Journalist, bestselling author of MWF Seeking BFF, and mother of two Rachel Bertsche tries to find calm among the chaos and reclaim a personal life while raising her young kids, and offers solutions for how all parents can do the same, once The Kids Are in Bed

Picture it—it’s 8:30 p.m. You close the door to your child’s room just as you hear your partner closing the dishwasher. Your home is clean (enough). You’ve dealt with all the last-minute work emails. And now it’s time for an hour or two of glorious freedom. What do you do? Read the book you’ve been waiting to crack open all day? Chat on the phone with a friend, glass of wine in hand, or go out and meet old friends and share a whole bottle? Or, like many modern parents, do you get caught up in chores, busywork, and social media black holes?

Recent time-use studies show that even working parents have as many as 30 hours of leisure time a week, yet very few people know how to actually use that time to do something— anything!—pleasurable and fulfilling. In an original survey conducted for this book, 71 percent of parents said their free time didn’t feel free at all, because they were still thinking about all the things they should be doing for their kids, their jobs, and their households. 

Rachel Bertsche constantly found herself in exactly that bind. Using a combination of memoir, interviews with scientists and parenting experts, and input from moms and dads all over the country, Rachel figured out how to transform her own patterns and reconnect to her pre-kids life. In The Kids Are in Bed, other parents can learn how to do the same, and truly enjoy the time after lights out.
“Bertsche, a journalist and mother of two, encourages fellow parents to find, or create, free time for themselves … the suggestions in [the] book are laudably specific, and heeding them might very well improve one’s own parental happiness gap.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Fellow parents: We are doing enough, and Rachel Bertsche has the research and the chops to get us to embrace imperfection and take time to enjoy ourselves, our lives and our partners. The Kids Are in Bed is a welcome kick in the big-parent pants and a reminder that adults deserve fun and joy as much as (and maybe more than) those little ones we love.”
—KJ Dell’Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent

“I wish I had The Kids Are in Bed when my Karglings were born! All new moms should shove a copy in the diaper bag between the asswipes and Aquafor! A perfect how-to not morph solely into someone’s mom and retain your badassery in a world of Disneyfication and baby sharks.”
—Jill Kargman, author of Sparkle Glitter on My Grave and creator of Odd Mom Out

“Bertsche's call for parents to drop the guilt and take some time for yourself is spot-on—if you're perpetually available to your child but you're a desiccated husk, nobody wins.  Her message in this thoughtful, eye-opening, well-researched book is a gift to parents: that one of the very best things you can do to have happy, healthy kids is to—gasp!—take time for yourself.”
—Jancee Dunn, author of How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids

“An affirming gift to parents everywhere, The Kids Are in Bed is a scientifically-based permission to peek out of the cozy madness of parenting and make room in their lives for themselves.”
—Lucy Knisley, author of French Milk and Kid Gloves