The meaning of Life

We change our name, not our mission, and add a dose of Style.

Published February 5, 2001 8:06PM (EST)

Four years ago, Mothers Who Think went online with a mission. In her Mamafesto announcing the launch, founding editor Camille Peri politely jammed an editorial elbow in the gut of the mainstream "parenting" (and paternalistic) press, promising that Mothers Who Think would be "a place for mothers to exercise their brains." There would be no averting of eyes and no cheery pastels, vowed Peri and co-founder Kate Moses -- only the experience of motherhood and its attendant pain and exhilaration.

They weren't kidding.

In the perky swirl of how-to that constitutes much of the media aimed at parents, Mothers Who Think has been an outpost of honesty and intelligence. Shunning lifestyle for real life, the site has explored what Peri called "the complex range of dramas and emotions that really define motherhood."

But that's not all. We have explored -- and still explore -- much more. We publish men who write about fathers; fathers who write about health issues; people who are not parents writing about feminism; feminists writing about education -- the lines are inextricably blurred. We find ourselves ready, in the interest of accuracy, to change the name of the site to reflect its diversity.

Now called simply Life, the site will stay true to its founders' goals while continuing to expand. Our original name will live on in a regular Mothers Who Think feature, and fixtures of the site -- Image Conscious, Sustenance -- will stay. Starting today we will add a new feature called Style of Life, a passel of essays, items, graphics and confessions that will focus on the world of appearance and artifice. The writing will have weight and humor -- a nifty bonus in the discussion of lipstick and indoor swimming pools -- but will not resort to stridency or moralistic high ground. Excess and simplicity, snakeskin and hemp -- our preferences are none, our curiosity is healthy. Look for profound reflection and delight -- every Monday -- in this addition to the site.

Rest assured, dear readers: The many voices that create the editorial cacophony of Mothers Who Think will remain. We have no plans to change our direction, and it is likely that we will continue to occasionally irritate or offend. But if we did not irritate or offend from time to time, we would not be doing our job. And our job -- to publish the brilliance, raw and polished, of persons engaged in living examined lives -- is too much fun to abandon. We will continue to find and publish the courageous, irreverent, intelligent and unabashed work that belongs in Salon. But we will do it under a new name. It will be Life -- as we know it.

By Jennifer Foote Sweeney

Jennifer Foote Sweeney, CMT, formerly a Salon editor, is a massage therapist in northern California, practicing on staff at the Institutes for Health and Healing in San Francisco and Larkspur, and on the campuses of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley.

MORE FROM Jennifer Foote Sweeney

Related Topics ------------------------------------------