Téa’s Book Review: “The MomShift” by Reva Seth

We hope everyone is enjoying March Break!   Stay tuned for more exciting news about The Second Assistant next week. In the meantime, please enjoy Téa‘s book review.

Téa occasionally appears on our blog as a special contributor to our Book Review Page. Check out Téa’s awesome blog here.


I first heard about Reva Seth’s book through an article I read in The Globe and Mail. The book is a compilation of stories from women, ‘MomShifters’, who have attained their greatest career success after having children. On the brink of wanting to find post-children career success myself, I placed a pre-order for the hard copy from Indigo later that same day.

In many ways The MomShift is a response to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Sandberg advises the highly ambitious on how to fully ‘lean in’ to their career goals while Seth – through the stories of the 500-plus women that she interviewed – offers real examples of success for women aiming somewhere in between the Sheryl Sandberg’s of the world (über successful and wealthy) and those opting out of the work world altogether.

“Its time we recognized and provided practical ideas as templates

for the different forms that our individual ambition takes, particularly

as it may grow or change over the course of our life”

 The women Seth interviewed come from very diverse professional and personal backgrounds making it easy for any reader to find themselves in the stories shared. Moms can discover new ideas, a different path or novel solutions to the challenges that women face in advancing, maintaining or even starting up their career in the midst of motherhood. The stories are organized into 8 sensibly ordered chapters with lessons, tips and ideas summarized after each pertinent section.

  1. Is There a Right Time or a Best Time to Have a Baby?
  2. Maternity Leave: The Big Jump
  3. Reinvention
  4. Staying on the Ladder
  5. How We Work
  6. Change on the Home Front
  7. Dollars and Cents
  8. Where to from Here?

Seth shares Sandberg’s likening of a mom’s career path to a jungle gym – an analogy that allows for much more than a linear route to its summit versus the outdated ladder that must be continuously climbed. Essentially, the women in this book have found ways to redefine all aspects of how we work. For one mom, changing her view of ‘motherhood’ in the pyramid of female accomplishments gave her the freedom to envision juggling being a mom AND pursuing a satisfying career, “There is no pyramid. I see it instead as a ferris wheel and each seat is an element of a woman’s life” – each with equal priority.

It’s clear in reading these women’s stories that the old ways of building and sustaining a satisfying career are being pushed aside and new paths are being forged. Women are redefining where and how they work to make it ALL work. A new image is being developed to depict the working mom and that picture looks very different for each woman.

And the sharing doesn’t end here. Seth is continuing the discussion online (www.themomshift.com) with more story-sharing MomShifters and plans to follow-up with many of the women interviewed for the book to capture learnings from their evolving career paths. Undoubtably there will be many more ‘how to’ examples from real women chartering a course for success through the mom years.


3 thoughts on “Téa’s Book Review: “The MomShift” by Reva Seth

  1. Kelly Doyle says:

    Thanks for this amazing book reco! I can’t wait to read MomShift and learn from these inspiring women! Thanks to the Second Assistant and Passion Searcher for intriguing me with their excellent blogs. I am now considering starting a blog on our European tour.

  2. Great topic, and more great writing, fabulous. The importance of visual images and metaphors can’t be underestimated…”pyramid” “ladder” to “jungle gym” and “Ferris Wheel”, these are powerful examples of “charting a new course” – Well done!

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