For nearly a quarter century, I worked for Newsweek – which meant reporting on serial killers (Jeffrey Dahmer), sports stars (Tiger Woods), and aging rock 'n' rollers (Aerosmith). In the line of duty, it also meant traveling to disaster sites (the Oklahoma City bombing, the L.A. riots) and to big news events (the 1996 Olympics) and watching medical procedures (a circumcision).
Midway through my Newsweek career, I got married and became the mom of two wonderful girls, now 12 and 15. My husband and daughters inspired me to begin reporting more stories about families – their health, their books, their concerns about school, and their worries about aging parents.
After I left Newsweek in 2009, I started covering my new passions for many magazines and websites, including Publishers Weekly. My favorite "celebrities" to talk to? Children's book authors! (At least at this stage in my life, interviews with "The Fault in Our Stars" author John Green or the "Stinky Cheese Man" author Jon Scieszka trump interviews with Hollywood stars.)
Meanwhile, for the past two years, I've been lucky enough to get to write about parents, grandparents, and kids for FamilyGoesStrong.com. (A side benefit: reading my Facebook friends' wise and funny comments on my posts.) After so many years writing just in the third person, it's been fun to share more personal stories with readers.
I also teach journalism at Northwestern University – an incredibly rewarding experience. I feel as though I have hundreds of kids (my students!), not just two.
What I Know Now That I Didn't Know at 20
- Being a happily married mom is the best job in the world. I'm thrilled that I've gotten to interview Olympians and rock stars. But (cliché alert!) none of it beats snuggling with my husband and kids. (At 20, I thought I didn't want to tie the knot — ever. What was I thinking?)
- Being a FamilyGoesStrong writer is the next best job in the world. Once I dreamed of being a foreign correspondent. Now I realize I would have felt lonely. These days my travel may not be so exotic. (We do make frequent forays to my husband's home state, Iowa, land of the "Field of Dreams"!) But I get to write about what matters most to me now: family.
My favorite posts?
Longest Celebrity Marriages. I admire Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and hope to beat their 50-years-of-wedded-bliss record! (And they aren't even the longest celebrity marriage.)
Parker Stevenson: Exclusive Interview. So many readers clicked on the slides about the Hardy Boys actor in my Teen Idols series that I asked his agent if I could talk to the popular guy myself. The answer? Yes!
Why We Love Kate Middleton. As a royal watcher, I couldn't resist writing a fan letter for the princess. I also added princess-related photos in slide shows such as Single Princes, Royal Monarchs Around the World and Princesses!
Teen Idols from Our Youth. I remembered so many favorites, and friends and readers suggested so many others, that I split this slide show into five parts to fit in updates on everyone! Here they are: