Author Archives: Kara Gause

Kara Gause

About Kara Gause

Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.

Girls’ Life Says It Like It Is, So Maybe You Won’t Have To?

girlslife_june-july2010.jpgWhen looking through the pages of Girls’ Life magazine, it’s clear that today’s teenager is far and away more worldly than I was back in 1990-whatever (“Well, when I was your age….”). There’s more to this publication than just the requisite “Does he like you?” question-and-answer indulgence, although there are a couple of those. After all, this is a magazine for teenage girls.

The April/May issue went deeper, though, and I can’t help but wonder: Could some of these articles help moms open the door to some difficult conversations? The magazine has regular sections on boys, friendships and a changing body, all of which allow readers to ask questions they might not be comfortable asking their moms. That issue also included a really great article on smoking pot entitled “Up in Smoke,” which talks about how smoking up is on the rise, what it does to your body and what to do if a friend is smoking. And the overall message is clear: Stay away from the drug.

But my favorite had to be a section called “Dear Carol” (“Dear Abby” for a new generation). Girls felt free to ask questions about how to talk to their parents about their birth mothers, how to help a friend whose parents are abusing her, and what to do if you think a parent is cheating–tough stuff! Through it all, “Carol” extends warm yet firm advice, but most of all, a kind ear. In fact, if you write in and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, Carol or one of her assistants will write back with some advice. That beats bottling up those feelings inside. Of course, the alternative could always be (gasp) talking to dear, old Mom.

Working Mother: Helping Moms Work Out the Guilt

workingmother.jpgThe old adage, “Well, at least you’re not alone in this,” may be the biggest find in Working Mother magazine. The underlying theme of the magazine matches the underlying guilt most
working mothers feel on a fairly regular basis. As a new mom of twins who
splits her time between teaching English to middle schoolers, trying to nurse
twin babies and putting a decent meal on the table, I can attest to the
oh-too-familiar weight of “mommy guilt”–it’s roughly the equivalent of an
anvil noosed around one’s neck.

But there is comfort in the easily accessible tools found in
Working Mother. The magazine does a
great job of dividing the material into three basic sections (because busy moms
don’t have time to mess around with more): “You,” “Work” and–last but not least,
because they’re the reason you do everything you do in the first place–”Family.”

You: This section
comes first because, well, if it didn’t, the truth is a busy mom might never get
around to reading it. She’s usually the low woman on the totem pole. Topics here
might include the latest beauty treatments or exercise regimens, finding a
moment to de-stress, or my favorite, “Sticky Situations”–advice for handling
an overbearing grandmother or a friendship with a stay-at-home mom who is
constantly (guiltily?) helping to pick up the slack for you and your kids
(somebody has to watch them on snow days).

Work: This is where
the cover story featuring a well-known working mom may come in. There are
certainly questions about the individual’s job, but the focus is more on how
they juggle the load and (duh,duh,duh) “mommy guilt.”

Family: Practical
guides and recommendations for vacations (if you can find the time to take
them!) can be found here. There are short guides to child nutrition and helpful
hints to get good food on the table. However, the BEST here is a monthly
mini-guide for every age group of child: 0-2, 3-5, 6-10, and 11+ years. While
my girls are still babies, there are plenty of ideas to stockpile for later,
too!

Articles in Working Mother magazine are concise and to the point, which I know is much appreciated by me
at least. There are tons of books on parenting out there–I know because I own
a ton of them already–but who has the time to sit down and actually read all
of them? Not me. Sadly, not me.

But I do have a moment here and there to read
this helpful parenting magazine where the mantra seems to be: “helping working mothers do
everything they do already, but better.” And instead of dwelling on the
negative, which is no doubt the all-encompassing guilt that can creep in, this
magazine helps moms like me make the most of every moment of a very full life.