Fair Play: is your to-do list endless?

Fair Play: is your to-do list endless?

In Fair Play by Eve Rodsky, she urges women to evaluate the distribution of responsibilities in their families and relationships. Chosen as a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, Fair Play seeks to show you that there is a way to share the mental load, rebalance your relationship and transform your life. In this extract from the book, Eve explores the dilemma of never ending to-do lists.

WHY CAN’T WE EVER SEEM TO GET AHEAD OF OUR TO-DO LISTS?

The more I talked with my girlfriends who’d entered motherhood, I realized we were all having trouble getting it all done— and what’s more, we were all having trouble identifying exactly what it was we were doing. Why were we all so busy?

   It turns out this phenomenon has a name—many names, actually. One of the most popular is “invisible work”: invisible because it may be unseen and unrecognized by our partners, and also because those of us who do it may not count or even acknowledge it as work . . . despite the fact that it costs us real time and significant mental and physical effort with no sick days or benefits. No doubt you, too, have read articles describing this “mental load,” “second shift,” and the “emotional labor” that falls disproportionately on women, along with the toll this domestic work takes on our lives more broadly.

   But what are we really talking about here? Sociologists Arlene Kaplan Daniels and Arlie Hochschild started giving us the language to talk about these deeply felt (but largely unarticulated) inequities in the 1980s, and since then, plenty of intelligent women have advanced the conversation and the popular vernacular.

Mental Load: The never-ending mental to-do list you keep for all your family tasks. Though not as heavy as a bag of rocks, the constant details banging around in your mind nonetheless weigh you down. Mental “overload” creates stress, fatigue, and often forgetfulness. Where did I put the damn car keys?

Second Shift: This is the domestic work you do long before you go to work and often even longer after you get home from the office. It’s an unpaid shift that starts early and goes late, and you can’t afford to lose it. Every day’s a double shift when you have two kids’ lunches to prep!

Emotional Labor: This term has evolved organically in pop culture to include the “maintaining relationships” and “managing emotions” work like calling your inlaws, sending thank-you notes, buying teacher gifts, and soothing meltdowns in Target. This work of caring can be some of the most exhausting labor (akin to the day your child was born), but providing middle-of-the-night comfort is what makes you a wonderful and dependable parent. It’s OK, Mama’s here.

Invisible Work: This is the behind-the-scenes stuff that keeps a home and family running smoothly, although it’s hardly noticed and is rarely valued. The toothpaste never runs out. You’re welcome.   In an effort to “physicalize” this heavy burden carried by women yesterday and today, I began collecting every article I could find on the subject of domestic inequality. After amassing 250 articles (and counting) from newspapers, magazines, and online sources, it was disturbing to recognize that, since women began writing about this in the 1940s, we haven’t made enough progress in sharing the burden with our partners or finding an answer to this problem that men could buy into. Same sh*t, different decade.

   According to the most contemporary research, women still do the bulk of childcare and domestic work, even in two-earner families in which both parents work full-time and sometimes even when the mother earns more than her partner. As if reflecting a mirror onto my life, I stumbled upon another study revealing that men who stood up for their fair share of housework prior to having kids significantly cut back their contributions after kids—by up to five hours a week.

   Wow, even the good guys?

   As I considered the vast research and literature, past and present, bravely naming and articulating this problem, I thought: OK, we know there’s an imbalance. But where is the manual with a practical and sustainable solution? Sure, it’s helpful to understand the breadth of the condition and its historic underpinnings, and it felt gratifying to know that I was not alone in this predicament and that plenty of women had been fed up and writing about it for decades. But what can we do to change it? I became determined to find out.

Fair Play is available to buy now.

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

“A hands-on, real talk guide for navigating the hot-button issues that so many families struggle with” – Reese Witherspoon

Do you find yourself taking on the lion’s share of all the thankless, invisible but time-consuming work in the home? FAIR PLAY is the first book that shows you that there can be a different way: a way to get more done, with less fuss, in a way that feels more balanced.

Eve Rodsky was tired of always being the one who has to remember to buy loo roll, or to book the family’s dentist appointments, or to send the thank you cards – all while working full time. So Eve decided to do what she does every day as an organisational management consultant: Organise. She conducted original research with more than 500 couples to figure out WHAT the invisible work in a family actually is and HOW to get it done effectively and all in a way that makes relationships even stronger. FAIR PLAY identifies the 100 main tasks in any relationship, and then divides those tasks fairly (not necessarily equally) so that both parties contribute their fair share.

If we don’t learn to rebalance our home life and reclaim some time to develop the skills and passions that keep us unique, then we risk losing our right to be interesting, not just to our partner, but to ourselves. Getting this right isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for a happy, lasting partnership. Part how-to guide for couples, part modern relationship manifesto, FAIR PLAY offers an innovative system with a completely original lexicon to discuss how relationships actually work … and how we can make them work better.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

‘For anyone who enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy or EducatedUnfollow is an essential text’ – Louis Theroux

It was an upbringing in many ways normal. A loving home, shared with squabbling siblings, overseen by devoted parents. Yet in other ways it was the precise opposite: a revolving door of TV camera crews and documentary makers, a world of extreme discipline, of siblings vanishing in the night.

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church – the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, rejoiceful for AIDS and natural disasters, and notorious for its picketing the funerals of American soldiers. From her first public protest, aged five, to her instrumental role in spreading the church’s invective via social media, her formative years brought their difficulties. But being reviled was not one of them. She was preaching God’s truth. She was, in her words, ‘all in’.

In November 2012, at the age of twenty-six, she left the church, her family, and her life behind.

Unfollow is a story about the rarest thing of all: a person changing their mind. It is a fascinating insight into a closed world of extreme belief, a biography of a complex family, and a hope-inspiring memoir of a young woman finding the courage to find compassion for others, as well as herself.

As featured on the BBC documentaries, ‘The Most Hated Family in America’ and ‘Surviving America’s Most Hated Family.’

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

If you were moved by The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris or The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, this book is for you. A searing page-turner of hope, family secrets and a love to defy all odds from bestselling Kelly Rimmer, inspired by the author’s family history.

‘Fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls will adore The Things We Cannot Say‘ Pam Jenoff

‘Simply amazing book, so moving I couldn’t put it down. A book that will remain in my heart for many years to come *****’ A reader

‘Captivating. I am in awe of this story *****’ A reader

‘I have never ever been so deeply moved by a book…the most amazing love story of hope and survival during the Nazi occupation of Poland… i just didn’t want it to end *****’ A reader

It begins with the discovery of a tattered photo, a letter and a tiny leather shoe…

World War Two, Poland. Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

2019. Life changed beyond recognition for Alice when her son, Eddie, was born with autism spectrum disorder. She must do everything to support him, but at what cost to her family? When her cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest. In Poland, separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain

Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain

‘A national treasure’ Independent

‘She’s baked her way into our hearts and hasn’t stopped since’ Prima

‘One of our favourite ever Bake Off winners’ Sunday Mirror

FUNNY, HEART-WRENCHING, GENEROUS AND TRUE, IN FINDING MY VOICE NADIYA HUSSAIN SHARES THE UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES AND EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE MADE HER THE WOMAN SHE IS TODAY.

‘I am writing this for everyone who was told no. ‘No, you are not rich enough. No, that is not credible. No, you can’t. No, you won’t. No, you are not allowed. No, that is not appropriate.

I was told, “No, you do not belong.”

Finally, I am saying, “Yes, I do.”‘

From the moment Nadiya Hussain was born, she has been questioning her role in life. But the irony is, she never wanted to be a trailblazer. She just wanted to follow a ‘normal’ path. But life kept telling her ‘you can’t’.

And so she found her own way, beyond anything she dared to dream . . .

In this wise, witty, open-hearted book, Nadiya lets us into her life and, for the first time, shares the memories and experiences that have shaped her into the woman and role-model that she is today, alongside her personal recipes and the stories they tell.

Hurrah for Gin: Reluctant Adult by Katie Kirby

Hurrah for Gin: Reluctant Adult by Katie Kirby

Do you overthink everything?
Do you struggle to say no to people?
Are you paying membership for a gym you never go to?
Do group chat politics make you want to throw your phone under a bus?
Are you overjoyed when people cancel plans so that you can sit at home in your pyjama bottoms eating Coco pops for dinner?

If so, this book is for you!

We spend our childhoods wanting to a be adults and, when we get there, find ourselves lost under a pile of life admin, half completed to-do lists and anti-ageing face creams that promise to make you look as good as Natalie Imbruglia.

In her new book, Katie Kirby (Hurrah for Gin) pinpoints with painful precision just how overwhelming life can be when you’re all grown up. From the worry spiral that keeps you up at 3AM, to maintaining a professional aura when you can’t stand other people – this is for everyone struggling to stay afloat.

Honest, relatable, funny and containing no useful advice whatsoever, take comfort in the knowledge that it’s not just you, we’re all as f*cked as each other.

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

Unravel the mystery of The Lost Child. Read the heartwrenching new novel from the author of the international bestseller The Girl in the Letter, Emily Gunnis.

A tragic death. A missing baby. A long-kept secret…

1960. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her mother live in fear of Rebecca’s father’s violent temper. As a storm batters Seaview Cottage one night, Rebecca hears a visitor at the door and an argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, the visitor has fled and both Rebecca’s parents are dead. No one believes Rebecca’s story that she heard a stranger downstairs…

2014. Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby, as the police race against time to find them. When the trail leads back to Seaview Cottage, the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca, Iris must unravel the events of the night Rebecca is desperate to forget for Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets.

Readers adore the novels of Emily Gunnis…

‘Compelling, twisty, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. A novel that stays with you’ Sophie Kinsella

‘Truly hard to put down. Fast paced, brilliantly plotted and desperately sad at times – all hallmarks of a bestseller’ Lesley Pearse

‘A pacy, heartrending read’ magazine, Sunday Express

‘As moving as it is disturbing. A real triumph’ Woman & Home

The Lost Child is out now in ebook and audio book. Get your copy here.

The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

‘Spellbinding’ Independent
‘My top book of 2019’ DINAH JEFFRIES
‘Her best yet’ i newspaper
‘Gripping’ Irish Times
‘Gorgeous’ VERONICA HENRY
‘A poignant story of love and loss’ Daily Mail MUST READS 
‘I can’t remember the last time I was so enthralled’ Red
‘Epic, absorbing … full of intrigue and emotion’ Fabulous
‘A sweeping novel you won’t put down’ KATIE FFORDE

Who would choose to destroy what they love the most? 

Nightingale House, 1919.

Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

Lose yourself in this unputdownable tale of the enduring power of family love, told by three generations of extraordinary women. . . 

The Garden of Lost and Found is out in paperback now. Get your copy here.

Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox

Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox

In this magical, bewitching debut, Molly and Gene Myers’ marriage is on the brink of collapse. Then a child arrives, with a remarkable appearance. Will he bring them together, or tear their whole world apart?

Molly and Gene Myers were happy, until tragedy blighted their hopes of children. During the years of darkness and despair, they each put their marriage in jeopardy, but now they are starting to rebuild their fragile bond.

Then the Meteor crashes into Amber Grove, devastating the small New England town – and changing their lives for ever. Molly, a nurse, caught up in the thick of the disaster, is given care of a desperately ill patient rescued from the wreckage: a sick boy with a remarkable appearance, an orphan who needs a mother.

And soon the whole world will be looking for him.

Cory’s arrival has changed everything. And the Myers will do anything to keep him safe.

‘Strong and generous’ Daily Mail


‘Big-hearted’ Financial Times

Permission to Feel by Professor Marc Brackett

Permission to Feel by Professor Marc Brackett

A practical and transformative 5-step strategy to ensure the emotional wellbeing of yourself and your child.

The mental wellbeing of children and adults is shockingly poor. Marc Brackett, author of Permission to Feel, knows why and what we can do.  Marc is a professor in Yale’s Child Study Centre and the creator of the RULER method, which is used at the schools of Prince George, Blue Ivy and implemented by Hugh Jackman amongst his tour group. This book outlines his strategies and skills to enable readers with ways to talk to your peers, your children about emotion. The aim is to promote emotional wellbeing in children and adults alike, helping you understand and master your own emotions. RULER is a tried and tested method, proven to reduce stress, improve school climate and enhance academic achievement.