I Know How She Does It By Laura Vanderkam
NB – although this review is geared towards female readers, I hope that my male readers would still read this book!
I found this book aimlessly browsing in Waterstones – and what a great find it was! This was the first time that I’ve ever bought a book based on the cover alone. I had never heard of Laura Vanderkam before this purchase, and now I’m glad that I know of her. I value this book a lot. Prior to reading this book, I started being aware of the things the women in my network were saying to me. They were constantly feeling guilty, always making excuses and forever exhausted. I was often told by them of their jealousy of my lifestyle and I would tell them that it is possible to live the life they wanted. I would get a “I know that,” but it was followed by a sigh.
No matter how much I preached about the endless possibilities when one maximises their potential, I was always reminded of sacrifices that women have to make – being a wife, a mother and being excellent in her career. It worried me that in this decade, this century, that women were still forcing themselves to conform to an archaic model of the ideal woman.
This way of thinking troubled me because it came across as I can have my fun now, but once I settle down, I sold myself to a life of the mundane. That from the day I was born, as a woman, my potential was predetermined because the women who did exploits were childless and single. There was no way that I could be a successful entrepreneur, keep my husband happy and spend enough time with my kids. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Then I read this book. I was nodding my head in agreement on almost every page. I wanted to give this book to every woman that I knew. I don’t want to give too much away, but Laura Vanderkam had women in high demanding jobs with kids send in their time logs to see how they spent their time. I’m not in a high flying career (yet) but seeing those time logs confirmed my beliefs – a woman can run a multimillion dollar business, spend time with her kids, exercise in the morning, and go on dates with her husband. Laura Vanderkam proved that I wasn’t crazy for having this hope that womanhood is not cursed. Being a successful woman in all its facets is not a burden.
You know what the crazy thing is? Despite Laura Vanderkam proving that women can have a life and a successful career, some women still don’t believe this. I thought there would be women just as excited about this revelation when I told them about the women in the book. Instead I was met with scepticism and sarcasm. It’s sad but I guess some women like the struggle. However, Laura Vanderkam’s words in this book was the social proof that I needed. I can’t wait till I meet more women like the ones in the book as well as become like one of those women.
“I came to see that using time well, so that you enjoy time, rather than battle it, is often not about being more organised in the running of a household. It s about changing your mind-set and recognising that much of what fills your time is a choice. We can choose to make life easier on the housework, childcare and overall logistics if we want.”
“Sometimes narratives serve no purpose beyond keeping you from the life you want.”
“You don’t build the life you want by saving time. You build the life you want, and then time saves itself. Recognising this is what makes success possible.”
“Consciously choosing to spend less time on things you don’t enjoy leaves more space for things you do.”
“We control a lot less about our children’s outcomes than we think. They are their own people. But one thing parents do shape is whether kids remember their childhood as happy.”
“The human brain easily wanders and it wanders more to worries than to happy musings on what a blessed life you have. Such ruminations steal happiness”
“If you want to make the pieces of life fit together, if you want to build a career, raise a family, and stay sane it is hard to escape the conclusion that self care is the secret ingredient.”
I do hope that you consider buying this book or recommending it someone. It truly is an eye opener. If you have any other books that are in a similar vein or bloggers that you think I should check out, leave their details in the comments section and let me know. I’m so here for women creating the lives of their dreams.