Readers: I must admit I have not written a book report since high school, so thank goodness this is just a review of highlights and inspired thoughts after finishing up Work Pause Thrive – How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career. Whew, now that I got that off my chest, let the reviewing begin.
Lisen Stromberg, mother of three and experienced professional who paused her career to focus on caring for her own children, uses her book to raise awareness to the disparities still in existence in the workplace – specifically in regards to the lack of support for maternal and paternal leave, inflexibility of work schedules, and a political system that is stagnant when it comes to progressing the support of working families. Much of the meat and potatoes of the book comes from a “Women on the Rise” survey she led along with personal stories of women who navigated their journies through motherhood and work in various ways.
Although Stromberg rallies a battle cry for action and prints a politically slanted manifesto (i.e. Paid parental leave for all new parents, paid sick leave for all workers, universal child care, universal health care for all citizens *gasp*, affordable college tuition and the ability to refinance student loan debt *double gasp*, marriage rewards & not penalties on taxes *K that would be cool*, etc) I did not immediately contact my local representative after putting the book down. (Bystander effect at its core right there) But I did use that thing that is usually preoccupied with making grocery lists and stuck on the same lyric from a Billy Joel song and used my b-r-a-i-n to reevaluate and contemplate how the major decisions of how American families choose to care for their greatest resource (our children) and continue their professional growth impact real estate.
Lets bring this home and hit some highlights on real estate and thoughts the book sparked and tie this up with a nice little bow.
- Choice: It is a personal choice – one that takes an ongoing conversation, reflection, budgeting, practical bullet proofing, and prayer – to decide what you will do in regards to work (part or full time) and caring for your children. Every action has a reaction- and this book exposes the risks and benefits to pausing a career for a season of life. This same choice that allows so many families to explore and determine their own personal priorities and goals for their specific familial unit is similar to the choice we have as a consumer and property owner. We live in the land of the free- free to decide what we want to do, who we want to do it with, where we want to do it, and when we want to do it (as long as we can afford it or financing for it). Just like every home is unique, with its own quirks and character, so is each family – we determine what works for our homes and our families and we have far greater resources to do that then we usually think.
- Consequences: So you’ve made your choice, now are you willing to live with the consequences of that action? The stories of the parents who paused, pivoted, and redirected their professions during and after rearing children reminded me of the paralyzing fear of admitting something is not working and having the courage to change it. Staying stagnant as a renter because fear of a mortgage binds you into a relationship with a monthly payment you cannot control. Putting off the home improvement projects that are needed does not increase your joy in home ownership, in fact those projects will be there in the future and probably be larger and more expensive then. Being handcuffed to an overwhelming cloud of debt from student loans and credit cards does nothing but confirm society’s backward motto of working for your money vs. your money working for you. We are all in situations that present challenges- name that challenge, realize that a series of actions led to that challenge, set realistic goals you desire to conquer that challenge, and make steps to practically triumph over it. If you cannot do it, find someone who will help you. What are friends for?
- Lastly, collaboration. Stromberg highlights the successes of working mothers and fathers who lived their lives and led their families in community. Whether it be on a micro scale of at home each spouse sharing the burden of a family, a new moms group sharing stories of sleepless nights, or colleagues binding together to support one another. We are meant to share life together – in homes, neighborhoods, and communities. Uniting as citizens who take pride in their homes and the people who live in them helps us all to see that although each individual and the choices they make may be different than our own, this is the land of the free (to choose) and the home of the brave (to act upon that choice).
As a realtor, the steps of choice, navigation of foreseeing consequences, and act of collaboration are daily tasks in the partnership of representing parties in real estate transactions. By now, you’ve realized Work Pause Thrive has little to do with real estate, but I am here to say- yep, you’re probably right. But because I am constantly searching for growth, reflection, and opportunities to stretch personally and professionally, I appreciated what reading this book opened up in my thought process.