It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. It seems I am not the only one. I was listening to The Current on CBC when an interview came on with Brigid Schulte who wrote the book (pictured above) Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. Clearly, the timing for what was going on in my life was pretty spot on and I was curious to see what she had to say so I bought the book and found myself highlighting every other sentence.
Here are just a few tidbits which I’ve extracted (and extrapolated) from the book:
-57% of parents worried they didn’t spend enough time with their kids, half felt trapped everyday, and 46% had no time for leisure. This is in Australia, which I always pictured as super laid-back.
-In Canada, nearly 90% of working families reported moderate to high levels of ‘role overload’ – meaning they were trying to do too many things at once.
-Nowhere is the disconnect between expectation and reality more apparent than when a mother has a child and mother’s are amongst the most time-poor humans on the planet.
-Women still spend twice as much time on household chores as men. Time increased from 1965 t0 1985, backslid a little, and since 2003 they have not done anything more. In a survey in Britain, men tended to do the chores they enjoyed, but women got on with it whether they liked it or not. (Be happy you’re not in South Africa where women do three times the amount of chores that the men do, even if they work and the man is unemployed…)
-Father’s are still largely the ‘fun’ parent.
-Being ‘busy’ has over the years become a badge of honour. There’s an idea that if you’re busy, you’re important and you’re leading a full and worth life. We assume if people aren’t busy they are lazy.
-Jane Leber Herr, an economist at the University of Chicago analyzed college grads 15 years after graduating. Nearly all childless men and women were still working. 30% of mothers with MBA’s were out, 1/4 lawyers and masters degree’s who’d become mothers, and 15% of Ph.D.’s who became mothers. The only outlier was mothers with medical degrees – 94% were still practicing largely because of the power to control and predict their schedules.
Does any of this sound familiar? I know much of it rang shockingly true for me (except the household chores, where I have to say in our household they are either outsourced or shared to a certain extent.) It seems we are all on this constant wheel that we just can’t get off.
Luckily, the author does go on to talk about what she did personally to get some control back into her life, and I am using that as well. I’ll talk about that tomorrow!