This is Why You'll Love Kristen Glosserman
Kristen Glosserman is a mother of four and certified life coach who believes making the right decisions leads to happiness.
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What do you think is a parent’s hardest job?
The hardest part of any parent’s job is resisting the temptation to fix our kids’ problems, to do things for them. We see many parents trying to do everything for their kids, because they want to make it all better; so they do their homework, make their friends, get them dressed… And I know that one of the hardest jobs as a parent—and one of the things I invest lot of energy in—is allowing my kids the opportunity to create and the opportunity to fail. It might mean that their shoes aren’t tied some days, or their socks don’t match, but they will get eventually it right.
For the longest time, Geena, my youngest, resisted getting herself dressed in the morning. Being the baby, she grew very accustomed to everyone doing things for her—until one day I looked at her and said, “I know you can do this: You can dress yourself. Give it a try, and I’m here if you need help.” Now that she’s a first-grader, she’s showing up downstairs fully dressed. There’s a real sense of accomplishment there, for her and for me: I knew she could do it! If we keep doing for our kids, we don’t give them the chance to show us how capable they really are.
What’s your favorite off-the-beaten-path thing to do / place to visit with your kids in NYC?
In our family, Dad is usually the one coordinating weekend activities: He’s very good at it, digging around to discover what’s happening around the city, and taking advantage of all it has to offer. For our family, New York City is a terrific staycation destination! We enjoy taking our kids to see shows, going to Central Park to climb rocks… or rock climbing at Chelsea Piers. We love what we call our West Side Highway Weekends, from the Chelsea Piers down to Battery Park City. One child can be jogging, while another is riding a scooter, with Marc and me walking behind or in front: this gives them safe time to take in all the sights of this great city we all love.
Of course, part of the magic of NYC is not always having an activity agenda; it can be equally fun allowing the kids to just take it in and enjoy it the low-key way we do. Our favorite afternoons as a couple are spent meandering through the West Village, so we give our kids the opportunity to do the same. Sometimes, having kids join in on activities that seem like chores to us—grocery shopping, for example—can be great fun for them, and a teaching opportunity, if we welcome their input. Our girls love shopping at Eataly with us, choosing their favorite fruits and vegetables, then coming home to cook their selections!
What is the best thing about raising kids in the New York City area?
I am always amazed at how independent my little New Yorkers are: My son’s comfort level with getting up at 6am, going downstairs, and hailing a taxi to basketball practice, or the way his sister will recommend that we take the Fifth Avenue bus home after school, instead of a taxi, to see the sights because it’s a really nice ride. They’re navigating the city, figuring out how long it takes to get from one neighborhood to another, how that factors into their plans, and how to enjoy getting from points A to Z. They’re also voicing their opinions about whether and when to travel longer distances within the city. Deciding where to take a dance class, my daughter, who—like me—loves dancing, pointed out: “That’s all the way in Tribeca.” As New Yorkers, we all make choices based on location; I’m impressed that my kids are already so skilled!
Independence is something New York teaches all who live here, and the city produces very independent kids. My kids love to go to Chelsea Piers, partly because it’s easy for them to get there. If something is happening in Brooklyn, they’ll hesitate —all except for my eldest daughter, whose best friend lives in Brooklyn, so she’s always up for going. She’s also visited Paris, and has talked about living there or in London, so I can really see her moving with ease, not just from borough to borough, but city to city. She’s so comfortable in an urban environment that she’s open to living in another one, far away! That’s another gift New York City gives to kids who live here: Not only do they become naturally independent, they also become curious about other places around the world, and other ways of living.