Meet the parent: Michelle Castro on raising 3 busy, unique, athletic kids
Michelle and Rob Castro have been together for 16 years. They live in Renton with their three children, Noah, 12, Olivia, 6, Matteo, 5, and their puppy Kona. Michelle grew up in Beacon Hill and her parents still live in the childhood home where she was raised.
She now works in tech and serves on the board of the Seattle Chinese Athletic Association (SCAA) and as a parent coordinator for Noah's basketball team. Both Olivia and Noah are active in the league’s all-volunteer run basketball program.
The SCAA was founded in 1968 by a group of dads who had grown up playing sports together. They wanted to create a space for organized activities where Chinese youth could get to know each other. Michelle’s family has been a part of the SCAA for four years and has found the organization to be a vital source of community and belonging.
We caught up with Michelle on the challenges of raising three kids with three unique personalities, where to find her family on the weekends, and building a life around basketball.
Where might parents run into your family around town?
We value and treasure our weekends and take advantage of that family time. When we do have a free/open weekend (which is very rare), Rob and I sometimes pack up the kids and the pup spur of the moment and sporadically go on a road trip to Portland, Deception Pass or spend a night in Canada. Most weekends, though, you’ll catch us at a basketball or football game. Noah is really into football and basketball – so between the two sports and depending on the season, you’ll catch us at one of his games. The kids also have a love for bubble tea and will jump on any opportunity to go!
How long have you been a member of the Seattle Chinese Athletic Association?
My family has been involved with SCAA for four years. My eldest son Noah started in clinic where he was formally introduced to the game and began learning the fundamentals of basketball. When he reached the fourth grade, he began playing games and was able to apply those skills on the court. He has been playing since then under the same coach (he is now in sixth). It’s been great seeing the friendships he’s developed.
My daughter, Olivia, started clinic this year and has been loving it! It has been fun witnessing her growth in understanding the game and knowing the terms. While cooking dinner, I’ll hear Noah teaching Olivia defensive moves.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the organization?
The sense of community it has brought into our lives and the lives of the families involved. From the Jamboree to Al Mar tournaments, and Awards and Ceremony Banquet, you do get the feeling of being part of a close community and family. Coaches, parents and players are always looking out for each other. You also see the older youth and adults who are (or were) part of SCAA giving back to the community by showing their support to the younger generation by coaching, helping with events or attending clinic to help out.
Those values and lessons cannot be told or read about; it’s by exposing our youth and having them be part of it to experience firsthand, so in return it will become second nature to them.
Were you athletic growing up?
I played volleyball in elementary school but did not continue once I reached high school.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of parenting?
Trying to keep up. Literally. The asks and needs are endless, especially when raising more than one child. What can also be challenging is trying to switch hats simultaneously depending on the situation. How we address something with Noah will be different with how we approach it with Olivia and when we get to the youngest, we really have to think of “how can I say this for a 5-year-old to understand?” It truly is a balancing act and Rob and I try and do our best.
Communication is also key. Rob and I constantly talk about how we are doing, what’s working, what’s not working and what can we do differently. Each of our kids’ personalities is so different and how we solve or fix something with 1 kid doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the other.
The most rewarding element of parenting?
The most rewarding … When someone, especially when it’s someone we don’t know, gives us a compliment about our kids. About their personality, or behavior, or if they do a kind deed for someone else. Hearing that from a stranger is assurance that Rob and I are handling this parenting thing right. It really is lead by example.
The other big rewarding factor is witnessing the kids take care of each other. Aside from the many moments of arguing and bickering, there are also those moments when they look out for each other, protect each other or do something kind for the other without being asked. When I catch those moments, I’m quick to tell them how happy that made me or tell them that’s the best gift ever! Actions truly speak louder than words!
Is there anything you are working on right now that the Seattle's Child community can help you with?
If there are parents looking for a basketball team for their child to join next season, or have children between the ages of 6-9 and wanting to join clinic visit the SCAA website.