Ivanka Trump’s new book, Women Who Work, is all about being a career-minded mom who has it all. But to follow much of Ivanka’s advice, you’re going to have to be more like Ivanka than you think—someone with a solid bank account, a high-powered job, and a staff, both at home, and at work.
The premise of her book is basic: there is no such thing as a work-life balance for women (or men, for that matter) because work and life are two different worlds that compete with each other to demand your time and attention. Trying to find a “balance” between the two, Ivanka says (and has said in subsequent interviews), is just setting yourself up for failure.
“It’s about taking a bigger-picture approach and creating a routine that works for you and your family,” she says. Even she admits that once she agreed to be her dad’s chief counselor, she basically just gave up.
If Ivanka stopped there—and, maybe, at her gallery of inspirational quotes from American industry leaders like Estee Lauder—the book would be a perfectly fine, if mostly sanguine take on the modern American woman’s dilemma.
But Ivanka isn’t like the average American mom struggling to keep food on the table and her family from killing each other, while meeting the demands of a full-time job. She’s a mother with a staff at home and a team at work, and a host of problems that run the gamut from “negotiating a major partnership” to “following my dad around the country on a Presidential campaign.”
When she gets to the “giving up” part, she makes one thing very clear: when you “give up” as Ivanka Trump, you can rely on those teams—teams you only have if you’re lucky enough to be born into wealth that doesn’t have discernible outer limits.
Unfortunately, she also doesn’t recognize that maybe the people buying her book aren’t trust fund babies and CEOs. According to one review, Ivanka regularly refers to basic household chores, like grocery shopping, as “not urgent and not important”—a classification which a starving family of four in a middle class suburb might not particularly agree with, if their Kraft dinner is late on a Tuesday when mom’s on deadline.
Like Sheryl Sandberg—author another tome on working women, Lean In—and countless others before her, Ivanka doesn’t seem to realize that she’s quite literally in a class by herself. At least with Sandberg, her modest upbringing helped inform some of her advice; with Ivanka, its not clear she understands that not everyone has a housekeeper.