“We’re one of those families that squeezes the life out of this city,” says Melissa Francis, the doe-eyed NYC mom of two and host of “Money with Melissa Francis” on FOX Business Network. “It’s such a fun and fantastic place to live.”
The Manhattan mom was recently recognized for her top financial reporting by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. And with the U.S. still in the midst of an uncertain economy and an unreliable job market, Francis’ daily news coverage tackles everything from national politics to personal finance.
On the home front, the energetic working mother seems to know how lucky she is to have both a thriving career and a happy family. From dropping off her two boys, ages 2 and 6, at school on the Upper East Side, to getting through a busy workday at FOX headquarters in Midtown, to bathtime, pajamas, dinner, and homework at night—Francis feels fortunate to live in a city where she can get from one activity to the next in record time.
“I developed a very strong work ethic growing up,” says Francis, who you may recognize from her days as a child actress on “Little House on the Prairie.” The financial news reporter recently chronicled her L.A.childhood in front of the camera in her eye-opening memoir, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter. “It’s something that I want to pass on to my kids, the pride in a job well done and an honest day’s work.”
But after reflecting upon the hypercritical nature of her and her sister’s relationship with their impossible-to-please mom, Francis is parenting on her own terms.
“An unrelenting type of parenting might make some children disciplined and focused and champions,” Francis says. “But it can be wildly destructive to others, really robbing them of their confidence and their identity.”
“I would never tell anyone how to parent,” she continues. “My kids are so young and who knows how they’ll turn out—I only hope for the best—but I try to be really mindful of how they’re reacting to what we’re doing and adjust my parenting for each kid, because each is an individual.”
Married to private equity executive Wray Thorn, Francis has the benefit of a supportive partner who shares the burden of managing their children’s increasingly busy academic and extracurricular schedules. “He knows more moms at school than I do! He’s very involved…and very patient.”
As for Francis, she sneaks in quality bonding with her kids right before bedtime, when her older son often resists sleeping. “It’s when he’s most chatty. That’s the best time to get information out of him.”
And Mom can be credited with keeping her kids just as active and curious as she is. Whether they’re at the 92nd Street Y for swimming and soccer practices or at Kidville during their Rockin’ Railroad classes, the Francis-Thorn boys enjoy the city in all its kid-friendly glory—not to mention, its quaint and kitschy aspects.
“In the summer we do more of the touristy things,” Francis admits. “My older son and I never get tired of going on one of those silly double-decker buses!”