The beginning of the year brought a little of everything, from quick news and service to holidays to first-person essays — even my old hat as a weddings editor popped back on. And, of course, Baby Shark never goes away. But my two favorite pieces for January and February were these:
Kind of related to the Oscars — and movies like The Favourite and Mary, Queen of Scots — and kind of to satisfy my own curiosity, I challenged myself to see if I could trace the royal lineage from Elizabeth II to Elizabeth I just through movies. I was able to do it, though some were obscure. But now I know that Colin Firth from The King's Speech is the current Queen's father.
This was the first year I got to attend Toy Fair, and scout out all of the hot new toys for the year. And while I saw lots of great things, these cuties leapt out as an early favorite.
A brief interlude before I get to January content: FindingJoy.net reached out to a group of 75 women who think very deeply about motherhood the question posed above. My answer pretty much encapsulates what I've been trying to do with my professional life since 2015. (I think I'm the only respondent who mentions the need for better paid leave, an end to the wage gap, equal access to medical care, etc.)
If there's one benign scourge on parents, it's Pinkfong's "Baby Shark" song. It's beloved by toddlers, reviled by parents, and always stuck in someone's head. So, when I found out that Wowwee was making singing Baby Shark dolls, I wrote about it — and it's definitely the most viral piece I've ever written. When I retire, they're going to write "wrote the Baby Shark" piece on my plaque.
Other pieces I wrote for December:
And the anti-gift guide: Attention Grandmas: It's Better for Kids to Have Fewer Toys (grandmas on Facebook HATED this story)
Entertainment: The Best Movies for Toddlers, When You Just Need to Take a Shower, 'Sesame Street' Just Introduced a New Character Who Is Experiencing Homelessness, The 20 Best Romantic Movies on Netflix Right Now, 15 Movies to Watch on New Year's Eve, Because Going Out Is Overrated, See What Anne Geddes's First Baby Models Are Up to Now
More celebrations: 12 New Year's Traditions to Start With Your Family, 12 Awesome Things to Do on New Year's Day to Get 2019 Started Right, Genius 1st Birthday Party Ideas to Celebrate Your First Year of Parenthood
I also assigned some parenting essay from freelance writers that I particularly enjoyed:
Just before heading into the big, December gift-giving season, I got to do a trio of kids-room interior design stories, and, man, kids today are lucky! I'd love to have any number of these rooms for myself. See the design trends for boys' rooms, girls' rooms, and nurseries below. (I tried to cover a range of aesthetics, but I just love all the geometric black-and-white rooms!
14 Girls' Room Ideas That Are Just as Fun as They Are Stylish
15 Nursery Ideas to Create a Happy Space for Your New Baby
Gift guides started: See gifts for 1-year-olds, book lovers, grandparents, and teachers.Also, if you ever wanted a toy Dyson vacuum that looks just like the real thing, such a thing exists.
Entertainment: 15+ Best Christmas Movies for Kids on Netflix; 16 Best Family Thanksgiving Movies on Netflix, Hulu, and More; 24 Kids' Movies Coming Out in 2019 That Are Worth a Trip to the Theater; We Scoured Infinity and Beyond for these 'Toy Story 4' Details;
Plus, a fun essay I didn't write, but got to assign and work on:
As we head into November's midterms, I'm excited to share this piece:
I've been so inspired by all of the amazing women running for office this cycle — especially some of the groundbreaking mom candidates, who have done things like changed FEC regulations to allow campaign funds to be used for childcare costs or showed breastfeeding in campaign ads. I talked to 10 candidates, from both sides of the aisle, about why this election matters to mothers, and what it was like on the campaign trail with young kids.
Other than that, the holiday coverage is in full swing, so I got to do these pieces:
And then, I didn't write this, but I'm proud to have assigned it. A husband-and-wife team wrote it, and they don't 100% agree.
Parents: Maybe Don't Buy Your Kid That Black Panther Costume This Halloween
And then one more thing that I wrote before I started this gig finally got published. I love the mission of this organization:
Girls with Impact: Setting Up Teens for Success
Big news! I've moved over to GoodHousekeeping.com as the website's new Parenting & Relationships Editor. I'm still on the same beat, doing my best to support all the moms out there, but at a new publication.
I've done a lot of editing and updating of the parenting content there so far, but I've also managed to write some of my own stories.
I started off with my own opinion about Bert and Ernie (having done hours and hours of "research" with my daughter).
As the Mom of a Toddler, I Don't Need Bert and Ernie to Be Gay, but Kids Should See More Loving, Same-Sex Relationships on TV.
This headline is a hard one, and possibly misleading. I wrote about what it's like to watch the show now, in its half-hour format (it's very different from what it was like when we were kids!), and what I found so beautiful about the male friendship of Bert and Ernie in an era of toxic masculinity.
Then I went back to my pop-culture roots for some movie recommendations.
And then a few other fun round-ups.
The Cutest Outfits for Baby's First Thanksgiving
(This includes the Carter's turkey dress my daughter's worn for three years in a row—the same one she peed on three times her first Thanksgiving.)
Starting with the July issue of Parents, I'm taking over the children's media page. I immediately used to opportunity to get in touch with my new kids'-show obsession, DuckTales. I would seriously watch that show even if my 2-year-old didn't (but, thankfully, she's into it). But I managed to pack lots of fun stuff on this page and not just make it 800 words about DuckTales. So excited to keep doing this one in the future!
Can you spot my quick quote in this video about what moms really want for Mother's Day? (I mean it: Keep the breakfast, just give me the bed!)
For the May issue of Parents, I got to hear from eight inspiring moms who are working to make the world a better place. If you have a problem who needs fixing, definitely call a mom.
We featured Bethenny Frankel, who chartered her own private planes to bring disaster relief to Puerto Rico; Senator Tammy Duckworth, the first serving senator to give birth while in office; Bozoma Saint John, the chief brand officer at Uber tasked with making it a company worth supporting; Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; Ellen Oh, author and co-founder of We Need Diverse Books; Sarah Evans, who helps build sustainable water infrastructure in Africa; Theresia Gouw, a VC who made headlines recently for being a part of the #AllRaise movement for equality in investing; and Vien Truong, whose organization works to fight pollution and poverty concurrently. Phew! That's a lot of #momspiration.