Marina Benjamin on emotional labour & the caring conundrum

I first encountered today’s guest, Marina Benjamin, when I was researching The Shift book and stumbled across her memoir, The Middlepause. An insightful look at what middle age means today, it was prompted by Marina’s own sudden menopause after a hysterectomy. The sense of dislocation she described was the first time I’d ever seen the way I felt put down in black and white.

She followed it up with Insomnia (clue’s in the name) and has now completed her loose midlife trilogy with A Little Give a stunning book about the “unsung, unseen, undone work women do” - and what happens when we tire of being a human rehab centre for everyone around us.

I inhaled this book, dog-earing page after page and internally yelling YES! and I’m pretty sure you will too.

Marina joined me to talk about emotional labour, why “cleaner guilt” doesn’t seem to affect men (strange that!), time poverty and wresting control of the to-do ticker tape. We also discussed why women’s manual work is invisible and men’s is a skill, how to get maximum benefit from your feminist inner critic, the two way pain of caring for elderly parents and why you should always ALWAYS run towards yourself.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including A Little Give by Marina Benjamin and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker

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