Bianca de la Garza is an Emmy Award-nominated television host, news anchor, and journalist who also is a single mom. "I was raised by a single mom. She worked full time, sent me to private schools and paid for my college. There is no doubt her work ethic and insistence on me having a great education shaped me. I honestly don't know how she did it, but she did. So like her, I always find a way," Garza emphasizes.
Compounding her full schedule, Garza has taken on two new ventures: She launched production company, Lucky Gal Productions and has a late-night lifestyle and entertainment talk show that will debut on WCVB (Boston) in more than 2.8 million homes in the New England area this coming January.
In a Q&A with Garza, I asked about her parenting style with her 8-year-old daughter, Danica, the challenges of being a single mom and how she overcomes them, and the specific steps she takes to balance career and motherhood.
What is the best advice about parenting you have received?
Someone told me when Danica was a baby, 'nights are long; years are short.' It's so true now that she is 8-years-old. Time is flying. When you have a few sleepless nights, I remember this: One day they will be all grown and you'll wish you had this time back.
Is there something as a mom that you're doing that you don't see other mom's doing -- something that's unique to you?
I'm trying to get my daughter aware of her breath and sensations in her body, tapping into her natural intuitive sense. Kids are pros at this. It's us adults who constantly live in our mind, always thinking, worrying, stressing. I want Danica to know how to feel her way through situations.
I always use my gut to make decisions. How does this make me feel? What energy are the people I'm surrounded by giving me? I want her to understand and harness that power to guide her throughout life.
What is your greatest joy as a mother?
It's hard to name one. Seeing my daughter react with kindness to others. I love watching her sleep and hearing her little voice say, 'I love my mommy.'
What are the biggest challenges that come from being a single mom? How do you work to overcome them?
For me, I'm a single mom who worked overnights in a demanding and unpredictable job. I got up at 2:45 am for the morning newscast, and finding daycare providers who were qualified and could sleep at my home was always a bit challenging.
Then there's always that, 'Oh gosh, if they get sick who can come cover?', or days when there's breaking news and I couldn't leave the set. I'd be frantic and texting to find someone to pick up Danica at school.
I overcame it by having an extremely long list of babysitters and making sure full time ones were well compensated. For working, single moms, a good nanny is the glue.
How do you advise your daughter on dealing with bullies and mean girls?
She came home one day and said someone didn't want to play with her at recess. I told her that it had nothing to do with her. Maybe that girl was having a bad day. It's almost always never personal. It's that person's issue -- don't make it yours. I tell her when anyone is mean to let me know and we will find a solution.
What is your parenting style?
Firm but gentle. I think kids benefit from structure, but they also want to know their parents are listening to their feelings. If Danica wants to eat dinner on a tray on the sofa, so be it! There are worse things. I want my home to be filled with love and peace so the less, 'sweating the small stuff' the better.
What are three things that you do, which help you balance your career and motherhood?
Work out -- for mind clearing and maintaining my health it's a must -- 4 to 5 times a week.
Create a team. I always need a strong support system -- family, friends, babysitters. Return the favors for them anytime possible and always show appreciation for their help with small acts of kindness.
Keep it simple -- making dinners, planning weekends, you name it. The pressure on women to be domestic diva supermoms and boardroom rockstars is not only unattainable, but just unrealistic. Do what you do well and the rest, just order take out!
I want all working moms, single or not, to give themselves a break. Putting pressure on ourselves does not serve us. Don't worry about what others are doing with their kids. Realize your limitations and respect them. What you do is always good enough.
What values do you want to pass on to your daughter?
I want my daughter to value earning a living, knowing nothing will be given to her, so study hard and make it happen. Nothing is impossible if you work hard.
Tell me about your career including Lucky Gal Productions and your new TV show.
I love being a CEO and entrepreneur -- I never guessed at 39 I'd be creating a TV show for New England. This is for them and and the content will reflect their voice. I know we will have fun and create great things.
Describe one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of your career.
I was at the forefront of major news stories for 17 years. It was a honor to be a trusted voice. News is changing. TV is changing, and we must adapt. Consumers can watch whatever they want, whenever they want. So you better make sure your product shines or it will get lost in that sea of content. It's exciting being part of the changing media landscape -- I'm a lucky gal.