I get it. Author Brigid Schulte, an award-winning journalist for the Washington Post — and harried mother of two — began the journey quite by accident, after a time-use researcher insisted that she, like all American women, had 30 hours of leisure each week. Stunned, she accepted his challenge to keep a time diary and began a journey that would take her from the depths of what she described as the Time Confetti of her days to a conference in Paris with time researchers from around the world, to North Dakota, of all places, where academics are studying the modern love affair with busyness, to Yale, where neuroscientists are finding that feeling overwhelmed is actually shrinking our brains, to exploring new lawsuits uncovering unconscious bias in the workplace, why the US has no real family policy, and where states and cities are filling the federal vacuum. She spent time with mothers drawn to increasingly super intensive parenting standards, and mothers seeking to pull away from it. The answer will surprise you. Along the way, she was driven by two questions, Why are things the way they are?

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Shelves: nonfiction , own-physical , feminism 3. A few pages in, I realized that I had it lucky, with my two jobs and my classes and my club activities; at least I did not have diapers to change or a family to take care of while working my jobs. In Overwhelmed, Brigid Schulte nails down how society constructs myths of the "ideal worker" and the "ideal mother," and she analyzes 3.

In Overwhelmed, Brigid Schulte nails down how society constructs myths of the "ideal worker" and the "ideal mother," and she analyzes how these unrealistic models reduce productivity and siphon our time and our strength. Schulte does a deft job of pulling together personal anecdote, research, and her own compelling arguments to highlight how American society spends so much time prepping for the future, worrying about work, and forcing ourselves into unbearable standards that we squander the present.

She interviews professors, psychiatrists, and other professionals from various universities and fields. She travels to cities and countries such as Paris and Denmark to compare how they approach work, love, and play in comparison to the US.

As an award-winning journalist from the Washington Post, Schulte knows how to research and write authoritative yet digestible nonfiction; she explains why we need to rethink time, gender, and work while supporting her claims with an amalgamation of sources. While she packs in a lot of lessons in this book, one that stands out to me centers on the all-too-known-yet-ignored idea of living in the present.

I feel like we hear that message and think "yep, gotta live in the present, will do" before jumping into our next activity, submerging ourselves in what Schulte calls "the overwhelm. Two questions nagged at me while I read this, the first pertaining to the diversity of the people featured in the book. While Schulte devotes a little bit of time to nonwhite, non-straight individuals, for the most part Overwhelmed revolves around white, straight people, and I would have appreciated her making certain sections more concise to feature a wider pool of individuals.

Also, this book focuses the middle to upper-middle class: what do the people do who cannot afford to take time off for themselves amidst struggling to support their families? I would have liked to see more challenging, divergent solutions for people of all socioeconomic brackets, not just those who can make the conscious decision to play more without suffering severe consequences. Overall, a read I would recommend to those interested in time management or to those feeling overwhelmed in their own lives, especially to women who have kids.

An intriguing work of nonfiction that I can only hope will become less relevant over time.


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



Posts Tagged ‘Overwhelmed’



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