11 Questions with… Andrea Ramsay-Speers
10 Sep 2018
Welcome to “11 Questions with…”. This edition’s guest is Andrea Ramsay-Speers.
11 Questions with… Andrea Ramsay-Speers
1. Elevator pitch… tell us about yourself.
I’m a psychotherapist who helps people enjoy being home – I work with parents, couples, individuals to help them feel less stressed and more like themselves.
2. Your spouse… tell us about him.
My husband Jason is the best! He’s the GM of Film.ca Cinemas and he’s about as hands-on a father as a guy can be. Anything he does, he does without complaining and to the best of his ability. He’s laid back, up for anything, very supportive, and generally just really easy to like.
3. Your kids… tell us about them.
We’ve got three feminine and fierce daughters. Our eldest is Hermione – she is a gifted artist, loves to read, and is a deep-thinker as well as being friendly and a natural leader. Zoe is a competitive cheerleader who loves to understand how things work, and always want to jump in and help. Daphne’s our master jokester-politician-negotiator, who brings a naturally upbeat and cheerful attitude to whatever room she’s in.
4. Do you have any family traditions?
One of our favourite family traditions is birthday cake in bed on the morning of someone’s birthday. We’ll get a cake the night before, then climb into bed with our birthday girl (or guy, if it’s my husband’s birthday!) and dig in with forks. The kids don’t tend to eat much for breakfast that morning, but they sure do look forward to celebrating everyone’s birthdays!
5. What have been your biggest challenges as a parent?
Letting go of order and expectations about how things “could” go or “should” go, has undoubtedly been one of my biggest parenting challenges. I like tidiness, I like organization, I like being on time. Kids in the house? Good-bye tidiness, good-bye organization, good-bye being on time. I’m learning to roll with it and not get bogged down in the expectations I bring to how I think life should unfold.
6. If you could pick any career in the world for yourself, what would it be, and why?
In terms of career, I’ve already made a switch: I began university to be a music teacher, then did a degree in film after graduating from music (but before going to teacher’s college) and ended going back again for a masters in counselling psychology. So I’m not sure that there’s really anything I’d rather do more right now, after having dabbled in a few areas! (Although if you see a posting for a wine/cupcake/French fry taster job, please forward it to me.)
7. Growing up, who inspired you the most?
My grandmother was a big influence on me. I’m not sure that I’d say I felt inspired by her, but she was kind of exactly what you’d like a grandmother to be: interested in us as kids and happy to spend time with us, welcoming to everyone, while being very practical and down to earth. She rolled with the punches and just did what needed to be done, and especially as an adult, I can look back on her approach to life and think it is a pretty inspiring way to live.
8. How do you balance work life and family life?
For me, the biggest factor in keeping my life in balance is doing things for myself. Things like prioritizing working out at the gym, planning healthy meals, time with friends and always having a good book to read, are all parts of my self-care routine. Sometimes it might mean going away with friends for the weekend, but it might also be just knowing that I’m going to be very busy and scheduling a night off in my calendar, just to do whatever I feel like. I’m a firm believer that you can’t give away what you don’t have, so if I want to give my family and my clients my best, I need to treat myself to love and care, too.
9. What advice would your “current self” give to your “just about to have my first child” self?
I think my best piece of advice for my pre-baby self would have been to just relax and enjoy it more. There are so many things to get stressed out about when it comes to having a baby, and it all worked itself out in the end anyway, so I could have saved myself a lot of hassle by just breathing and going with the flow a little more!
10. Has there been a piece of advice you were given about parenting that really stuck with you?
Funny enough, one of the most memorable (if not, the best) pieces of advice I received was from my cousin’s wife and it was about self care. Their kids are about 10 years older than mine, and she told me once that she never leaves the house in sweatpants. She said that to feel like herself, she needed to look like herself, and so she would get up in the morning and make an effort to do something with her appearance, even if she didn’t have plans to leave the house. It made all the difference to her, and that really stuck with me. I live in comfy sweatpants when I’m at home, but I really did find that when I left the house in them, I didn’t feel as good about myself as if I just made even the smallest effort to throw on less lounge-y clothes and present a little more of myself to the world. I don’t think new moms should feel pressured to fit into pre-baby clothes or to spend hours on their hair and make-up, but I do know that how you look on the outside impacts how you feel on the inside, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to make the effort to feel good about yourself before you walk out the door or host someone at your house, regardless of how late you’ve been up with the baby. It might just be the only thing that keeps you feeling human that day!
11. What advice would you give to new parents?
My advice to new parents is: do what you can to prioritize sleep in your household. We are a chronically sleep-deprived society, and we’re passing that on to our kids. Little brains need quality sleep to grow and perform at their best, and many of the signs that we associate with lack of focus and “brattiness” can be attributed to being over-tired. When I work with parents who are struggling with their kids’ behaviour, the first thing I ask is, “How much sleep do they get?” And most of the time, that’s one thing the parents admit is a challenge, so we start there. Read up on what sleep deprivation looks like in kids – many parents are surprised to learn that waking up early or struggling to fall asleep are both signs of over tiredness. You need quality, uninterrupted sleep; so do your kids, and it’s so important to help them learn how to get it.
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“11 Questions with…” is an on-going feature. I will be interviewing parents with the same 11 questions, who like me, live in the digital world. The goal is to examine different perspectives, advice, challenges, and experiences from how people parent their children, and live a successful work / life / online balance.
With all the challenges of parenting these days, we could all use stories from fellow parents, who may have already gone through a similar experience, or were offered advice that you could use.
If you would like to be interviewed for an upcoming edition, please contact me at email@example.com.
Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, blogger, and social media manager. Craig likes to go camping, travel, go on road trips, watch movies, read with his girls, build stuff, operate the grill, and play bass guitar. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space. Known as Big Daddy Kreativ, his blog specializes in travel, lifestyle, food, automotive, events, parenting, movies, tech, recipes, health, pets, reviews, and giveaways.