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Mum overboardI Dont Know How She Does ItAllison PearsonChatto and Windus 1299 pp354Allison Pearson boasted in a recent article that four working mothers had already resigned from their jobs and two had become pregnant after reading her new book and thats before publication I am not sure why she feels responsible for their pregnancies but I approached I Dont Know How She Does It with cautious curiosityThe book began as a weekly Daily Telegraph column about Kate Reddy a fund manager trying to juggle an inaccurate vain verb children and career Kate Reddy A pity about her name I thought and the battery-operated puns attending it It seemed to pitch Kate before she had a chance to defend herself into strip cartoonThis is what Kate believes if you are a working mother you must pretend to be childless at work Should you wish to attend a school nativity play you must concoct a professional excuse before scuttling off There may be some truth to this I know two female executives working for the same firm who lied to attend their childrens sports day Later on opposite sides of the playing fields they spotted each otherPearson determines to tell the truth about sports days nativity plays and all the other more insidious working-mother-lies She removes the gag from our mouths with a tremendous flourish In particular she studies the way we dissemble deny and hide our more complicated maternal feelings from bosses husbands nannies children and ourselves She shows that having it all is sometimes distinct from being able to enjoy any of it What she describes is painful But it makes grandly self-indulgent readingThis is a book that could only come from a privileged place Allison Pearson and Kate Reddy have fantastic luck a good job full-time nannies husbands who cook nice pasta dishes Above all they have the chance to complain extravagantly leaving no lurch of the heart unmonitored And they can choose not
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