Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: I Know How She Does It

I finished Laura Vanderkam's newest book this weekend, and wanted to share my thoughts. Overall I really enjoyed it. It was an engaging and quick read.  Since I was familiar with Vanderkam's work through her blog and other books, none of the ideas were truly brand-new to me, but they were highlighted in a way that made things stand out that I'd never before given much thought. I'll disclose that I did contribute a time-log for her study and there may be some quotes from an email exchange.

I've noticed that her work is surprisingly divisive. This may be in part due to the privileged position she comes from, and assumes in her readers. I think this book dealt with the issue by stating outright that the numbers and stories in the book were all from working mothers making >$100K/year.  I get that this is a small subset of our society, but its all the very subset that writes these articles about not being able to "have it all" that invade and shape our cultural mindset. So it makes sense to delve into --and hopefully challenge--the idea that these women, who admittedly have the most privilege to deal with modern life, are consummately unhappy. Are all women who are successful in their career stressed and miserable, never seeing their kids, spouses, friends and never having a moment to themselves? And if not, why not?

Vanderkam likes to look at the big picture. She's not about elaborate to-do lists and fancy planning systems, but encourages removing the unimportant time sucks so you can fill your life with the things you value and enjoy. She disparages typical working-mom advice like cooking on the weekend (my lifesaver!) and tidying/organizing schemes in favor of decreasing overall chore/housework time by outsourcing or letting things go. I don't think her ideas are limited to the six-figure income demographic. If a family can't afford a house cleaner, they still can lower their cleaning standards (assuming they aren't at rock bottom to begin with!) or get kids/spouse to chip in so less falls on one person. Whether you drive to work in a fancy car or take a bus, you can listen to music or podcasts to turn your commute into leisure time. Anyone can take a close look at their life and see what can be subtracted to fit more good stuff in.

Something that really made me think is the prevailing assumption that less work=happier life. It never occurred to me that for some people (including me at some points) working more, enough to achieve the kind of forward progress that results in satisfaction, may actually relieve overall stress & angst.  Even in a salaried job where hours worked does not equal money in the bank, having more time to do really fulfilling and career advancing work may be worthwhile if it makes you more energized and excited about your career.


One segment that made me feel warm & fuzzy was the one about the mother coming home on the bus and coming up with a fun, close-to-home evening plan for her little family on weeknights. Go to the park, go for ice cream, jump rope, play board game---nothing was BIG or expensive or required too much advanced planning, but it was intentional. Rather than rushing through the dinner-bath-bed routine, they took some time (30 minutes?) to do something that felt special. I really want to do that, at least a couple nights every week. It was actually reading this chapter that made me feel hopeful and positive about my ability to make life less of a slog and got me out of my blah mood this weekend! The bit about the woman who takes walks or shares wine & food with fellow moms at her kid's soccer game also made me happy---what a great way to combine so many values---exercise, supporting kids, being outside, friendship.

I also really like Vanderkam's focus on noticing what you already have. The  narrative of working parents not having any leisure time, when in fact we have plenty of time to spend on our own pursuits, made me examine my days with more scrutiny. Was I using my non-work, non-kids, non-sleep time in a way that was relaxing/refreshing/energizing, or frittering them away.  I exercise regularly, write this blog, read a ton of books, have watched multiple series of television shows, go for happy hours with friends approximately once/month, work on my garden. But if I eliminate some of the Facebook and stupid internet time, I could do those things more often or even incorporate something new into my life.

She encourages us to figure out our priorities and then make them happen---find a way to fit them into our lives. I've done this, with great results (thus the exercise, happy hours, reading) but its been several years. Especially with kids, things can change pretty dramatically in 3 years, so its good to revisit this---reading the book was a good reminder. I mentioned in my last post that I anticipate more periods of at-home time where I'm not actively needed by a child (B can play independently but needs me in eye sight, or I'll hear MOMMY WHERE ARE YOU within 30 seconds; L still wants me to play with him most of the time)  I need to think about what i want to do with that time, so I don't fill it with internet surfing or chores. Its not that hard to handle both kids at once anymore, either. I've given G plenty of time to himself to work on his projects. Maybe I need to claim my own time (he does offer, I'm just not sure what to do with it, so I'm "saving" it, but actually I'm forfeiting it).

The negatives: I did not read the time logs. On the Kindle they were too small to see. There was a link so that you could get an enlargeable version of the page, but when you made it larger, it didn't fit on the page so I had to scroll left-right and up-down to see the whole page, which made it really hard to see any patterns. Also each page of a log was a separate link, and some logs were 4-6 pages! You had to click the link, enlarge, scroll around, close out, flip to the next page, click the link again... I did this for 1-2 logs and then just skipped them altogether. I didn't find them interesting, to be honest. I prefer the narrative, with the whys and the hows then just blocks with "did this" "did that".

While I like day-in-the-life narratives, the "statistics" presented in the book in narrative form were hard for me to get my head around. 15% of women with X situation did Y. But how many women were in X situation? Was that an average? I'm used to figures with "n" and error bars and significance, so I find numbers thrown around distracting and hard to really believe (I trust the numbers presented are correct, just don't trust that I know exactly what they represent, if that makes sense?)

And of course, not all the advice pertained to my situation or my personality. I like prepping meals ahead of time because I don't work from home, and we all descend together & starving---its a huge stress saver to have something that can get on the table in 5 minutes on a weeknight. We can't afford a twice weekly cleaner, so we do have to clean the kitchen and yeah, we have higher standards for cleanliness (but not neatness--I do not pick up toys at night, but I do get why people do...its ingrained and hard to change). I'm not lucky enough to be able to fall asleep in 5 minutes (ha! hahahaha! the past 2 nights it took me over an hour, even after reading for 30-45 minutes!) after stopping working at night, so I need to schedule a good amount of down time and "lying in bed" time if I want to get enough sleep. No one is going to give me advice that is 100% pertinent. I take what I can use from various sources (including my own experience).

Tips and tricks aside, the best part of the book was the overall positive message. There is plenty written about how hard it is for working mothers, its easy to fall into the pity party mindset. I found it refreshing to hear someone reaffirm what I already know to be true:  I can indeed have it all, and more.

30 comments:

  1. Ana, I hope to come back and write something more substantive later...need to run and pick up LG. I am curious about 2 things: have you read her 168 Hours and if so how did they compare for you? And which time log is yours?! (I skipped them or I'd probably figure it out!)

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    1. 1) I thought I had, but I don't think I ever did read the book.
      2) its not in the book, just part of the data.

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    2. I might feel somewhat differently about this book if I hadn't read 168 Hours; for me, that's the real insight of her work on time. Just thinking about it differently (weekly vs daily), and as a commodity in itself. In that regard, much of what she says about time management is the same. And I do agree with you that the perspective shift is encouraging; using an extra 5 minutes in the morning to read to my kid is great, and that's something I was glad to be reminded of. I'll probably recommend the book to some friends who are struggling with these sorts of questions.

      But as an academic and cultural critic (and I do work in women's studies!), I guess I'm fundamentally hung up on successful=$100K+ I do understand that the criteria for the book needs to be somewhere....but no where in the Brigid Schulte/Anne-Marie Slaughter/Lisa Belkin converstion to which she's responding is it limited to women based on income. The 'having it all' thing is a much broader American narrative, and I'd argue it affects women with lower incomes more profoundly, as they're subjected to the same narratives and cultural ideals WITHOUT the financial means to make it work. I'd be really interested in a study that compares women in the same profession at varied income levels (i.e. a tenured professor who makes less than $50K vs over $100) as a way to account for some of this. Probably not her work to do it...but someone should.

      I'd also have been interested in how the women in the study *felt* about the weeks they recorded. We get some of that, but not much.

      I'm pretty happy with my life. I know I have it *great* compared to most American women, not to mention women globally. But I can say without a doubt the stresses of my life would be radically eased up with a legitimate raise :)

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    3. I agree that those questions are relevant & need to be addressed, but I don't think LV is the person to tackle that, that's not her mission.
      Even not reading 168 hours, I feel like I had, since the advice was splashed all over the internet/magazines etc.. when that book came out---to the point where I THOUGHT I'd read the book, since I was so familiar with the quotes & ideas from it! Agree that the idea of thinking in weeks vs. days was the "big idea" of her work and its repeated a lot in this one, I guess so it can stand alone for those who haven't read 168 hours or aren't familiar with her work.

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  2. I think what irks me is threefold: 1) her husband makes A LOT, which it what enables her to do all these things (which is nice for her, but it's not as though we can all emulate that, or even that she could had she chosen a different spouse) 2) her mom helps a lot, and often her advice is to "just" have relatives help, which raises my hackles if anyone says it. Things become exponentially more complicated if you don't have that. 3) she believes that nobody really works >60 h per week, which drives me crazy for obvious reasons. Oh yeah, I wish her data were more scientific also.

    That said I am also tired of the "can't have it all" /"she must be unhappy" /"more work means less happy" memes that seem to be mainstream these days. Her message is much more positive, not to mention true to my personal experience. Her practical suggestions also, well, rule. I mean, who wouldn't want to clean less as a path to happiness!

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    1. also, well, rule. I mean, who wouldn't want to clean less as a path to happiness!

      LOL

      New titles by your favorite lifestyle blogger:

      "Clean Less for Happiness"
      "If You Marry Well, Worries Go to Hell"
      "Let Relatives Help with Your Kids and Whelp"

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    2. Adding on to OMDG, I think something that both Mr. Money Moustache and Laura Vanderkam miss is the security you get by having a lot of money. It's that security that allows people to do the things that they suggest. Like, you can technically afford to hire someone to drive your kids to and from school without sacrificing spending when your family income is a certain amount, but it cuts into your savings in a way that ti doesn't if your income is 2x or 3x that amount. That savings may not seem like a big deal in terms of day to day things, but it means a huge amount when it comes to being able to take risks. When you don't have to worry about what happens if someone loses or leaves a job, and you know your retirement is secure. I've definitely seen this when my husband got his new job and we jumped two tax brackets-- we're not spending that much more (when we're not on sabbatical), but it's much much easier to just throw money at problems not because we're now making or we were making stupid choices, but because even though DH's industry is volatile, we're at a point where we're going to be ok in the event of an extended jobloss. We would be even more secure if we were making what LV's family makes.

      I'm not explaining this well. But it is a lot easier to spend an extra 2K when your family is bringing in 300K/year (disclaimer: I assume-- I wish I had personal knowledge) than when your family is bringing in 100K/year. Even if you can "afford" it on 100K/year.

      It's not stupid to not outsource. (It's also not stupid to outsource!) It's all about where your budget constraint hits your utility curves.

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    3. Didn't add the MMM comparison-- it's easier for to early retire when you have more than you need rather than the amount you'll need and it's easier to take career jumps that will potentially pay off when you're not worried about saving for the future. Also easier to not pay money on insurance, etc.

      Even though the two philosophies are exactly the opposite extremes, they both work a lot better when you have a huge amount saved (or a big steady income). Or as sheldon put it: http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/090731.html

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    4. No I totally get what you are saying N&M re: what you can afford. Like, we want to get a dog walker or sitter or whatever a couple days/week but that works out to...well a good amount per month. That has to come from somewhere and I don't want it to come from savings because we are only saving 15% of our income. If we were able to save 30%, for example, I wouldn't mind cutting that temporarily to 27% to improve quality of life and relieve stress. But the stress relieved by a dog walker in my case would INCREASE overall money stress due to not saving enough. Those problems go away when you make way way more than you can spend.

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    5. To OMDG YES. #1, absolutely. I suspect our total household income is similar to yours currently (and not going to jump up dramatically in a few years, either) and there is a LOT I just simply cannot afford that people like LV or all my colleagues who are married to surgeons, advise. 2) yup. same here. and its kind of stupid advice to give---who DOESN"T use grandparent childcare if their parents live in town and are capable of providing it? This is not groundbreaking! and 3) ha ha, yes, but not forever! you'll be back in the <60 hour pool when you're done with training I bet.

      But your last paragraph is why I DID like the book overall. Like I said, I can easily gloss over what is not pertinent and glean what I can.

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    6. For the record we almost never use family childcare despite living right there. (They aren't retired, and there are health and other issues which prevent us from wanting to ask.)

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    7. sarah, I did say "capable"---I think that covers your situation (either capable in terms of health, or "capable" in terms of your trust in their ability to provide good care)

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    8. Ahh sorry. I somehow missed the capable! It's a somewhat sore topic around our house at times but at the same time not the fault of anyone. This post and the comments are fantastic.

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  3. Man, my comments really suck today. (I gave up on the previous thought and made a blog post that will be heavily edited later!)

    But I do agree that the narrative sold by the patriarchy/media that working mothers are all exhausted and miserable is incorrect, and that people shouldn't feel guilty about not cleaning their toilets (whether that means someone else cleans them or they get cleaned before becoming a health hazard). So that's a good message.

    There's also some people who definitely do not want to clean less for greater happiness-- they are in fact, pretty militant about that. I don't get it, but it seems pretty wide-spread (even wandering scientist has incited ire from commenters on the topic(!)). I don't get it, but I also don't think I should impose my values on them if that's what they value (I just don't want to hear about it)-- they get to make different trade-offs. There isn't only one way to be happy. And that's a good thing.

    It's weird because most of the things LV recommends are things that I *do* already (though not to the extremes--she's told me I'm doing things wrong, not planning every weekend day, not using the right language, etc.). I just don't think that people should have to do them if they have a good reason not to. They're things to try out or to think hard about, but not doing them doesn't mean you're doing things wrong. After being chewed out by LV in comments, I've always felt like going in exactly the opposite direction-- planning weekends even *less*, cleaning the house, etc. even though that makes me less happy than what I had been doing before! It's ridiculous.

    (I've thought, would I feel the same way if it was Larry Vanderkam telling me I was doing things wrong, and then I realize yes, Mr. Money Moustache is a Mr. and was making me feel like spending on unnecessary luxuries just as much during his my-way-or-the-highway period, whereas miser-mom totally inspires me to be a better steward of resources, so it's not just implicit sexism on my part. So who in the blogosphere inspires me to be a better worker-- I think Ana and OMDG and Xyk and Something Remarkable and by happy coincidence that's everyone who has replied to this post!)

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    1. Hmmm. I guess I've never been angry enough at life advice given on the internet to turn to self-defeatist behaviors? I've also never been chewed out in comments before---I probably don't engage if I think that will be the outcome---there's my time/stress management advice!
      Like I said in the post, not all the advice fit my life or personality. I DO clean more than LV would like, and I'm not going to change that I get grossed out by dirty bathrooms and don't want more mice. I can't afford to outsource much of anything right now. I just ignore that part and move on---there is plenty of advice that I can implement for free (plan fun things, focus on the positive, use 5-10 minutes strategically)

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    2. I don't actually do self-defeating things (except maybe the cleaning or using amazon a bit quicker than usual when it's a MMM post), I just feel like doing it. Which is annoying.

      LV has never directed advice to you about how you need to plan your weekends more and not let go after you've said planning more would stress you out? Or come on to your blog to tell you your light-hearted word choice is making you unhappy (when it isn't)? Lucky, I guess? And I guess I don't engage any more either!

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    3. yeah, sorry, re-reading my comment, that came across harsher than I meant it. .yes, I guess I am lucky in that particular regard? I have plenty of people telling me my cleaning habits are making me unhappy, but not about my weekends. I know I shouldn't take things personally but it can get to me when someone criticizes my choices, so I get it.

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    4. I don't even know if it's the criticizing my choices, so much as the not believing me when I say that I know myself. I think we have a post somewhere about how my general starting belief based on my economics training is that people are currently optimizing based on their preferences and constraints. Unless they tell you differently (which they may do by asking or by complaining). But self-help gurus make a living from giving advice on how to fix problems, so they start with the assumption that things aren't working (and sometimes that means creating problems where none previously existed).

      And, as I've said before, now that DH is working from home, a lot of LV's advice about planning on weekends makes sense for him now because he's not getting the kind of interaction that I get during the week (or he used to get), so he needs do do more things. But I don't telecommute! That's where the research part gets important-- giving general advice based on one (relatively unusual) situation may make things worse for people rather than better.

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    5. I don't even know if it's the criticizing my choices, so much as the not believing me when I say that I know myself.

      I think it is possible that she truly cannot imagine that you could possibly be happy with your choices, because they are so different from what she would choose. I don't think she means to offend, but it
      I have realized that it is quite possible for people's personalities and preferences to be so far apart that it may be very, very hard for us to imagine that the other type of choice may be exactly what someone needs; so hard, that it's easier to simply conclude the other person must be deluded.

      I speak from experience. I have a colleague who is nearly my age, but who is so different in personality and preferences that it is very, very hard for us to even work together in spite of complementary expertise, so we eventually gave up. For instance, the colleague is really, really into control and responds to stress by even tighter control over every aspect of daily life, especially minutiae; I think that's insane, or at least would drive me insane, and my response to stress is to drop all the things I can drop and try to refocus on the priorities. When something is a priority, I clear everything to devote myself to it; the colleague always sticks to the chronological set of tasks. My office is cluttered, the colleague's is spotless. I could go on... There were so many differences, all in the same vein, that it was getting simply too stressful to work together. I wanted the colleague to give priority to our joint work, the colleague insisted I get in the queue. And lastly, the different approaches to creative work with students were very different: when a student is stuck, I would clear my afternoon and spend hours if need be with the student on the board until they are unstuck; the colleague would have 30-45 min weekly meetings where progress is reported, if things are stuck there were no solutions offered, nothing technical.

      This is also a colleague who plans her family's weekend in great detail and also exhibits tight control over her child's extracurriculars. My family has free-form weekends and the kids have a lot of time to do as they please, and the extracurriculars are few in number. The colleague might think I am lazy and an uninvolved parent, I might think the colleague is a control freak. Or perhaps we could both try to be generous and just acknowledge that we are both doing what we want, even though we will never be BFFs. I freely admit it took me a long time and building up my own empathy to get to the point of not feeling judged by the colleague, not because she was necessarily judging me but because I was feeling insecure. Control is, after all, highly praised by many in this society, and is perhaps part of the reason why N&M feels so strongly that the "structure your weekend!" mantra is being forced.

      (Btw, this was inspired by the N&M post, I didn't imply N&M were feeling judged or insecure. Just some thoughts I had after reading several of the comments.)

      I guess my point is the following: sometimes, especially on the Internet, you will think that someone is a total freak. It's okay to think that. However, it is entirely possible that you are both perfectly competent adults, it's just that you will never be friends and might be better off avoiding each other completely. That's okay too.

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    6. @xyk I'm a bit like your colleague at work and a lot more like you at home. :)

      The thing is, I really am a lot like LV wants us to be (after subscribing to the LV lifestyle, of course), just not so extreme. If I worked from home 24/7 or had 4 kids and had a husband who was a high-powered lawyer, I might be quite a bit more like her ideal (except for my liberal democrat tendencies and lack of organized religion).

      I have found my happy point at planning things and love having a day from time to time where I don't plan anything. And to be told that I need to go out for a run or see a sports team or go to church (three things that I would never do even if I were bored stiff, but if I'm being charitable I could sub those with things I would actually want to do)... it's like, just leave me alone! So when I say "is being forced" it's because I said, "I like to have a day free so I don't have to watch the clock and I can do spontaneous things or nothing at all" and she replied that no no, it can be something as simple as meeting someone for a jog etc. And I'm like, but I don't want to have to think about the clock. She's since lightened up a little on that, and I think had a post in which she discovered the joy of sitting on the couch all day from time to time.

      (Another example, not involving me: her stated belief that kids' play is more creative if they have all their toys out at the same time as if they have a limited number of toys. That's an empirical question, but I seriously doubt it matters either way. And who needs one more thing to worry about? Having the optimal number of toys out when we don't actually know what optimal is? Now, if there were actual research on the subject, it might be worth thinking about. Probably not, but might.)

      But still, it is ok to have different preferences and different circumstances!

      This all sounds like a catfight, and it really isn't. It is, as you say, the internet making things sound more extreme. I do check out her gifted blog and comment there on a regular basis. I occasionally read her published stuff on news sites when it's the research-based articles. She's a fine writer (you can see our review of 168 hours, which wasn't news to me, but did a great job explaining a lot of economic concepts in plain English). But no, I only read her blog when someone else links to it these days. I have other things to do with my time. ;)

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    7. (A one-sided catfight... After all, I don't have to post under my professional identity(!))

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  4. I am here via Gwinne's blog, so thank you for the review. I find myself agreeing with xyk and nicoleandmaggie, though. It's easy to give advice when you are making that kind of money. Also, I'm perplexed: how is what Laura Vanderkam saying different from what we have all said about time management and productivity? All the points you've all rounded up sound like Common Sense 101 to me and also like things that I have been reading and saying for years. I don't mean to sound negative, so please disregard this comment if it comes across that way. I am just confused about LV's power.

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    1. That should be "that we bloggers have been saying for years." Sorry for the confusion.

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    2. She's taking on the NYTimes narrative that women Can't Have it All. It's an upper-middle class coastal white woman thing. It is absolutely a ridiculous narrative. There's also the "career women should always feel guilty" (you can see this in play on Mothers In Medicine here on Ana's blogroll) narrative that she comes out against. I don't really understand where the media gets this stuff, except you know, patriarchy.

      So a big message is that you don't have to feel guilty about outsourcing. Which comes out a little mangled on her blog sometimes and could potentially be interpreted as it being bad if you don't outsource. I don't think that was a big problem in 168 hours, though I don't remember it that well.

      One possible difference is that non-academic professionals aren't as used to using cheap undergraduate labor for things like pick-ups and drop-offs. (Though when we last lived in a city and could only get childcare from a place that closed at 5pm, most of the people picking up the other kids at the full-time ending were not parents, so maybe other people have figured that out as well. Plus cities have laundry services and pre-prepared meals etc. etc. etc.) And we have to manage our time ourselves or we don't get tenure-- there's no boss telling us what to do and when to do it. So maybe not everybody uses Pomodoro (or Boice or GTD or etc.).

      And now my program has crashed again. Gosh darn it. (Big datasets force small breaks!)

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    3. How many times have you heard someone say something that defies your idea of common sense? Common sense is not actually that common. In fact, I clicked over to your blog and your latest post about tips for relaxation sounded exactly like common sense that I figured most of us had figured out years ago---but clearly some people haven't or the post wouldn't be necessary!
      Yes, there is indeed this ridiculous narrative that 1) successful career women never see their kids and 2) they are harried/frenzied/miserable. I've come across it multiple times in various settings, where people ask me what I do and then get wide eyed and make some comment about "that must be crazy" "wow you must never sleep" "how do you manage" etc... This is not only super annoying to me, but damaging when young women take in this narrative and assume that, since they don't want their lives to be frantic and miserable and they would like to see their kids, they should not go into a high-power field (see, for example, mothers in medicine).
      I think the book was inspired, in part, by a comment on another blogger's post about trying to get women involved in something or another and a commenter wrote something along the lines of "well, if ya'll care about paychecks & head pats, go for it. I prefer to be paid in hugs and dandelions from my kids"---obviously this pissed off a lot of working mothers, but yeah, people really do think its one or the other.
      In terms of the ideas of outsourcing various tasks or letting things go---again, while this isn't brand new information to the world, most of our views on family life and what a mother should do have been heavily shaped by our experiences in our own homes. My mom stayed home with us. The idea of outsourcing ANYTHING besides 9-5 childcare didn't occur to me naturally. I just assumed I would clean the house, cook dinners every night, keep on top of laundry, take my kids to activiites, take care of pets etc... even though I was working full time because, well, I had childcare for those hours and I'd get the other stuff done in evenings/weekends. Thankfully I talked to some senior colleagues and came around to hiring a house cleaner! But still, it never occurred to me to have someone do daycare pick up, or have daycare feed dinner, or to hire a regular dog walker because I technically COULD do those things myself (when I say "I" I mean "we") even though those things cause a lot of unnecessary stress & eliminating those would leave room for more of the stuff I actually care about. Its having these thoughts & conversations, spurred by books like this, that make me re-examine my day to day life and see where I can optimize.

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    4. back to N&M's point way up there that her assumption is that people are already optimizing based on their values/constraints---well I would argue that that optimization is limited by their worldview/experience. So presenting a different viewpoint may open up possibilities they never imagined existed (and thus could not utilize!)

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    5. In defense of economics-- lack of information is a constraint, and increased information changes the budget constraint. We are all for full information!

      The difference is that an economist will present new information and say, have fun with that, change or don't change based on your preferences and new constraints as you rerun your internal optimization calculations. It's that positive/normative thing from econ 101.

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  5. NY Times narrative about having it all, that's good enough for me.

    Ana--you're right: most of what's on my blog is common sense, or seems so to me. I think I was just puzzled about why LV seems to have her pronouncements taken so seriously. But I was missing the point that they are helping some people to counter harmful received wisdom, and if that's the case, it's clear that she's helpful to many.

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  6. Gah! I missed this post while I was at the book. I read this book and would have thrown it across the room in disgust if I hadn't been reading it on my phone. She rubbed me the wrong way from the moment she informed me that we really weren't as busy as we thought we were. I'll read the other comments and I'm sure I'll have more to say.

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    1. That should read "while I was at the BEACH" LOL

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