Can working parents ever find true leisure
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 that
are 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.