Widely published writer, longtime editor, mom of seven: Just the bare facts about Jody Allard, ParentMap's new managing editor, make you wonder how she makes it all go.
Jody has worked in the editorial field for more than 20 years, doing everything from working at newspapers and large companies like Microsoft and T-Mobile to writing for publications like The Washington Post, Time, Vice and The Guardian (see some of her work here). She has also been a regular writer for ParentMap (check out her feature in our August issue) and says that, above all, parenting content is her passion.
We asked Jody a few questions to help our readers get to know her a little better; feel free to drop her a line directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Why are you drawn to parenting content?
It’s probably not surprising that I love writing about being a parent, since I am one, but what really excites me is the opportunity to bring people together, help parents feel more connected, and spark conversations and new ways of thinking about old problems. Parents, and mothers in particular, are an important part of society yet we’re often pushed aside and removed from conversations and spaces. That’s why it’s so important to me to make room for parents to share their experiences, and give voice to parents from all walks of life.
2. You have seven kids. Kind of mind-boggling for those of us with one or two. How do you get them up and out the door in the morning?
Channeling my inner drill sergeant? Seriously though, there’s something to be said for a healthy mixture of organization and letting go. I have my younger kids choose their outfits the night before but I don’t sweat what they end up in too much. I stock up on easy breakfast foods like yogurt tubes, mini bagels, salami and fruit, so they can grab them and go. And I expect my teenagers to manage their own time, but I’m not above posting a bathroom schedule on the door to make sure everyone can get ready on time!
Parents, and mothers in particular, are an important part of society yet we’re often pushed aside and removed from conversations and spaces.
3. Go-to parenting books?
This isn’t a parenting book per se, but the most influential book as a parent for me has been The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller. It really helped me understand how my past and my own childhood influenced me today, and it set me on a path of self-discovery that radically transformed how I parent and even how I interact with the world. Ultimately, we are people first, and the most critical part of being a parent is knowing how to nurture and care for yourself. No one can really do that well with their kids until they learn how to do it to themselves, yet it’s also true that by nurturing our kids sometimes we learn how to nurture ourselves.
4. Parenting motto in six words or less?
If it’s not bleeding, you’re OK.
5. How would your kids describe you?
Because my kids range in age from 6 to 19, I get very different types of feedback. My younger kids still think I’m the best mom ever, which I’ve come to appreciate even more as my older kids get older! My teenagers are my toughest critics, but ultimately I think it’s good that they know they can roll their eyes and tell me I’m too opinionated or too liberal. They know I have their backs, and that’s what is most important to me.
6. What’s on your summer reading list?
I just finished Hunger by Roxane Gay and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and they are probably two of the best books I’ve ever read. I enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, although I agree with some of the criticisms around his work. Next on my list are We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis. I’ve committed to reading primarily works by women (and women of color in particular) this year, and I’ve really enjoyed the works I’ve read so far.
7. If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why
I’ve never been a big fan of superheros, but Wonder Woman blew me away so I’d basically want to be her. Who wouldn’t want to kick some serious ass?
8. Craziest recent parenting moment?
This isn’t super recent, but a few years ago we found a tooth in our bathroom sink drain and no one had any idea whose it was! Only in a big family...