cover image The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting

The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting

Rachel Bertsche. . Plume, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4401-4

Bertsche (MWF Seeking BFF), a journalist and mother of two, encourages fellow parents to find, or create, free time for themselves between childcare obligations, in a less than revelatory, but nonetheless helpful, self-care primer. Mixing personal recollections, common sense talk, and pointers from happiness research, she describes using “pockets of indulgence” to maintain a sense of oneself as a “whole person,” not just a parent. Bertsche’s basic message is to let go of the “multitasking myth,” which results in guilt-ridden “contaminated time,” when one attempts leisure and obligatory tasks simultaneously—in her case, folding laundry and watching Law and Order: SVU—to the detriment of both. Instead, she recommends finding—most likely short, but intensely focused—periods of single-minded attention to a rewarding activity. Bertsche also urges couples to find time together when they don’t talk about their kids, and not to downplay nonfamily connections. In her case, she glowingly describes enjoying a recent hours-long phone call with an old friend. Though unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone, the suggestions in her book are laudably specific, and heeding them might very well improve one’s own parental “happiness gap.” Agent: Kari Stuart, ICM. (Jan.)