I Don’t Know How She Does It – Part 1

Christine Brown-Quinn knows what she is talking about when it comes to managing career and family. The author of Step Aside Super Woman, sick Career &  Family is for Any Woman reflects on her own personal experiences and draws upon those in the ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Kate Reddy, the working mother in Allison Pearson’s book that inspired the film.

I’m delighted to be collaborating with Christine’s and bringing you this five part blog series over the course of the next few weeks to share with you some of those wise words that might just help you get the balance without the need for your Super hero cape.

To WIN one of four SIGNED copies of Christine’s book simply sign-up to receive email notifications of all my new blog posts straight to your inbox and / or follow me @workingsupermum on Twitter  and  Tweet ‘I want to win with @workingsupermum’ / or ‘Like’ the Super Mummy Facebook page via the links on the right or leave a comment with your thoughts below this article. Phew! Lots of ways to win!

Competition closes at 5pm on 15th May 2012 and four winners will be selected at random.  Good Luck!


Sinking Superwoman –  learning that ‘OK’ is good enough – By Christine Brown-Quinn

Have you seen Sarah Jessica Parker’s latest film I Don’t Know How She Does It?

I know how she does it because I do it. But, I’m no Superwoman. It’s the team that I have around me that does it –  my husband, our childcare provider and our kids all pitch in and make the career-family thing work.  When I was first starting out and doing the juggling act of career and family over 20 years ago, it certainly did feel like I did it.  But the downside was I also felt like everything was solely my responsibility. 

Like working mom Kate Reddy in the film (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) I used to feel that I singlehandedly had to hold it all together. How was I going to make the school meeting and meet the deadline at work? How was I going to get the promotion and still take full control at home.  How was I going to have the time and energy to bake a cake for the cake sale having worked another 10-hour day. I’m sure you get the picture.

The funny thing was my husband never said that it was all up to me. I made this assumption. I put this unrealistic expectation on myself that I had to be perfect home and perfect at work.  The day I stopped trying to be Superwoman (for the benefit of my own health and therefore for the benefit of everyone around me) was the day I started enjoying my life as a mother, wife, and professional. I realised that unless I changed my mindset I was headed straight for a meltdown.

What I also realised was that I was putting my personal life in one box and my working life in another without taking advantage of any transfer of skills between the two environments. I was gaining some fantastic management skills at work which I wasn’t using at home: delegation, prioritization, working in teams and managing teams just to name a few.  I admit that when it comes to delegation, it’s sometimes hard to give up control, especially at home. Let’s face it. You do do things better than most people.  No argument there. However, if you try to do most things all by yourself, you will burn out.  Constantly striving for perfection in every aspect of your life leads to a miserable existence.  Like Kate Reddy’s husband Richard says in the film, “OK, is good enough”.

Did you ever think about what you’re like when you act like a control freak? I have. Do your kids like you? Does your childcare provider like you? Does your partner like you? Let others in. Let them help out. Make them feel appreciated as part of the team.  Get them to own some of the problems and challenges. And yes they will do things differently, but don’t sweat the detail. We often criticize our partners for not helping out. And then when they do help out, but they don’t do things exactly like we do, we criticize them for that too! My husband’s approach and style to managing things at home is very different from mine, but no less valid (although I still think my way is better!) But the point is, I do let him get on with it and I try not to interfere. He’s a smart man. Why do I think I need to treat him like an idiot?

So by adopting this team approach, does this mean your life will be perfect? No, life is never perfect.  Sorry to break this to you. By adopting the team approach, however,  you can sustain a rewarding lifestyle that combines your career ambitions with a fulfilling family life.  Do it now. Let go. Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel better?


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  1. Hi ya! Already follow you via email, so gave you a little ‘like’ on facebook! x

  2. Super Mummy says:

    Hey Belen,

    Thanks for the extra ‘like’ – that could just bag you a signed copy of Christine’s book, which is well worth a read and definetly ahead of your return to full time work – eek! As an aside, thank you very much for having me on your blogroll. I don’t know how I haven’t discovered your lovely blog before.

    Good luck in the competition!

    J x

    Oh and PS: I’m a little 5 footer too. My Grandma used to say ‘Good stuff comes in small packages’!

  3. Liked you on facebook, not sure how I haven’t already! x

  4. Super Mummy says:

    Thanks Bex – you’re making new discoveries every day!

    Good Luck in the competition!

    J x

  5. We all need a little extra help…I’d love to find the secret. Have tweeted too! x

  6. I already receive your posts via email. xx

  7. Super Mummy says:

    Indeed you do my dear, thanks for commenting and consider yourself entered! Good luck x

  8. Super Mummy says:

    Thanks Julie for your entry and tweet. Stay tuned for the articles to follow plus check back to see if you’re a winner. Good luck! X

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