah is a very lovely girl. So she wants to be all over everybody. So when she loves you, she wants to show it. She wants to be hugging you, kissing you, and hugging and running all over you...

“Sometimes, I'm doing cleaning. I'm trying to cook. I'm trying to do laundry. [Delilah’s] just, ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.’ I took a picture of this because she was, ‘Mommy, Mommy, hug me.’ Sometimes when Mom’s at home, it's really wild and stressful because the kids are all over you. You go to the bathroom, they want to follow you. You want to take a shower, they want to follow you.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

“You have to do laundry, you have to cook, you have to make breakfast, you have to go do some work, or some problems with your medical... Sometimes you don't have time for them because you're doing all the things in one day.

“We get mad and scream to them or say, ‘No, hold on! Stop! Leave me alone, I'm trying to do this.' Or 'Sit down over here,' or you, you put your voice a little bit more up… "

But then when they're sleeping, you get kind of, like el remordamiento [remorse], like, ‘Oh man. I want to be better next time... I'm sorry. I hope I be better tomorrow.'
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

Sometimes you wake up thinking, you have to go to work because you have a bill to pay. Or you need money, because you always need money. I just wanted to take a picture of the nature, thinking that if I wake up, I just look at it and say, ‘Thank God, I'm awake.’
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

“At the first month, I thought everything was going to be really bad. We didn't have any money for —I was scared that we were going to be running out of money, running out of food. [Ariel]'s really, really picky with food. She doesn't eat meat. So most of the things she eats are really expensive. And I was really afraid I didn't have any money to go buy food. But everything, it's going well.

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

“My husband works… he works driving for Lyft and Uber… The thing that helped us a lot, it was the new program that they passed…[providing assistance to self-employed people] for EDD.”

“In these last weeks, Ariel has gone through a lot. She has had doctor’s appointments, where they are working to observe her."

"Thank God everything is going well. We have progressed a lot over a year. But for the last three days, she has been snuggling up with Mami, even until she falls asleep. She knows that Mamá is the one who protects and cares for her. Today we had a blood test to try to understand her diagnostics.”

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Madai Rodriguez (Jael)
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

“This is my living room wall. We are playing ‘school time’ for two hours a day.

“We're helping more, my daughter, the one [who] has autism, and we're getting to know her more and talking to her and doing more things, us, together… She's talking way more, so I think this quarantine is helping her to talk more.”
Three images grouped together show food prepared by the Rodriguez family
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

“Sometimes, [the quarantine] helps you with your spirit and and your life, because I found myself during all this. You get to do a lot of things. Like even though you're at your house, you're cooking, You could do a lot of things right now as family. So I think it was really good. It's a good thing.”
Side-by-side photos show the Rodriguez family interacting with horses
(Madai Rodriguez
/
for LAist)

[The quarantine] brought us — me and my husband and my two daughters — it brought us more together…
"We both were working at the same time and we were not seeing the girls that much, because we were sleeping. This quarantine is helping us more to know each other and talk to each other and kind of, 'What do you need? What do you need help on?' And it's bringing us together and more strong.”

Related Stories