Tell me a little bit about your family…
We are a family of five living in Baltimore, Maryland. My husband grew up in Yorkshire England; I grew up between France and Texas – and we met in Puerto Rico – so there are a lot of different ideas and languages floating around our household. Our eldest, Ella, is seven years old. She’s our quiet, pensive, artistic one and is presently crazy about theater. Kaitlyn, four years old, is a whirlwind of energy and full of quippy remarks and who occasionally settles down for a nice snuggle. Patrick, our two-year-old son, is a train and truck aficionado – which we didn’t realize until his second birthday when he received a collection of matchbox cars as a gift. Up until that point we thought he was happy playing the mannequin for the girls’ dress up parties! He’s making up for lost time and now only talks about trains, trucks and automobiles, and he talks a lot!
Why do you subscribe to Brain, Child? (e.g. What does the magazine mean to you; how does it compare to other magazines you read?)
I subscribed to Brain, Child about five years ago when my eldest was three and I finally had five minutes to read something other than brief articles about ‘how to get your kid to sleep!’ A dear friend, Brigitte, originally told me about the magazine. We both savor each issue, wait impatiently for the next – and discuss the articles at length while waiting. Even the articles that seem to have nothing to do with my present life end up speaking to me and opening my eyes to the diversity of parenting ideas and creative solutions to challenges.
Brain, Child does not compare to any other magazines I subscribe to. When you announced your final issue two years ago – my fellow Brain, Child readers and I researched all sorts of parenting magazines in an attempt to find a suitable replacement. We scoured websites and perused the library shelves for similar writing. Slate, The Huffington Post (parenting section) and some Wall Street Journal articles provided short-term relief but since these were all online, I felt the loss of holding a quality print magazine that would help me connect to my kids and family. A real magazine I could take to the bath and read during my soak.
What is your favorite Brain, Child essay, story or feature?
My very favorite parenting article of ALL TIME was Catherine Newman’s It Gets Better (Summer 2012). That article made me cry tears of laughter and sadness at the same time as I recognized myself in the author’s younger self. It gave me such joy for the future. I made at least twenty copies and gave it to all the women in my mom’s group and my closest friends with kids. Brilliant.
I also loved Katherine Ozment’s feature article on sibling rivalry (All My Children, Winter 2012). It was awesome – fantastically researched, but also gave me practical ideas – that work. In the same issue was Barbara Dara Cooper’s haunting story of the pain she and her family suffered when faced with her daughter’s eating disorder. Excellent. My eldest daughter is 7, I’ve never had an eating disorder, yet Ms. Cooper’s writing left me feeling I had been there with her. I was edgy all week after reading it. I kept thinking about how hard the mom tried to help. Heart wrenching. I still wonder how things worked out for them.
I also love the debates – always come away feeling like I can clearly see both sides of the issue. And I immediately flip to the last page for Motherwit when I get my issue. Hilarious!!
What would you like to see more of in Brain, Child?
Brain, Child always provides me with different viewpoints, ideas, methods to approach this crazy mothering journey we are on. I always feel more centered, more capable after reading your articles. They open me up to so many new ways of looking at things – and they carry me through the moments of self-doubt – until the next issue hits my mailbox and I can get my ‘fix ‘! The only thing I would change about Brain, Child is to have it come out more often. That way there would be less time between issues and I could feel a little better about the parenting decisions I make daily – and not have to wait so long for the reassurance that I’m doing OK.