Self control and setting boundaries. If you constantly say that no matter what happens in the day, Monday through Friday, 7pm to 8:30pm is my time to be with my children, that one and a half hours of concentrated time can go a long way. If everyone commits to this time together, you use self control and commitment to show the people you love, no matter what, this is our time. This also shows your co-workers and clients that no matter what, this time is for family
As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Nicole Rodrigues.
Nicole Rodrigues is a powerhouse founder of two companies, NRPR Group and the Young Dreamers
Foundation, as well as the host of the YouTube show, Beverly Hills Boss, and Author of Beverly Hills Boss the book. She has more than 19+ years of experience in PR, social media and digital marketing. She’s the creator and personality behind PRactical Guide to Publicity, an award-winning video series aimed at helping CEOs, CMOs and others understand the true benefits of utilizing PR and digital marketing.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I’m a California girl, born and raised. My hometown, Fremont, was where I grew up as the oldest of nine children. I was the first in the family to graduate college and worked hard in high school to earn scholarships and attended San Jose State University. I held three jobs during college to pay for my education. My friends trusted me to be a leader, so I became part of the student council in school. I used to say if my intuition leads me in the right direction for getting through the ups and downs of growing through childhood and succeeding against all odds, I’m going to ultimately create a guide for others to learn from. And this is exactly what I did! When my friends had a bad day, they’d do things that weren’t the best for them, which translated into bad behavior and sometimes drugs and alcohol. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to pay attention and dedicate my story to the betterment of others. This was always my vision.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
I do believe I was meant to be in this career because of one course I took in high school. One day I was
thinking about my future, I decided I wanted to find a career that involved public perception
development, writing, event planning, and more. Then, one of my college journalism professors saw
something in me and encouraged me to check out Public Relations courses. He saw this spark in me
before I knew it was even there. And he helped lead me to where I am now. The minute I took that PR
class I was hooked and knew I wanted to own my own agency one day.
Fast-forward to today, I fulfilled my dream. Starting my own agency seemed like a far reach, but I got
there through hard work. NRPR Group is short for Nicole Rodrigues Public Relations. I am proud to have
my name on the door and it reminds me that my hard work paid off and has led me to where I am now.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
My day to day looks like putting out necessary fires, a lot of emails, phone calls, strategy, writing, research, mentoring, guiding both clients and team members, crossing t’s and dotting i’s because our work is seen in the public. All of this is mixed up in one day and it’s as crazy as it sounds.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
This pandemic has made it very clear that we need person to person contact and sometimes go stir crazy when we can’t get that. The parent-child time relationship is the same. Not spending time with each other does something to your mind, body and soul. You’re connected physically as a mother because you carry your child and spiritually connected as well. Without this time and care, it causes psychological damage. Mental illness can stem from lack of relationships with a parent. This is why I made sure that even in a busy week or when I was travelling, that there was one way, shape or form that I was showing my daughter that I cared about her, so mentally, she’d grow up to be confident that her parents loved and cared about her as a human. I’ve seen kids who felt the opposite and those are people who find other areas of life to show them love and validate them, which is really uncomfortable. That’s how I feel children can get lost.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
It’s important to make time to spend with your children because if you don’t, it can lead to health and mental issues when you feel a feeling of loss. You can feel down and it’ll impact your overall state of motivation and well being. People think they need a psych drug to make them feel better, when really some attention or a hug can help. Even tough love, setting boundaries is healthy. People rush to give kids chemicals to help them feel better when dopamine is a natural release in the brain through contact and attention. It’s science. If you want to have teenagers that listen to you and will respect you as an adult, you better start when they’re little kids. If they don’t respect you as a 5 year old, they won’t at 15 when it really matters. That’s when they make decisions for themselves. Having a testy teenager is not fun. Make sure at a young age they know who is boss, but also provide an open line of communication to talk about things.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
- My daughter is a huge movie buff. She follows in her father’s footsteps in liking prepared meals. As a teenager, she’ll make dinner and I’ll do dishes. It’s an act of love and we’ll sit and watch a movie together and laugh and comment. Each night we try to spend time doing this because it’s something she loves and that it’s been a fun way for us to connect through something she enjoys.
- We joke around a lot, which is how we build our bond. The humor is always very open, we have funny accents we pretend to have and understand each other in that way. We can be anywhere in the house and make these jokes
- We go grocery shopping together and it gives her a sense of authority through having a voice in what food we have in the house. Between farmers markets and the store, we plan out meals together and bond and get excited about what we’ll do in the house together
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.
- Self control and setting boundaries. If you constantly say that no matter what happens in the day, Monday through Friday, 7pm to 8:30pm is my time to be with my children, that one and a half hours of concentrated time can go a long way. If everyone commits to this time together, you use self control and commitment to show the people you love, no matter what, this is our time. This also shows your co-workers and clients that no matter what, this time is for family
- Digital tools — You can be in the middle of something or a meeting, and use your digital tools to show your children that you’re thinking of them. Me and my daughter use Snapchat. I can send her a funny picture and that shows her that I’m thinking of her. Even when you live together, it shows you care and can be fun.
- It’s the little things — I stopped drinking coffee in the morning, but my daughter still does. So, in the morning before my daughter wakes up, I’ll prepare a cup of coffee for her, so she can have a warm cup when she wakes up. Something like this goes a long way to show you care.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
A really good parent, parents with love and tough love. There’s a certain amount of structure and boundaries that need to be set in order to protect your children from themselves. If you give free reign to a 5 year old to make all their own decisions, you’re teaching them that people who have seniority or are older than them, don’t carry as much weight in terms of respect. This creates a problem child in school and it can spiral from there. A really good parent definitely makes sure that their kid knows they love them and they see it, and they give them just enough structure and boundaries to protect them enough so they feel they have wiggle room to make decisions, but not all the decisions. You also don’t reward bad behavior.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
I show my daughter by example. Every dream I went after or attempted, I’ve done. A big dream of mine was to go to UCLA. I couldn’t do it for undergrad, and I wanted to show her that no dream is too big. This was a dream of mine for 20 years and I did it now. I wanted my own company and I did. Now my daughter knows there’s no fear in going after your dreams. I encourage her to dream and be who she is. It’s a huge psychological need, especially in teens and tweens. It gives them hope for the rest of their lives. If they don’t feel they have a choice in their careers, they’ll be upset and feel bad about the future.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Success is when you’re getting paid to do what you enjoy and love and are still finding ways to enjoy the little things in life. It’s also doing other activities that make you happy other than work. Being recognized for your work and doing it at the best of your abilities is part of this. Being successful is hard, and I commend anyone who goes after it. It comes from a lot of hard work that turns into doing that you love and passing that knowledge down. Then managing and making time for yourself for the hard work you put in to get to where you’re at is equally as important too.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
One of my favorite books that inspired me was “Purpose Driven Life.” Identifying and finding my own purpose motivated me to make sure my child did the same. That she knew that she’s here for a reason and on a mission and only she will know what that mission is.
Another one is “The Alchemist”, for a spiritual journey. Lastly, “The Amazing Development of Men.” Although I have a daughter, that book helped me understand that there are certain phases that men naturally go through in life. As women, it’s important we understand and respect that and not try to overthink a man’s journey. A lot of women and girls should know this to help them understand men more and show appreciation to see what they go through. This has not only helped me with relationships and explain to her the work life and her dad, it’s just a great book of knowledge that I’ve seen play out well in the work world.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!