A detailed plan to help women successfully manage and balance their careers and family lives.
Ettus (The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years, 2001, etc.) advises women to think of their lives as pies cut into pieces. The size of each piece depends on the circumstances of one’s life at any particular time. There are seven “basic” pieces, she says: career, children, health, intimate relationships, community, friends, and hobbies. She then provides exercises to help readers analyze what the size of each pie piece should be; a chart guides readers, for example, to see the difference between “broad” and “achievable” goals. Woven throughout are examples from Ettus’ personal life and from the lives of 150 “accomplished women” she interviewed. A finance executive, for example, talks about learning “to focus on finding the right men to work for, those who didn’t see baby making as an obstacle.” She also says that she found a company who understood her desire for a career and motherhood, and she succeeded at both. Ettus’ writing is engaging and smoothly moves from one story to the next, interspersing easy-to-use practical advice. Readers will be able to focus on particular chapters that resonate and leave others aside without losing comprehension. The author’s use of detail will help readers relate to stories and advice; in the parenting chapter, for example, she explains, “[Family] Rituals can be as simple as trying a new kind of lasagna every Thursday night….Do broccoli lasagna one week and Mexican lasagna the next.” Ettus doesn’t pretend life is a fairy tale, though; she explains that her “pie” began to “crumble” when she was simultaneously dealing with shingles, her father’s bladder cancer, and her child’s pneumonia. However, she and the vast majority of women she interviews have highly successful careers. Women who aren’t as career-driven or financially privileged may have trouble relating to the story of a sales executive who solves some of her time issues by having two nannies, for example. Additionally, all the women are in heterosexual relationships and have nuclear, two-parent families.
An often useful and entertaining book aimed primarily at women with high-end careers.