I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Ever see a movie advertised and say, “I have to read that book first!”  Well that’s what made me read the book I Don’t’ Know How she Does It by Allison Pearson.  It is the story of a mom who “does it all”, or does she?  Kate Reddy is the manager of a hedge fund and mother of two small children, struggling with work versus home.

Does this resonate with any of you women out there?  Has anyone ever asked you “How Do You Do It All?  I sure have been asked that!  Before children, I had worked many years with my father in his law office then went off to college to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies.  I spent about 5 years in the full-time work world for a “large” firm in Dayton.  I hoped that I would be able to go part-time when I had kids but oh how quickly you learn that even though you are trying to do everything it isn’t possible.

I’ve seen professional women treated differently for not working “full-time” even with the technology available to us today. They are often asked to give up benefits like reaching partner status at their firm.  Also, often times when you ask to go part-time you start to see the work disappear and you feel like you aren’t welcome or maybe the work is dumped on you to where your “part-time” status isn’t possible.  Unfortunately this is most often the case with women when starting a family. If the employer and employee can work together I think this part-time work situation would work best for everyone.

The decision to stay home (now at the 10 year mark since I worked outside of the home full-time) was not my choice I soon found out as my oldest child, Alex, was diagnosed with Autism at age 3.  Sometimes you are told where you need to be by circumstances beyond your control.  I’ve had quite a few part-time jobs that I have dabbled in over the years but not until recently did I see the benefit to my emotional wellbeing to working outside of the home part-time.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m still “doing everything” but thankfully I have found that employer who sees the benefits all around and my children have matured!

Back to the book…Kate struggles with work life and making appearances at her children’s activities seeing the “stay-at-home” mothers’ glancing at her – judging her.  There are a lot of great examples of her trying to make it seem like she can do everything – mince meat pie!!  All this is done in the funny whit of a British writer!!

I think the part that hit me the most was when a wife of a co-worker of Kate’s passed away at a young age.  Upon her passing her co-worker shows her the multi-page instruction manual left by his wife.  He asks, “How am I supposed to remember all this?”

I have lots of friends who struggle while working 2 full-time jobs – outside of the home and inside of the home.  I just don’t see the same struggle by the majority of men.  I am looking forward to the movie but decided that I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD.  Maybe a group showing with my female friends that I thought about while reading the book is needed!

Oh, and I have a purple binder should anything happen to me…and I guarantee my husband will say, “I don’t know how she did all this”.