When Ali Wentworth and her husband, George Stephanopoulos, were fighting Covid in the spring, it dawned on Ali that she could use the time at home to start a podcast.
"One of the things that was sort of my ah-ha moment or my little epiphany, when I was lying in bed watching seven seasons of 'Mad Men,' was that I had these two teenage girls," Ali tells Rach. "And I thought, 'Wow, we're in a global pandemic. We're probably going to be in this for a while. How do you raise teenagers in a pandemic?'"
"My girls, they need to be out running around and having their first kiss and having awkward moments and whatever it is, the whole teenage thing," she continues. "Mine was, I was more of a rebel, so I don't want them hitchhiking and stuff. But anyway, I thought, 'They're not having kind of a 'normal' experience by being these teenagers,' and it made me think I want to do a podcast where I actually talk to experts about how to raise a teenager in a pandemic."
So, "Go Ask Ali" was born. And naturally, we thought Ali would be the perfect person to settle a debate between a mother of two boys named Rue and their grandmother, Flo — who the kids now call "Grumpy Grandma."
Rue: "Alright, so this is what's going on with us. I have two kids. My husband and I have two kids, seven and three, and my mom lives with us. She's been helping us with raising the kids. Especially with these quarantine times, I'm super grateful to have her, but we can't agree on how we are going to raise these boys. It's like simple things, all the way from ... you know, snacks. Snack time, mom is like, 'This is all you're having.' I'm like, 'Mom, give the boys choices.'"
Flo: "They waste the food. That's what I'm mad about. They eat half of it and throw it away and take another one. It's not acceptable."
Rue: "And at meal time, mom is like, 'I cooked it. You're going to eat it," so it's like, 'Eat or starve.' There's zero choices."
Flo: "Absolutely, a three-year-old cannot have a choice. He has got to eat what's put on the table in front of him. That's my decision."
ALI'S ADVICE: "Okay, this is what I think you need to do. Because first of all, it takes a village, and I firmly believe in that. I wish my mother was here to help me, but I didn't quarantine with her and I'm so worried about her getting Covid that I'm off in a little house in Maine. But this is what I would say to you. I think be so grateful that your mom is there, and I think that you two need to sit down and go through the rules together. You're actually co-parenting right now because you're at work. So, I think that you need to agree on terms, meaning, these are the snacks — maybe have three or four snacks that they're allowed to have — and Flo can enforce, 'This is what you get. You're getting carrots and peanut butter, this or this. That's it.' And I think the same thing with dinner. I'm not a fan of giving the kids too many choices, because you end up being room service. So, I would say agree upon what dinner is that night. 'We're having broccoli and chicken and Rachael Ray's 5-minute pasta,' or whatever it is that you both agree on, and then as a united front, you say to your kids, 'This is dinner.' I mean, especially the moment we're in right now in the world, there's no time for everybody [to have] a different order. You know what I mean? And I'm not taking your mother's side, but I think that you have to think of it more like co-parenting together."
Rue: "Yeah. I mean, definitely. She's just ... I was telling her, I swear to you, she loves my husband more than me."
Flo: "He's lovely and very accommodating."
Ali: "By the way, girls, I have the same mother. When I married George Stephanopoulos, she literally looked at him and said, 'Do you have low self-esteem?' She really couldn't believe that he married me, that he was going through a rough moment. But it's been 20 years, so ... I mean, if she could have married him, she would have."