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The Kind of Mom I Am


By LIZ VACCARIELLO

Above Image | Steve Vacariello

SOPHIA AND OLIVIA saw my grin and knew I had big news. “Girls! I’m going to be editor-in-chief of Parents magazine!” Hugs all around. My husband, Steve, gave me a wink from over Olivia’s head. Sophia grabbed me for one of those arms-around-the-waist embraces that melts my heart every time, then pulled away with a hop and held both my hands: “Mommy, that job’s perfect for you,” she said.

“Oh? Why is that,” I asked, shamelessly fishing for a compliment.

“Because you’re so good at making magazines,” she said. “And sometimes you’re good at being a parent too.”

Funny, right? Sophia’s assessment of my skills serves as a fitting introduction to the millions of you I now serve. I’ll just admit it right now: I’m an imperfect mother.

I’m the kind of mom who has a trampoline in her backyard (the safest model they make, but a trampoline nonetheless) because we decided that the hours of happily jumping, sitting and talking, even lying on our backs looking at the stars far outweighed the risk of injury.

I’m the kind of mom who lets Sophia get her hair dyed ribbons of blue, purple, and teal. And who encourages Olivia to play tuba and drums instead of making her focus on one.

I’m the kind of mom who stands firm on nutrition, sleep, and kindness but goes soft on hygiene, hair brushing, and pet-getting.

I’m the kind of mom who stays back while Steve takes the girls to walk in rivers and hunt for snakes so she can hang in a quiet house (then promptly falls asleep). And who told her toddlers “Mommy’s allergic to cats, horses, and…glitter,” an untruth I had a hard time explaining the day I decreed “there is no lying in this family.”

As your new editor, I thought a few introductions were in order.

As your new editor, I’ll expect backlash from our backyard-safety expert. And I expect letters from folks who think me indulgent for allowing crazy colored hair (and what about those chemicals?). But that’s the thing about parenting. It’s like grammar: I believe you should know the rules and only then can you break them. At the end of the day, you’re going to do it your way anyway. You and your partner, you and your doctor, you and your children are going to figure it out together.

Make no mistake. The stories in Parents, written with and supervised by an esteemed board of advisors, will always advocate for your child’s health, happiness, and safety. But I believe we can show moms and dads the hard line in the sand and acknowledge that there are as many ways to raise kids as there are parents.

I plan to show you one of them. By opening my real life to you, I hope to encourage you to share yours with me. Tell me your stories, share your moments, and brag about the unique ways you love and grow together. Don’t hold back; this is a no-mom-shaming zone. Deal?
Liz Vaccariello