Book Review

How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-at-Work Moms

By on Saturday, February 7, 2015

If you are a professional working woman who also has children, you will know you are not alone by reading, How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-at-Work Moms by Wendy Sachs. As a public relations professional who works with journalists, I found the interviews with Soledad O’Brien, Ann Curry and others working in the news media interesting.

For those seeking a cookie cutter solution to their work-family balance issues, there are no standard and easy replicated solutions offered in this book. While there are a few basic time management tips, the true value of the book rests in hearing narratives from other working women who assure you that you are not alone, and that if they could figure it out, you will too.

A lot of the interviewees live in or near New York City and work in high-powered jobs, and the book has been criticized at times by others for not including more voices of ordinary working women with kids who don’t live in urban areas and have famous amazing jobs. Before we scold the author too soundly though, it should be noted that fewer women than men ascend to top corporate jobs and hearing how these women are making motherhood work while managing careers is normalizing and helpful. And truth be told – if these working moms with perfect jobs are struggling at times or muscling through, then it sure makes sense as to why the rest of us don’t have an easy road either. Even those who “have it all” encounter struggles and tough choices.

It’s also important to recognize that each working mother’s journey is unique, not a declaration of amazon-like workplace martyrdom that sacrifices family at all costs. Rather, the interviewees describe making what are sometimes agonizing choices about how to balance work and family life. Some work more efficiently, others do a second round of work after their kids go to sleep. Sachs describes a CBS producer who chose to step down from a management role because she needed more time at home with her children, and instead sacrificed her ambition and took a lesser non-management role. The point is there is no magic formula – merely that all of us are trying to do the best we can with the situation we have.

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites. She blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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