Magazine article Working Mother

My Mom, the Optimist

Magazine article Working Mother

My Mom, the Optimist

Article excerpt

My mom always said "yes" when I was growing up. Sleepovers, piano lessons, ice cream, a dog, a cat. The answer was always the same. When, at age 5,1 decided I would become an Olympic ice-skater, my mom promptly took me for lessons. At 16,1 wanted to travel Europe with my younger sister, Wendy, using a Eurail Pass and a map of youth hostels. The answer, amazingly, was "yes."

Since I say "no" to my son almost daily, it made me wonder about her laissez-faire parenting philosophy. What about setting boundaries? No impulse to helicopter-parent? The product of a strict household, my mom wanted to be a more progressive parent to my brother, Arthur, Wendy and me. "It's empowering for kids to be trusted, to feel they can do things and to explore," my mom says. Okay, but Europe alone when we weren't even 18? "I trusted you," she adds. "You had done a ton of research and were so mature about planning where you'd stay, how long, what you'd do, how much money you'd need. I thought it would be a wonderful experience for you. …

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