Half a Wife: The Working Family's Guide to Getting a Life Back

Gaby Hinsliff

Half a Wife: The Working Family's Guide to Getting a Life Back

For most families, it remains the ultimate dilemma: how to balance a happy, healthy family life with the demands and rewards of work. When Gaby Hinsliff realised that she couldn't continue to work 60-hour weeks, spend time with her child and expect to stay happily married, there was only one solution. She quit, and decided to start again from scratch. Half a Wife tells the story of that leap into the dark and proposes positive, practical solutions for piecing together what at times can seem like an impossible jigsaw. It encourages working parents to rethink traditional set ups - at home, at work, in relationships - to the mutual benefit of the whole family. The result? A much more egalitarian family life, where both partners can work if they want to, both share the care and both get back a little bit of a life as a result. Based on personal experience but also drawing on new thinking from politics, psychology, anthropology and even architecture, Half a Wife is a guide for guilt-torn parents who are teetering on the edge, but it is also a wake-up call to opinion leaders. 3.6 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Half a Wife: The Working Family's Guide to Getting a Life Back

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Family & Lifestyle
Format Paperback
Pages 272
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication January 2012
ISBN 978-0701185985
Publisher Chatto & Windus
 

For most families, it remains the ultimate dilemma: how to balance a happy, healthy family life with the demands and rewards of work. When Gaby Hinsliff realised that she couldn't continue to work 60-hour weeks, spend time with her child and expect to stay happily married, there was only one solution. She quit, and decided to start again from scratch. Half a Wife tells the story of that leap into the dark and proposes positive, practical solutions for piecing together what at times can seem like an impossible jigsaw. It encourages working parents to rethink traditional set ups - at home, at work, in relationships - to the mutual benefit of the whole family. The result? A much more egalitarian family life, where both partners can work if they want to, both share the care and both get back a little bit of a life as a result. Based on personal experience but also drawing on new thinking from politics, psychology, anthropology and even architecture, Half a Wife is a guide for guilt-torn parents who are teetering on the edge, but it is also a wake-up call to opinion leaders.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Esther Walker

Half a Wife is important; wave after wave of parents blunder into miserable work/family situations because no one talks openly about what it's really like, out of fear that they're the only ones getting it wrong and having a horrible time, and out of fear of being accused of whinging. Hinsliff has risked being labelled a silly softie but gets away with it because she's right, damn it.

05/01/2012

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The Sunday Times

Eleanor Mills

What elevates Hinsliff’s book from the normal middle-class whinge is the rigorous analysis she brings to the wider forces that have shaped modern family life and how they might be re-sliced so that families can live differently. Basically, she argues, all families need a couple of days of “wife” time every week — not just looking after kids but taking granny to her hospital appointment ... Some of what Hinsliff calls for will never happen, but much of it is all too feasible. Politicians should take note: politics is personal; get it right for families and business, and Downing Street will beckon. Hinsliff, after all, wasn’t a political editor for nothing.

08/01/2012

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The New Statesman

Melissa Benn

Hinsliff writes interestingly about the way that, within most same-sex relationships, the familiar power struggles over what was once called housework simply do not arise, suggesting that the battle for "domestic democracy" is still to be fought by our daughters — the heterosexual ones, at any rate. No radical feminist, Hinsliff takes a conciliatory approach, stressing the emotional benefits to men and their families if only they could escape the shackles of desk-bound presenteeism. She is equally understanding of men's terror at the loss of status and income they observe in the lives of those women who opt for the "mummy track". Ways need to be found to coax men into the new caring and sharing employment landscape.

02/01/2012

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The Observer

Rosie Millard

... she is rather shy about putting her own experiences on the page. This is a pity, because when she does tell us about her own anxieties and joys, the writing soars ... While Half a Wife won't be much help to parents who work stacking shelves in Tesco, or who physically have to be at the workplace for set hours (hospital doctors spring to mind), this is a wholly supportive blueprint for any harassed parent thinking about working from home or currently doing so.

07/01/2012

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