We Hear You! Letters from Our December 2011/January 2012 Issue

MORE • Editors

I can't believe I just got around to reading your letter now.

I too am a career mom who focuses on keeping balance in my life. Pre children/Marriage, I had a career in fashion as a visual merchandiser. It was a fast paced career that I loved, but, involved over 60 hours of my time per week.

After marriage and family, I soon realized that I couldn't maintain the hectic life. My two daughter's were in school, one a kindergartener and one a first grader. Typically my kindergartener, Callan had a half day of school and on Wednesdays my first grader, Kennedy also had a half day. On this particular Wednesday, Callan woke up ill and I didn't send her to school. Instead, I stayed home with my child busying myself with laundry, five nights worth of dinner prep, cleaning out the refrigerator, etc. when at 1:00pm I received a phone call from the school.

When I answered, the gentle secretary on the other line asked,

"Have you forgotten someone?"

I grabbed Callan from her bed, threw her in a carseat and dashed over to the school to retrieve Kennedy. I walked into the school office and there she sat, backpack in hand, eyes full of tears, and uttering the words a type A mom never wants to hear...

"You left me!"

It was at that moment that I knew I would always be able to return to a career I loved but I would never be able to get those precious years back.
I am proud to say that ten years later, I have reinvented my former career, went back to school and am running my own women's apparel label. I am managing to do so from the small coastal town of Santa Cruz where my husband and I raised our daughters and my studio is less than a mile from their school.

.....and Kennedy, now almost 17, will still text me 5 or 10 minutes before I'm supposed to be somewhere to make sure that I'm coming.

I definitely scarred her for life.

Thank you for your dedication to such an important publication.
--Jill

I am 49 and have been reading your magazine for a few years and will probably be married within the next year or two. I see a lot of articles about dating, sex and divorce, but what I am interested in seeing is a mature bride and planning the wedding. I have tried to find magazines or information on the web about this subject, but there is little out there. However, women in my age bracket have more money to spend and are getting married, too.

Thank you for your consideration.
--Rhonda Starnes

I was sitting thinking about the new year and what is next in my life and my More magazine fell out of my bag. Since I feel strongly in Life presenting opportunities, I decided to write.

I have lived an amazing life from the heartbreaking beginnings of growing up in the sixties with the scandal of divorced parents whose mother took off and an abusive father, to almost flunking out of high school, to putting myself through college while bartending, later raising three girls after their mother had died and all the while moving up the corporate ladder from a receptionist to the COO of a boutique investment firm. I have since divorced and just recently traveled for over five months by myself through Southeast Asia, Nepal, Indonesia and Australia. Not only was it a dream that I have always wanted to fulfill but I also wanted to be of service in some way. Please take a look at my blog if you would like to get a sense of who I am or the stories and experiences of my trip (divinetraveler.blogspot.com).

When I returned home, I was blessed, once again, and was asked to be the Executive Director for Expansion Church, whose strategy is to utilize spiritual laws, tools and principles to support people in creating and living an ever expanding life.

So why am I writing? Your magazine has been and continues to be a constant source of the belief that anything is possible and gave me the courage to follow my dream after reading so many amazing stories of other women who had followed theirs. If there is anything that I can do to help be a part of getting that message out, I would be delighted to assist in any capacity and volunteer my time.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

In gratitude,
--Vicki Jacobs

I just picked up this copy of More magazine from our library and read your letter about parenting your children. You could have been writing about my children (Logan is 13 and Abby is 9)! Thank you for the ideas for parenting the second child. Abby and I are always clashing and yet she's an amazingly strong and powerful child. Your letter really does give me hope that we can have a better relationship.

Thank you!
--Renee

I could have written the article about gout in the December issue. My case, however, is even more rare. I first contracted gout at age 21, but was undiagnosed for 4 years. My first experience was very similar to the author's. I literally got out of bed one day and couldn't walk. I thought I had done something to my foot in my sleep! lol My doctor thought I had a stress fracture. I was surprised that the genetic component was downplayed in the article, for it certainly was a factor in my case. My father, uncle and SISTER all had gout. Amazingly, it didn't dawn on even my own mother that I had gout, too. I went to many doctors, back in the 80's, and none of them believed me. Also, they felt diet was NOT a factor. I agree that it most certainly is, but I believe that different foods trigger gout in different people. My problem was citrus fruits - oranges, lemons, grapefruits - used to set me off. I have never been overweight, and not a big drinker, but I do love my red meat and my tuna and veggies. These never set me off, though, like the citrus fruits.

My treatments varied through the years, but I have been on the same medication now for 12 years, since the birth of my second child, and have been attack-free since, thank God.

Thank you for the article. It was very informative. It's always nice to know I'm not alone.

Sincerely,
--Beth Eustis

I had decided not to renew my subscription to More - too many bills, too much clutter, too much spending. During a particularly slow period at work I took a break to read “The Joy of Silence in the Noisy Season”. I bent over my recycle basket and located the renewal card, filled it out and sent it in.

Thank you for providing me with some of the best writing I have come across in a long time. I have a Master’s Degree in literature from Great Britain. I became so tired of the appearance of the genre of sexual self- revelations in all literature I stopped reading fiction. I started reading magazines. I offer this as a plea to continue to bring us documentaries by some of the best writers of this age.

Thank you for your dedication to excellence.
--Mary Jane SutliffDear Ms. Seymour:
In your current magazine you said you welcomed comments. If you continue to show clothes that are soooo expensive, I think you need to add to your statement—“for women of style, substance and wealth.” I have a master’s degree, have traveled to all 50 states as well as 50 countries. My personal jobs in education never paid more than $45,000 a year. As a divorced women, I have managed to travel, pay for my house and car with cash but a blouse for $300 dollars or dresses for $3400 are beyond what I think the normal woman is able to pay. When I was married, my husband was making $100,000-150,000 a year (which was very good money in Ohio 10 years ago) we traveled, saved for our children’s college educations (neither had to take out any loans), but I still could not even imagine paying $825 for a pair of shoes. The articles in this current magazine were well-written and interesting. If your demographic is with “older” female readers, you are not appealing to me and the other well-educated (but not rich) women that I know with the high prices of many of the clothes that were featured. Maybe I have misunderstood your mission, but a friend had suggested your magazine when I complained about current magazines that all write about families and dealing with problems related to children--a phase that I have passed. I guess I may have to stick with Time!
--Marcia Scherocman

For the past number of years, I, a middle-aged female researcher and educator – and several of my close female colleagues – have subscribed to MORE, dropped our subscriptions, re-subscribed………
We are all very enthusiastic about the concept of a magazine for that population of us who have reached a certain age. So why do we often squirm with frustration when reading MORE?

Almost every one of the “cover women” is a (movie or TV, not stage) actress or entertainer, and for almost all, it is clear that physical beauty is very important. The impression given is that there are no admirable middle-aged (or older) women in other occupations. The impression is also given that looks are a MAJOR priority. While we all like to look our best, the message that this should be a focus of our lives seems a bit regressive, and seems to buy into the male notion that it is OK for a guy to look his age, but women – never.

Too many articles on plastic surgery, not enough on learning to look beyond wrinkles and the tautness of one’s neck to appreciate arcane qualities like character, perspective, sense of humor…

Buried in your pages are often some very interesting articles, and we all enjoy recommendations about the best products for one’s beauty buck. But there is too often nothing very remarkable about the personal character of the people featured on your cover. I don’t really need to know about the life of yet another successful TV or movie star, or how she is multi-tasking well (with personal assistants, housekeepers, nannies, etc. – and a giant salary).
I agree with you that there should be no need for any ‘either-or’ choices of beauty and brains. But a bit more emphasis on attributes other than physical beauty in your magazine would be great. Maybe we could even see the face of someone over 70 in there, so we can be hopeful of a rich life during those years!
--Best regards, Gail Bishop

I love to read your editorial!! I have to admit, I don’t read most of them but yours I seem to always relate to. Your story reminded me of my experience of trying to do it all. I went to school to pick up my younger son and I waited and waited and he never came out! The carpool line was gone and I am now looking at a boy that is a friend of my son’s sitting alone on the brick wall waiting for his LATE working mother!! He and I keep looking at each other and finally I get out of my car and ask him if he knows where my son is. He said, “Well Mrs. Blair, Will was sick today!” Oh my GOSH…I had left my house with Will at home sick in his bed!!! Luckily he was in the 7th grade but STILL…So I asked the boy if he needed a ride home and he said yes he would love a ride that his mom was stuck in a meeting at work and was running late. He called his mom and she was relieved and I took him home. My son is now in College and I have started my next career as a jewelry designer and my advice to young women is…keep your foot in the door of a career but devote time to your children while they are home if you can. It is worth it and you will cherish the memories even if you are so strung out trying to do it all that you forget you left your child at home sick in bed!! You will have plenty of time to devote to your career later and then you do feel like you have it all! Thank you for MORE magazine!!! I love it!!
--Lisa

I understand that you are changing (or seemingly have already changed) the demographics of your core readership. If you have now directing "More" to the 30-40 year old readers, I am with reluctance, now renewing my subscription. Nor am I renewing my mother's subscription which has been an annual Christmas gift from me. There is already a plethora of magazines for that age group and a significant dearth for women above 50. It appears that once again we "women of a certain age" are pushed to the back, rendered insignificant and discarded like old Christmas wrap. I can't tell you how disappointing this is and what giant step backwards for women of 50+. It seems that for all your talk about goals, activities and successes of AARP women (that seems to be the only publication left for us), it just wasn't true.
--Michelle Profant

While in the past I have always found your Editor's Letter to be spot on, I was shocked at your latest letter, which included: "...she looked at me like a marathon dieter who'd just eaten a three-layer chocolate cake." I can assure you that marathoners do NOT have to worry about eating a three-layer chocolate cake or ANYTHiNG else, with the exception of one very athletic publisher/competitor I know who is anorexic and starves herself even during competition. I just wanted to set the record straight on that.

The Joan Rivers, "Can we talk jewels?" piece was the funniest thing I have ever read in MORE. Bravo. What a coup!

I continue to subscribe because you continue to be excellent. For a while, I was worried you might be getting Seven sister-ish, but thank God you're not! It's a great book and you do a great job. Thank you.
--Margie

I just sat down on my couch at 9pm on a Thursday night after returning from a two day work trip in NYC but in time to attend my daughter's 5th grade concert and read your Editor's note for the December issue. I have to say if I read one more article from a working Mom whining about how hard it is to work and balance kids when they have full time help whether it be a live-in or live-out nanny I am going to scream.

Your story of feeling guilty about having your sitter go and pick up your son, on one hand I get it, but what about the MAJORITY of working Moms who actually have to leave their jobs to go and pick up a sick child without any outside support.

I have yet to read an article about the women who struggles with taking time off of work to take care of a sick child, attend a teacher conference or participate in a school activity. We are the women who are truly doing it all and feeling proud, guilty and stressed each and every day. We are the women who fight to gain the recognition at our jobs when our professional performance is as good if not better then our male peers. Yet it is our male counterparts who seem to get the recognition because they are "seen" in the office more than the working Moms.

So please, please at some point do some stories on working Moms who really, really do it all.

Could you also consider highlighting clothes and products that are under $100. I would love to see more budget friendly options.

Ok thanks for listening...off to read more of More...
--Jean
I read your article about work/life/balance, etc. In the end you asked of a bad-mom story. Have I got one for you!

I will never forget it. I am a single parent, of a now 13 year old boy (God help me). In any event, when he was about 2 years of age - I always dropped him off at day-care. Our ritual would be he would cry/scream and hang on to my leg until I left. I would pry him off then go to go to the window where we would meet. He would put his little hand on the glass from the inside, and I from the outside. It was the sweetest thing. Well one day, I was driving to work, 1/2 way there when I realized I never went to the window. I turned the car around went back (prob 10 minutes later), there was my son still standing at the window with his hand on the glass, sobbing. Thank God I turned around.

I have tears typing this. It still to this day, breaks my heart.

Juggling/balance - I don't know where to being, I work a full time job, run a household and take care of my son. There are days when I have a pity part, but for the most part, I'm doing okay. I just do it, because I don't have any other options. It's me or it doesn't get done. So I guess the juggling is just within my mind of what to do next.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and Happy Holiday's.

How's that for a terrible mother story.
--Lisa C.

I really enjoyed your recent editorial about work/life balance, particularly the idea that "balance only happens over a lifetime." So here's one of many of my "bad mom" stories. Looking back, I was way out of balance!

I was working as an attorney at a major NY law firm on a LARGE bankruptcy case. My son, then in 5th grade, knocked his front tooth out playing ball one day. Yes, it was a permanent tooth. It happened on a Sunday, and Mondays were my busiest days -- hearings were held every Tuesday in the bankruptcy court, so the day prior to that was a critical day of preparation. The thought of sending him to school on Monday actually crossed my mind, I'm ashamed to admit, but my poor son was mortified with the gaping hole that now adorned his smile (though he refused to smile). I ended up calling our dentist at home that Sunday night, and scheduling an "emergency" appointment for my son the next morning.

I walked my son into the dentist's office -- he was scared, but relieved that he didn't have to face his schoolmates that morning. The dentist started working his magic. Instead of staying right there by my son's side and holding his hand or encouraging him with my words, I fled for the reception area and worked furiously on my laptop. Shame on me!! I made arrangements for my husband to pick my son up from the dentist's office and drop him off at school so I could go straight to my office.

Yes, everything turned out okay -- my son's smile returned and I completed my preparation for the next day's hearing. But to this day (he's now a junior in high school), I regret not being able to set aside my work and stand beside my little boy during his trauma. No work is that important.
--Sharon

I'm a big fan of MORE and I enjoy your column. It's the first thing I read no matter what enticing things are advertised on the cover! Before I answer the question you posed in the December issue regarding handling balance in the past and today, I wanted to show you a photo from my vacation which was last week. My family took a cruise to Mexico. Here I am on the Serenity deck of the boat. I took the last several issues of MORE with me to re-read and savor again plus the December issue, of course.

 

I am 45 years old, married for 25 years with three children and am one of those crazy women still endeavoring to do it all. I juggle several jobs at the same time, and the question I get most is the same one people ask you: "how do you do it all?" I am honest with others that although I continue to carry all of these roles simultaneously, there are days I don't actually "get it all done". Some of it waits until the next day. The old me felt like a failure when that happened. The current me is more accepting of my limitations. A lot of things started getting better once I stopped compartmentalizing. In the past I tried so hard to keep everything separate. Preparing for one of my vocations, I was trained that keeping home life and work life separate was a cardinal rule. I tried so hard to keep home/work/marriage/relationships/faith in all of these separate boxes. My heart longed to try to balance things differently but there were no role models around me at the time doing it any differently. In retrospect I realize what my heart was speaking to me was wisdom. I never really take any of these hats off. I am who I am - the total package. I don't stop being a mother just because I'm doing another one of my jobs. I am all of these things at the same time, and living with them integrated has worked much better. Although odd to some, this works for our family. I have found that a perfect balance is probably not realistic for me, but juggling well is.
--Deanna, Tampa, FL

I am writing to you directly because I did not wish to log on to the website to send a letter to the editor. While the MORE website is a great forum for more articles, I would prefer that a simple “letters” email address be provided in the magazine.

My comment relates to Christina Bellantoni’s article “Running for President in Heels.” Since the 2008 election, articles about female politicians have exhibited a blatant disregard for Shirley Chisholm which is beyond my comprehension. Ms. Chisholm ran for the Presidency in 1972 run. While she did not receive the nomination, Ms. Chisholm received 152 first-ballot votes. She was also the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968, where she served the State of New York until 1983. Perhaps the author is too young to remember the 70s, but good research should have revealed Shirley’s Chisholm’s contributions to our nation and to the story of women in politics. The article also omitted Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both the House and Senate, and her bid for the Republican nomination in 1964. The post-feminist world is not the only era in which women have been able to step forward – in heels, skirts, pantsuits, or combat gear – and make a mark on the national political scene.

I am now going to dig out my “Shirley Chisholm for President” button from 1972 and wear it proudly!
--D. Pope,Wilmington, NC

As I am sitting under the hair dryer on a Friday morning, I came across your article after, ironically, deciding to take a moments reprieve for myself before the weekend craziness commences at 230 school dismissal today...I had the idea to sneak off from my company duties to at the very least fix my hair so that my outward appearance this weekend will not look as disheveled as my inner consciousness will be this weekend as I take my four year old to two hours of karate tomorrow morning and then speed three counties away to get my fourteen year old to his basketball games only to return to a house that desperately needs cleaning (after my attempt at playing June Cleaver last week for Thanksgiving for over twenty relatives and a never ending list of growing invitees) and two end of semester projects and finals preparation for my graduate classes. I laughed hysterically when I read your letter because I often feel as though I am doing the impossible, trying to juggle my success while at the same time investing in the success of my children...time is fleeting as I jump from one goal to the next, and it seems crazy, but is it just me or wasn't new years just yesterday..lol..but what I learned is exactly what you mentioned in your December letter, we may try to be professional jugglers, but even they drop the ball every now and then..I've come to accept that I can only juggle so much and when too much is thrown at me, it’s best to pass off your balls to someone else and accept that the baby sitter might not read a bedtime story as good as you, but it’s better than none at all..that sometimes having a drink after class is much more pleasurable than sleeping my max six hours..because it reenergizes my soul to break away from the tortuous regimens I've developed to cope with the insanity I call my life as a single mom..lastly, I learned to tell my personal trainer (part of my last year's new year’s resolution to get back down to my weight when I was 18) that I refuse to sacrifice sleeping in on a Saturday morning to ensure I get my sixth day workout in for the week...I told him, no! I refuse! I love myself too much to love myself so much that I kill myself to do and be it all! Needless to say, he now thinks I'm certifiably insane..lol..thank you for sharing your story..these are the inadequacies I cry about alone in bed at night and never share with my mom because let's just face it, when she did it, it was the eighties and things just were not the same!
--Cinthya
I hope you remember me from our Today show appearance in July 2010. I'm the jewelry designer whose son wanted to take SI Swimsuit to his middle school class because my bracelets were on the models.

I really enjoyed your story about your son and the snow day. I loved the mention of Murray Avenue School, which has played a huge part in our family lore. My husband grew up in Larchmont and went to Murray Ave. Bill was a little boy who literally ran to school every day. He talks about it now and says he thought "Well, why walk?” I should also mention his parents called him "Blitz" when he was growing up.

Now that my sons are 16 and 18 (my older son is in college in CT) we can laugh about some of my "bad mommy" stories. I got through a lot of gaffes (a bag of tortilla chips for the required homemade component of the Spanish class lunch) by telling the boys straight up that "Mom's not perfect." One my less proud moments: We missed so many ortho appointments that the doctor told my son that he could have had his braces off two years earlier had we made the required check-ups. (At the time, in a very stressed schedule, the trips to the orthodontist were always the "disposable" appointment.) Letting myself off the hook a little by acknowledging my imperfection made me feel better and today the boys are happy, well-adjusted, and both have beautiful teeth!

More is doing such a good job with its online presence. I find myself always linking to your site - such good takeaway for my day, too.
--Margaret Maggard

I love that Queen Latifah is on your cover this month! She is one of my favorite actresses, crossing into all genres, and celebrating women as a whole. She is undoubtedly a woman of style and substance. Thank you for having her on your cover and celebrating her success!
--Keisa Williams, San Marcos, CA

My name is Cindy, and I too had a "great mother moment" myself just recently, actually. Let's begin with a short run down of who I am. A happily divorced mother of three, and unfortunately unemployed currently. My freedom, (and an overdrawn bank account), allows me much time to ponder my next move. And also, time to peruse tons of great books at Barnes and Noble, and read More magazine. I just turned 39, and although I usually feel like 12 on a good day, maybe I also, have more substance. Along with infinite words of wisdom to share with my 13 year old, who happily accepts my advice...(rolling eyes).

Well here goes my story: It was about two weeks ago, and I had returned home from running errands, the ever exciting supermarket, and my weekly trip to the bookstore, etc. Often, I go there to read books and articles for free, which suits my budget perfectly.

My 11 year old walks in the door and she is greeted her with the usual: "how was everything at school today?'. She replied with: "Good mom, Phoenix is upstairs". Phoenix is my seven year old son. "What is he doing upstairs?” I asked her, "His bus did not pull up yet, he gets home after you?", I asked in confusion.

When I went upstairs to my neighbor’s apartment, she had informed me that it was a half day at school. Oh my God! My mouth dropped and probably my face also with embarrassment. "I had no idea, and expected him at the regular dismissal time.” I said. Then I went on to apologize profusely, and she told me that it was okay because she was at home waiting for her son also (like a good mother).

Apparently, this school does not believe in reminder notes, like a previous school my son attended, which was an enormous help.
Everything is run off of the Calendar. Which is what my neighbor told me, although I did not realize that it had to be checked every day. My gracious neighbor had her calendar responsibly hung on the back of the front door. This just added to my bad mother grief, because my calendar was underneath a pile of bills, and PTA cookie order forms!

Needless to say, my guilt felt like a horrible weight on my shoulders. But of course my son forgave me, because he got to play XBOX for two hours, and he was fine. A seven year old boy doesn't require a lot of explanation, he actually felt rewarded.

It's laughable now, and I have forgiven myself, but moments like those can be scary, and remind you of how much we as mothers are responsible for. Sometimes my closest friends ask me, "How do you handle everything?", and honestly, I don't know that I do "handle" it all. I just think that being really good at faking it with optimism, faith, and being able to laugh, even when things are a terrific mess is a true talent.

Hope that you enjoyed my story Lesley; I’ve got tons of 'em!! lol
--Cindy

Recently, I picked up a copy of MORE from a few months back. I've read the magazine before and it's just what I think a magazine for women should be--more than sex advice and top ten lists about makeup (though I love those too). I really appreciated your letter about women being able to have both brains and beauty. So often if you have one, people expect you not to have the other, and I have always, always strongly supported the idea that we can have and be both. I was lucky to have grown up in a family where the girls and boys were both expected to do well in school, and I now find myself in a high-level editorial position at a magazine at 22 years old. There was an amount of luck that went into that as well, but I have always believed I could be smart and do well at work and also show up to events with a great haircut and killer shoes, and I should still be taken seriously. So often I see women my age--and older, and younger--not becoming independent, not feeling like they can compete with the boys, thinking they must look and act like a Gossip Girl to get the attention of those boys, and it bothers me very, very much. You can have sharp clothes and a sharp mind, and I hope I am an example of that, as I think you are. I was inspired and encouraged by your note.
--Ann Kaiser

I have subscribed to your magazine for several years and enjoyed it very much-- however, lately the direction of MORE seems quite conflicted... It is as if MORE were going through her own midlife crisis-- especially on your website. Indeed, I was genuinely saddened by MORE.com as it is overtly youth obsessed. How to dress younger, look younger, be younger... as well, the models were clearly not mature, 40+ women. I found it very disappointing to look at the fashion section.

I want to be beautiful & content as I age. As a real woman of substance, style & depth, chasing youth is the the antithesis to aging well.

I believe that secure women as myself used to be your target audience.. But I am not sure to whom you are selling to these days. Based upon your website photos and articles, "she" seems to be insecure, fearful of aging and sadly superficial.
--Karen Young, happily 52
Thank you for featuring Queen Latifah on your recent cover. I have become reluctant to share MORE with my friends because you typically have blond starlets on the cover. As a 49-year old blond myself with a multi-racial family, I prefer DIVERSITY in my magazines - especially one that celebrates our unique gifts as we age. Thanks to Queen Latifah, I have renewed my subscription and gifted two to friends. I look forward to "MORE" diversity in 2012 - both on the cover and inside the magazine.
--Susan Keiter, Oakland, CA

Thank you for the awesome Stephanie March pictures in the Dec 2011 issue of More. It totally made my Thanksgiving. Next time put her on the cover!!!
Cheers!
--Emily Shinsato

i could not agree more about how hard it is to find balance. I am a teacher and a writer and a mother of three. I am pasting the beginning of an article on teaching and attaching a few articles on parenting. I hope they make you smile. I am in the middle of writing one called ten ways to keep your sanity as a parent.
--Jen Bonn

Thank you for your editorial "Why Work-life Balance is a Crock".

I am a single mother who raised an often sick child, gave up my career dreams and took jobs that allowed me to be near home. I sacrificed a lot to raise my daughter alone, as best I could, with many medical bills, low pay, forgotten dreams. I'm grateful she turned out a responsible, exceptional student with great friends and high ideals. I was too tired to spend much time with her after she turned 14, as I tried to regain some lost time in my career. If only I had been able to spend more time with her -- because the time goes by so fast. I had a hard time building a close relationship with her because I was so burned out.

She moved away at 24 and in the last year I have moved to taking care of my 95 year old mother who is now in hospice care. I am 63 and at the end of my career days, but proud of myself for doing all I could for my family. Some things are just more important than a career. I have had many bosses who passed off family care to others while they forged ahead with their careers... they suffered with divorces and children who grew to hate them or who got into trouble. Many had lots of money, but no close relationships. They were horrible bitches.

I think it's really hard on the lower end of the totem pole at work to obtain a "work-life balance". It seemed that only women at the TOP had any real options.

Keep up the great work. I'm subscribed thru 2013!
--Susan Churchill, San Mateo, CA

Lesley:

I had such empathy when I read about your letting your son off at school when school was closed. It brought to mind one of those regretful indicents. You asked, so here's my story:

I was a divorced mom of an almost 4-year-old. I shared custody of my daughter with her dad. He always had her on Monday night--the night I went to my acting class after work.

This particular Monday was either Columbus Day or MLK Day--I don't remember which. But it was a minor holiday and pre-school was closed (at least I knew that much). So before I went to work that day, I took her to the "alternative" day care that was open on holidays.

Along about 7 PM that evening, listening to my acting teacher address our class, I had a sudden pang that propelled me out of my seat with the exclamation: "OH MY GOD!!!!" I still remember how that panic felt in my chest. I didn't even care that everyone sat staring at me.

For some unassociated reason, the thought rose to my consciousness: my ex-husband has no idea where to pick up his daughter, so she's still at DAY CARE (at least I hoped she was)! This was in the days before cells phones and texting, so I excused myself from the classroom and, shaking, went into the teacher's office to call Dad. He fairly nonchalantly said, "Well I know day care is closed today and I didn't know where she was, so I didn't get her." I then called the day care and learned that she was upstairs in the home of the provider having dinner with the family.

Needless to say, I felt like such a fool. I called Dad back and had him go get her as was our usual schedule. The day care provider was very nice and understanding. My daughter, ever the adaptable kid, was oblivious about being forgotten. This incident taught me a lesson about checking and double-checking so that it wouldn't happen again. It didn't.

But, and this is a downer tangent, every time I hear of an incident with a child who is left in a car (with tragic consequences), I think, "I understand. Life is hairy and we absolutely can be pushed too far."

Signed ,
Forgetful Mom Who Tried to Be Better
--Liz Ward

My assistant showed me a copy of the Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012 issue of MORE because it contained the "Good Wallis, Bad Wallis" article about the Duchess of Windsor. The article's subtitle was "Who was the REAL Mrs. Simpson?" While I was intrigued by the comments made in the article by royal experts Mark Gaulding and Hugo Vickers, I felt compelled to respond myself, since I had the privilege of actually knowing Wallis Simpson, as her psychic counselor.

I met the Duchess, and also the Duke, through famed American partygiver Elsa Maxwell, who was a friend of the couple. I was a young soldier in the Army, serving in Special Services on the Lido de Venezia, Italy. Elsa told me that the Duchess loved "fortunetellers", as she referred to them, and she invited me to tea to give a reading to the Duchess. I gave the first of my psychic readings to her and to the Duke, there in Italy and a couple of times afterwards in that location. Later, I counseled them at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and when they visited here in California, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

According to the Madonna film "W.E." and also Mr. Gaulding and Mr. Vickers, it appears that the marriage of the Duke and Duchess was not necessarily a love story (implying that the Duchess never wanted to marry and tried to talk the Duke out of abdication, and that the Duke married to avoid being King). I must say that in each of the times that I was in their presence, they seemed like a couple totally in love. In my spiritual opinion, they were soul mates - destined to be together. True, they had arguments on occasion, as soul mates and any couple, do. But the looks that passed between them, the sparkle in their eyes when together, told me that theirs was not a marriage of convenience or a business arrangement, but rather one of the most devoted relationships in history.

In my opinion, having known them, King Edward VIII did indeed abdicate to marry the woman he loved...and that love was returned onehundredfold.
--Kenny Kingston
Studio City, CA

I really enjoyed your article "Why Work Balance is a Crock! I am 48 years old, married with two teenage daughters. I grew up in the era where women were told they could do it all and I took that to mean do it all - all at once. At 39 with 2 young daughters, I "quit my career" to stay home so I could regain my sanity. I left a great job at a local hospital as a vice president in administration after 3 degrees and a climb up the career ladder. I have never looked back! I became active in the community as a volunteer on my terms and with flexible hours. Now, my youngest will start college in about 4 years and then I hope to re-enter the work force doing something new for the next phase of my life.

Thanks for saying it out loud - you can't do everything and do it well all at the same time. I loved the line "balance only happens over a lifetime". I am grateful I had the chance to step off the train for 10 years. You can't worry about how you will get back on. I believe life will provide opportunities if you embrace them.
--Lauri Miro

In response to your request for input, here is mine. I am a 44 year old devoted fan of More from Manhattan. So first of all, thank you!!

What I Love

-inspiring real life stories about women entering new professions or overcoming adversity

-tips on 40+ health issues - always relevant and rarely talked about anywhere else

-the fact that More is not frumpy and presents healthy but inspiring images of 40+ women

-realistic fashions for every day

-this is what (45/47/50/whatever) looks like

-over 40 makeup tips, recognizing our makeup needs evolve

-Jean Chatsky's column

-ethnic women on the cover

-the fact that you do not exclude people from one political party but are inclusive

-the rest of it - it's all awesome.

Suggestions

-a slightly larger font

-a local pull-out section on services and stores in manhattan (or 4 or 5 big cities) that can make life easier for the over 40 set (logistics, drs focusing on 40+, home delivery of vitamins/meds/physical therapy services, other services - with the increased city congestion, higher cab fares etc, and our slightly diminished energy and tolerance, many of us prefer to pay extra for convenience and have the disposable income).

-Maybe some nice pictures of over 40s women with decent looking men of whatever age?

You could do some more recurring items, such as:

-maybe a section or page updated every issue listing scholarships/grants/programs available that month to women in our age group, and a page on resources for domestic violence assistance/govt agencies/non-profits that focus on women-related issues including aging well.

-a page of businesses started by women that month (or recently) so you can patronize them.

-a page on an over 40 female athlete every month

-a page on a topic where we contrast how certain things were 30 years ago, how they are now and what we want to see in 30 years? (Such as, women's homeownership, women's mortality, women's smoking rates, number of women who had been abroad, whatever).

- a page once a month showing someone on some awesome foreign trip

- a page on how someone dealt successfully with a sexist or ageist situation

- a page showing someone's awesome grandmother/aunt/other ovr 40 female relative and what that person learned from her.

Thanks so much!

--S. Reh, New York

I recently purchased your magazine and loved the content. I also got pretty excited by all the offers and conttests in addition to the fabulous content, only to discover I could not participate in any of the these because I live in Canada (I am an American who married a Canadian). How unfortunate. Makes me feel like I am on the outside looking in. It would be great if some of these offers included people living right next door. After all, we are spending money buying your magazine and many of the same products which are advertsied in them.

Kind regards,
Basia Solarz, Halifax, N.S.

As I was going through the stack of mail this afternoon, my little daughter (not even 2 years old) sees the cover of your magazine and says, "Pretty girl! Pretty smile." (Queen Latifah) It made me smile!

Thanks for the great magazine!
--Kris McCarthy

I just have to tell you how much I enjoy reading what you have to say! My life has been inspired by all the stories of women around the world overcoming challenges and taking risks. My children and I are finally free from the bondage of controlled lives and are thriving!

I have enjoyed your fitness articles so much that my life has been changed by fitness routine. We are free and so happy to enjoy life and all it has to offer us. Keep up what you do and know you have inspired one woman to take control of her life at 43 and change it in the process. Thank you!
--Kerri Burton

So, I just read your editor's letter. You are spot on. Balance is so yesterday; the new black is accepting we have to make choices (video i-chat at 2 am in London b/c your teen daughter called you not realizing the time difference and you are not going to turn down the opportunity) and sacrifices (clutter filled house, too many mostly errand filled weekends) and hope that it all ends up ok. Your letter reminded me that I have this running "journal" (really just emails I've sent my friends/family) I title "Day in the life of a working mother part xxx". Best to you and keep up great work.
--Carolyn

Read more letters here from our November 2011 issue.

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First Published Wed, 2011-11-23 13:17

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/letters-december-2011-january-2012