We met Roma through our dear friend Dr. Nelly Farnoody-Zahiri of Mom Talk LA. We were so impressed we asked her to speak at our first event last year! As we plan our next event we want you to get to know Roma. We love her views on parenting!
Lisa & Liz
Of Indian descent, I was born and raised in Kuwait and moved to Los Angeles after I married my husband. I was lucky enough to travel a lot in my younger years, which further contributed to my open-minded, multicultural mindset. Even though I had very little family here, I found it fairly easy to adjust. Before I had my kids, my one big culture shock came from realizing that many people my age lacked respect for and connection with their parents. Little did I know then that I’d be in the world of parenting today!
Both my kids are independent young adults. It’s been inspiring and gratifying to watch them grow into their unique personalities. My daughter, Nitasha, has an extremely intelligent and analytical personality with a great passion for family. She prefers to live life by design and is slowly finding value in letting go. My son, Navin, on the other hand, is a brilliant yet carefree, go-with-the-flow kinda guy. This made his academic years challenging but has served him well in young adult life. What I find fascinating is that they both make an effort to learn from each other’s strengths and also are candid about weaknesses.
I spent the first few years of motherhood with the intention of raising great kids: doing all that I could, getting things right, avoiding mistakes, sheltering my children from making mistakes, teaching them to “obey” and “listen,” trying to mold them to what I thought was right for them. I was in the lead and in control. The biggest challenge came when I realized I was doing things all wrong. The kids pushed me to not just hear but to actually listen to their thoughts and feelings. Their well-reasoned “why’s” made me rethink things that I had asked them to do or say. I started to realize that I was the one who needed to adapt in order to lead and teach them. I started to notice how they—and I—were growing and learning from each mistake. Slowly but surely, by the time they were 5 and 8, I had come to realize that I had to give up chasing external perfection and rely instead on my parenting intuition—what I now call inner perfection—to raise my kids well. I had become a better person because of them. They had made me more patient, a better listener, more loving, compassionate, kind, empathetic…I can’t even list of all the positives that came out of this great challenge. My children really brought out the Warrior Mom in me!
When my daughter was 13 and my son 10, I became ill for a couple of years, and the doctors were pointing toward neurological disorders. I was so weak at one point that I couldn’t even drive my kids to school. I remember lying in bed every day envisioning the worst: Who would take care of my kids? How would they be affected by this in the future? It was a rough road, and I could not have survived it without the positive energy and attitude of my children, my wonderful husband, and wider family support.
Yes, definitely. At one point or another, every family is challenged by a similar situation. I felt fully supported when things were rough for me, and I try and extend support whenever and wherever possible.
For me it’s twofold. First, I believe that having children is an invitation for us to grow and be a better version of ourselves through every single challenge we encounter. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have my children to help me grow. They certainly have raised me well. Second, now that they’re adults, watching them grow through the mistakes that they make, without necessarily being involved, is pretty fabulous. This reassures me that they will be just fine, that they’ll thrive and not just survive.
I am the founder of Tools Of Growth, where I support parents in raising kids to be happy, think positive, and do good. As an author, educator, and advocate of mindful and conscious parenting and child-caring, I feel fortunate to be able to give back to the community through my book, The Perfect Parent, 5 Tools for Using Your Inner Perfection to Connect with your Kids and through parenting workshops andmindful play leader trainings for recess and before- and after-school staff. For more information, you can visit www.toolofgrowth.com.