Book Review:
Comfortable Chaos by Carolyn Harvey and Beth Herrild

Reviewed by Gloria De Gaetano

Entering the Chaos

The wonderful book, Comfortable Chaos, by Seattle area speakers Carolyn Harvey and Beth Herrild is a must-have for today's moms. Filled with realistic insights and practical techniques, the authors who are corporate veterans and mothers, bring a refreshingly innovative approach to the subject of "balance." At the PCI we embrace living systems theory and in doing so, embrace chaos. The idea is that we have to enter the chaos in order to bring about stability—get over the thinking that we're not doing something right if we have messy bedrooms, too many piles on our office desks, upset kitchens, or over-scheduled days. The trick, as Harvey and Herrild remind us, is to find our own path through the chaos and be content with our choices. In researching the book, they talked with a lot of mothers and "marveled at the infinite ways people have crafted unique solutions to fit their personalities and lifestyles."

So they give specific strategies to find out what will work for you. For instance, you will find out your Coefficient for Chaos—are you high tolerance or low? Do you need life to be a little neater and ordered than your friends? Whatever your Coefficient for Chaos there are ways to figure out "is your chaos working for you or against you?" using the many tools in the book.

Subjects covered include: Thriving on Full-Time Work While Having a Life; Flex-Time and Telecommuting; Part-Time Work, Creative Child Care Solutions, Staying at Home with Your Children, and Loving Your Life—No Matter What You Decide. Moms who are in transition and trying to figure out their next steps would find the book very helpful, I would think. Should I go for that small business start-up now? Is this the right time for a sabbatical? Would part-time work from home help me be a better mom to my teenagers? As life brings us curve balls, we can get stressed-out as we ponder: "What's the right decision?" The book can help in these times. The numerous real-life examples of creative ways women figured out the mother-work juggling act, are especially helpful and inspiring. "If they can do it, so can I!" you might find yourself saying to yourself.

Harvey and Herrild have provided a wonderful resource book that supports women well in coming to terms with some of the most important decisions they will make in their lives. Buy it, mark it up, and then revisit it again in six months and see how more comfortable you are now with the chaos in your life!

The authors consult and conduct trainings and seminars. Visit their Web site at or e-mail them at