Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

Brigid Schulte is a mom, a wife, a journalist - and extremely busy. She is like most of the working moms I know.  There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on the "to do" list.  Schulte begins researching why despite the many advances in technology, we don't seem to have any more leisure time than we did decades ago.  

Initially, Schulte is told by a time researcher that American women have thirty hours of leisure time each week.  Schulte isn't sure where this leisure time is, as she keeps a time diary of her every moment.  Most times Schulte isn't just doing one task, she is accomplishing two or three (or five) things at a time - and driving children to and from practices, racing to get there on time, isn't leisure time.  

Schulte spends time attending various conferences, meeting and talking to moms and scientists, and questioning how we can make some changes to make things better for women (and men, too).  

There are so many good points in this book that eventually I started taking notes. Although I will remember the general idea of what she discovered, I can't recall the actual data even now just a few days later.

Some important ideas I've taken away:

 *Women feel less stress when they are helped by their spouses.  Men feel less stress when their spouse does the entire task, not when the two work together.

* Teaching our children grit - hard work- is essential.  It is also important to teach them gratitude.

* I perhaps will want to encourage my children to move to Denmark to find a spouse as the Danes do a wonderful job of dividing work fairly between the genders and their government provides better maternity leave and paternity leave.

* Being busy is a bit of a status symbol.  People like to exclaim and brag about how busy they are.  The busier you are, the more important you must be.

* There are some companies that are innovative in their approaches to the amount of time required of their employees.  These companies might be few and far between, but there are some out there, and their employees are happy with their working conditions and their employers. 

I could relate to Schulte and laughed with her and felt her frustration with the lack of time she has to pursue leisure activities.  Fittingly, although I had great intentions of reading this book in just a day or two, soccer practices, piano lessons, and a variety of other activities overwhelmed me for the week, and I had to return the book four days late, accruing a fine of $1.  

1 comment:

Ti said...

I've thought about this very thing, so many times before but here's what I've discovered. I don't mind being busy, if it's productive or rewarding busy. I would love to volunteer my time, where it can really make a difference. I think that kind of business can make you feel whole whereas the type I am used to, running from point A to point B, throwing a quick, usually non-nutritious dinner together, or doing homework en route to somewhere, can totally drain a person.