A Different Perspective

Although the authors fill you in on how to get clients and how to sell yourself -- and in a service-oriented business it's always yourself that you're selling -- the book lacks the smell of business anxiety. The authors get more worked up about husbands who can't understand why there's no milk in the refrigerator (when, after all, his wife was home all day) than about debt collection.

Its an earthy, feet-on-the-ground treatment that you should find refreshing. Parlapiano and Cobe don't exhort or try to be inspirational in that cheesy mode that so many writers on self-employment slip into. It has no oratory about what a courageous visionary you are for going it alone; instead there's a sense of the pluck that women have to draw upon in coping with each day's crises -- the sick child, the broken laser printer, the important paper that your child decorated with crayons, the lost audio tape.

The authors focus on doing right by your children while running a home business, and on having a successful life, not just a career.

The book isn't about the search for untold riches. It doesn't assume that its readers are necessarily engaged in 60-hour workweeks, and the authors calmly accept the premise that you might be working under 20 hours a week. For that matter, they advise the reader to take weekends off. In spite of life's many crises, the book promotes composure. The long night will end, the child will feel better, the printer will be fixed -- stick it out, and only work late when you have to.

The message that comes through is that mompreneurship, however grandly or modestly conceived, is a valid and reasonable pursuit, and that it's only womanly to hope for a little encouragement now and then, especially when even your friends and relatives don't believe that you have "a real job." Women are more open about such emotional needs, and that approach gives the book its strength. It's not the kind of a book that a man would write, nor could most men keep up with mompreneurs in doing so many different things at once.