Book Review

The Mother of All Jobs – How to have children and a career and stay sane(ish)

review by Liz Marchant

This book includes interviews with working mothers in the UK who share rich details of what they wish they had known or prepared for before having babies, returning to work, managing single parenting, teens and life’s changes and challenges. Together with detailed research, it helps us understand why we lack gender diversity in senior levels of business and politics by understanding why many women disengage.

This book also reminds us of the other challenges we face including the fact that many of us love our careers and really don’t enjoy domestic life as much. This, at times, has meant we have risked losing ourselves when we’ve become bored, anxious or frustrated. Finding anything like balance often means running. It’s about how we can help to make modern parenting work and the questions we can encourage each other to ask. For example: as partners whose work takes precedence in a crisis, how will you manage the mismatch between school hours. school holidays and working life, and how do you share the mental as well as the physical load?

Quote from the book:

“Each of these stories explores individual decisions, the big questions are really about the kind of society we want to live in. What equality means; it simply can’t be that women have won the right to do everything men have done, plus everything women have done, all at the same time. What values do we really value: those that take seriously the needs of our children or those that view the world through the lens of our earning power? What does ‘work that works’ look like, how do we achieve it, who needs to change to make it real? “

The Mother of All Jobs
Christine Armstrong
Published: 2018