Friday, May 30, 2014

Big News from FAMILY Magazine and Brenda Hyde

May might be coming to an end but it has much more to give to me and to my family. Like the song in the musical Carousel I quoted earlier this month in the magazine blog, “March went out like a lion and April sighed and stepped aside. Along came funny little May. May was full of promises.”

For me, this May held especially significant promises that all seem to be coming true. First, I love May – the 8th is my birthday. And this year, the gift I’m giving myself is a big change. Equal parts exciting and scary.

Here goes: I am retiring from publishing and moving out of the country. Whew, kind of a big deal, huh?

It has been over 25 years since I founded FAMILY Magazine. During that time, I have been so blessed to be able to share with you the joys and trials of raising kids in the DC area. We were all doing it together – me, my staff, our readers sharing our challenges and accomplishments.

FAMILY Magazine is like a child I’ve raised and am now ready to send out into the world under someone else’s care. Our mission, from the very beginning, has been to make it easier for our readers to raise kids in this crazy area we all call home. I am always so pleased when you tell me how you count on our magazine for parenting advice and resources month after month.
Donna and Brenda

Twenty five years is a long time for any endeavor – longer than most kids (if all goes to plan) live at home with us. There have been so many great times and, as with any venture that has meaning, challenges along the way. As I grew FAMILY the business, my own family grew right alongside (grandkids!).

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that March was fabulous wedding month. My youngest daughter Brittany got married, and all four of my children were there to celebrate. It really made me realize that no matter how self-sufficient our kids are, no matter how successfully we’ve launched them, mom is always the mom.

In publishing a magazine dedicated to parents, I find myriad reasons to play the mom in my professional digs. I’m a big believer in helping young folks get their start. I hope our interns don’t mind the motherly advice I offer them. There’s little natural distinction between parenting and management. Many issues in business, and yes, politics, could be well handled with some re-direction and possibly a time out or two. 

So in the name of good management, I am turning the reigns of FAMILY Magazine over to Northern Virginia Media Services to oversee my “baby” take its next steps. Northern Virginia Media Services  is a very capable group with seven other publications here in the Washington area. I have no doubt they will carry on our traditions and keep providing you the great information you’ve come to expect from us. It’s important to me that FAMILY Magazine will be very well taken care of – most of all for my staff “family”. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye!

As FAMILY Magazine moves into its next stage, I am sad like all parents whose kids move on, but also gratified and excited about the growth and change that FAMILY will experience. 

Personally my next stage is a big move – to the Middle East. My husband has been given the opportunity to build a business in that far flung part of the world. It will undoubtedly present big challenges for our family along with great adventures. And you know me, I love a good adventure. I was thrilled to hear there is some exciting scuba diving on that side of the world.

So for some final words as Publisher of FAMILY Magazine to my wonderful, wonderful readers: I have loved every month, every issue of the magazine and especially every time I had the opportunity to meet you! I thank you for giving me such great memories to take with me as I travel into this next phase of my life.

In the spirit of always being a mom, I leave you with some advice. It’s what I’ve always told anyone who would listen – and I believe it holds its importance. Enjoy every single moment of life, savor the time with your children and especially find joy in your marriage partnership. 

On our refrigerator I have a note I wrote to myself over 25 years ago, “Life is short, dance often.” I’ll be packing that up carefully to inspire me on the other side of the planet. I’ll miss DC, the magazine, my team, our great advertisers, and YOU.

My traditional sign off has always been “Til next month, Happy Parenting!” For this, my last "Publisher’s Blog," I opened with a song, so I’ll close it by humming “Til we meet again…Happy Parenting!”  My next blog will come to you from the Middle East!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother’s Day, Year, Decade(s)

Finally May! It seemed as if winter would go on forever. Like the song in the musical Carousel, “March went out like a lion…April cried and stepped aside. Along came pretty little May….”

May is one of my favorite months. There’s my birthday and Mother’s Day – which I celebrate now just as heartily as when my kids were home. I’m sure you’ve heard  – once a mother, always a mother – but as a mother of adults, I’ll say you don’t really get what that means ‘til your kids are taller and (I’ll admit in rare instances) smarter than you are.

Now that my kids are “launched”, my favorite advice to new parents is to enjoy every stage of motherhood to the fullest. I remember as a new parent how I “couldn’t wait” for my baby to do the next big thing -- to smile, to sit up, to walk, to make his own meals (and ultimately money). There’s reason to celebrate each stage with gusto – it means we’ve passed another of the endless mom tests.

Try not to rush the kid stages. It’s not a competition – there’s really no correlation between early walkers and class valedictorians. Just enjoy the many wonderful experiences along your child’s way. And if my romantic view of it doesn’t persuade, just consider that learning to crawl is a fun milestone, but now you have a diapered force of destruction on the loose in your home.

At each stage of development, I so enjoyed my kids’ increasingly sophisticated interest in their world. My middle daughter was a tireless digger for detail. She was fiercely independent. Her first sentence was, “Me do it own self.”  She would follow me around and tirelessly ask, “Why?” 

A typical morning during her third year would start with me saying: “Let’s put some clothes in the washer.”  She would say, “Why?” and I would answer, “Because they are dirty.”  Again, “Why?”  I would answer, “Because we want them to look nice. Let’s put soap in.”  Another, “Why?”  and I would answer, “Because the soap will get the dirt out.”  Her response? Yup, “Why?” 

These conversations were endless with her – just substitute whatever topic was at hand and generously pepper with “why’s.” When I first became a parent, I vowed never to say, “Because I told you so.” I have to admit I used that parental classic more than once in the face of the terminal “why’s.”

I’m a huge believer in being prepared  - which significantly informed my approach to parenting. I’ll tell you now however, that the parenting experience from infant to adult has been an endless source of surprise to me. I studied piles of books. I went to all the classes we could afford, took my husband to as many classes as he would tolerate. I talked to my mom and did compare and contrast analyses of the young mothers around me.

But like so many of us “boy scout” new parents, when my first baby arrived, what I knew for sure was my idea of prepared was a fantasy. I was at a loss to recall ANY of the diligent research I’d done, and from the moment of delivery, too tired to pick up a book.

As parents, we’re on a bit of an intelligence roller coaster in the eyes of our kids.  We’re brilliant right up to when they hit double digits, we couldn’t be less relevant when they become teens, and then we gain back some influence as our kids hit adulthood. At the moment I went home with babe in arms, my mother became a genius in my eyes. I thought about how she had given me tons of advice throughout my life (often against my will), and it hit me: “Mom was right.”

I was a very independent child (still am), but nonetheless, I was on the phone asking mom how quickly she could come over and help me even before I had cut off that hospital bracelet. Pregnant me had told her it was not necessary for her to come, but new mom me could not wait for her to arrive.

I thought I could do it all just like I tackled so many challenges before. But this was a challenge who owned me from her first breath. I was not ashamed to ask for much needed help. This little person was in control, and I knew even then that my life would never be the same. Never.

On this Mother’s Day, be sure to remember your mom and all she did/does for you –share your undefinable, unimaginable motherhood experiences. And remember whatever kid stage you are in, it’s the best one. It will pass (sadly/gladly), and you’ll be so happy you appreciated it.