We asked some fantastic parents from in and around the city to tell us about the most important thing they have done as parents.

Sheila Nazarian Board | Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

I think the most important thing I have done as a parent is give my children independence to figure things out on their own. Now, this was not intentional. I had my children as a surgical resident at USC, working 80+ hours a week and spending every third night in the hospital on call. And when I was at home, I was usually sleeping or awake but exhausted. My kids kind of had to figure things out for themselves. They make their own breakfast and dinner. Oftentimes, they make meals for me! I am definitely there for them as a safety net and will adjust my schedule to make sure I am there for them and spend quality time together. But as far as their day-to-day, they have to think and problem solve. Their teachers comment on their humble nature and independence all the time. They ask me, “What did you do?” And I answer, “I wasn’t there.” Read more>>

Dr. Shaniqua Jones | The Olivia Pope of Education | Restorative Justice Practitioner | Speaker | Author

Recently, I released my 7th published work, Pineapple Orange Juice: Bridging The Gap Between Parents and Educators where I share some of my most intimate moments as a mother, educator, and Restorative Justice Practitioner before and during the deadliest virus, racism coupled with COVID-19. I am an advocate of the power of self-reflection and storytelling. I live my life by the mantra, A Journey Not Shared Is A Soul Not Healed™. I share this to provide sustainable and tangible solutions that have helped me on my journey as a parent pre-COVID and even more now during these perilous times. The sliver lining in this experience is that I have unlearned to relearn my five children. I have learned how to humanize their experiences as well as understand the concept that validation is for parking only. I have truly learned how to best implement Restorative Justice as a way of life; especially in our home. We discuss matters of the heart before we dive into any conversation revolving around chores, business, and/or school. Read more>>

Marcelle Craig | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I’m a new parent (like just became a mom in December 2020) but as I think about the future impact on my son, one thing that stands out to me is my career. I hope that when he gets older and looks at Mommy’s job, he sees his important it was to help others. I want to teach him to be empathetic, go out of his way to assist people, and remind himself that we all are on a journey so to show compassion. Being a therapist is one of the ways that I do this on a regular basis. And I also want him to see that I invested and believed in myself even when I didn’t see the next step on my path. Read more>>

Elani Kay | CEO, Business Owner, Energy Life Coach, Author, Philanthropist, Naturopathic Advocate & Motivational Speaker

As a CEO and full time Mom of three boys, 14, 12, and 8 years old, I think the the most important thing I’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact on my children is make the conscious decision to put myself first. I still feel somewhat uncomfortable saying it, but this meant that I needed to be mindful that taking care of myself at the very least equal to how well I take care of everyone else is essential for my family to survive. The journey to this realization meant that I would show my boys that it’s okay to practice daily healthy self-care, I would explain and show them what self-love looks like, and that I would show them how to set healthy boundaries. I can only take care of them and others if I too take care of myself. When you are the HOH and the only parent, you can’t play around with your health, your time, or your energy. This has been the single most important thing I’ve done for my kids because I am not only a better person for doing so, but I am also a better person and Mom to “them” and I plan to be around for them for a very long time. Read more>>

Anouar H. Smaine | Film Director, Producer, and Actor

I think the most important thing I’ve done and continue to do as a parent is to be consistently present and fully involved in my children’s everyday life. From cooking meals and savouring the sight of my little ones enjoying what my hands made to please them, to playing with them outside, hugging them, looking at their beautiful faces and telling them how much I love them. Helping with homework, listening to what they have to say, offering words of kindness and support when needed, and of course, making them laugh no matter how hard, difficult, or challenging my day has been. I know deep in my heart that time is gonna pass so fast and they’ll suddenly become grown ups with busy lives as well, so I’m making every moment I have with them count. The pandemic we’ve all gone through and still are has put everything back in perspective when it comes to what matters most in life, and that is; life itself. We tend to be too consumed by the idea of material, financial, and career success, but we forget, or should I say ignore that every year, every month, every day, every hour and every minute that pass in our lives are gone forever. Read more>>

Bernie Molina | Author & Mother

Being a business owner is the best thing I could have done as a mother. Firstly, I am proud to know that my son will grow up seeing his mother act as a leader, creative, and go-getter in business. I hope that this teaches him that women are multifaceted. Additionally, as a business owner, I have the flexibility to make my own hours. This allows me to spend more time with my son. I exclusively breastfeed him on demand and plan on practicing extended breastfeeding. I also follow attachment parenting methods in my home. This closeness to my son would not be possible if I was not a business owner. Finally, I hope my example empowers my son to be an entrepreneur as well one day. For instance, I grew up seeing my mother own and operate a bakery. She employed other women in her business. If I had not seen this example, perhaps I would not have had the courage to take the plunge and launch my business less than two weeks after my son was born! Real talk, I was making last-minute decisions while I was in the hospital in labor. Read more>>

Suzanne Zizzi | Owner, Wine Shop and Bar

I am the mother of two daughters, both of whom I have always encouraged to speak their mind and stand up for themselves, while also being kind to others. There is no such phrase as, “because I say so” in our house. My kids know that I will listen to them if they have a concern or grievance over something that we may disagree about. I believe that I have also demonstrated a strong work ethic to my daughters, and that there will be obstacles but they can also be overcome. Read more>>

The Tracy Piper | Community Driven Contemporary Painter

I think becoming a parent threw me into the work I am doing now because the question of what kind of world I am leaving behind really sharpened up when I had one coming on the way. You take a look around at what’s going on, and you realize you have to lead by example, that this next generation is coming up fast and holy moly do we need to do some work. The most important thing I have done as a parent was to invest not only in my own career as an artist but to take my work to the next level of community awareness and engagement. When a child sees you invest in yourself and the world around you it’s a powerful example of what they’ll step into as they grow older. Read more>>

Orly Elyashar | Private Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Blogger

The moment you become a parent, everything you thought you knew, had prepared for, and read gets tossed out the window. You are presented with little human very much like a blank canvas. This will have to be you’re greatest masterpiece regardless of any prior experience. I’m a mom of 3 incredible kids. Kylie, a 17 year old with a head so securely in place you’d guess she attended Anthony Robbins’s school of life. Kian, my 15 year old charmer who I’m sure will one day make a great impact on the world with his wit and smile. Finally, my little Hailey. An 8 year old who wishes to care for, “scary animals” as a vet because she believes they need love and care too. They are exactly what I’d hope for so far. How did they get here? Truth. Ever since each of them was little, I never sugarcoated anything. I spoke to them as adults and never underestimated their understanding of the real world. I didn’t protect them from the harsh aspects of life and pointed out the beauty of perseverance and strength. I encouraged them to have a positive outlook and know that when the sun sets, the sun will rise again. Read more>>

Sabrina Robinson | Licensed Esthetician

Seeing my children as unique humans with their own journey has really been the best thing I feel I have done for them. They belong to themselves, and I encourage them to pursue their dreams while also being very real about how the world and society view them. Read more>>

Qv33n | Performing Artist & Activist

I make sure that as a mother I showcase my losses as well as my wins. Children are losing a sense of reality with social media being such a strong influence. It’s very important to show our youth how to be resilient through adversity. So that when it is time to applaud your victory’s , the celebration of accomplishment starts to build pride in oneself. Read more>>