Mar. 15 2019
Meaghan Murphy is an editor with nearly 25 years in the magazine business. She got her start at YM, helped launch Teen People, did some on-air work at MTV (where her acting degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers came in handy), worked as a senior editor at Cosmopolitan, then moved to SELF, where she was the fitness director (which makes sense, given she’s a certified trainer), and deputy editor for nearly nine years. Talk about being impressive. After having her third child, Meaghan transitioned to Good Housekeeping. As the Executive Editor, she covers everything from cleaning and organizing hacks to top-tested products vetted by the scientists in the GH Institute, including toys–which, she shares, her kids enjoy helping out with. Still passionate about fitness, Meaghan is up at 5am every morning for her workout, and says she’s often compared to the Energizer bunny, “always finding the YAY in every day.” That’s an attitude we can get behind. Below, this media boss tells us all about the nightly routine that helps her wind down after an exciting day.
6:30 P.M. When we’re not working past my bedtime to close the latest issue of Good Housekeeping, I’m making a mad dash to the A train—sometimes walking directly into the subway turnstyle without swiping because my brain is exploding with end-of-day thoughts. A former co-worker Jessica Knoll (she wrote the bestsellers Luckiest Girl Alive and The Favorite Sister!) and I have commiserated over this turnstyle trance, so I take comfort in the fact that I’m probably not the only one! My brain then goes to one of my working-mom mantras: “no commuter whammies, no commuter whammies,” as I haul a$$ through Port Authority desperate to hop on a bus (no lines, no traffic, no accidents, please!!!!) to Westfield, New Jersey, where I live with Team Murphy: my hubs (10 years strong!) and 3 kids Charley (girl, 8), James (6) and Brooks (5) and Labradoodle Dempsey. I’m always rushing because I can’t wait to get home to this crew!
7 P.M. Once I’m settled on the bus, I’ve got about an hour and fifteen minutes to download my day, clean out my inbox and then start my daily “Yay List.” Not to get all sad sack, but I lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer 3 years ago, and just 5 months after his diagnosis. It was a heart-crusher and to process the grief I started actively seeking out something good every day, capturing it in a photo and posting it on my Instagram with the hashtag #operationgoodgrief. I kept this up for nearly two years and, I swear, that daily exercise of actively choosing to find something good helped me become more positive and made it more automatic. Recently this practice organically morphed into me asking myself, “What made me say YAY today?” and documenting it similarly on social media with #theyaylist. For me it’s almost like a gratitude journal 2.0! My followers loved it so much, I even opened a seperate @theyaylist account, which delivers a daily, quick hit of Yay!
8 P.M. I’m home! Team Murphy is bathed, fed and homework is done or in process thanks to an amazing tag team that consists of a trusted nanny, a really hands-on mother and mother-in-law and a husband who cooks! (I’m not superwoman; I need help to do everything I accomplish in a day!) I immediately put on my PJs, which are probably from Target and have pizzas or lightning bolts on them. Then I snuggle into bed with each kid for “highlights,” where I go from youngest to oldest for an eager report on 3 yay-worthy things that happened in their day. When my gang was really little the answer was often, “I liked it when I did everything.” Lately this cozy moment of reflection sparks some really cool conversations…which I can’t share because my kids are also currently savvy enough to request things like: “Mooooom, don’t put that on Instagram!”
8:30 P.M. Feed me! My husband and I eat late so that we can sit down, talk and actually chew our food without kid chaos. Despite the fact that I work for Good Housekeeping and have the best tested-‘til-perfect recipes in the world at my fingertips, I don’t do the cooking (one of the secrets to my happy marriage is the fact that my husband does…and actually enjoys it!) He makes a ridiculously delicious gluten-free (I’m celiac) white bean and chicken thigh bake. We also go through phases with make-life-easier delivery services like Terra’s Kitchen, Hungryroot and Sun Basket. I’m now dying to try Eat Clean Bro.
9 P.M. In theory, this is when Pat and I hold hands on the couch and watch Netflix with our Labradoodle at our feet. In reality, I have a really, really, really hard time sitting still. For starters, when Dempsey is at our feet, I’m usually trying to get him to stop chewing the rug. I’m also up and down putzing around the house after suddenly remembering things like: I forgot to put the book fair money in James’s backpack; Oh no! I have to sign the preschool permission slip; was that the dishwasher signal?—I better go empty it; shoot! I never called my sister back! But I cherish this time. I’m super grateful that I married my brother’s best friend who’s now my best friend (did you just throw up in your mouth just a little?!).
9:30 P.M. I turn into a pumpkin at 10:17pm, so at about 9:40pm I start to get the shakes if my bedtime ritual hasn’t commenced. Thanks to a recent bout of grown-up acne hell, I only wash with Cetaphil and follow a spreadsheet for my face regimen (shout out to my derm Dr. Shari Marchbien!), in addition to brushing my teeth, picking out the next morning’s workout clothes and taking the 8+ decorative pillows off the bed.
10:17: I’m asleep at precisely this time. Long ago, I programmed my internal sleep clock to shut off at this time and to power back up at 5:03AM—without an alarm! It’s like I have an On/Off switch. Sleep is definitely my superpower.