I wrote another book, it’s about school age kids, about family management, about data and logistics and how to create a family structure that makes you happy.
If you like anything about this newsletter — the data parts, the decision-framework parts, hearing about the weird ways my household works — this might be for you!
What’s the backstory?
Back in 2010, I got pregnant with Penelope and in my hormone-fueled frustration, spent much of my time researching the data behind rules and decisions in pregnancy. I ended up writing a book proposal and shipping it off to a friend’s agent, who I had emailed with once, to take a look at. Which is how I found myself 35 weeks pregnant with a book contract.
Expecting Better came out in 2013. The few years that followed brought various life transitions — tenure denial, a job move, three or four house moves (I lost count), a second child. In 2017, that same agent sat me down and explained that if I wanted to write a second book about early childhood, I better do it now because my experience was getting stale as Finn (the second kid) aged out of early childhood.
I thought about whether I had something to say, and realized that I did. Having a second kid had helped me reflect, at least a bit, on the big pieces of early parenting that I wanted to write about. Cribsheet, the book that resulted, came out in the spring of 2019. I got to do a fun in-person book tour, which now seems like an imaginary dream.
When I talked with people about Cribsheet, they sometimes asked about the future. “Are you going to write another book?”
Confidently, I said “No.” There was too much heterogeneity across children, I argued, for my data-oriented approach. Decisions with older kids were too varied. The formula I had developed in the first two books wasn’t going to work.
But I kept thinking about it. Kept thinking about the type of questions people asked me about older kids — sleep schedules, family dinners, sports. Should they hold their kid out of kindergarten for another year? When should they buy a phone? And I slowly realized that I did have something to say about this, it just wasn’t quite the same book as the first two.
The Family Firm (did I mention you can pre-order it? Oh, I did?) focuses, even more than the first books, on decision-making. There’s data, of course, on the questions that come up the most (sleep, nutrition, school, extracurriculars, and so on). You can expect my general approach to these questions: what does the best data say? How do we separate correlation from causality? But the core of this book is a decision-making structure. I walk through how to think about organizing your family life into one that makes you happy. And I talk through a four-step decision-making system for big choices.
I am proud of this book. I hope it will help people. And I am also grateful to my book team for pushing me to do this. At this point, it really is a team — so thank you to Suzanne and her team at WME, and to the team at Penguin for all their support. Biggest shout-out, though, goes to Ginny Smith, my editor, who is an absolutely extraordinary partner.
I have been keeping this under wraps for at least a year! Phew. I am relieved to have it out. And I promise I will not mention it that much over the next nine months.
Keep the thoughts coming. I cannot write back to everyone but I do read all of your emails, I promise.
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