You won’t be able to find Jennifer Bardsley’s musings in the newspaper anymore, but you can still find hers stories on bookshelves. (Photo by Makenna Faulkner)

You won’t be able to find Jennifer Bardsley’s musings in the newspaper anymore, but you can still find hers stories on bookshelves. (Photo by Makenna Faulkner)

Goodbye, dear readers. It’s been an honor to write for you

Jennifer Bardsley signs off after 11 years of writing “I Brake for Moms.” Her parting words of advice: Support local journalism.

All good things must come to an end, and for me that means saying farewell to “I Brake for Moms.” This is a choice I’ve made due to my busy publishing schedule. My newest book, “Talk of the Town,” came out last month from Montlake, and I have three more releasing in 2024 from Bookouture. It’s time for me to move on. I’m still writing stories about my life, but through the whirlpool of my imagination.

For the past 11 years of writing “I Brake for Moms” my goal has been to offer yet another reason for readers to pick up the newspaper. Each column I wrote was designed to either entertain, educate, inspire or call people to action.

I’m not a journalist; I’m a freelance columnist and there is a huge difference. The journalists who work for the Herald shine a spotlight on things that parents like me need to know. What is happening at those city council meetings I don’t have time to attend? Is the school district next to mine performing better? Are my legislators advocating for my best interests? Columnists like me are less important, but hopefully we offer a friendly face that makes you feel connected to your newspaper.

Most of my time writing “I Brake for Moms” has been a blast, but there have been hard things about the role too. Meeting a writing deadline every week for 11 years has been challenging, especially in the face of various ailments. Remember when I had amnesia? That’s one thing I haven’t forgotten. Over the years I’ve received intense scrutiny from internet trolls. Someone even sent death threats to my poodle! I’ve also watched favorite editors leave for higher paying jobs at other organizations. But throughout it all, I’ve taken pride in knowing that my column mattered.

I’ve raised awareness about dyslexia and memory loss. I’ve shared meal planning tips and ways to make holidays more meaningful. I’ve made people laugh, like the time my upstairs toilet overflowed on Christmas Eve dinner. I’ve touched people’s hearts when I’ve shared bits and pieces of my own life. I know this because readers email me. Their messages brighten my inbox.

Before I sign off, I want to share two things with you. The first is that I hope you know how important you are as a newspaper subscriber. You keep local journalism alive. I know it’s been hard, and things are changing. But that means that supporting your local newspaper is more important than ever before. When something happens in Snohomish County we can’t wait for strangers in Seattle — or New York — to tell us. We need journalists rooted in our own community keeping an eye on things.

The second thing I want you to consider is the emotional toll journalists pay to serve you. When they report on sex offenders going to trial, they are often exposed to graphic content. When they report on horrific things like animal hoarding, murders and arson, they are often left with trauma. Reporters also deal with internet trolls who tear their character to shreds in Facebook comments. People know that they should be grateful to first responders, but it rarely occurs to anyone to thank reporters for being our eyes and ears. So here’s me saying a giant “Thank you!” to journalists, for the work they do on our behalf.

Words cost money. Journalists deserve to eat. Our community needs a newspaper that cares about us. My kids deserve a world where there is a local free press. That’s why, even though I’ll no longer be writing “I Brake for Moms,” I’ll be a forever-subscriber. Supporting local journalism is good parenting.

Jennifer Bardsley’s email is: teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com. You can also find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as @JenniferBardsleyAuthor. Her books are available at your local library.

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