Renita Williams Thomas
When it comes to creating a to-do list, Renita Williams Thomas is religious about it. For her, being able to accomplish her checklist goals (at least 90 percent of them!) each day are what make her feel her best.
Along with checking off her daily tasks, Renita pours her soul into her work, nurturing little ones who are often machine dependent and unable to attend traditional day care centers. She loves her job, but the love she has for her family is indescribable. She beams with pride whenever she discusses their accomplishments, and she always encourages them to be their true selves. She’s passionate, caring, and inspirational. To put it simply, Renita’s one incredible mom!
Tell me about your children.
R: Kori is a quiet storm. She’s a woman of few words, but she’s incredibly focused. Kreig is the detective in the family. He’s very strategic and observant. Kendal is intelligent, well spoken, and our strategic planner. Daniel is a spitfire. He’s the smartest and sweetest kid. Ty is very quiet, but goofy. He’s the one you have to encourage to participate. Sissy is the epitome of the life of the party. She has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. She has lots of personality, and she commands attention.
What do you like to do together as a family?
R: We travel. Our objective is to have our children touch all seven continents. We’ve been to Africa, Switzerland, and China. We are planning to go to Australia, and Sissy wants to go to Ireland.
What’s the greatest thing about being a mom?
R: Being able to mold the next generation. I encourage my children to be self-sufficient and also reliable.
What do you keep on your nightstand?
R: A book and my glasses. I am currently reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
What music do you enjoy listening to?
R: Mozart and Beethoven. Classical music helps me relax. It also helps children with dyslexia to relax and concentrate.
How has parenthood changed you?
R: It has taught me to be more selfless. I’m more giving now, more nurturing.
What lead you to adoption?
R: My paternal grandmother adopted three children and I saw how her loving intervention in their lives reshaped their future. It was my ambition to change the life of a child. As our youngest son, Kendal, was headed off to college at Morehouse, we were called about Daniel who needed what was thought to be a temporary placement, and our journey began...Ty and Sissy quickly followed.
What kind of mom would you describe yourself as?
R: Very absolute, structured, kind, and loving, but I hold my children accountable. I run a tight ship here.
What advice do you often give your children?
R: To take responsibility for their actions as opposed to making excuses. I want them to work really hard and take risks. I teach them to be compassionate and kind, to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and most of all, to always be their brother’s keeper.
What do you love most about your job?
R: My grandmother would say to find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life, and that is this job for me. The Center is for children who are medically fragile, yet they remain full of joy. Coming in every day and seeing their joy, it takes my breath away.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
R: Work is tough. Sometimes children aren’t given very long to live, so the death and dying side to it is the hardest part of my job.
How do you find the balance between work and family time?
R: I make time for both, and I make sure everything is done ethically and professionally. I separate the two to keep the balance.
What’s your favorite family game to play with your kids?
R: We are a game family! We play Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy together.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
R: Massages and pedicures are definitely my stress relievers.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received?
R: Allow children to be children, but make sure they are responsible.
What personality trait of yours do you hope your children also get?
R: My work ethic. I want them to work hard and love hard. We really are a tight knit, non-traditional family. We love hard.
What are some things you want to do that are still on your bucket list?
R: I hope to expand the Center to help meet the needs of more families outside of Louisiana.
Do you have any advice for other parents?
R: Allow your children to be who they are with their strengths and weaknesses. Accept them as they are, and mold them into who they are destined to become. ■
The parenting item I couldn’t live without…the Internet.
In my fridge, you will always find…grapefruit juice and milk.
Favorite movie growing up…Gone with the Wind.
My guilty pleasure is…dark chocolate and Cinnabons.
My favorite ice cream is...chocolate.