Short version: I loved LV’s recent release (I Know How She Does It, out yesterday). I read it while on a vacation weekend with Josh, and found it both fascinating and inspiring. I want to get a copy for all of my friends, particularly those with jobs outside the home. It is definitely worth a slot on your summer reading list.
Longer version, for those with time to digest a longer review:
Laura Vanderkam and I have several things in common, which — to be fair — may color my opinions of her work. We are both Upholders, Satisficers, and mothers with significant careers (I submitted my schedule to her project, and am featured in a little vignette midway through the book 🙂 ), and we are both kind of obsessed with time. In I Know How She Does It, LV demonstrates how women with significant careers are using their time (with data AND tons of qualitative examples). I have a planner fixation and love reading others’ day-in-the-life posts, so her book offers a lot of what I crave — the ability to see exactly how others are living moment to moment, including what works and what doesn’t.
It may have helped that I was on a refreshing weekend off, but reading this book left me feeling energized and armed with ideas to bring to my own mosaic tiles of life. Importantly, I think that LV does a great job dispelling the false premise that life as an achieving working mother has to be harried or “crazy busy” or limited in any tragic way (IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: how come that myth is never mentioned surrounding hardworking men?).
I also love the section filled with practical tips — and honestly, I thought I had read every tip. But I found several ideas that LV presented empowering. Permissive, even (which perhaps speaks to my Upholder nature, but this is helpful for me). Examples: using built-in flexibility at work without necessarily asking for it; hiring enough childcare to avoid struggle in life’s margins; planning in leisure so that it actually happens. There is also an underlying current in the book about the fleeting and precious nature of life’s moments which also struck a chord with me, perhaps because LV and I are both going through the short (and precious but hard!) years with young kids.
After reading, I felt inspired to just go all in — in multiple areas of life — and I have already made some positive changes as a result.
SO: Get it, read it, buy it for your friends. I actually want to read it again and take notes!
If there is anything that I wish had been included, I would have liked to see a bit more focus on the partner side — I know from LV’s blog that this was originally part of the idea. In part, because life looks very different when you have a SAHP (stay-at-home-parent) as your partner vs another big career in the family (clearly our situation). So . . . maybe fodder for the next book?
Disclaimer: LV sent me the book to read for free. However, I am being completely honest with my opinions above.