I’m going to chalk this up to a classic case of me not really listening to the radio because I am doing four things at once. This book was not what I expected at all. I think that I thought that I was getting something like The Happiness Project with something like suggestions and ideas on how to make my time work. I don’t even have kids and I am busy, y’all. I can’t even work overtime and I’m busy. I can’t even take work home with me and I’m busy.
A typical day for me starts at 6:20. I jump out of bed, work out, shower, dress, journal, eat, check my e-mail, listen to podcasts while I do my hair and makeup (a routine I have down to 5 minutes, 10 when I put my contacts in). I do house work until I have to leave for work. If I can pop home on my lunch break I do housework then, too. I work three days a week from 9:30 to 7. I get home at 7:30, cook, do more housework, try to tie up loose ends. Usually by 9 I get a chance to sit down and then I look around at all of the things I didn’t get to and feel horrible. I’m irritable. I snap at my husband. I nag him about the broken dishwasher. I feel resentful when he comes home and opens a beer because I want to do the same but feel like I can’t. By Friday, my early day, I just want to die. After work I rush back into town and buy groceries, rush home and hope to get in a nap before Hubby gets home. I’m trying to read 100 books this year. I’m working on my novel. I am making sure that the kitty litter is cleaned every morning and that coffee is ready when Hubby gets up in the morning.
It was an interesting week for me to read this book. Everyone is talking about Lean In and whether they should be doing that or leaning out or living life on a rocking chair. I took a lot from this book, really, but a lot of what I took was disillusionment. We’re failing as a country, you guys. I remember taking a course in college called Women and Work and we read about family leave policies in other counties and how well they worked economically. Not once were the emotional benefits mentioned. Not once were the men mentioned. But here we are, looking at it from all these different view points, seeing what is good for everyone as opposed to just women and then, my friends, is what feminism is about.
Now that I’ve rambled on a bit, this book is about the growing phenomenon of the overwhelm. We’re all overwhelmed. We are all trying to be the ideal worker and the ideal mother. Men, poor men, don’t even have that much of a choice. Even where there are policies in place for fathers, other men look down on them for taking them. So many of these issues are so deeply rooted that it is hard to break out of it. Schulte decides to study time, how we spend it and where it goes and why we are all so overwhelmed, why we don’t have time to play. She looked at science and policies and studies on a range of topics and pulled together the research into the information dense volume.
There is a lot here but it is more of a sociology book than I was expecting. Sometimes there was too much information coming at me for me to properly process it or even care. Again, this was not the fault of the book but it was not what I had been expecting.