Mommi-View 002 (Shelby Reyes) – Owner of SimplyHappyMama

Tell us a little bit about you:
   I met my husband, Ramil, almost 6 years ago right after I finished by BA in Sociology. I was on the fence about pursuing my Masters degree and he really encouraged me to go after it since I talked about it so often! I was accepted to USC for my Masters in Public Health and graduated in 2015. The focus of my degree was in Health Education and Promotion. I was selected as a Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellow for the City of Pomona and began an internship there while I was finishing my degree. During my time in Pomona I worked on health education programs for families, which ignited my passion for finding ways to make healthy living obtainable for everyone. Shortly after graduating, I started working with Western University of Health Sciences, located in Pomona. I had made connections with faculty and students in their Nursing Department while working with a group of Promotores from the community. My position at WesternU allowed me to stay connected to the community work I was doing in Pomona and try to help integrate more of the Nursing students into the community as well.  While working at WesternU, I became pregnant with my daughter Avery. I assumed after having Avery, that I would return to work soon after, but staying home was best for our family and we were fortunate enough to make it work. Since being home with Avery, I dedicate most of my time to researching and reading ways to improve the health and well-being of our family. I started my blog, in 2018 to share my findings and hopefully provide simple ways that other families can incorporate health behaviors into their daily life.
1.What was your dream job as a kid? 
There was a period in my childhood when I wanted to be a lawyer, I really enjoy stating the facts for people!
2. What is your relationship like with your parents? 
I went through a rough patch with my Mom through my teenage years and early 20s. Now that I am older (and less of a troublemaker) we get along a lot better! My Dad has lived in Florida since I was in the third grade and we keep pretty constant communication, but definitely connect more now that I have Avery. I also have a great relationship with my Stepmom Dad’s wife) and my ex-stepdad (Mom’s ex-husband).
You don’t sound like you were trouble … At least not in college 🙂 I had no idea you had step parents. What is some advice you have for someone who is a step parent?
Haha I hit a few rough patches in my younger years, but luckily was able to learn from those mistakes! My advice to a step parent is try to be open and have lines of communication available to your step kids. They may not always open up and reach out, but knowing that you are available to them can be really helpful. 
3. What is something you are proud of? 
That I continue to learn on a daily basis.
What is one of your favorite sites you use to get more education ?  
If I want something with hard evidence-based facts, I like to use Google Scholar and search for peer-reviewed articles. I also browse Amazon to find books and read reviews for them before deciding on one, then I check to see if they have a copy at my local library!
4. What is one thing you wish you did in life before kids? 
Traveled to Europe! The thought of taking kids over there sounds like a nightmare, but I still really want to go!
5. What is something you plan to do after all the kids can take care of themselves? 
Travel to Europe! Haha. But they definitely need to be able to carry their own bags and go to the bathroom on their own. Also, I want them to remember the trip and appreciate all of the history and art.
6. What was your first year of motherhood like? (If stepmom what was ur first year of stepmom-hood like?) 
I really struggled the first few weeks, looking back now I think I had a little bit of postpartum depression, but didn’t want to admit it. We had to call 911 on Avery’s 2nd day home, she had jaundice so we had to cover her with a billi blanket for the first few days while she slept, she had a difficult time breastfeeding so I pumped exclusively for the first two months to bottle feed her and was finally able to get her to latch by the time she was 3 months old. I really thought I was prepared for Motherhood, but it was much more than I could have ever prepared for!
Even with reading all the books in the world and asking all your family and friends for advice I still don’t think we would truly understand what we get ourselves into with motherhood. Not only the things we learn while taking care of a baby but the emotional rollercoaster of motherhood. Including sleep deprivation and or the fears you create in your head once your children come into the world. And once you have a little baby the fears never go away they just change as our children age. As a baby we fear how they sleep at night, toddlers could run into the road, school age could have bad influences, teens could do drugs. It is the ongoing battle of motherhood. 
Yes you totally nailed it on the head! The emotions and feelings you have as a parent are indescribable! So true about the fears, they are always changing and evolving and I am only about two years into this parenthood gig!
7. Stepmom- One thing you learned after having your own kids compared to having step kids?
8.  Are you happy with the number of friends/mom friends you have?  
I am actually! We moved to a new area last summer and I made it a point to go out and make new friends. I found MommyFit and instantly made friends with tons of amazing women. I also have a close group of girlfriends who all have kids around the same age (one who is pregnant with their first)!
9. What is a piece of a few pieces of advice you’d like to give moms or future moms (stepmoms)? 
ASK FOR HELP! Never be ashamed to ask for help. Assign your husband some tasks, make sure he is involved, raising a kid is not just a Mom thing! Early on, my husband would get up and help me feed Avery during the night and change diapers. He is now in charge of bath and bedtime. It’s great because they have special moments and time set aside for one another. I think I was afraid to ask for help early on when Avery was born and I regret it looking back now.
This is hard for a lot of moms, I have a hard time asking my husband for help with the kids. But I am learning, and really seeing how much it benefits the kids to have him be available for them and involved with their everyday activities!!  
I was terrible asking for help in the beginning as well! I am really great about it with my husband, but still feel like I am burdening friends and family members if I need help. I’m really trying to get past that. Especially as I am starting to dedicate more time to my blog, I have to reach out and ask for help here and there so I can get things done.
10. What are some goals you have for the next year? 5 years? 
I hope to stay consistent with my blog and ideally make enough money to allow me to stay home. We also want to have another child, so those are the big things in my sight right now.
Do you have another job right now? Any advice for moms starting blogs?
No I currently don’t have a job right now, but I have some major student loans that are looming over my head and keep me up at night!  My advice for Moms starting blogs is to just dive right in! The more you sit and write, the easier it becomes. I spent a lot of time researching how to design my blog, what services to use, how to write posts and grow you audience (which was all very helpful), however it wasn’t until I set goals for myself to write consistently that I truly feel it is starting to go somewhere. Also, don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress! That is the biggest hurdle I have to overcome, I start a lot of things and don’t finish them because they aren’t exactly how I envisioned them. Once you let that go and put it out there in the world, you start getting feedback and learning on the fly. That’s been extremely helpful for me.
11. What do you need or want in a friend ? 
Someone who understands that life and motherhood is messy and complicated. Accepts that I’m not perfect and I may cancel plans sometimes and just need to give myself some downtime. I always like to sign up for things and volunteer in the moment, but when it comes down to it I sometimes spread myself thin and then feel bad when I have to cancel a plan or I’m not quick to respond to a call or text. I need friends who can give each other grace and be understanding.
Yes!!! Most of my closest friends are ones I contact once a week or we can even go a month without talking but I still know they are their for me if I need!!! 
  1. Are you planning on adding to your family? Dogs? More children?                           Yes we would like one more child and eventually one more dog! (We currently have 1 lab)
2. What is your favorite thing to do with your child one on one? 
Go to Disneyland! We have annual passes and I have been taking Avery since she was just a few months old. My favorite days are when we go just the two of us. We stroll around slowly, take in whatever sites we like, and stop for lots of snack breaks. I love sharing my love of Disney with her.
I love seeing your little blogs posts of things you two bring in yours trips! Gives me ideas of things to bring when I take my toddlers out.
Snacks of course are the number one item that I keep in my bag! Haha. I also like making little “busy bags” for when we are on the go. I fill it with a little notepad and crayons, pipe cleaner with some dry pasta for “beading”, lacing cards, flash cards, any little activities that can buy a few moments of peace!
3. What is your favorite thing to do with your husband ?  
Go out to a nice dinner and drinks – we love trying new trendy food spots!
What is your favorite restaurant? Or places you suggest couples go? 
Our most recent favorite is Goat and Vine in Old Town Temecula! Their pizza is amazing and it’s a cute little spot. We also like visiting the Thompson & Twain speakeasy bar near there. Local breweries are another favorite. 
4. What is your favorite thing to do alone ?  
Sip a glass of wine and read!
What do you enjoy reading?
I usually rotate between motivational books (Rachel Hollis’ ‘Girl Wash Your Face’ is a favorite) and fiction books (I have been loving books by Liane Moriarty recently!)
5. What are some Pet peeves you have ?- Husband / kids/ step kids (Things they do that bother you) (For ex: Pee on the seat, leave undies on the floor, don’t make their bed) 
My husband leaves coins in his pockets all the time! I don’t know why someone walks around with so much change in there pockets! hahah. My daughter has mastered the fake cry/whine, so lately that has been really getting to me!
LOL! I never check pockets, usually I discover items when they are in the dryer being tossed around and its tooooo late!!  
I’ve done that too! The worst is when it’s paper that gets all mushed up!
6. How you discipline your children? (Add age of child if you’d like- I discipline my toddler different than my 9 year old) 
My daughter is almost 22 months so we just redirect her. If she does something she shouldn’t be doing (for example, hitting someone) I tell her firmly “no, we do not hit. That’s not nice” and hold her hands in front of her. I then encourage her to play with something else. We have tried a few timeouts or cool-offs here and there as well. If she is getting out of control and flailing around on the floor, I scoop her up and set her on the couch for a minute or two so she can compose herself. Then I come over and tell her it’s ok to feel strong feelings and that I’m here to listen.
Sometimes the hardest thing as a mother is to maintain composure with our children, but as they see us lead by example I believe they will take on the things we set as these examples. Keeping calm in the midst of chaos. 
Yes, this exactly! I used to think I was a patient person until I had a kid haha. I sometimes have to work on it.
7. What is the hardest thing about parenting? The easiest?  
Um, EVERYTHING! Haha, I think the hardest thing is just wondering if you are making the right decisions! There is so much information and so many ways to do things, that it can be hard (especially with outside influences like social media puttting us under a microscope) to know if you are doing the best thing for them at the time. The easiest, I literally can’t think of anything related to parenting that I would consider easy!
Yes I do believe parenting is the hardest job out there!! No real training but on the job.
8. What was something you’ve learned while parenting, that you weren’t told you’d learn? 
All the annoying songs! Also, you basically become an expert researcher with your child. If something doesn’t work for them, you test something else until you find the best course of action.
“Baby shark doo doo” But oh my they are so cute when they act it out 🙂  
I find myself rocking out to the songs in the car even when she’s not with me!
9. What are some favorite family traditions, routines, or special things that you do? 
We always eat dinner together, every night no matter what. 
10. Biggest piece of parenting advice for new parents or new step-parents? 
Embrace the mess. In the beginning I always felt stressed that I couldn’t keep on all of the housework. Now I focus on essentialism – what needs to be done to keep us running smoothly. Often that means letting the laundry and dishes pile up, but enjoying the memories we are making and the time spent together. When I have to cook or prep in the kitchen, I set my daughter up with some dry rice, flour, or other items to play with in the meantime. It might make a mess, but it keeps her happy, included, and occupied while I get some work done. Find ways to include your children in your daily tasks, even if it slows you down and makes a bigger mess. In the long run, they are learning valuable lessons and getting quality time with you.
11. What is something you want your kids to know when they are 10? 18? 25? 
At age 10, I hope they know to love themselves and not bother with what others think of them! At age 18, I want them to understand the importance of the next decade of their life. I didn’t take my early years seriously and I really wish I would have. At 25, that it is never too late to try something new or take a new course! If you want to try something new or go after something different, don’t ever feel that you are already too old to start over.
You’ll find my friend Shelby on Instagram @SimplyHappyMama. Or you can find her on her blog!!!


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