Balancing business and family in Allison Pearson’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It” and Iris Novak’s “An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia”


Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It and Iris Novak’s An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia were written in two different countries and describe different times: the first speaks about the U.K. in the 21st century and the second about the ex- Yugoslavia in 20th century. The first is a novel, the second is a memoir. But both main female characters have the same problem: how to balance business and family.

Pearson’s Kate Reddy is a British business woman with a family who tries to balance her duties of a mother, wife and employee. She is often absent because of business travels, there are many evenings when she cannot put her children to bed, she must frequently rely on her children’s nanny, she constantly faces discrimination in workplace and although she loves her husband, she falls in love with an attractive client.

Iris Novak is a Yugoslav who works in international business, librarianship and later opens her own employment and education company. She, too, has a family, studies to achieve her PhD and tries to balance her family, work and education. Iris does not travel around as much as Kate and has her mother who helps her with children. Also Iris has emotional problems with her husband who expects her to be a perfect wife although he does not offer her much support.

Both books open similar questions that are still current: is it possible that a young mother and wife successfully balances her family and employment? Should she find a peaceful or perhaps half-time job although she enjoys in her workplace? Should she try to develop her career or stay in the background? Should she feel guilty because she must ask other people to take care of her children? How should she maintain loving relationship towards her husband?

I invite readers to think about it and publish their opinions.

Author Bio:

The author writes under the pseudonym Iris Novak. She was born in the second half of the twentieth century in Slovenia, the northern part of the then Yugoslavia. She graduated from English and German, acquired her MA in Management and PhD in Librarianship. She worked in the international business, in librarianship, was director of a school for foreign languages and finally established her own business: employment agency and a college. The author lives in Slovenia, is married and has three children.

Author working in the National and University Libray Ljubljana

Readers can contact her on  

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