Interview with Bestselling Author Dr Linda Friedland
A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Linda Friedland, a keynote speaker, medical doctor, and bestselling author of five books. Linda was the keynote speaker at the Business Women Australia Supper Soiree in Perth, celebrating the wellness revolution. Now I must admit that I get bored very easily and my brain quickly switches off when I have to listen to long talks, lectures, sermons, etc. BUT Linda was so engaging, informative, passionate and hilarious, and I would have to say the best speaker I have ever heard, because I wasn't bored for a second, and I learned so much from her wisdom! Linda travels frequently to deliver keynotes throughout the whole world, which isn't surprising, because she is just amazing! I was so excited when Linda agreed to let me interview her! Read on for Linda's wellness tips, how to not screw up your kids, and how to look as hot as Linda when you're a grandma... seriously ;)
ME Q1: What are the names/ages of your kids and grandkids?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Gavriel 29 (Lee his wife), (twins) Leora 25 and Yael 25 (David her husband), Aaron 20, Benjamin 17.
Grandkids- Zac (4), Samuel (18 months).
ME Q2: What is your favourite food?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Delicious bread and cheese! But I try to avoid/limit my carb intake!
ME Q3: You don't even look like a grandma! Please share your secret for looking so young?!
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: No secret really! I am definitely not an OLD grandma. My eldest son was born when I was 23 and my first grandson when I was 47 …. so maybe people think ….grandma…. and expect me to look old. But I have always looked a bit younger than my life stage (I will look old by the time my youngest has his kids!). OK- maybe? Vegetarian diet for most of 35 years? Maybe exercise? Also some fat cells help keep the facial skin plumper! See there are advantages to not being skinny!
ME Q4: How do you balance spending time with your family and international travel as a keynote speaker?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: I have travelled an enormous amount especially since my youngest was born 17 years ago (that’s all he remembers!). But I made a decision after Aaron (4th kid) was born (he was an ill baby). I had some media work as well as a bit of consulting and speaking work. I realized that something had to give- that I would have to give up something. It was a toss up between my patients (I had a huge women’s health GP practice) and my own kids! :) I kept the kids and got rid of the patients! No seriously I closed my practice and only consulted with patients once or twice a week so I could devote myself to speaking, writing and business consulting.
Even then it has been crazy busy at times and quieter at times. When I am not travelling or lecturing- I work from a home office (which has benefits as well as lots of drawbacks). What has helped also is that my husband has supported and encouraged me the whole way.
ME Q5: If you had a time machine and could go back to when your kids were little, what would you do differently?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Strangely- I don’t think I would do things much differently! I certainly do not have all the answers and have made mistakes along the way, but our parenting style has been maintaining good boundaries but also very, very open communication about everything and anything. I did give up on some career plans to be more present, but I have no regrets in continuing to follow my passion and work throughout.
No matter what you do, your kids will find some areas that they will berate you for as an adult. (Example my daughters …to this day…cannot believe I never sent them to ballet or dancing!! How could I not put these gorgeous twins in tutus!?? Well I hated ballet and preferred sports…they will never let me live it down). They also recall the exact same situation completely differently. I went to watch every soccer game my eldest ever played for school or club… He said the other day “Mom, you never came to any of my soccer matches when I was young!”
ME: Q6: As mentioned in your book Raising Competent Teenagers... In an Age of Porn, Drugs & Tattoos, well... 'Do we f*** them up?' How can mums prevent 'the proverbial f***ing up' of their kids?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Parents really do not want to screw up their kids. Vast majority of parents are good folks with good intentions to raise honest, moral, upright individuals. But often our own upbringing, our misguided aspirations for our kids or our reluctance to see our kids objectively gets in the way. A British psychologist and author Oliver James makes a great point – when he says it’s not our children who need to be trained but rather us! We need some self awareness and insight. I would suggest a few very basic tips which go a long way to not f*** them up.
- Don’t lie to them.
- Don’t ignore your own bad behaviour.
- Don’t try to be your child’s friend (especially teens).
- Don’t overindulge your child. “Overindulgence is probably the easiest way to mess up your kids” explains Dr Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and the author of more than 110 scientific journal articles and book chapters.
ME Q7: Often mums have no energy, are tired, depressed, and struggle to raise their kids. What can mums do to prevent this- do you have any 'wellbeing tips'?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Working with women has been my passion. Whether as a doctor, speaker or consultant. My first four books were all on women’s health and wellbeing so this is something close to my heart.
- Forget about balance
The reason we feel so frustrated much of the time, is that the balance we are pursuing just doesn’t exist. Work-life balance means that work and life (outside of work) each have equal measure, yet most of life is filled with hard work. Be super-disciplined in establishing strong and effective boundaries and sufficient recovery time. Think more of work-life integration than balance.
- No awards for superhuman
Working hard is essential, however the need to persistently prove yourself and go beyond the call of duty is not. Although it is much easier said than done, know when to stop. And don’t hesitate in asking for help!
- Pump up adrenalin and then switch it off
There is no better way to recharge your energy than by temporarily pumping up adrenalin levels. Get to the gym, go for a run or if not possible take a brisk walk. The work out and then the post exercise adrenalin switch-off facilitates energy recovery and renewal.
- Not everything is URGENT!
In reality, very little is urgent, yet we tackle every task at work and at home with an urgency and hurry. In prioritising your day, become aware of what is essential, what is important and what is minor. Only the tasks that are time dependent require a greater intensity. And most of the time, they are not urgent!
- Recharge your battery frequently
In ‘having it all’ neither work nor family is generally sacrificed, but rather your own needs. Ensure you structure some time for yourself to defuse your stress and to recharge your energy such as a regular massage. It’s not how long you take off that matters most, but how skilfully you use these very short periods of renewal. Learning to practice mindfulness and meditation are very effective ways to defuse stress, strengthen neural connections, oxygenate the brain and enhance powerful brain neurotransmitters.
Although it often seems impossible, with discipline and planning you can achieve peace of mind and work life integration!
ME Q8: At the end of a long day mums just want to go to bed to SLEEP! Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in the bedroom and how often should couples have sex after having kids?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: It’s very difficult to be prescriptive about how often we should be having sex? What’s normal? What are other people doing? Sometimes you go for longer periods of time. Obviously with newborns or babies it disappears for a while. But probably less than two to four times a month is problematic! Once a week at least? Plus? Plus?
Notwithstanding this, it is important to try keep romance alive. There is much that has been written on this topic and the reality is that women need a bit of pampering and time to get in the mood. BUT it is also important to point out that sometimes it is important to begin the journey together even when you are not in the mood.
A date night every fortnight or more often does wonders as you get out and away from the kids, possibly have a glass of wine and focus on each other.
ME Q9: Can you please explain what 'hurry sickness' is and what is the cure?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: Hurry sickness is not a real medical condition. It is really a ‘tongue in cheek’ term for state of being that so many of us have adapted to. Where we become addicted to the pace of living and unnecessarily stress ourselves even when there aren’t real deadlines. We just do everything in a state of hurry. The antidote to this is to become conscious of how we live our lives. Stop and breathe. This is the value of exploring the concepts of mindfulness and being present in the now. They are not new- age concepts but powerful ways to live more fully. And at the same time it's good for our bodies and brains.
ME Q10: If a genie could grant you three wishes what would they be?
DR LINDA FRIEDLAND: That’s a lovely last question!
- HEALTH is undoubtedly what I would choose first. We can’t take it for granted. The blessing of health …is everything... and all the rest of the ‘gifts’ we are graced with in life, are cherries on top. So health for me and my loved ones, my husband, children and grandchildren.
- PEACE in this crazy world. For people to wake up…truly wake up and work towards living peacefully side by side and among each other celebrating, and respecting our differences and diversity and embracing our humanness and commonality.
- The OPPORTUNITIES, the WILL and STRENGTH (as I get older) to continue to make a difference in the world.
ME: Thank you so much Linda for sharing your wisdom. You are so wise and I could just listen to you talk all day :)
I recently read Dr Linda Friedland's bestselling book Raising Competent Teenagers... in an Age of Porn, Drugs and Tattoos. I know I don't have teenagers yet, but I like to be one step ahead and educate myself on what is to come. This book is a fantastic manual for what to do in 97 scenarios with teens, covering communication, emotions, behaviours, sex, 'screenagers', alcohol and substance abuse, friends, family, morals, values and rules. What I love about this book is that it is based on Dr Linda Friedland's personal experience as a mum of five children and medical practitioner, and backed up with facts by parenting experts. It is also easy to read and I enjoyed the engaging conversations in each scenario. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Dr Linda Friedland's books! Also I highly recommend you check out Dr Linda Friedland's blog/vlog posts on her website. I thought I'd just read one post, and before I knew it I was drawn in and had to read them all! Check out her blog HERE :)