AN INTERVIEW WITH RENE SYLER: Good Enough Mother
WRITTEN BY LISA ESTALL, POSITIVE MOMS MAGAZINE
TV personality Rene Syler is the former anchor of The Early Show on CBS and host of FYI’s Sweet Retreats. She regularly is on the road “preaching the gospel of imperfection. Rene is also an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is the author of Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting. Family life is spent in Westchester, New York, with husband Buff Parham, kids Casey and Cole and their yellow lab, Olivia.
Find out on what Rene has to say about being a good enough mother, television and balancing life.
Did the website Good Enough Mother (www.goodenoughmother.com) develop at the same time as your book of the same name?
I came up with the idea of the good enough mother in 2005. Immediately I bought the domain name, not really sure what I would do with it. A few weeks later I had lunch with a publisher who loved the concept and the next day, agreed to publish my book!
Good Enough Mother, as I often have to explain, is not about half-assed parenting; it is about doing your best and understanding your best will have to do. I totally believe that moms must continue to grow too; just because all these people come crashing into your life does not mean you have to let go of your own dreams and aspirations. Mothers have a right and responsibility to be as good to themselves as they are to everyone else in their lives.
You are often asked to speak for groups. What topics do you discuss from Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting?
I’ve done a lot of things so the topics I am asked to speak on vary; I speak about the good enough mother, motherhood, punishment, how to manage it all, marriage and being good to yourself, job loss, health crisis, breast cancer…all of it.
What is a common question most women ask you?
One of the things women ask me all the time is about balance. They want to know how to do it all. When they say do it all, I think they’re also asking about how to manage to do some things for themselves. I am a firm believer that we can have it all.. just not all at the same time! We have to prioritize and we need to be one of those priorities. Taking time alone to meet with friends or have a mani-pedi is not selfish.. it’s self-preservation and it is critical!
You have two kids, what are their names and ages? What are their personalities like?
My daughter, Casey is 19 and a freshman in college; my son Cole is 17 and a senior in high school. They are like fire and water. Oil and gasoline. They love each other but they are polar opposites. Casey is a Rule Maker and Cole is a Rule Breaker.. raising them has required me to use every tool in my arsenal. The thing I think mothers need to remember is that two kids can have the same parents and be totally different. Understand that and be open to using different ways of parenting to deal with them.
Sometimes I get mom guilt, do you have advice on how I can get over that quickly?
I hear moms talk about this A LOT! The trick is to do what you can and let the rest go. One of the ways to do that is to parenting for those who are under your own roof. Parenting is not a contest unless you make it one. Understanding that (and that you will have wins and losses sometimes in the same day) puts things in the proper perspective. It doesn’t matter how your neighbor, mother-in-law, the dentist etc raised their kids. What matters to you is how you choose to raise yours.
Are you still on air?
I am still on air. I have a vacation travel show on FYI network called Sweet Retreats and I do a talk show on Aspire TV called Exhale. I also make frequent guest appearances on CNN, Today show and others.
What do you think of shows like THE TALK, THE VIEW, THE REAL?
Well I guess it depends on what it is you are looking for when watching those shows. I view those shows as infotainment but my views on parenting or anything else are not swayed by the shows or hosts.
Any future projects?
ALWAYS! Of course nothing I can talk about, but some exciting TV projects are in the works.
What motivates you to stay positive?
Hmmm.. that’s a great question. I guess there are a couple of things. I know that people are watching me, including my kids. I have experienced life’s highs and lows and the one thing I know is that nothing stays the same forever. I know that my current situation is not my final destination. I am encouraged because every morning when I open my eyes, I realize it is a chance to try again. **