All day yesterday I told myself that once the kids were asleep I would go straight to bed and finish reading Work, Strife Balance, by Mia Freedman. With only ninety pages to go and the desire to finally finish a book and loan it to the next in line, the kids went to bed and I, in true procrastinating fashion, turned on Netflix to watch the last twenty minutes of the last episode of the last season of a crappy TV show. But in my defence, I had told myself I would finish that also, and who am I to get in the way of my own goals? So with one goal down (look at me kicking goals) and one goal to go, I climbed into bed and lasted about twenty pages before my eyelids won. (Note to self it is very hard to read through one squinting eye).
Take two – My only objective this morning was to finish the book. I sat on the patio, sipped my tea and read non-stop. Be the book good or bad, it was really nice just to sit silently in the warm morning sun and read.
I’m the first to admit that any book that looks remotely like it might be found in the “Self Help” aisle, I run screaming to the fiction section and hide in-between pages of made up stories. But my mum begged me to read this particular book and so it was either read it or keep dodging her calls. And I’m so glad I did. (Read it that is…not dodge my mums calls).
Work. Strife. Balance is, in simplest of descriptions, about all of Freedman’s failings in the many roles that make up a woman’s life: work, motherhood, love and how ‘Balance is bullshit’ as she puts it. It is clear that her goal is to open herself up to her readers in an attempt to help women feel empowered by their own faults and failings. That despite her image in the media, she is not without her own undoing’s and even a chapter written by her very own son, divulges her inadequacies as a mother. Unfortunately we are a species that gets off on hearing other peoples ruinations, but in this case the feeling is relatable and empowering with moments of a raised clenched fist symbolising unity and solidarity.
There were moments when I thought to myself, ‘I know all this, that’s obvious’, etc. etc., but sometimes hearing what we already know, expressed in a different tone or through a new anecdote, can rejuvenate our perspectives and recharge our inner wisdom.
The chapters she writes to her sons and daughter are funny, scary and true. Honestly the idea of raising a girl has always been up there with one of my biggest fears. But in just thirty-four brief lessons to her daughter, Freedman has nailed the big stuff.
On finishing this book I didn’t take in a big breath and think, ‘Wow, that was amazing.’ rarely do I do that but I do absolutely recommend it. From the moment I started reading this book, I have been talking about it. I’ve had countless conversations with my husband and friends about raising boys vs girls, the porn industry, Feminism, retuning to work and the dreaded question that makes my uterus’s ears prick up “Are you done?”
Work. Strife. Balance jumpstarted conversations and as an aspiring writer it is my opinion that if you are talking about what you are reading, then it is good writing and it is worth reading.