Meet this week’s Smarty Mom, Janyl Yousefpour. Janyl is a relatively new mom to Jacob (10 months) but has embraced motherhood in such a smarty way that I find myself, a mom of 5-years, asking her for advice! She is married to husband, Ali and the two of them bring a unique, multicultural perspective to parenting. Janyl was born and raised in Chesapeake, VA while Ali was born in Tehran and moved to the states with his parents in the early 80s. They met at Virginia Tech and have been married now for 5 wonderful years. Meet Janyl:
All of us can relate to the new pressures we are suddenly faced with when a new baby arrives and different family perspectives come in to play (i.e. the grandparent’s opinions). Have you found that to be more of a challenge since you and your husband grew up with entirely different backgrounds?
That is a great question and a challenge that I am sure lots of new parents encounter, regardless of similarities or differences in background. One of the things we did before we even got pregnant was discuss the big things in our background that were different and how we would approach them when raising our children (religion, etc.). That helped a lot. But then there are also the seemingly little issues that come up that as a new mom you can never anticipate – like thumb sucking – who knew there were so many opinions on that?!? I think the most important thing is that my husband and I talk it through it on our own and provide a united front when dealing with these types of issues. The bottom line is that we are making the decisions based on what we feel is best for our child. Family (or anyone else) has to respect that.
How have you tried to integrate both the American and Persian cultures into Jacob’s life?
Well, American culture is an easy one since he is practically immersed in it 24/7. Being 10 months old, Jacob’s exposure to Persian culture has been limited to mainly family, language, music, and a little bit of food. Ali’s family lives in Winston-Salem so the majority of exposure happens when we are visiting. As he gets older it will be fun to further integrate and do things like celebrate holidays other than the traditional American ones. It is very important to us that he understands and appreciates his cultural background and I hope in doing it will foster a respect for cultures other than his own.
What is a typical day like in your household?
Monday through Friday is just craziness. It is the typical mad dash in the morning, work all day and spend as much time with Jacob in the evening before his bedtime. My husband and I both work full time, so there is also a lot of coordination between the two of us for everyday daycare drop off/pick ups and travel schedules. Weekends are all about spending time as a family and preparing for the next week ahead.
What is the one thing that keeps you grounded amidst the daily craziness?
It is all about planning and having a routine. For example, if we do not get our grocery shopping done on the weekends, it is pretty much guaranteed that dinner during the week will be a nightly scramble (which usually ends in fast food surrender). So Sundays have become our grocery shopping/meal planning days. It is the same with laundry – it has to get done on the weekends, otherwise forget it. Nothing irritates me more than digging through the clean laundry piles in the morning for two matching socks!
What is your favorite family activity?
This past Christmas Jacob got a Radio Flyer two-seater wagon that he LOVES. One of our favorite activities is to pull him around the neighborhood and watch him as he looks all around and discovers new things. I am looking forward to spring when the weather improves and we can go out more often.
Favorite “mommy time” activity?
Dinner and a bottle of wine with my girlfriends. I have a couple of close friends who live in Charlotte that I have known for almost 20 years. Synching up schedules to go out with them is not nearly as easy as it used to be, so it is extra special when we can find the time to make it work.
Favorite place to eat dinner out?
If it’s a date night, my husband and I like to go to Ilios Noche or Nikko. They are pretty close to our house and are delicious! If we are out as a family, Brixx hits the spot.
Favorite weekend escape?
It has to be the spa. I love a good massage and a facial. Which reminds me that it has been a really long time since I have gone!
Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
These days, it is places like Old Navy, Target and Marshalls. Jacob is growing way too fast to spend lots of money on clothing. I try to plan ahead and stock up on the next size before he hits it. Thanks to a recent Old Navy online sale, he is already set for summer! My mom has also been great about picking things up when she spots a good deal.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
There are so many things to do as a family! The weekly Smarty Scoop on Weekend Activities is a testimony to that. It is also great to live in an area that is close to the mountains and the beach.
I wish I had known…
Oh gosh, there are so many of these! Probably the biggest is that I wish I had known how much of a struggle it would be to lose the baby weight – it is hard!! And that getting back to your pre-baby weight does not necessarily equate to your pre-baby clothing size. It is amazing how much your body changes!
I could not live without my…
Husband. He truly is my best friend, an awesome guy and a great father. And my son, of course. Life really began for us when he was born.
My must-have item for a baby is….
My SUV. It’s big and obnoxious, but is a life saver when we travel and have to cart all of the other must-have baby items like the pack and play, stroller, high chair, toys, clothes, diapers, bottles, food…
Thank you so much Janyl. If you have a Smarty mom that you would like to “mominate” please email us at email@example.com.