It’s a new year for Help, Please, and in 2013 I’m asking moms and dads to give us the good, the bad, and the real on parenting. It’s not the how-to talk you’ll find in books or on an inspirational poster — it’s plain, old-fashioned advice from parents who’ve learned by doing it.
First up: Tracey Stewart, editor-in-chief of Moomah.com and mother of two. Her creative space-turned-online magazine fosters the kind of home environment I fantasize about — conscious, hip, honest, and stylish. All with a sense of humor. — SuChin Pak
The tagline to the site reads, “Be inspired and know you are doing enough.” Why was this an important message to get across to your readers?
I think we put too much pressure on ourselves not to screw up. Articles can sometimes fool you into believing that others are pulling things off more seamlessly. Once you see how the sausage is made, you have to see there is no “perfect.” The best we can do is go into parenting with good intentions and an open mind.
What seems to be the biggest question your readers have when it comes to parenting?
“How can I feel better about the job I’m doing?”
The best thing about being a parent is: Feeling so powerfully connected to other little humans.
The worst thing about being a parent is: You can’t fix everything for your kids. You can’t even do it for yourself, let alone them.
I try to achieve work/life balance by: Accepting that I probably can’t achieve it.
Say no to: Guilt.
Say yes to: Anything that allows you to have a five-minute conversation with your spouse.
The thing no one tells you about parenthood is: You’re going to exercise less, read less, sleep less, complete sentences less, and love so much more.
Let’s get social: Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter?
Facebook and Twitter make my skin crawl, even though all the youngsters keep telling me it’s beneficial. I love Pinterest because it’s visual candy — and I trick myself into thinking it’s not social.
Discipline: Time-outs, freak-outs, or hug it out?
I find that my discipline techniques are for me, not my children. I try really hard to be consistent. If I say I’m going to do something, I really try to do it. I try not to repeat myself over and over again. My friend Jeff says, “Being a good parent means getting off the couch.” If you tell little Charlie to stop biting his brother’s finger and he doesn’t, you’re going to have to get up off the couch.
Essential beauty item in your makeup bag: Dr. Brandt Skincare Flexitone BB cream. I don’t know what kind of magic is in this stuff, but somehow when I put it on my splotchy complexion it transforms from green to the exact color it needs to be to even out my skin tone. I love all things by Bobbi Brown. I think she’s going to save me from plastic surgery.
Essential bedtime book: Right now my kids are loving the Big Nate books and the Magic Tree House collection. (I hope you weren’t implying that I would be reading in the evening, because that would be mean.)
Photos: Lisel Ashlock; Joâo Canziani / Courtesy of Moomah