Being a mom is always humbling. I mess up more often than I’d like to admit, but the kids seem no worse for wear. Being the editor of a parenting magazine is just as, if not more so, humbling.
I happily come in to work every day, planning and editing this magazine with my great staff, always with you and your kids in mind. Finding just the right mix of stories is hugely important to me, so it isn’t out of the ordinary that I’ll be rearranging and tinkering with the story list right up till the last minute.
Then out of the blue, something happens that makes me pause. I hear from one of you and I feel humbled.
One out-of-the-blue moment came a few weeks ago when a handwritten note arrived in our office. Araceli described herself as a homeless, single, unemployed mom with a 15-month-old daughter “trying so hard to move forward.” They had no TV where they were staying, but they did have a radio and often played at a nearby park.
She wanted to thank us for the stories we publish and for helping keep her and her daughter entertained and thinking positive.
Yes, I thought, that is the goal. Thank you, Araceli, for reminding me that is exactly what we are trying to do here-provide all of you with an amazing calendar jam-packed with things to do with your kids and great stories that entertain you, make you think or give you information you might need on your parenting journey.
Another out-of-the-blue moment came around the same time as Araceli’s letter.
When I put out a call last month for the new parent panel we are forming this fall, I admit I was a little skeptical about the response I’d receive. A handful of you would reply, maybe, I thought to myself. In reality, I shamefully underestimated you.
So many of you overwhelmed me with e-mails expressing your interest and passion for Chicago Parent that my inbox nearly imploded. In your e-mails, you shared details about your family, your thoughts about Chicago Parent and its role in your life and your philosophies on all things parenting.
You made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed how many of you described yourselves with such amazing humor, to which I could instantly relate. You made me cry as you related some of the challenges you and your family have faced together, including one mom who finds out this month if her doctor’s heart-wrenching diagnosis is correct that her baby will die soon after birth.
I felt an instant connection to everyone who wrote in.
So I didn’t want to say no to anyone but knew I couldn’t have a parent panel of hundreds of parents.
The good news is that besides the parent panel, which will be announced soon, there are more ways than ever to get involved with Chicago Parent. You probably already know that twice a week, Assistant Editor Kate Pancero offers up great prizes, either through the Monday Treasure Chest or Thursday Weekend Scoop e-mail newsletters. The questions she poses and the answers you provide are often used in upcoming issues of Chicago Parent, with stories or standing alone. So if you haven’t signed up for our newslettersor visited our contest page recently, now is the time to do it. The chances of winning something cool and fun for the kids are pretty good.
While you’re poking around the site, you can also help other parents by making comments, good or bad, about the places you visit or resources you use. You can comment on the stories that appear in Chicago Parent, sharing your own related experiences or stories.
We are always searching for funny or serious “it happened to me” and “imperfect parenting” moments. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not a professional writer; some of our favorite pieces come from moms and dads in the trenches who simply have a good story to share.
As a parent myself, I know there are days when you think you’ve done everything right for once and days so bad you think your kids will grow up to write a version of “Mommy Dearest.”
Let us all laugh with you and cry with you and share in those moments when you know you really are a Chicago parent. And remember, to quote my girls’ favorite song from “High School Musical,” we’re all in this together.