Christine Armstrong thought she was a capable career woman. Then she had children and suddenly, she was "pretty shit at work", felt like a "rubbish mother," found herself living in a tip and hardly saw her husband, let alone her friends.
She figured she'd fix her life – and help other women while she was at it – by interviewing high-powered working mothers whose lives were obviously well-oiled machines.
But instead of uncovering the secret to effortless success, she found that the much-hyped superwoman who excels at work and motherhood, fits in regular gym workouts and whips up a nutritious dinner for her adoring brood every night simply doesn't exist. Even worse, she discovered, many women are consciously perpetuating the superwoman myth by telling anyone who'll listen it's all about "being organised" or "leaning in", when in reality their lives are as messy as the next person's – all to stay afloat in a world that's hostile towards working mothers.
Christine wrote the book without mentioning names or revealing details about where her subjects worked so, for once, they were free to tell the truth. "And when you're talking about hating your husband, accidentally taking ecstasy on a Friday night and going so postal with your kids that you check yourself into parenting classes, people do prefer to be anonymous."
The result is a book that's thought-provoking and at times heart-breaking as it shines a spotlight on just how un-family friendly work places still are. On a more hopeful note, Christine does show that working parents can thrive if they're equipped with the knowledge that others learned the hard way.
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