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Love Your Mother(s)

Every year, Working Mother magazine profiles the companies who provide the best work-life balance for working families. Reading through this year, I was shocked at who was (and wasn't) on the list, and the kinds of perks they provide. Bank of America offers its 200,000 employees everything from $5,000 college scholarships for their kids to $8,000 in adoption assistance. If you work at scientific products giant DuPont, and you're a new parent, you may request 24 weeks off; birthmoms receive six weeks fully paid, while adoptive moms get four paid weeks, plus $3,000 in assistance. If you want to adopt and you work for Hallmark, you can expect 26 weeks of job-guaranteed leave, with a $3,500 benefit if you adopt. And according to Working Mother, if you work for SC Johnson, it really is a family company:

Soaking in a hot tub, snoozing during a massage and batting tennis balls over the net relaxes moms at this consumer products company, which gives its employee families access to a 146-acre park, complete with recreation center and backup child care, near its Racine, WI, headquarters. Employees find even more downtime when they work outside of the office (as 97% did last year) and stop answering their corporate phones and email by executive order during a 16-day paid winter break. If their time off leaves them energized to try new things, employees can apply for tuition reimbursement toward an undergraduate or master's degree or take free technical and liberal arts courses for credit at the Waxdale manufacturing plant in Sturtevant, WI. Their kids can tap lifeguard and babysitting courses.

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Imagine. Backup childcare! Of course, many of those on the list are major corporations — they have the money and the infrastructure to make flexibility happen. But it's still something to hope for, no matter where you work.