Parents magazine editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello shares how she modeled a healthy, happy life for her two young daughters, even when her own motivation was hard to find. 

Liz Vaccariello Emerald Dress Sitting
Credit: Grace Huang

Of their youngest years, my girls knew I left them for two main reasons. Monday through Friday, I’d “go make magazines” at a place called work, and every Saturday at 7 a.m., I’d “go make muscles” at a place called the gym. I never complained about my career or exercise. As my daughters grew, I wanted them to intuitively know that when you bring passion to your work and your health, life is good and Mommy’s happy.

Of course sometimes my motivation has ebbed over the years. Sometimes it ebbs for a while. I want to show the girls that this is okay too.

It was during a life transition two summers ago that I stumbled upon cover mom Massy Arias’s feed. She’s a personal trainer with more than 2.4 million followers, and her commitment to helping others reach their health goals is fierce. On any given day I can take what I need from her: strength, confidence, or permission to just chill out about it all. Occasionally, I’d try a challenging move she’s demoing; other times I’d experiment with some beauty or nutrition hack she came up with through her own trial and error. Often, I’d just play the part of armchair warrior and soak up her positivity.

Then something interesting happened. Massy announced her pregnancy, and I cheered. In those first months as a mom, she began to write about another side of herself. She posted about how her finely honed equilibrium shifted and how vulnerable and anxious this made her feel. I remember feeling that way, too, and to see a woman this strong openly discuss her struggles with anxiety and sense of self was such validation. Leading by example, she shows all of us how to recognize our lows, ask for help, and get to work surviving and thriving. That’s the focus of our chat with her in our story, "How Massy Arias Built Her Mom Muscles" and a big reason why we commissioned our advice-packed “Anxiety on Board” feature. I hope you find them both helpful in defining your strength as a mom.

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Parents Magazine