I’ve been looking forward to reading Work Shift: How to Create a Better Blend of Work, Life, and Family since I heard about it a few months ago. Even with the title, I wasn’t sure quite what the focus of the book would be.
Blogger Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote Work Shift to share with women the possibilites of combining work and family. She explores what this can look like by looking at the ways 30 different women are doing this. Although there are some exceptions, the majority of the examples show how mother and father can function as the primary caregivers, while also arranging scheduling and work so that both are able to work.
I appreciated this book for a number of reasons, but particularly so because our family has somewhat unique work arrangements (although I am only doing a very small percentage of the “working.”) Like a good number of the families featured, my husband works from his home office, and has a small degree of flexibility in the way he is able to arrange his schedule and work location. We have done this purposefully (though we realize it’s not always possible), and it was affirming to read of other families doing similarly.
Of course, we have computer-based jobs for the most part, but Work Shift also shows how women and men working more traditional jobs can also arrange their jobs and schedules in a way that allows for a unique blend of work and family. There are excellent examples of families doing these very things.
The beginning of the book focuses on some of the history of the workplace–our current cultural view of work is such that we tend to forget that our current construct not the norm prior to the industrial revolution. Anne then goes through how the work-family blend operates, and then looks at individual examples over a broad variety of family situations and work arrangements.
I found this book helpful and inspiring. Like others have commented, I wish I had spent more of my unmarried and childless years exploring and training for options that would allow me to blend work and family; at the same time, there are still plenty of options to allow me to both spend time being a primary caregiver to my children, family, and home while also exploring creative outlets and income-producing opportunities. This book provides an excellent picture of what such opportunities can look like.
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