Meredith Bodgas applied for her new position as editor-in-chief of Working Mother magazine the same night that Donald Trump secured his new job.
“I was sitting with my husband watching that TV,” says Bodgas, 34, who has a 3-year-old son, during an interview in her Bellmore living room. “Things were shaking out a little differently than expected.”
When it was clear the United States wouldn’t be seeing its first woman president, Bodgas thought, “The next four years are going to be critical for working mothers, and I want to be leading that conversation.” The June/July issue of Working Mother, out now, is the first edition with Bodgas at the helm — the cover story, “Fearless Leaders,” is about immigrant moms who are winning elections around the country.
But the millennial mom isn’t just interested in politics — she also wants to tackle parenting issues and the juggling of home and work life.
Bodgas, a former editor at Parenting, WomansDay.com and WhatToExpect.com, is doing the daily dance familiar to many Long Island moms: day-care-drop-off, train-station-commute, home-to-make-dinner.
She jokes that the Long Island Rail Road ride into the city every morning with her husband, Paul DiPilato, who works in advertising technology, is their “date.” “At least we are sitting next to each other with our knees touching,” she says. And she faces the push-pull many parents feel when they drop their kids at day care — when she stops in to see Jeremy one recent day, he runs to hug her and says, “I was having fun,” but still doesn’t want mom to leave to finish a working-from-home day.
Fellow Bellmore mom Ashley Levine, 35, an accountant who commutes to Manhattan and has two children, 6 and 2, says she especially likes a new feature Bodgas has introduced called “In Her Shoes,” in which two co-workers or two moms try to see their needs from each other’s point of view. “I think she’s trying to make everyone, no matter what their situation, feel better about themselves,” Levine says.
TIPS FOR MOMS
Newsday asked Bodgas for some of her expert advice for other working moms. Here’s what she recommends:
- Just say yes. To everybody who wants to help you, that is. “We just all have to get over that feeling that we are the best one to do it,” Bodgas says. Let friends help, let the retired couple down the street who like children pitch in when they offer, let it go when your husband dresses your child in clothing that doesn’t match.
- Get your commute into the friend zone. Join a local Facebook moms group, and then ask who else takes your train into Manhattan, for instance. “Ride the LIRR into the city together. The same way that online dating is so huge, why can’t we meet mom friends that way and take the train with them?”
- Put your work, your child and your marriage first — just not at the same time. “My husband didn’t come first today. I was preparing for this interview. This morning my priority is work,” Bodgas says. But when her son is sick or needs her, then he comes first. “Let go of the idea that the same thing has to come first every day,” Bodgas says.
- Use technology wisely. “I love technology. I love the TV. I don’t think anybody should feel bad about putting the TV on for their kids,” Bodgas says. Her son, she says, is getting stimulation all day at day care. At the end of the day, “I give myself a break. I need to cook dinner. That’s when I give him TV time.”
- Embrace imperfection. “I feel a lot happier when things are a little messy in the house. That means I was able to do something else that was more important,” Bodgas says. Ignoring what’s not going perfectly, in favor of what is, will make moms feel a lot more confident, she says.