If anyone knows how to juggle, Julia Hobsbawm does. As she says on her website, she is a mother, step-mother, wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend, cousin, niece, and businesswoman. The See-Saw is a guide to ‘inspire and reassure you that you can get your work-life balance on track.’
The book covers topics including flexibility, childcare, me-time, flexibility and guilt. It also looks at the ‘Dammy’, or stay at home dad: Julia’s partner Alaric has been taking this role for many years, allowing her to operate a busy full time business. It is up-to-date, written in the Summer of 2008.
Hobsbawm does her best to make The See-Saw applicable to people without children, featuring a few case studies, but basically it is a guide for parents to sorting out work life balance. The book has something of a flavour of privilege about it, despite including some people in ‘ordinary’ jobs there are many more high flying parents like Hobsbawm herself. More ordinary mums may be slightly irritated by the inclusion of Julia’s pals, Julia, a Rabbi, Antonia, a leader writer and ‘old friend’ Rosie Boycott in the space of a few pages.
Amusing cartoons and recipes break up the book. There is a good mix of views from men and women. It is easy to read – I managed to get through it quite quickly despite being 37 weeks pregnant, so in that way is ideal for time pressed parents. Overall it is a pleasant read, but you could probably get just the same tips by sitting round with a group of friends who are also juggling working parents.
The See-Saw (paperback) Published January 2009. 176 pages. ISBN: 978 1 84354 911 6. RRP: £6.99