I hope you all are enjoying the start to your Memorial Weekend celebration. We have a new Smarty Mom to introduce, Tanya Clawson. Tanya was one of my very first preschool friends and we quickly hopped on the same baby train. Even to the point of having a set of twins at the end, perhaps not 100% planned (shhh, our babies will NEVER read this:-)
Tanya is stay-at-home mom to five beautiful and impeccably-behaved children: Savannah (10), Ryan (9), Travis (6), Davis (5) and Ashley (5). Both of my girls already know that if they pick a boy with the last name “Clawson”, they are already pre-approved for in-law material! Tanya makes raising 5 kids back-to-back seem like a walk in the park. She is my go-to person when it comes to anything mommyhood since she has so much experience and she is as cool as a cucumber. In the nine years that I’ve known Tanya, I’ve never seen her raise her voice, never seen her kids even remotely disheveled and have never seen even a fleck of dust in her house! I seriously don’t know how she does it! In Tanya’s previous life, she was a biology teacher and researcher and is a die-hard Duke fan – such a Smarty girl!
Let’s get to know Tanya…
As a fellow mom of let’s just say, not necessarily planned twins, how did you handle the jump from 3 to 5 in one fell swoop?!
One word: NANNY (well, OK- my husband helped too!) When I had the twins I had a kindergardener, a 4 year old and a 15 month old. I don’t know how I would have ever gotten my oldest two kids anywhere they needed to be if I hadn’t been able to leave the twins at home! Being able to get out of the house really helped me keep my sanity. My husband was a huge help when he was home, and a good glass of wine every now and then didn’t hurt either!
What was the biggest challenge?
Taking the twins anywhere. Those bucket carriers are heavy (great for biceps though)! I rarely took them anywhere – on the other hand, I took the 15-month-old everywhere and he became kind of spoiled. I always say he’s the one who would miss me the most if I was gone! When I did start taking the twins places I would always hear “so these are the twins- I’ve never seen them!”
What piece of advice/words of wisdom would you like to give to other moms in the “Big Fam Club” (4 or more kids)?
Don’t wish away the craziness because it goes by really fast. When I’m having an insane day I stop and think about the fact that in about 13 years they’ll all be out of the house and I’ll really miss them!
How do you respond to the question “are they all yours”?!
I like Mike’s response the best- he always says he’s never dated a woman with so many kids before!
What is your favorite family time activity?
Vacationing- which we don’t do very often but its definitely my favorite! Its nice when we get away because I usually don’t have to cook or do laundry and we do more things with the kids like play games and do puzzles and just hang out. It always makes me realize that I need to do more of that when we’re home.
Favorite mommy-time activity?
This may be boring but I like to go for a run when the kids are at school and come home to an empty house where I can take an uninterrupted shower. I’m pretty crazy, I know. I think I’ll expand my horizons next year when my twins are in kindergarten and I have more that a 3-hour time frame to work with!
Best book you’ve read lately?
Game Change- it’s about the 2008 presidential election. I’m a politics junkie.
What is your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
We probably do McAllisters the most because its so convenient and my very picky kids like it. It gets embarrassing when the younger kids yell “its kids-eat-free-night!” as we’re walking in. Yikes! Its true though – we eat there on Tuesdays pretty often. We also like Hawthorne’s.
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
I wish I could remember them all! My 9 year old is a wise guy and came home from a Steelers game saying things that are inappropriate for me to repeat! They are all funny in their own way. One of my twins asked me the other day why God makes mean animals. How do you answer that? I know I laugh out loud often at things that come out of their mouths but of course I can’t remember the really funny stuff!
Best place to score kids clothes and shoes?
I love Tootsies Too and Shoe-In for shoes. Mini Boden is probably my favorite for the girls and J Crew for the boys – but I wind up buying most of their clothes at Old Navy and Target.
Best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
Ryan’s 6th was probably our favorite- we took a bunch of boys to see monster trucks. Thank goodness for earplugs!
Favorite date-night spot?
Hmmm … we just went to DelFrisco’s which was great. I love Toscana and Nobles too.
Favorite GNO activity/spot?
I feel like I always wind up at Cantina 1511 for girls nights- which is fine with me! I love that place! For lunch I’m a big fan of Nordstrom and Cafe Monte. For couples- laser tag is fun. Did it once and can’t wait to do it again- sometimes its fun to shoot your husband!
As a mom of elementary-school children, can you please shed some light on the sports thing?! This is a blog on its own, but I’m terrified of all of the travel sports teams! What happened to just doing something for the love of the game – it seems like everyone is obsessed with making their child the next Olympic athlete these days! Any tips would be appreciated!
How much time do I have??? First of all, what is your definition of travel? I just had my first out of town soccer tournament in Mt. Pleasant, SC with my 10 year old daughter. She’s been doing challenge soccer for 2 years and did the Y before that. Most weekends we are at the Harris Y or local parks. Huntersville is usually the farthest we travel. If you don’t like to venture more than 15 minutes from home or have multiple games in a weekend you may not like sports leagues beyond the Y. My boys all do South Park baseball. The main difference from the Y is the number of practices and games- there’s way more- but no travel involved. It’s hard to say what I’ll let my kids do in the future. Based on my experience so far I feel like you can stay local and still be in competitive leagues. I also hope they can all get to play on school teams. I guess if one of them was exceptional at a sport I might do the travel thing. The jury is still out on that one!
Now that the economy is on the upswing, I’m in the market for a new Smarty sled. Back to the debate: minivan or SUV? Favorite feature of your car?
SUV! Come on Jen- get a Suburban! They might be small now, but they grow, make friends, and have lots of gear. I don’t know if I’d call it a “smarty sled” but it does fit my Harris Teeter chairs, lots of baseball bats and helmets, a pilates mat AND the groceries! My favorite feature is that it fits all of us and our stuff- and I don’t mind that it gets pretty beat up because after all, it’s a Suburban.
Favorite CSP article thus far?
I can’t think of one favorite – its all good! I like reading about other moms and also seeing what’s going on in town for kids (Wednesday Smarty Scoop Series). The challenge is finding the time to go do it! I’d love to take them to more shows, etc.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
All the other families in Charlotte! When we were moving here from NYC, we had a 1 year old. We were told it was a great family town this is. It really is! I didn’t appreciate it at the time but do now. And of course I love the weather, except in August!
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
I don’t know if its a secret and actually it’s in Pineville, but I LOVE MJ Donuts- they’re in a strip mall across from Autobell. I’m glad they aren’t closer because it could become a habit…
I could not live without my…
Pottery Barn erasable wall calendar- and my color-coded iCalendar. I consult both multiple times a day. If I don’t put it on the calendar it isn’t happening because I’ll forget!
Thanks, Tanya! If you have a Smarty Mom OR Dad you’d like to nominate, email us! We’d love to hear from you!