Honor A Mom: Friday
Wife, friend, volunteer, woman, extraordinaire......a MOM. Does this sound familiar? Every mom is a teacher, doctor, super hero, nurse, child herder, chef, chauffeur, referee, entertainer, maid, event coordinator, councilor, snot rag, etc but very rarely do they need the thanks or get the thanks for all they do.
ABC.com released their take on how much a stay at home mom SHOULD make...any guesses???
$138, 646.00 Annually!!!!!!!
There are ALOT of amazing moms out there, with different tricks and tools to SURVIVE out there with our cave children.....and we sure love doing it! I would have to say and know all those "SAHM's" out there would agree...BEST JOB EVER!
One stay at home mom that I look up to and would like to shine alittle recognition on is a local mom. She has an older son, twin boys AND then a baby girl.....YES she IS busy!
Let me introduce you to Shay Ramos (an interview):
Shay: I met my husband, Casey, through his younger brother when I was a freshman in high school. We remained friends for a few years, mainly because he was too old for me at the time. We got engaged when Rylan was 6 months old, the day we moved into our brand new house in Orting and then we had our wedding at the Pickering Barn in Issaquah, June 2nd, 2007. We are about to celebrate our 5 year anniversary! Our kiddos are Rylan (6 1/2), Colton and Easton (2 1/2), and Avalyn (9 months today!). I am definitely a perfectionist and a go-go-go type. I love to be busy, which is a good thing, considering the amount of children I have! I love cooking and crafts and gardening, although I find myself with less and less time for these activities these days. :)
Whats your morning routine?
Shay: I get up at about 5:40 and make lunches for my oldest and Husband. Then I try to tackle a few chores and jump in the shower before the little kids wake up. Then we have breakfast and get everyone ready to head out the door!
So what's your daily routine like?
Shay: We get up and get my oldest out the door first and foremost. The twins go to a co-op preschool two days a week, which means I am helping in the classroom a lot of the time and not just dropping them off so that fills up several of our mornings. On the other days, we are usually doing chores or appointments in the morning. We have lunch around 12:00 and nap after. Then we pick up Rylan from school at 3:30, come home and make dinner. In the evenings we usually have sports and then we start the bedtime routine. It happens in the blink of an eye!
How do you handle getting off schedule or "running late"?
Shay: These days, it seems like we are always running late when it comes to getting where we need to go. It is just so time consuming strapping three into car seats and making sure all three diapers are clean. As far as getting of schedule, I am not super strict about the particular time naps and such happen. I plan each day differently according to what is going on. I know it's unrealistic for everyone to get to nap by 12:30 on preschool days, but on days when we are home, I might put them down earlier. I make a little game plan in my head each morning.
How in the world do you find time for chores and what would be your best advise for doing household chores with kiddos running around?
Shay: I am pretty particular about the house. As much as I would like to let it go a little, I just can't! I am constantly doing chores. While the kids are eating, while they are napping, before they wake up and after they go to bed. I have to utilize every possible second in order to keep everything up! As for advise, I usually do things like dusting, vacuuming, and organizing when they are awake, because they can sort of help but things like cleaning with any chemicals or laundry I save for when they are sleeping. Without a good sleep schedule, you can get behind very quickly!
And what's your laundry routine?
Shay: Routine? It's constant! You must do at least one load of laundry every single day in this house. I prioritize washing over folding, because it is rare to have every bit of it completely done. Especially because I tend to do it at naptime and I can't wake the little ones to put their items away so it tends to pile up, honestly!
Do you cook dinner before your husband gets home? If yes, how to you juggle all the kids while cooking dinner?
Shay: This has really varied depending on what activities are going on, what my husband's work schedule has been. Normally I have it started and am just putting the finishing touches on everything as he shows up. The key to keeping the kids busy is to allow about twice as much time as you THINK you need, because there will always be interruptions! Lately, the twins have been wanting to use the potty which takes a lot of time. The baby is at the age where she can snack in her high chair while I cook, which makes it much easier! On rough days, I may resort to some Umizoomi to entertain the twins!
So now it's bedtime what is your bed time routine?
Shay: Thankfully, Rylan is becoming quite self sufficient and can shower in the morning before school and brush his teeth at night all on his own. For bedtime with the little ones, my Husband is key. It is much faster if we team up. We normally throw the twins into the shower one at a time. I will dry and dress one while he washes the second one. If things are going smoothly, I will bathe the baby in the bathtub while they are in the shower(in the same room) but if the twins are really tired, I wait until we have them down. Then we brush teeth, read a story and tuck them in. That is the easy part. It is AFTER they are in bed that the chaos ensues! Two tired two year olds in the same room is a recipe for disaster!
What usually happens?
Shay:The twins just love to play around. They look out the curtains, they giggle, they get out of their beds, they play silly pretend together and they would get into things if there were anything left in their room for them to get into! Also, Easton loves to be naked, which has resulted in many, many pee and/or poop incidents. I actually have to use a clothing tagging gun and "tag" his footie jammies shut before bed. We normally give them a warning once (or twice) and then end up moving the "offender" into a pack and play for the night.
CHALLENGES, FINANCES & GROCERY SHOPPING
What has been the biggest challenge raising your kids?
Shay: Probably finances. It is so hard to give your kids everything you want to on only one income, yet I imagine leaving them each day and juggling a career would be twice as hard!
Any suggestions for other families or what works best to "make 1 income work" for your large family?
Shay: Geez, I wish there was an answer. You really have to sacrifice the extras for yourself. My husband and I put the kids' wants and needs before our own. Not eating out is a big one. I think it helps to look into every option and make sure you aren't wasting money paying more for ANYTHING. I've switched car insurance, internet, where we buy diapers, anything possible to save a bit on the big bills and then I am very careful with our spending on everything else. You have to be realistic and realize that you can't have it all. Luckily, with four kids, trips to make purchases are difficult.
SO.. grocery shopping...do you have lots of help or do you tackle grocery shopping with the kids
How often and where do you do most of your grocery shopping?
Shay: Ugh, grocery shopping. :) I actually take my kids with me when I shop. I don't get any extra help for things like that. The little ones and I will do a Costco run every 2-3 weeks for the big items and then 1-2 times a week we go to Safeway, Fred Meyer or Winco for all of the filler items. I always try to make sure the kids aren't hungry or bring them granola bars or snacks to eat while we go through the store to keep them occupied. Like me, they get grumpy when they're hungry. We try to plan what we are going to eat for the week so that we eliminate the extra trips. If I do forget something, Casey will often pick it up on his way home.
So if you grocery shop with the twins and your daughter where do you put everyone? As far as the cart goes?
Shay: If we go to Costco, I put Avalyn in the top seat with Easton and Colton walks. In the normal grocery stores, I will put Avalyn in the seat and then the twins will ride in the basket part if we are just picking up a few things. Or they will walk. They also love to hang onto the side of the cart when we're moving. I always hear, "my goodness, you have your hands full".
Any money saving advice for shopping for a family of 6? Or a large family?
Shay: Hmm, I wish I had the answer to that! Couponing for food is too time consuming for me, although I always use coupons for restaurants and any large purchases or clothing. I have a little organizer I use for those. No matter what you do, it is EXPENSIVE! :)
If you could, what would be your most "drool worthy" thing your waiting to get (jewelry, clothes, appliance, new gadget, etc)?
Shay: I'd love a new vacuum or washer and dryer! :) Jewelry is always nice too!
Dream family vacation?
Shay: I love the beach, but I am dying to get my kids to Disneyland. My husband and I haven't been, so when we go as a family it's going to be awesome!
CHILDREN & DISCIPLINE
What are your childrens personalities?
Shay: My oldest, Rylan, is very mature, incredibly smart and creative, but also smart enough to know he can get away with things. Colton is very sweet and affectionate and excitable, but can also be mischievous and when he does lose his temper, he really snaps. Easton has a mind of his own. He likes to hold his ground and doesn't like to be told what to do. He's probably the whiniest but is a little comedian and can be sweet when he has decided to do so. He has a soft spot for animals. And Avalyn is a total sweetie. She is always patient and happy, but she hates to miss a thing and doesn't sleep as much as most babies!
I always hear this question "which is worse, the terrible 2's or 3's?"
Shay: I really think it depends on the child! My oldest was hard at 3, and the twins are hard now (at 2). We will have to see how they are at 3!
When your twins are crying, your oldest is needing attention and the baby is fussing/crying how do you prioritize handling it all or who do you help first?
Shay: You really just have to assess the situation and see what is most important. If the twins are crying, it is normally because they need help or are fighting, so it usually helps to settle them before changing diapers, helping Rylan, etc. My oldest is a great help and understands that we have to calm everyone before we can attempt to do anything. I always explain to them why I can't tend to them at the moment so they understand.
How do you discipline?
Shay: We use the time out method, like most folks. With the oldest, we make him stand in the corner. Time outs can be a challenge when you have a lot of other kids in the room, so that's why we implemented the corner facing technique with him. am very strict and when I see that the kids are testing me on something, I make sure to catch it before it gets out of hand.
Here's a scenario: Your in the other room, something happens how do you figure out what happened or who's at fault?
Shay: Most of the time the twins are pretty honest. They communicate well, and can usually tell me what happened. I've worked with them to tell me what happened as opposed to just screaming. When the 6 year old is involved, I sometimes work out a punishment for everyone if I can't determine what actually happened. I pretty much just have to go with my gut.
When my kids throw a fit its difficult but when my older one does its...well its bad. What do you do when your oldest child throws a fit?
Shay: I am very firm with him. He will be sent to time out, or even for a nap and will lose a privilege. He is expected to set a good example, but of course has his moments as well.
Do your kids get sibling jealousy? How do you handle it?
Shay: Oh yes! The twins are even saying, "no fair!" now! It's adorable. Teaching them fairness and kindness is the best way to deal with jealousy. Just explaining to them why things are different for them than their siblings helps a lot.
How do you entertain your kids while on the road?
Shay: Like many kids these days, mine have discovered that movies are available during long trips! :) During short trips, they are pretty content just looking out the window. I allow them to pick one (or two, depending on where we are going) small toys to bring along, which helps. And if we are going longer distances, I always bring snacks!
Do you have picky eaters? How do you handle it?
Shay: All of my kids seem to go through picky phases, although none of them are terrible. I honestly end up resorting to the bribery method most of the time - not giving them more of one thing until they eat some of their less favorite foods. It's really funny, because I despise wasting food. Normally one of the twins will like one thing and the other will like what the first one didn't care for, so I will often swap their food around so that they eat more and less goes to waste. Sometimes they will eat it just so someone else doesn't. That works too!
It's so difficult when your child stay's the night somewhere, especially the first time. Have your kids gone to stay over night? What ages and how did you handle it?
Shay: Rylan has stayed with all of his Grandmas since he was about a year old. Being the first, everyone was dying to have him! The twins have only stayed one time, just recently, with their Grandma and it went great! I will try to do it again soon because it is good for everyone to learn to spend a night apart occasionally.
Was there an instance, a situation or anytime where you could have just crawled into the closet and cried? LOL.
Shay: Oh, most definitely! There have been several instances where my husband and I have just laughed together as I recap the events I have endured during the day. Sometimes things go so badly it's just humorous!
ON MORE CHILDREN
Was it worse going from 1 kid to...well 3 or 3 to 4?
Shay: Definitely 1 to 3! The twins really threw everyone for a loop!
Was it a shock to find out you were carrying twins? Do they run in the family?
Shay: It was definitely a shock! A moment that I will never forget for sure! I have a twin brother, so yes, they do, although I never expected to have them.
What made you decide to have more children, after the 1st?
Shay: After Rylan, we were so content. We really couldn't imagine anything better and didn't feel we needed any more. But we were sitting on the patio watching him play one day and my Husband said, "This almost makes me want another one." So we ended up with the twins. :)
And after the twins?
Shay: Then after the twins, I really wanted to be able to have just one baby individually. I didn't feel ready to be done with babies (I love infants) and I still hoped to have a daughter so eventually I talked my husband into it. I couldn't imagine life without any of them.
Here's a big question...are you done having children? What made you decide? (either way)
Shay: We ARE done now. We both knew after the last one that our family was complete. We are very content with how it is now. Plus, I mentioned that kids are EXPENSIVE! :) We want to be able to give our kids everything that they need.
MARRIAGE & HERSELF
Was their a moment you knew your husband was "the one"?
Shay: Not a moment, necessarily, but when I realized that I couldn't imagine NOT having him. And watching him as a father to our son was the icing on the cake!
How do you keep up your marriage/relationship with your husband still thriving while raising all your kids, him working, school activities and extra activities?
Shay: We are always sure to keep an open line of communication. The second something is bugging us, we immediately discuss it instead of letting things bottle up. We also try to spend time together on the weekends, after the kids are in bed. We don't get a lot of time out of the house together, but we do try to watch a movie or cook dinner together or little things like that.
How do you fit in ME time?
Shay: Haha! :) Once in a while, I will try to sneak out with a friend after the kids are in bed or run to the store alone on the weekends when my Husband is home.
Do you work out regularly? How do you fit that in?
Shay: I think life IS my workout! :) I try to get to yoga on Sunday mornings, but sometimes I don't even get that in. I try to go on walks with the kids or during the summer, we ride bikes with the kids too. I would like to work on getting a more consistent workout routine!
Whats your favorite thing to do for yourself?
Shay: Hmm, that's a hard one. Pretty much anything I do for myself is enjoyed! Getting my hair done is always a perk. :)
Favorite coffee drink?
Shay: Anything with caffeine! lol I like blended vanilla coffees for a treat, or pumpkin spice lattes during the fall and winter months.
Most useful mother's day gift received?
Shay: Definitely my camera! Gift cards to the Windmill Gardens are a close second!
MUST HAVE'S & ADVICE
What is your must have kid gear? Feel free to elaborate on different ages and must have for that age. Shay: High chairs are a must for babies when you have older siblings. I have always entertained the babies/toddlers with food while I tend to the other kiddos or cook meals. Bouncers, ERGO carriers, and exersaucers are great for keeping babies occupied, too! And pacifiers! :) Video monitors save trips to check on and possibly wake up kids. For sleep, my last three all loved swaddlers, especially the Woombie swaddler. I'm also a fan of the Boppy for breastfeeding and the EZ-2-Nurse Twins Pillow for tandem nursing twins!
What would your best advice be to a mom with one child?
Shay: Really enjoy that one on one time! The time with your first born is such a special time. Get out and do as much together as you can!
Best advice with a couple children (not multiples)?
Shay: Everyone says this, but it is important to try to spend time with the children individually. If you can't get away, make sure to tell the children how special they are to you and praise them individually for something positive they have done.
And whats your best advice for a mom with multiples?
Shay: Don't be afraid to admit that it's hard. Ask for help if you have to! It IS hard and you won't be able to do it all perfectly!
Ohh Potty Training (sigh)...Whats your most useful potty training trick?
Shay: Wait until they are ready! You cannot force a child to potty train. They will do it when they make up their mind to do it!
When your children are older and are asked "what their favorite thing/memory about their mom was", what do you want them to say?
Shay: I just hope they remember laughing together.
Happy Mother's Day Shay Hope it's a GREAT one~
Bree and J