'Let It Go' Has Become My Parenting Mantra
Editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello introduces Parents' new Instagram TV series, 'How I Mom,' and explains why she'd call her episode "Let It Go."
Imagine three baking sheets, each holding more than 100 pieces of half-built Lego sets. Now picture them on the floor of my living room, beneath the piano. For almost three years.
Actually, you don’t need to imagine them. They’re captured on video for all the world to see in the latest episode of How I Mom, a new Parents Instagram TV series that I hope you’ll check out. Available on Instagram as well as Parents.com, Facebook, and YouTube, How I Mom features friends of Parents in their natural habitat because that’s where you can see the raw reality of parenting.
In addition to yours truly, Tiffani Thiessen shares cute moments in her kitchen, trainer Shaun T shows us the evening routine with his toddler twins, and this fall, we hope to have Jenny Mollen wearing night-vision goggles while putting her boys to bed.
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As I sat down to write this column, I tried to think about the title I’d give my episode. If I had to sum up the way I parent in a few words, what would that headline be? “My Life Is a Zoo” is a possibility, given our menagerie of pets. “Show Homes Aren’t Real Homes” could work, since I’d call my décor “grown-up furniture and real window treatments meet stuffed animals and notes from the Easter Bunny.”
I’ve landed on “Let It Go,” since the episode reveals how so many of my lofty goals, such as labeling the pantry shelves, have succumbed to the reality of life with kids. I’ve learned to lean in to the mess and decide that I’ll achieve kitchen nirvana later in life.
Yep, “Let It Go” works. I claimed the smallest room in our house as my home office. And even though I have to remind my family that it’s my space (I painted it purple!), when Sophia decided her pet lizard’s habitat didn’t match her room’s new color scheme, I agreed to keep it in my office. At least temporarily.
“Let It Go” works on a different level too. Having twin toddlers tested the controlling parts of my personality, but I found that what brings joy (making art, having pets, raising young humans) has unpredictable consequences for your space—and your heart. When I try to silence the noise or control the chaos, joy fades and anxiety builds.
Once I accepted that milk will be spilled and bedtime will drag, my expectations (and temperament) shifted. Let it go is now the mantra that I repeat whenever my Plan A becomes their Plan X—and is also a life skill that has served me beyond family. It’s one of the many gifts that motherhood has given me.