BritMums have been given 5 copies to give away to our readers, the first five comments left below are winners!
That’s the concept created by Facebook boss Sheryl Sandberg in her new book which advocates female empowerment in the workplace.
It’s a kind of “if you can’t beat them, join them” manifesto; if you can’t change the world, find a way to get what you want. Which is highly commendable if you live the life Sheryl leads. And good on her.
But what about the rest of us who spend less time leaning in but leaning on other people?
Not to mention demanding our toilet-training offspring “lean over”?
I don’t want to criticise her for having millions in the bank and an army of staff who manage the school run, do the shopping, take the dog to the vet and clean the loo. That’s too predictable and too simple an analysis. Sheryl’s boardroom sisters are a marvel for their grit and determination. And for carrying off those bright orange radiation boiler suits to protect yourself against the most noxious of substances – that of guilt.
The main problem for me is the vast majority of mums can’t relate to Lean In on a practical level – if your child breaks an arm at school, I’m guessing most women would drop everything and would want to be there for them. Why should we be told to act more like men when the “it’s a man’s world” idea is cited as the reason holding us back?
Lean In is helpful because it highlights the working mum debate again, an issue which we feel day-in day-out when we’re simultaneously cooking tea, answering emails and making a last-minute dress-up costume for school, the theme of which is usually “something designed to flummox mum rather than easy-peasy pyjamas”.
But it isn’t actually all that controversial.
More brave would be a social manifesto; I don’t think women need to lean in any more than we’re doing – we’ll end up toppling over if we do. Changing our attitudes is not what needs to change.
In fact, we need everyone else to lean in – society to normalise men helping more with child-rearing and housework; employers to be more flexible so women can work remotely where possible, allowing us not to work 9-5 but to get the job done by the deadline however we manage it; and the Government to sort out more affordable childcare. Furthermore, motherhood needs to be valued more highly than it is – how many social problems are blamed on absent parenting? Society should yield more to what we’re doing rather than tell us, as Sheryl does, to use our feminine wiles to get even.
This lady’s not for leaning.
Laura Kemp, a mum and author, has written Mums Like Us, published by Arrow; the ridiculous story of an ordinary mum who becomes an international heroine after she sets up a weekly support group for bedraggled kindred spirits to embrace ‘good enough’ parenting rather than the pursuit of perfection.
Available to pre-order at http://www.amazon.co.uk/