The title of Paige Hobey's book - The Working Gal's Guide to Babyville: Your Must-Have Manual for Life with Baby (De Capo Press, 2006) - is actually a bit misleading. It sounds like a book exclusively for the suit-wearing, briefcase-toting, high-heel-stepping mom - the 9 to 5er who leaves her baby in daycare (a la Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day).
But that picture of working motherhood is actually extremely outdated. After all, all mothers are working mothers - the SAHM, the WAHM, the PT work-outside-the-home mom, the FT work-outside-the-home mom, the freelance mom, the writer mom, the entrepreneurial mom, etc. Working motherhood in the 21st century is much more varied than ever before. Hobey acknowledges this and her book is geared to all mothers.
She gives excellent tips about everything from what to register for to how to care for a newborn to how to make that emotional and gut-wrenching decision about what to do with your career post-baby. Hobey's guide is actually extremely comprehensive and is along the same lines as any "what to expect the first year" guide - except that it's better.
I love Hobey's matter-of-fact and entertaining writing style. It's easy-to-read in that it's not overly scientific or jargon-laden. At the same time, it's factual because the book was written in conjunction with Allison Nied, a pediatrician.
My only criticism of the book is that the chapter on breastfeeding provides a bit of skewed information. For example, the author writes, "Given recent improvements, formula almost replicates mother's milk (most pediatricians believe it's a good, if not perfect, alternative)." Um, that's not exactly true. There are actually significant differences between breast milk and formula. I understand trying to make moms not feel guilty if they choose not to (or are unable to) breastfeed, but you have to stick to the facts.
That small criticism, though, is minor compared to the wealth of strong advice that moms can glean from the book's pages. Not surprisingly, the chapters that focus on work decisions - "Guide to Making the Hardest Decision of Your Life," "Loving Life as a Working Mom," and "Today's Strategic, Temporary Stay-at-Home Moms", etc. - were my favorite. They were packed with helpful information that any mom would find useful.
At one point in the book, Hobey writes, "the ideal blend of career and momhood remains elusive. We all know what we want: a comfortable household income, intellectual stimulation, social interaction, and quality family time. The question is, how do we get it?" She then goes on to attempt to answer that question - it is THE question that constantly plays over and over again in my head like a broken record. Of course, Hobey doesn't give a cookie-cutter answer (nor does she claim to - if only it were that easy!). What she does do is provide guidance and possibilities to moms.
I recommend this book to all mothers-to-be and/or mothers of babies under age two. Whether you're flying straight up a corporate ladder at 90mph or taking a break to be at home with your little one or anywhere in between, The Working Gal's Guide to Babyville has something to offer you.
WIN IT! One mama will win a copy of The Working Gal's Guide to Babyville: Your Must Have Manual for Life with Baby by Paige Hobey. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Wednesday, April 2 at midnight (don't forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Thursday, April 3. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #1 Miss Erica. Congratulations!