Years ago, when my daughter Madeleine was a year old, I experienced the wonderful gift of having my life and my work come together when I landed my dream job as the editor-in-chief of Parents magazine. During my 10-year tenure at Parents, I had access to the best and the brightest among child development experts, researchers, pediatricians, child advocates, and educators. But the most gratifying aspect of my work by far was the opportunity it afforded me to meet parents from all across the county. This was long before parents had instant access to communities of moms and dads on the web. Time and again, I witnessed their passion, determination, strength, energy, empathy, humor, wisdom and courage revealed in mundane and monumental ways.
While at Parents, I edited a couple of books – It Worked for Me, which featured advice and tips from our readers, and The Parents Answer Book, an 800-page reference on children’s health and development. But I wanted to write my own book and with two young children and a very busy husband, the idea of doing so on the weekends didn’t really compute. So I made the tough and, at times, terrifying decision to leave the magazine to write my first book The 7 Stages of Motherhood: Loving Your Life Without Losing Your Mind.
As luck would have it, Good Morning America was looking for a parenting contributor to add to their amazing “family” of experts. I had appeared on the show fairly regularly and loved the team there, so I happily agreed to take the job. I worked at GMA for over a decade. I also hosted my own show, Parenting with Annie Pleshette Murphy, on ABC News Now, ABC’s digital cable network, available on cable, broadband, and mobile devices.
I continued to write. My second book, The Secret of Play: How to Raise Smart, Healthy, Caring Kids from Birth to Age 12 was published in November ‘08. And I’ve written parenting columns for Parents, Family Circle andUSAWeekend magazines.
Working with and interviewing the foremost leaders in the field of child development continued to foster my interest in psychology. (I majored in the subject in college.) So I took another plunge and returned to school, earning a Masters in psychology from New York University.
Then in the fall of 2010, my husband Steven was offered a wonderful job in London. We spent many hours talking through the pros and cons of taking a giant leap across “the pond,” but what eventually inspired me to say, “Yes! Let’s do it!” was the realization that I had never lived anywhere but New York City and that a chance to forge a new path, see places that would suddenly be “next door,” and meet lots of different people was truly a gift at this stage in my life. That said, it has been a year of extreme highs and lows. I miss my family and friends like crazy; despite all the ways we have of keeping in touch, there’s no high-tech substitute for a hug and a shared laugh. But I have been able to continue my therapeutic training and also to put together some parenting groups, which keeps me doing the extremely gratifying work of counseling “mums” and dads. I have continued my nonprofit work. I am the vice president of the board of Zero to Three, a national nonprofit that informs, trains and supports professionals, policymakers and parents to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. And I recently joined the board of the Tavistock Center for Couple Relationships in London.
Most important, I’m the mother of two wonderful kids. Maddie, 25, is completing her Masters in landscape architecture and Nick, 21, graduates from college in 2012 .