Tonya Lightbourne has been doing a lot of chatting recently, hosting a series of informal conversations on her Instagram Live show “Let’s Chat! with Tonya Williams-Lightbourne”. It’s a show created by the mother of two – for moms who are aspirational, inspirational, and balancing their work life, mom life, and being a wife and partner. And no subject is off limits.
During her chats, women have shared with Lightbourne, their “journey” on everything from getting a toddler started on solids, rearing a teenager, entrepreneurship, to difficult topics such as infertility and miscarriage.
She said “Let’s Chat! with Tonya Williams-Lightbourne” is a forum in which women come together online to discuss issues they all have in common – being a mom, having a job, to being an entrepreneur; and just conversing.
“We see each other on social media all the time, and it’s like we see this picture of this person, which is this highlight reel, but at the core of it all, or the bottom line is, every day, we’re moms. We may have seen other women doing it, and wonder how she balances a career and raising her kid and [holding down] a demanding job and her husband, etc., so I wanted to create a forum where women could come together online, discuss things that we all just have in common, which is being a mom, having a job or being an entrepreneur, and just converse,” said Lightbourne.
While the conversation can turn serious, guests can expect some lighthearted moments during the exchange during which Lightbourne asks them to describe themselves in three words, and to speak to who or what inspired them. She gets them talking about their child(ren), and describing their parenting style. They also discuss issues such as instilling confidence in children no matter their gender, and how to raise children with ambition.
She also takes her guests down an introspective path and what they would tell their younger selves. They also delve into how they relax, and the importance of “me” time for busy parents as a couple, and by extension, a busy mom.
“Most moms end up giving themselves to the kids, and then they end up leaving themselves behind in the process, which is not good, because you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, if you’ve given everything to your husband … your kids … work, etc. and then you don’t refill. …”
At the end of each show, Lightbourne asks each mom to share their top five parenting tips, which she publishes. She loves that everybody’s parenting tips are different because of the season they’re in, their age, [and] the age of their children.
Lightbourne said she’s found that women look forward to the takeaways because they want to see how another woman thinks. No matter what, she said she’s found that moms always say the children are first.
The self-professed marketing maven debuted “Let’s Chat! with Tonya Williams-Lightbourne” in the midst of COVID-19 lockdowns and curfews with former reporter Kristina Dragovich (formerly McNeil), a mother of two children under the age of five.
When Lightbourne mapped out the idea for her show and its format, she made a list of women she interacts with
– whether it’s just messages, or whom she sees regularly at social events, and invited them to be a guest on her show. Dragovich, who she said was somebody she wanted to chat with, was the first to respond.
“Kristina is a mom of two kids under the age of five, so that was an interesting dynamic.”
Prior to her Instagram Live show debut, Lightbourne said she also did a poll on social media asking who people wanted to see her interview and that Dragovich was one of the names that consistently appeared.
“I don’t know if it’s because she’s Bahamian and she lives abroad or she’s a pretty girl, or [her] little kids, how does she do it and make it look so effortless.”
Lightbourne said there are a lot of women out there just “doing it”, which she said is inspirational for her as well.
Besides Dragovich, Lightbourne’s guests, to date, have included Candia Dames, Nassau Guardian executive editor; as well as Mitzie Turnquest, Sarsha Taylor, Lerielle Cole-Pierre, Yashica Carey, DVanya Hinsey, Latoya Moxey, Raeh Williams, Wendi Lewis-Knight, Relia Baptiste, Gia Smith, Anastarcia Palacious, Tracy Smith, Acribba Lightbourne, Lucena Sawyer, Jeanine Capron, Terrinique Pennerman, Alia Campbell, Dr. Tammy Moss and Stacy Campbell-Marshall. The lone male on the show has been Lightbourne’s husband, Scharad Lightbourne.
One person the marketing maven says she would love to chat with on her show is Loretta Butler-Turner.
“I’ve chatted with her socially, but I would love to chat with Loretta Butler-Turner on my show. We have been in different social settings and we know each other, but I would love to have her on my session,” she said.
The mother of 13-year-old Laila Simone and two-year-old Riley Brice said even though she hosts the forum, it has provided a learning curve for her, with her takeaway being the fact that showing up daily is important. While she may be creating to-do lists, she said she realizes that everything doesn’t have to get done.
“I’ve learnt that accomplishing small victories is just as big as accomplishing large victories, that tomorrow is another day, and the most important thing is that I’m present for my kids.”
Even though the world is in the midst of a pandemic, Lightbourne said she’s happy to be present for her children as it’s time she can’t get back with either her teen or her toddler.
The question and answer format show is live on Instagram Live every Friday at 6 p.m. Lightbourne provides her guests with 25 questions ahead of time, and tries to ask as many of them as she can during the one-hour time frame. Due to the fluidity of the conversations, she said they technically get through about 10 or 12 questions.
“Let’s Chat! with Tonya Williams-Lightbourne” will feature life coach Simmone L. Bowe on her Friday, July 31 edition.