In The Episode
If you’re a new parent and you’re finding it much more work and a lot less fun than you thought it would be, you’re really going to gain a lot from this show.
In this, the first episode, Tom reveals that his idea for the show came from his own experience as a father of four children and the juxtaposition of two books, Jennifer Senior’s All Joy and No Fun and Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families. Listen in to discover how you can live a happy, well-balanced life, even though you have children.
Today, Tom explains that Jennifer Senior’s book is about the phenomenon that parents generally score lower on happiness surveys when compared to people without children. This flies in the face of the common belief that having children is the crowning achievement in life.
Ms. Senior profiles parents who struggle with expectations placed on them, often by themselves, to raise well-adjusted children with increasingly fewer available resources, such as time, money, or a network of support from family. Tom points out that the book does, however, have a silver lining, in that most parents do experience a significant amount of joy and meaning in their lives due to having children.
Bruce Feiler’s book, on the other hand, points to some possible solutions to the dilemma of parenting. He looks to the lessons learned in business and in other fields to see whether these methods can be used to teach families to function better. He gives an example from the book of a family who adopted agile management, a project-management tool used in the software industry to help with family meetings and to streamline the hectic morning routine.
Tom says that he hasn’t managed to replicate agile management in his house; however, he does dream! In the podcast, Tom will tell you what you can expect to hear in his future episodes and explains that although solutions are great, at times, it really helps just to know that the problems parents face are both common and survivable.
Listen in as Tom shares his own parenting story by reading the relevant chapter from his book You’re Pregnant, You’re Fired.
Some highlights include the following:
– How he was offered a position as an assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in 2005 when he was 33 years old, married, and had a 10-month-old son
– How little idea he had, before the birth of his son, of how much work it would involve to be a parent
– How he shared the responsibilities of parenting with his wife, who was also an attorney
– His decision to join the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the fall of 2006, a harrowing position for all new prosecutors, given the long hours and stress
– How unprepared he was for having two children after the birth of his second son, Jonah—no one ever got a break!
– How he suffered from insomnia and generalized anxiety disorder
– How no one at work knew what he was going through
– His realization that he could no longer maintain the way he was working, trying to balance work and family
– How he opened his own firm and dealt with the guilt of his departure from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the midst of an economic meltdown
– How he realized that it was having children that had made his balancing act so difficult and analyzing the choice between career and family
– The lack of support by the government for working families
– A survey that showed that men with families have it easier than women with families do in the workplace, yet men tend to be more heavily penalized for taking time off work
Read more at http://parentsatwork.libsyn.com/#B7e1g1GrZoLY1mKi.99
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See this podcast’s transcript.