Working Mother

I know a lot of stay-at-home mothers who are offended by the title Working Mother. They would say: "Hey, we're working mothers!" And they would be right. After all, the goal of feminism has been to empower traditional female work, like staying at home to raise the kids. These women, however, tend to be among the most privileged. Today close to 50 percent of the workforce is made up of working mothers whose incomes are necessary for the family. These working mothers actually work double duty, both at a career and raising the kids.

This is the group that Working Mother does a great job of reaching. In the past few years CEO Carol Evans has totally refurbished the magazine, turning a book that was aimed at baby boomers into one for Generation X mothers, whose main idea about working motherhood is flexibility. Even if a Gen-X mom works two days a week, she considers herself a career woman, according to Evans. The modern working mother's mantra, according to this magazine, is not "have it all," but "balance it all and live well." Recently, Evans hired former Fast Company senior editor Jill Kirschenbaum, whose objective was to broaden Working Mother 's reach from a parenting book to a women's lifestyle magazine. This means real women's lives, not aspirational celebrity lifestyles. In order to do this, she hired an eclectic group of editors from Fortune Small Business, Sesame Street Parents, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Time to bring in new perspectives.

The October issue is the 20th anniversary "100 Best Companies" issue. I think that companies that offer flextime and ways for women to toggle between the responsibilities of work and home, are the most important route to improving the lives and health of working mothers today. The top five companies for a working mother according to the magazine are: Bristol-Myers Squibb, JFK Medical Center, Eli Lilly and Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and General Mills.

Carol Evan's new vision is definitely working. Although the writing in the magazine is not topnotch, the design is beautiful, and the article topics totally hit the mark. The TOC is split up into simple sections: You, Work, and Family. Other feature stories include: ideas for taking back your weekends (limit family activities, streamline your shopping, make a mini date); profiles of women in different flextime situations; and parenting advice from Hillary Clinton and Barbara Walters. My favorite story is a small one in the News Break section about Danica Patrick, the fourth-place winner of this year's Indy 500. It says: "Guess she didn't read the recent study suggesting that women shy away from competition as much as men are drawn to it -- even in tasks that both genders perform equally well. Unfortunately, the study doesn't explain the drive and desire of many of today's businesswomen who succeed despite an often less-than-friendly corporate culture." It's those kind of statements that puts Working Mother on the cutting edge of girl-think.

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