(Author, The Thriving Child–Parenting Successfully Through Allergies, Asthma, and Other Common Challenges (Foreword by Jennifer Lopez))
Beccastone: What is your book about and who is your audience?
Erica Reid: My book is for all parents and caregivers who want to live a more stress-free, healthy lifestyle. My book shows how they can make changes in their homes and create a healthier way of living for their families, whether they are acting as their child’s advocate, nurturing their child’s inner spirit, or providing nutritious meals and much more. I wanted to give parents and caregivers access to useful information, so the book has practical advice and tips on things like school, play dates, traveling and food, as well as information from experts in various fields such as allergies, diet and nutrition, education and discipline.
BS: What was your inspiration for the book?
ER: I had no idea I had all this information in me. I was simply a mom trying to take care of her kids. After my grandfather passed away, I was dealing with all the emotions of losing him. I was inspired to write by his passing and poured my emotions into this book. It surprised me to learn how much I was holding in, bottling up. As I started to write, I realized I’m not the only parent who has had to search for information they need to help their kids. I know what it was like for my family’s journey and I wanted to inspire and support others. I wanted to encourage parents to trust their own instincts and to make mothers and caregivers more aware of the ways they can make a better world for their children today.
BS: What role do the experts play in your book?
ER: While I believe we should listen to our inner voice and opinions, we also need to listen to experts when something is wrong and the band-aid no longer works. I wanted readers to hear the expert’s perspective. The mother who lives in a rural part of the country and does not have access to medical and other specialists can hear from them in this book. In the book, these experts are available to everybody, without additional expense. I wanted people to have access, to hear from a variety of experts.
BS: The book is divided into two parts, a section on health and nutrition and a section on emotional health. Why did you organize the book like that?
ER: I wanted the book to be very simple and informative. There are physical and emotional parts to our kids. The book focuses on the child as a whole, not just the child suffering with some type of health-related challenge. We tend to focus on the physical aspect more; but we also need to take care of the inner being, the creative part, the intangible parts. We need to nurture that child’s spirit. This is crucial in raising and defining a child today. We need to teach them to use their inner voice as a guide, and encourage them to think about how they can help other people in their neighborhood and in the world.
BS: What does the section on children’s emotional well-being discuss?
ER: I focused on teaching respect and responsibility, creativity and giving, because I believe these are the core values that define character . As parents and caregivers, we have the responsibility to teach these values so our children can take care of themselves in a responsible way and contribute to society. Once you become a parent, you have a huge teaching responsibility. We must pass these values on to our kids.
BS: Part of the book contains cooking advice and recipes. Were these family recipes?
ER: I created the recipes myself through trial and error! When I first started out, I didn’t really know how to cook but I knew I wanted to create nutritional and safe food for my family. I learned how to make the fridge our medicine cabinet. Our kitchen is our pharmacy. When my child has a stomachache or common cold, I’m going to the kitchen. The pharmacy is under the same roof where we live and it’s free, with no side effects.
BS: Any plans for a sequel as the kids get older?
ER: I’m the last person I ever thought would write a book. This book was an inspiration from my grandfather and God. I wasn’t seeking to write a book. This was honestly given to me. I don’t know what is in store for me next.
BS: What is your best advice for moms today?
ER: Know yourself and know your child. Connect with your child. The gift of intuition, that inner voice, is in all of us. My advice is to take an active role in raising your kids, use what you have been given and don’t always look to others for advice on what to do. Listen to that cry, and learn what it means, learn what that ache means. The minute we take on the responsibility of caring for children, God gives us what we need.
BS: What is the best advice your mom gave you?
ER: The best advice from my mom wasn’t what she said verbally, but what her actions said. Strength. No matter what, you can do it. Believe in yourself and if you believe in yourself, you can overcome anything. My two sisters and I were raised by a single mom, and I saw her go through a lot. Through all her actions, what stands out more than anything she ever said was her persistence, integrity, tenacity, and determination. She moved to another city where she had no friends and family because she felt Los Angeles was not the right place to raise her girls.
So she moved us to Denver because she felt that was a better place for her family. I find her actions more powerful than any words I can find.
Note: Erica Reid is a former schoolteacher and mother of two school-aged children. Erica is married to music industry executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid and lives in New York City. “The Thriving Child” is available through Amazon.com.