From the Editor
Why flexible work is so important to working moms, on Halloween and year-round.
I’ve long envied towns that celebrate Halloween on a weekend. It makes so much sense. Parents have jobs, kids need adults to transform them into witches and vampires (or more likely, PAW Patrol characters, Minions, and maybe human fidget spinners), and parents want to hold the hands of their little monsters as they trick-or-treat. My hometown of Staten Island, NY, made no such accommodations. Halloween was on Halloween. And October 31, 1988, was a gloomy, rainy, windy Monday. My mom thought I’d trick-or-treat with neighborhood kids and their moms while she worked, but I wanted to go door to door only with my own mommy. Alas, she couldn’t leave work early. So I spent the better part of the afternoon doling out candy with my babysitter, while dressed in my princess costume: a foil-covered dunce hat and recycled flower-girl dress from a cousin’s wedding the previous fall. The marriage had already dissolved, but shelling out for a new get-up wasn’t an option when my mom could force the zipper up on the one for which she’d already paid $100.
When my mother finally picked me up at 6 p.m., we skipped dinner and went straight out into the Nor’easter. (Talk about sacrifice!) Exhausted, hungry and in desperate need of a bathroom, she took me to 10 houses in the dark before calling it quits.
One neighbor, a real estate agent who was usually home during the week, felt so bad for us, she invited us in from the elements. Upon seeing my mostly empty plastic pumpkin, she insisted that her son, my classmate, share some of his hard-earned candy with me. My mom swears I was satisfied. I remember differently. My memory might be more reliable here because she took off from work every Halloween thereafter. Her managers throughout the years understood: This was one day she’d always be home with her children, so save the big meetings for November.
Not surprisingly, that kind of flexibility is still what we working moms crave. It’s why, for the 32nd year, we’re recognizing the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers (page 25). It’s also why, as a special feature in that section, we’ve found out how to get full-time work-from-home jobs at these top organizations (page 74). And for us on-site folks, we’ve talked to CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota—a mom of three who works for Turner, one of our 100 Best Companies—to learn how the heck she swings those must-be-with-your-kids moments (page 20). As for this working mom, our town has plenty of costumed fun the weekend prior to Halloween. Still, I will devote half a precious vacation day to trick-or-treat on Tuesday, October 31. Much as I’ve tried, I can’t convince my 3-year-old to rewear his ring-bearer outfit from his aunt’s wedding (for some reason, he has zero interest in being a butler). No, the Force is strong with this one—he will be asking for candy as a mini Darth Vader. And that’s something I have to see in person.
Wishing you more treats than tricks,
My little Star Wars fan was an Ewok last year. Sadly, he won’t be as cuddly as a Sith this time.
This was from my school’s costume parade, before the awful storm.