Overwhelmed Book Summary - Overwhelmed Book explained in key points
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Overwhelmed summary

Brigid Schulte

Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

3.3 (27 ratings)
19 mins
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    Parents are stressed, with no free time and too much to do. Mothers are especially overwhelmed.

    We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. Balancing your work and your private life is hard enough even when you have no dependents, but more so if you’re a parent with mouths to feed and diapers to change.

    There’s no question that parents today are stressed, having to juggle long working hours while raising a family. This balancing act places a great deal of pressure on an individual’s already limited time.

    In one 2008 study, the Families and Work Institute asked American workers about their daily lives and found that half of the respondents felt they had too many tasks for a typical workday. Some two-thirds felt they didn’t have enough time for themselves or their spouse; and three-quarters reported they didn’t have enough time for their children.  

    This sense of being overburdened is particularly prevalent among women. Since the 1970s, the percentage of employed women has risen dramatically, which has led to circumstances where, to carve out and maintain a job that generates enough income, many mothers need to work full time.

    Another study performed in 2004 asked mothers with children under six if they could say they often had any free time. None of the women in the study said they did! Yet a lack of free time isn’t just a problem for mothers; only 5 percent of fathers queried in the study said they had any free time.

    Unsurprisingly, a lack of free time has led to high rates of stress and anxiety in the United States.

    The American Psychological Association reported in 2011 that Americans as a whole are chronically overstressed. Earlier, a 2007 study by the World Health Organization found that Americans, while living in one of the world’s richest countries, are on average the world’s most anxious people.

    So life is stressful – but is stress that big of a deal? It is, and we’ll learn why in the next blink.

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    What is Overwhelmed about?

    Overwhelmed (2014) explores how our outdated attitudes to gender, parenthood and race are making us all stressed and frantic. Author Brigid Schulte shows how such old fashioned ideas are holding us back from living happier, more fulfilled lives. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are alternative ways to live, we just need to learn how to implement them.

    Best quote from Overwhelmed

    Stress is no more and no less than the inability to control and shape the forces that shape our lives – Neuroscientist Huda Akil, University of Michigan

    —Brigid Schulte
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    Who should read Overwhelmed?

    • Anyone who feels stressed or overwhelmed
    • Anyone who feels pressured to conform to gender stereotypes

    About the Author

    A journalist with The Washington Post, Brigid Schulte writes on work-life issues and poverty, and has closely examined the concept of work and leisure time in America, exploring the question of how we all can lead “The Good Life.” She has also written for Style and Outlook.

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