herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

juggle

I don't know how she does it. And no, the 'she' in question isn't a neighbour, or anyone I know. She's the protagonist of a bestseller by English author, Allison Pearson. Although I bought it recently, I haven't had time to finish it. I don't know if I ever will.

The book is about a woman who works in a high-powered job, clocking up an 84-hour week, raising a family, looking after a husband and basically trying to do it all.

I started to read it but my own life got in the way. I used to read a lot. Now I read Noddy. And Postman Pat. If it's the one tiny thing I regret about becoming a mum it's my lack of adult reading time. I can shop with a toddler, eat out, holiday, go to the park, the hairdresser, the beauty salon, but I cannot read. And I cannot justify paying a babysitter to look after my child while I relax with a book.

When I read, I like escapism. I love to be whisked away from my own life into another world. I like to laugh a bit and forget where I am. I Don't Know How She Does It feels a bit too close to the bone for me.

If I want a couple of hours away from my own frantic life and endless 'To Do' lists, I am not sure that I want to spend them reading about a stressed, exhausted mother who is having a hard time juggling everything and trying to be perfect.

Why do we need to do it all or have it all, anyway? Who cares? Who's judging? If there was a book written by a man about a man trying to juggle work and family, I wonder how many men would buy it? Not enough to make it a bestseller.

As women, we can be our own worst enemies trying to be all things to all people. In the book, the heroine, Kate, is up in the middle of the night messing around with shop-bought pies so that she can try to make them look homemade for the school sale the following day.

I don't have time to make cakes and I wouldn't pretend otherwise. Recently I brought along a lovely cheesecake from the bakery to my local sports club for the family day.

"Did you make that yourself?' someone asked me. I told her I didn't and that I had to write a book for my publishers by the end of the month, which was true. I was hardly going to set the alarm early in order to make a cake. I can't have it all, or do it all, and I won't make any apologies for it.

Of course, now that I Don't Know How She Does It has been made into a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker, I'd love to see it. But I probably won't. There just aren't enough hours in the day!

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