Tiare sent us this interview weeks before the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, she has moved to the front line and has been dealing with the outbreak on a daily basis. At the end of the piece you’ll see her COVID-19 update and some photos. Thank you for your work, Tiare!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up, and where you live now?
I was born and raised in Kona on the big island of Hawaii. I grew up with three older brothers playing soccer and boxing. I was not into fashion and we had no stores to shop from on our island of one stoplight. All of the clothes I received were from my grandmother on a different island that would shop at the swap meet and send to us kids in a box.
After completing high school, I attended OSU undergrad which was very scary for a kid coming from the big island. Then I went on to obtain my masters in science, physician assistant in Arizona. A.T. Still University had a special track for native Hawaiian/ Native American students which was awesome! Two years flew by and before I knew it, I had graduated!
Before starting work, I had gotten married and pregnant with my first girl. While breastfeeding her, I had gotten pregnant again with another girl. While I was staying home taking care of girls, I was able to make a small income reselling boutique clothing that I would spend my weekends hunting for at consignment stores. I did this for about 4 years before I was able to go to work.
Since then, I have had two more girls (yes, we were trying for a boy) while working full time as a physician assistant in gastroenterology.
What's a regular day like for you?
Typical day: I wake up tired after sleeping with a 1 year old kicking me in the face all night to screaming girls playing in the living room, then I get them all ready (includes feeding, changing, brushing teeth, lunches and water-packed, shoes on) and myself ready to go out the door, I take all the kids to drop off the two older kids at Private Christian school, drop off 3-year-old at preschool, then drive the baby back home, then I proceed to work seeing patients all day and some days, not even a lunch break, then drive home around 4ish and kiss my husband goodbye as he goes to work and I take over baby duties. Babies are usually fussy at this time, so we all go on an hour-long walk to spot any wildlife we can see and hopefully babies take a little snooze, come home and prepare dinner/homework/pack lunches/Baths x4/turn down rooms for bed/get waters/doTerra/brush teeth/bedtime stories/sing silent night 30 times, then it’s 30 mins of me time to drink a chai before I fall asleep and wake up tired the next day to do it all again. my husband’s story is similar to mine except opposite as he has baby duty during the day and works at night most days one of the four kids has an activity to add to the chaos. My husband is a musician.
You have 4 girls. Can you tell us about them and about your parenting style or philosophy?
Hāweo (ha-vay-oh) means light out of darkness in Hawaiian and she is my eldest at 9 years old. She is very sweet, shy but funny, and a great reader. Not too independent and requires a lot of motivation.
Kawena (ka-ven-ah) means rosy reflection in the sky and she is my 6-year-old. She is funny, extroverted, outgoing, sweet, helpful, but very stubborn little girl.
Kauluwela (ka-ulu-vela) means glowing, bright-colored is my three-year-old. She is very very outgoing and smart! Her vocabulary is fabulous but she is very tiny so still wearing 2t. She loves preschool and making friends. She likes to be the boss.
Ēwe (eh-vay) Luana means grounded in light and is my one-year-old. She is as big is my three-year-old (same shoe and clothes size) and eats a ton. Her and Wela also speak some Portuguese as dad is from Brazil. Ēwe is strong and stubborn.
What do you wish for your four girls as far as their growth and expression of self?
I wish for all my girls to thrive and be happy. I want them to feel grounded yet independent! Hawaii is a great place to raise kids with a sense of compassion and very family-oriented. Most families have three generations in a household, this is very normal. My mother lives downstairs and is 75 years. She still helps a lot with the kids but they also help her.
“It takes a village” is a very common saying here and the more family to love your kids, the better.
And what do you wish for yourself?
I wish I had more time to spend with kids and less work but my patients need me as well. Balance is the key but has proved very difficult to get right. I strive to keep balance every day.
Photos courtesy of Jessica Bir of my mod gallery
COVID-19 UPDATE from Tiare:
Hello! I have been very busy as my job has shifted from Gastroenterology to COVID-19 Test, trace, treat. I am on the front line pre-screening and swabbing patients. We have had 75 positive on our island. My group, Ali’i Health Center is the leading test site for my island. All of us medical providers have morphed into COVID-19 experts!