Maryann Bucknum Brinley

167 Cooper Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-1810

973-202-5909 (cell)

The Secrets of Happy Parenting

More than 16 years ago, I wrote a book about the secrets of happy parenting. My children, Zach and Maggie, were still children then but the world was just as complicated for parents trying to be happy. In fact, I have researched and written a lot about pregnancy and parenting issues – once from the perch of the director of the Infants and Children’s Laboratory at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Zach is a father of two now. His son, Finn, is 2 ½ and my granddaughter Charlotte just turned 1. Now, Maggie is pregnant with her first, a daughter who will be born sometime around Dec. 4. I am deeply in love with this role of grandmother. So as I look back at parenting and my daughter Maggie looks forward, I have decided to launch a blog, retooling some of those secrets I shared way back when and, at times, examining parenting from two different generational points. Maggie, a wonderful writer as you will discover, is a nurse at New York University’s Langone Hospital.

Happy Parents Can See the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Maryann Bucknum Brinley - Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Babysitting the other day for Evie, my six-week-old grand-daughter, brought me a moment of pure wondrous delight. As I held her in my arms and we were talking closely, intimately, she looked back at me with eyes wide open in one of her quiet-alert states and responded very directly with soft “coos” and “ooos” to my voice. Her little head even moved in sync with my face. Honestly, her words felt very real. She knew I was telling her how much I loved her. And I was simply knocked down emotionally by how direct she could be in this little dialogue. A conversation had begun which I intend to continue throughout our lives.

Evangeline was only three weeks old when our conversation began. Isn't she amazing in this photo?

I saw a quote in Oprah Magazine’s January 2014 issue that I’d like to pass along so you can use it every day of your life as a parent. “There is an extraordinary in the ordinary. Every day and every breath is magic – if we can only see it for what it is.” – Oprah Winfrey.

While it’s not always easy or even possible to see that extraordinary in your ordinary parenting grind, especially while you are down there in the trenches with sleepless nights and endless rounds of dirty diapers and laundry, this is such a nice thought to keep in focus. Seriously, looking for even little hints of extraordinary might help you see all the presents in your present life.

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