Letter from the Editor
Reflecting on four years at the helm and what’s next for Working Mother Media.
Work is never going to be the same for many of us.
Managers can no longer say white-collar parents can’t successfully work from home full time. ( We can. It’s just tough with little kids around.) Congress can no longer claim they can’t fund paid parental leave. (They did, with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, though it didn’t cover all parents.) Employers can no longer ignore moms’ struggles. (Those “struggles” rear their cute, little heads during my Google Meet calls.) With all the uncertainty the pandemic has unleashed, at least we can make a bolstered case for positive, lasting change. And there are already employers improving their benefits for parents’ sake.
For instance, the 2020 Working Mother 100 Best Companies upped their game to support their parent employees with increased flexibility, more mental-health resources and even straight-up cash for backup caregivers. See their incredible efforts, pre- and during COVID-19, starting on page 42.
My company, Working Mother Media, is changing too: This is the last issue of Working Mother. I know, I know; way to bury the lead.
While I figured the magazine would cease printing during my tenure, considering so many other publications have folded recently, I’m sentimental over what brought me here in the first place four years ago: a presidential election. I applied for this role moments after Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin back in 2016, and I wanted to do more to build up moms and women than I had in previous jobs.
“We would like to share in your problems, your concerns for your family—and your pride. We’d like to help.” This founding principle, laid out by Working Mother’s first editor-in-chief, Vivian Cadden, sums up why I wanted to follow in her footsteps. That mission will persist here at WMM, though our concerns are now for all marginalized workers, not just moms.
Luckily, the magazine is only one piece of what this talented team does—and will continue to do. Workingmother.com will live on, to advise and inspire you in this brave new world. Our initiatives, such as the 100 Best Companies and the Best Companies for Dads (page 56), which challenge organizations to do more and more for their workforces, aren’t going anywhere either. Same story with our diversity consulting business. If anything, these challenging times have renewed our resolve to guide clients toward making their workplaces as equitable and inclusive as they should be.
So how did we get here? We’re looking back throughout this issue—starting with our retrospective on the next page. Check out the timeline of events in our history, plus working moms’ history, running along the bottom of the pages.
But we’re not just looking back; we’re also looking forward.
Experts say a lot of what happens post-COVID depends on who wins the upcoming presidential election (please vote...with working parents’ best interests in mind). Still, those experts give us their predictions in our cover story, “The Future of Working Motherhood” (page 94).
As for me, becoming an editor-in-chief of a national magazine had been my dream since I was in high school. It’s weird to have achieved it, especially as a mom of a toddler (only to go on maternity leave barely a year later), and wonder, What now? as our cover posits. I’m not going anywhere, but it’s tricky to fuel your career—and plot out next steps— while constantly caring for two young kids.
Here’s what I do know: I won’t accept anything less than a supportive work environment going forward, and that’s a major privilege. I’m going to keep fighting until we all can receive it. That’s what I’ve learned from my foremother editors, my wise team and the operate-by-example management under whom I’ve been lucky to work.
This might be my last editor’s letter, but I hope we talk to each other again. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and help each other navigate the ever-changing state of working parenthood.
To a fulfilling future for us all,