Can working parents in America—or anywhere—ever find true leisure time?
According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is “that place in which we realize our humanity.” If that’s true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”?
Schulte first asked this question in a 2010 feature for The Washington Post Magazine: “How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure—over four hours a day? Did any of us feel that we actually had downtime? Was there anything useful in their research—anything we could do?”
Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare, and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
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This is an accidental book, and surely friends who knew me growing up - and waited as I burst into places late, trailing shoes and socks or a toothbrush - guffawed heartily when they heard I was working on a book about time. It all started with a phone call. I was part of a group of journalists at the Washington Post asked to research why fewer and fewer women under the age of 50 were reading the newspaper. The journalists, all of us women, most of us caretakers of some kind - mothers, guardians for nieces and nephews, daughters of aging parents - figured women were just too busy. After all, we sometimes found it hard to find the uninterrupted time to read the very newspaper we worked for in the swirl of morning craziness. My assignment was to find the time study data to prove how busy women are. Knowing nothing about time research, I googled, "busy women time" and up popped someone by the name of John Robinson, one of the first and most eminent time-use researchers in the world. I called him up, expecting to find easy validation. Instead, he told me women like me had 30 hours of leisure time every week. And thus the journey began.From the Inside Flap:
"Once, my sister, Claire told me that when you smile, it releases some chemical in the brain and calms anxiety. I have tried smiling. At 4 A.M. In bed. In the dark."
Overwhelmed is a book about time pressure and modern life. And it comes at the perfect moment: Amid debates about the toll of work and life demands on parents and our addiction to the daily grind, Overwhelmed is just what we need to address our questions about work, love, and play. Brigid Schulte, an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post and a harried mother of two, began her journey to rediscover leisure when she realized her life was becoming "like the dream I keep having about trying to run a race wearing ski boots." She goes from the depths of the "time confetti" of her days to an understanding of what the ancient Greeks knew was the point of living a good life: having time to refresh the soul in leisure. What Schulte finds is illuminating, perplexing, and maddening, but ultimately hopeful. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time is a book with answers.
Taking the baton from such pathbreakers as Barbara Ehrenreich, Arlie Hochschild's The Second Shift, and Juliet Schor's The Overworked American, Schulte details not only the intensifying pressures on women, and increasingly on men, but also how feeling overwhelmed is affecting our health and even the size of our brains. At times, the author becomes her own subject, as when she sits in a Paris auditorium crammed with scholars, jet-lagged and hungry, and dozes off--until a speaker lamenting the toll of "role overload" on working parents snaps her awake.
She visits Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, the renowned anthropologist, who presents hard evidence that women are not "wired" for child care--so a "natural" family arrangement might actually include heavy involvement on the father's part. It's a model that's taken root not only among the hunter-gatherer tribes in the Kalahari Desert that Hrdy has studied, but also in Denmark, the world's happiest country, where it's possible to work short, productive, flexible hours and still be successful, committed workers and attentive parents--and have time for leisure. Overwhelmed is both a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds and a blueprint for how to put the pieces back together. What Schulte offers us is a revelatory, at times hilarious, and at heart optimistic view of how we can begin to find time for the things that matter most, and live more fulfilled lives.
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Descripción Farrar Straus Giroux 2014-03-11, 2014. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780374228446B
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Descripción Sarah Crichton Books, 2014. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0374228442
Descripción Sarah Crichton Books, 2014. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110374228442
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