Keeping it up at both ends is not easy when you both work and it’s damn near impossible when there are kids.

 Who wrote the book of love? Well there’s a bunch of them

Everybody, including the neighbor, has an opinion on how to find a balance between office and home, career and family, money and kids, love and sex, but there’s a big difference between talking about it and doing it. And in case you haven’t heard enough, there are a few books you might want to check out. They cover – or is it uncover? – a lot:

  • Balancing work, career and home life
  • Breaking through the glass ceiling
  • The dollars and cents of love and sex
  • The rise of women and the end of men?

Love your work and lean into it

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has a  new book and it’s already a bestseller on Amazon. With Lean In Sandberg brings considerable enthusiasm and energy to the issue of women and work and she certainly views the “glass ceiling” as a glass half full, not half empty. But she says, “We

[women] are stalled” and we have to use more of the “talent and power we have” to push the boundaries. Easily said by someone already on top of the glass ceiling. The book is a good conversational read but Sandberg isn’t talking to everyone, it’s not geared to the vast majority of working women – working class women who don’t have an Ivy League degree, nanny and dog walker. It does, in part, talk to all women in terms of pushing themselves more, being more aggressive and speaking their mind. So on that count, it’s a needed message but it’s also only half the story. If men, who fill over 80% of the executive positions, don’t get it and see the value of female leadership, then it will be almost another century (i.e., women’s suffrage in 1920) before women achieve the equality our society needs. Read the book! And lean into the conversation and push for women on top. Men too, you might enjoy it (see other books below).

Which side of the glass ceiling are you on?

Here’s a book with a provocative title and a provocative tale, plus plenty of research based facts and potential harbingers of times to come. Who will be on top in the end? If you pay attention to trends then the trend is up for women and down for men, even though some like Sheryl Sandberg (see above) thinks “women are stuck.” Hanna Rosin posits in The End of Men that women have changed their role significantly while men have drifted in the same role too long. She suggests they might want to redefine themselves in everything from “Mr. Mom” to the “hook up” scene and how women now see casual sex. It’s about the numbers, the emotions and the reality. Men have to change in what is moving, regardless of how slowly, to a matriarchal society. And it’s about a helluva lot more than trying to be a good father. Read the book! And ladies, you might want to read it on a Kindle, like you did Fifty Shades of Gray (see earlier blog) because this one might scare off the men, which might be a good thing in a bar but not the office.

Sex and love for a price–can you afford it?

Someone once said, the numbers don’t lie. And they don’t. So don’t read this book unless you “can handle the truth.” Dr. Marina Adshade says in her book, Dollars and Sex that love and sex is better understood when you know what it costs. Yikes! Talk about taking the romance out of romance. The “promiscuity math” suggests that there are economic consequences to dating, romance, sex, marriage and, of course, divorce. But all those that come before divorce may well have something to do with the big cost of divorce. In fact, they may be bigger. There’s a four minute video chat about the book on CTV , if you want more on the math. Here are three basic costs Adshade writes about – and there’s more:

  • Romance and dating: about $6,000
  • One year engagement: about $3,500 for a ring (or you could go to a pawn shop)
  • The wedding: about $26,000 (or perhaps paper plates would do?)

So grab a calculator and read the book. Or don’t, and enjoy the uninhibited – but costly – joy of love and sex (there’s a revised version of that book too).

One for the guys’ guy

If you’re going to read The End of Men then you should also read Michael Kimmel’s book, Guyland: the Perilous World Where Boys become Men. He says, the end of men is premature rhetoric and it is inaccurate to cast men as antediluvian dinosaurs, unwilling or unable to adapt, slouching towards extinction.” But he paints a worrisome picture of men between the age of 16-25 – from being binge drinkers to being intimidated by women. This is the next generation of male leaders and there are some “dangerous” signs that they are not preparing well to compete with the women. These guys may be looking up at their own glass ceiling and as Kimmel says they are more accepting, and perhaps glad, to have the women in charge. But do we have to wait for two generations of the “old graying dinosaurs” ahead of them – who are ensconced in leadership positions (corporation, governments, schools) – to die off before women get to lead and men are comfortable with it? Sounds more like evolution than social progress.

In a Globe and Mail article by Erin Anderssen, a 2012 study stated that of more than 24,000 Canadians asked about work-balance and care-giving, over half the families had women as either primary or equal earners. A third said the man had primary responsibility for child care. Looks like guyland is transforming into homeland and gal-land might create a better-for-all land. Anderssen also references Stephanie Coontz, research director at Evergreen State College in Washington State. She says this can mean, “men are released from the burden of doing all the providing. They are no longer denied the satisfaction of being involved parents and partners at home. Both men and women are free to be more well-rounded human beings.” Her latest book is A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.


So many books, so little time.

Even if you don’t read these books all at once, buy them as handy reference material and required information if you want to be part of the conversation that shapes the decades ahead and lays the foundation for better relationships for our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. As Martha Stewart, one of the women on top, might say, “And that’s a good thing.”

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