Getting to 50/50 book review

Getting to 50/50 is very well-researched and chock full of data. In fact, if you were committed to the SAHM-life before reading it, beware, this book might have you throwing out your diaper bag for a laptop bag.

I originally posed the question, “are you already at 50/50?” a few weeks ago. Here’s my nitty gritty book review:

5050coverAs I mentioned, I had ordered this book hoping that it would change my life – that it would give me the ingredients for negotiating a 30-hour workweek for both my husband and me. Nope. No such luck.

The book is very clearly targeted to women/wives and not men or couples. The authors probably want to reach women on the precipice of becoming mothers to convince them that they don’t need to drop out of the work world to be nurturing parents.

If you or your partner think the only way to have well-adjusted kids is to stay home with them all the time in forfeit of your own career goals, the first section of the book offers a compelling alternative view.

The whole first section is making the case for women to work. The book offers many statistics and studies to convince you that women should work: benefits to the wife’s career and happiness, benefits to marital satisfaction, and benefits to the husband’s career satisfaction/work options/life stress/and paternal involvement. I’m totally sold, or else I wouldn’t have bought this book.

If you are already convinced that you should work but you are looking for a way to balance the efforts of you and your husband at work and at home, I think this section is a waste of time to read. If you’re already a working mom, you can just read the headings and jump to the second section.

The second part was the most compelling: I immediately recognized my own bad behavior in sabotaging my career and was keenly interested. I kept putting the book down to ruminate on the ideas or tell my husband what I learned. In a nutshell, it details how our culture – the US culture of work – has become an unhealthy 24/7 requirement in which face time trumps working smart.

The second part also includes 5 well-known “taxes” on women workers (why we are not paid as much as men over the history of a full-life body of work) and related loopholes of how to get around them.

Extremely useful tips, people. I gobbled it up as I eagerly awaited the instructions for making my own 50/50 land-grab. (Or was it 30/30?)

The last chapter is about getting buy-in at home because the ways we treat our baby-daddies can influence getting the 50/50 life. Oh crap, I thought, I’m already doing most of this. Reading this section it finally dawned on me that I may already have 50/50 because my husband does the dishes and alternates sick-child-care. Was I reading this book for no good reason? Sadly, the answer is a big maybe.

Though I enjoyed the book immensely, it did not really answer my core question of “WELL, HOW DO I GET TO 50/50 ALREADY?!” instead, it pointed out the things I could have done better along the way to get where I am. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so vocal about punching out at 3pm. Perhaps I should have returned to my job after my maternity leave rather than chucking it. Oops and oops.

On the plus side, Getting to 50/50 made me less fearful of a full-time job, which is exciting. And maybe that’s the kick in the pants I needed so my husband can scale down his workload. Since we’re equal partners at home and in bread-winning (a cheesy word, but you get my meaning), then the way we do it is just to do it.

What about me?
I have been hovering in the 20 to 30 hours a week level of employment since I returned to work after Holden was born. Before children, I was a great worker bee, putting in long hours to satisfy my perfectionism and sense of irreplaceability. Since having kids, I’ve been waving the flag of part-time worker so loud and high that I’ve forgotten to be results-oriented and forgotten to measure my impact and performance back to my bosses.

No more.

The biggest takeaways for me were that 1) my husband is already awesome and pretty darn 50/50 and 2) I can do a much better job of being taken seriously at work by not acting like everyone’s bff and, instead, focusing on results.

A long time ago, I stumbled upon this website for Equally Shared Parenting, which promises half the work and all the fun. And their book comes out in January 2010. I guess that’s what I need to read next. I’ll report back when I do.

Or else I need to stop reading books about getting a job and get a job.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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