3girlsblogging – an interview with Lisa Franklyn-Zaidi
Lisa Franklyn-Zaidi gives some great advice about raising three
1. Tell me about your family and blog.
Prior to having my three wildcats, I worked in finance. It was a great job, but it was not conducive to a family life. I guess it’s true: women can’t have it all! It’s a sad reality that most of us are in denial about. So anyway, I am a chatty mother of three– one girl and two boys. On most days they are the love of my life, but there are those days when they are the bane of my existence. I suppose that’s true for most moms, especially stay-at-home moms like me. Stay-at-home mom? That doesn’t roll off the tongue so easily. Why not just housewife? I’m liberal and progressive, but do we woman have to be so PC about everything? Okay, I digress. I did say that I was chatty. Anyway, back to my life story. I am married to my best friend Azeem, who I affectionately call Malik. We met in high school and went to college together at Columbia University. Currently, we co-own a tutoring company called Avid Learnning, LLC. When I am not helping out at Avid, I spend time on my soblog (social networking/blog) called 3Girlsblogging.com.
3Girlsblogging is a collaboration with my sister, Dr. Sue- The Internist, and my eleven year old daughter Zaharah, Sassy Zazzy. But let me give you a little background on how this collaboration came about. My daughter Zaharah started a celebrity gossip blog at the age of 9. I didn’t even know what blogging was back then. So as a protective mom, I asked Zaharah to stop. In Spring 2010, I was invited to participate in a private blog for Meredith Communications. I decided to give it a try to find out what this whole blogging thing was about. I ended up enjoying it and realizing that blogging is a great way for people to exchange ideas and thoughts. Fast forward to January 2011: I decided to start a blog combining my daughter, my sister, and my love of writing. At 3GB, we write about family/women’s issues from three perspectives: the stay-at-home mom, the medical professional, and the tween/teen. We also blog about a variety other topics: for example, celebrity gossip, must-haves, and fashion. It’s been a great project which has made us all closer.
2. What is one thing about you that not many people know?
I am an open person, so people who are close to me know almost everything about me. But one thing most people don’t know is that I cry at the drop of a hat when something sad happens in a movie. When I was growing up, my family always teased me about that. I remember watching a Christmas cartoon called Nester the Christmas Donkey when I was 5 or 6. I ended up sobbing like mad when Nester was kicked out of the manger for having long ears and his mommy died trying to protect him. Poor Nester was then constantly teased and ostracized by his peers. Perhaps this is why I am so committed to everyone being treated fairly, and I always want to correct the injustices in the world. Anyway, that’s the one thing that most folks don’t know about me. I am a sucker for a sad tale.
3. What was your biggest challenge being a mom?
I had a few, but I’ll narrow it down to one that is a constant challenge: keeping the balance between being a strict parent and allowing my kids to express themselves. It’s such a delicate balance. I grew up in a single-parent household, so what my mom said was the law. Though I understand this method of parenting, I don’t think it is the healthiest way to rear children. Your child should be able to express their thoughts, concerns, and opinions. Yes, that’s right. I believe that children should be allowed to disagree with their parents and that parents should consider their child’s feelings and opinions when certain decisions are made– not all decisions, of course. Sometimes there is no room for negotiation, like when it comes to bed times during the academic year. But if you want to raise independent thinkers, I think that the shut up and just listen to me mentality is not wise.
4. What are the main things kids do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Bullying. My middle son has had his fair share of bullying in his lifetime. It was heartbreaking for his dad and me to see him go through that. He has a naturally sweet disposition, but his peers unfortunately saw it as a weakness. Thankfully, his situation is a lot better now, but as my son continues to toughen up, we hope that he never loses the essence of who he is: an honorable, upright man who lives up to his name, Arshad.
5. What common mistakes do you see moms doing that you wish they wouldn’t?
That’s easy. Being indulgent. We’re a part of the i generation. Most kids only think about themselves. Most of their needs are wants and most of their wants are over the top. I’m sorry, but there is no way that you are dressing in fancier designer clothes than me! I always tell my children that Mommy and Daddy will get you what you need. For birthdays and special occasions, I spoil them– but not excessively. Ten and eleven year olds don’t need iPhones and iPads. Get back to the basics, moms and dads. Or else be prepared for the monsters you create.
6. What is your best tip for moms?
As a parent, it is important to realize that you are raising tomorrow’s leaders. It’s a great responsibility that should not be taken lightly. I wrote an article a few months ago in which I gave specific guidelines to parents. It was titled “Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Here is what I said:
As you look around, you sometimes see a successful leader and wonder how this person got to this place. You may look at your own life and wonder what the difference is between them and you. “Is it luck, destiny, or genetics?” you may ask yourself. Though some people are natural leaders, most leaders had to cultivate their talent. It all starts with the first role model a child usually has: the parent. As a parent, it is important to realize how much of your children’s outlook, behavior, and attitude is determined by you. It is you they look up to before they look to outside role models. In fact, the way you raise them will often determine who those outside role models are. So let’s look at four important traits that you should display as a parental role model. These attributes are the keys to raising a successful leader.
Respect: Teach your children to respect themselves, their elders, and their peers. If your child has high self-esteem, which comes from respecting him or herself, your child will likely not engage in reckless, self-destructive behaviors, e.g., abusing drugs and/or alcohol, promiscuity, etc. Allow your child to embrace the concept that his/her body is a temple. The best way to teach this is by setting an example in your own life. Eat healthy, exercise, and be mindful of the way you treat and speak to others. Children pick up on disdainful tones and will mimic your disrespectful behavior.
Honesty: As parents, one of our main goals is to raise trustworthy children. Instill honesty in your children and you will set them on a life-long path of trustworthiness. Be careful not to tell lies because your children pay attention to everything you say and do. If your children hear you telling “small white lies,” it’s only a matter of time before they start bending the truth.
Tolerance: Patience is a virtue. Teaching your children to be calm and rational when dealing with others is the best gift you can give them. A tolerant person can handle any situation and turn something negative into a positive. Be conscious of how you approach problems and help your children develop their own problem-solving skills. Avoid simply solving every problem for your child. This will make your child independent and help to build strong leadership skills.
Kindness: While it sounds simple, it is not always easy to teach kindness. Without compassion for others, your child will develop a repulsive “me-first” mentality. Teach your child the value of considering others’ feelings, needs, and thoughts. Strong leaders need the support of their troops and must inspire them. And let’s face it… if you’re mean and harsh, no one will follow you, even if your project or cause promotes something positive. The messenger has to be just as positive as the message. So parents, be kind to those around you and volunteer to help the less fortunate. Your children will learn their first lesson in compassion from your example.
Building strong character in our children is the toughest job of a parent, but it is the most rewarding. Children’s futures depend on how successfully they manage relationships in their personal and professional lives. If they have R.H.T.K. (Respect, Honesty, Tolerance, and Kindness), they will be on a path to success.
7. What are your favorite brands and where do you buy them?
I’m not really into brand names. That went out for me when I stopped working. There are not too many occasions for me to rock a Chanell or Escada suit anymore. Now I shop for quality merchandise that fits my body. I usually go to Ann Taylor or Chico’s if I need something casual that can cross over to evening wear with a few accessories. I also look around the racks of TJMaxx and Marshall’s. At both discount retailers, I get top designers for less. Or I just find something that fits me well.
8. What are your contact details?
9. What social networking sites do you recommend and why?
I enjoy connecting with moms on several social networking sites. My top picks are SocialMoms, MotherboardMoms, Voiceboks, and Diva Cafe. The women in these communities are outstanding. They are always ready and willing to share their own mommy tales from the trenches and to give you great mommy advice.
If you would like to be interviewed please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org