Mother doesn’t take day off

CNJ staff photo: Helena Rodriguez Diana Cordova, second from left, is pictured with her mother, Ingeborg Rothenhaeuser, who lives in the Canary Islands. Also pictured are Cordova’s husband, Andy, and children Debra and Derrick.

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ staff writer

Diana Cordova’s idea of a perfect Mother’s Day would be to spend it with her two children, her husband and her parents, on a beach in the Canary Islands where her mother lives.

Unfortunately, Cordova will instead spend this Mother’s Day cleaning out her husband’s construction company shop, getting it in tiptop shape for her son Derrick’s high school graduation party Saturday.

“That’s how good of a mother I am,” Cordova jokingly said. “I am doing all of this for my son.”

Like many of today’s mothers, Cordova juggles her time among home, raising her children and working full-time at Eastern New Mexico University, which requires her to commute weekdays from Clovis to Portales. And like many of today’s mothers, Cordova spends a lot of time away from her family, and that makes “family time” even more precious.

“I feel that mothers today have to multi-task a lot more, and we have less time with our kids,” Cordova said. “I think we have more technology right now, and it’s beneficial, but it also impairs parenthood, with MySpace and all of that. It just seems that we spent more time together with my parents (when I was growing up).”

Like her mother, Ingeborg Rothenhaeuser, Cordova also has two children. However, the difference in motherhood between the two generations is that Cordova’s mother, now 77, had her, the oldest child, at 35 and was a housewife, while Cordova’s father worked as an industrial engineer. By contrast, Cordova became a mother at 25 and works full-time away from home while her husband, Andy, who owns a construction company, acts as Mr. Mom and chauffeur’s her two children, Derrick, 17, and Debra, 13, around during the week. In addition, Cordova spent even more time away from her children this past year, flying to Spain three times, for a month at a time, to be with her parents who were ill.

“I went to Spain by myself and that is when I realized how much I missed my children,” she said. “It felt great, as a daughter, being able to take care of my parents, but that’s when I also realized how much my own children mean to me. When I came back to the States, I just wanted to cry, realizing how good my parents had been to me.”

Cordova tries to make the most of the time she has with her children by preparing a home-cooked meal and having a sit-down dinner every night, and by designating Sundays as family day.

“On Friday and Saturday, the kids can do what they want with their friends, but we eat together every night and Sunday is family day,” Cordova said. “My daughter and I cook meals together, Derrick picks up the table and we all eat and talk together for about an hour.”
She added, “It is funny because my son is taking a child development class and he said that no one in his class ever eats dinner together with their family every day.”

Cordova’s daughter, Debra, said she enjoys shopping with her mom, being involved in church activities together and walking their dog around the neighborhood together. The mother and daughter also deliver Meals on Wheels together as part of their church team at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

“When we deliver Meals on Wheels, my mom does the driving and we talk about everything,” Debra said. “My mom wants me to keep delivering Meals on Wheels when I get older so I think this is something I will definitely do with my own children someday.”

While Debra confessed she and her mom sometimes don’t see eye to eye on things like homework and chores, she said the thing that makes her mom awesome is her involvement in her life.

“She’s really involved with me and she also takes me to a lot of cultural things so I can learn about new stuff,” Debra said. “My mom is very involved with my school. She is in the Parent Teacher Association and she takes the time to talk to all of my teachers. Most moms don’t do that.”