Hi friends! Welcome to Sophia – Part Four! 🙂 I hope that you’ve been reading along with us this week – if you’re new to the party, let me give you an overview of what we’ve been working on:
Think of someone you admire — a talented artist or scientist, entrepreneur or adventurer.
Do you know what their great regret in life is? What advice would they share about parenting, or aging, or finding fulfillment? What book has had the greatest impact on their life?
Chances are you don’t know. Which is why we’ve created Sophia, a project to collect life lessons from fascinating people.
Here’s how it works. We’re conducting hundreds of long-form interviews with accomplished individuals, asking them to share stories and advice about topics that are central to a well-lived life — happiness, relationships, aging, work, parenting, habits and routines, to name a few.
We’ll publish these personal conversations on HuffPost, and we’ll also use the lessons our guests share to build a special platform (think of it as ‘Yelp for wisdom’) that organizes their collective insights by topic.
In the coming weeks we’ll feature life lessons from Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, successful executives, engineers, authors and athletes, dynamic thinkers and doers of all stripes. If you want their practical wisdom delivered straight to you, follow Sophia on Facebook or subscribe to our email newsletter.
The heart of this project is the set of questions we pose to each guest. Some of the questions elicit weighty responses, i.e., Have you had any recent realizations about living a rewarding life?
Other questions are more practical, i.e., What’s the greatest travel journey you’ve taken that you’d recommend to others? What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve received?
Each individual’s answers are personal and unique, but they are all also broadly useful. So follow or subscribe for lessons, ideas and insights you can apply to your own life. Get in touch with us at sophia [at] huffingtonpost.com; we read every note. Also, we’re always on the lookout for new guests. If you have suggestions, including someone wise and insightful in your own life, let us know.
Today’s topic / loaded gun is…..
- What kinds of advice do you have for people raising young children? Be there. Be present. I wish that I had spent more time with my Muppet when she was small, but I did what I had to do. However, I’m fairly certain that I could have been with her full time, every day….and it still wouldn’t have felt like it was enough. Those years go by way too quickly – take time to enjoy them. Do the laundry later – have a teddy bear tea party NOW. Hold hands as much as you can. Cuddle. Be their number one fan, and their favorite person. Understand that your days of being their favorite are limited – enjoy them while you can. Be silly. Wear underpants on your head. Make them giggle – and giggle along with them. Try everything. Be happy. 🙂 (and sleep when you can – the dishes will wait, I promise)
- What kinds of advice do you have for people raising teenagers? Be strong. Be brave. Say NO all the time, as needed. Be the parent – your kid will have enough friends. Speaking of them, know those friends – and know their parents, too. Listen to your kid – minimize your yelling. For the love of all that’s good and holy, DO NOT SAY ‘I told you so’….nothing good comes from smugness. Be honest with your kid, keep it real whenever possible. Laugh with them. Keep a social life that revolves around the two of you. Be there for them. Answer the phone when they call in the middle of the night for a ride – go get them, and praise them for calling. Never give up – always keep trying. Tell them you love them. Wear underpants on your head and try to make them laugh – if it worked before, it may work again. 🙂
- Do you have any regrets regarding your own parenting? Sure do…I wish I hadn’t worked so much when my Wee One was small – but I had to do what I had to do. Thankfully she understands that. I feel badly that she’s had the health struggles that she’s had, but…there’s not a lot that I can do about that. Sadly. I wish I could. However, my greatest regrets revolve around time – but, like I tell her….quality is just as important as quantity. I believe. 🙂
- What do you feel is the most helpful thing your parents did for you that many parents don’t do? They let me move away from home at the ripe old age of 15 – to this day, I can’t figure out how I talked them in to it, but….I’m really glad that I did. I’m better for the experience. 🙂
- What did your parents get wrong that others can learn from? Holy hell….where do I start? There were a lot of mistakes, sadly. One of the biggest mistakes was not being terribly encouraging, but stifling – which is a losing battle with me, because I’m a bit of a force of nature…and I’m not exactly meant to be stifled. I don’t believe they ever did anything with bad intent, but when I look back and think about how I was raised, there’s simply SO much that I wish was different. There wasn’t a lot of happiness in my home – there was always WAY too much stress and strife, and I can’t really recall my mother ever being happy or joyful. Isn’t that sad? Oh well…C’est la vie. 🙂
- Do you have any unique advice regarding disciplining children? Consistency, fairness, a sense of humor, consistency, swiftness (don’t make a kid sweat waiting to see what will happen – that’s just mean, and nobody likes that), consistency, patience, clarity – be clear about what you expect. Remind them often.
- What are some parenting practices you tried with your kids that didn’t have the effect you intended? Time outs were useless at my house – nothing good came from them. Thankfully, my Muppet has not presented many disciplinary challenges (yet) – so we’ve not tested this part of our relationship much yet. All of our brouhahas blow over quickly, and we always talk a lot about what is going on. That’s our greatest blessing, I think – being able to talk to each other. I so hope it continues. 🙂
- Has parenthood changed you in any unexpected ways? Absolutely!!!!! I’ve learned (some) patience, I’m more compassionate, and I think that I’m a much MUCH better person because of her. I am nowhere near as selfish as I used to be (thankfully), and I’m more compassionate. Being a mama is the very VERY best thing that I’ve ever experienced – I’m grateful for her every day. 🙂
- Do you have any advice about balancing parenthood with the demands of your career and your own personal development? You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. You’re only one person, and you’ve only got 24 hours in a day. Do the best you can, try to balance all of your obligations, and spread the wealth around – don’t let any one area get all of the attention all of the time. Just do your best – you’re going to do great. 🙂
- Are you content with the number of children that you had? I badly wanted to have a second child, but it wasn’t in the cards, so….I’m really thrilled/over the moon with the amazing kidlet I’ve got. Lucky me!!! 🙂
- (If no children) Was that a deliberate choice? Are you happy with how that part of your life has unfolded? N/A
Being a parent is really hard, and being a single parent (like me) is no picnic. I rarely hear from somebody (anybody) that I’m doing a good job at it….and that’s hard. Everybody likes praise – especially me. I would love to hear that I’m kicking butt and taking names – even if I’m not. I try so bloody hard – which has to count for something, right? It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Thankfully every moment with my girl is just the best – I really am so lucky to have her. 🙂 She gave me a Best Mom of the Year Award last fall….Love love LOVE. 🙂