If you think there’s a chance you can be mistaken for a non-parent who can Work Hard and Play Hard just like any other twenty-something-single dude, then, by all means, don’t read this book.
If, however, you are struggling along (like the rest of us) to find some BALANCE between those conflicting forces of guilt and pleasure called WORK and HOME, then Happy at Work, Happy at Home is another great book in the library of the working mom. It is at once supportive, encouraging, and practical.
I was in a job interview recently (while this book was tucked in the backpack at my feet) vacillating between pretending I was a childfree workaholic and knowing better. Of course my interviewer actually said, “I like to work hard and play hard” and fished for personal information about me with “I don’t know if you have any kids…” so it’s no wonder I feel conflicted asking for what I need and deserve.
I was very lucky to hear authors Caitlin and Kim speak at a working moms lunch. Ironically, I think I was the only person there without a “real job” but that’s not my point. They were smartly dressed (not my usual vocabulary but seriously cute dresses!) and humble in discussing the sticky web of topics surrounding working parents.
They told us during their presentation that their first draft of this book, written after interviewing dozens of high-power working moms, was a depressing collage of women on the brink. It turns out that there are many mistakes, and if you ask enough working moms, you will find someone who has made every one of them. At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of taking on too much, taking on too little, and being known as the person who says all the wrong things. At least that was some comfort. Schadenfreude always is, yes?
After putting on their rose-colored glasses and working with an editor, the book morphed into a positive, upbeat collection of lessons learned the hard way. These working-mom-life-lessons are now organized and offered to us so that we can make a new batch of mistakes and avoid some of the common ones.
Here are a few of Kim and Caitlins’ 100 Reasons why it’s great to be a working mom:
5. Know that personal lives matter.
28. Delegate with respect.
56. Keep their word.
65. Set clear expectations.
80. Read the room.
82. Dress for success.
99. Keep lots of balls in the air.
Yes. Yes. And yes. Just as a former colleague told me recently, “You were great when we worked together, and I know you’re even better now.” We might all need some mantras of affirmation, but the working-me is still in there. And the me-who-deals-with-crazy-boys all the time is the cherry on top of the sundae.
I got the book for free for attending their Yodeling Mamas lunch. I think I also got a salad and bottle of water. Though the talk was great, the monetary value was probably not equal to the gas I used to drive to the event in Sunnyvale.