Month: August 2015

Stories I loved this week.

   Photo by Todd Quackenbush Roll up, roll up, it’s the August Bank holiday weekend! I will forever associate this weekend with not only the end of summer, but Notting Hill Carnival and good times. We’re going to head over to Carnival on Sunday, which […]

Stories I loved this week.

Photo by Florian Klauer It’s the end of another week and I’m inching closer to my holiday in Formentera. I really can’t wait. I’ve been devouring everything I can about this island (these Conde Nast guides are quite good) and I’m so looking forward to swimming […]

What I’m reading: Overwhelmed

 

My summer of reading continues, with the excellent Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte. Chock-full of information, research and case studies about gender roles at work, home, love and play, this book, predominantly aimed at women, dissects why so many of us feel so overwhelmed and frazzled so much of the time.

I have to admit that the first chapter made me feel a bit anxious and panicky as I was reading it. Brigid runs through all the ways she feels stuck in what she calls, ‘the overwhelm’, that state of not having enough hours in the day to accomplish the endless to-list that comes with having a busy work and family life. She describes in forensic detail, how much she has to do, how late she stays up to accomplish some of what’s on her to do list and the endless guilt she carries around with her. It struck me how much she was trying to accomplish on her own and how much long-term resentment she held against her husband for not being more of an equal partner at home.

I could relate to the stories of being a busy parent, trying to fit everything into the day. What I couldn’t relate to was the endless guilt. Guilt about not working enough, guilt about not being there enough for her children – so much guilt. This guilt that mothers tie themselves up in knots about, that creates this endless worry and anxiety. There’s a great quote from one of the expert the book, Terry Monaghan, who says, “so much of our overwhelm comes from unrealistic expectations…and when we don’t meet them, we think we’re doing something wrong.” It’s this unnecessary pressure that we put on ourselves.

A large section of the book is devoted to unpacking the relationship that men and women have with work, how both genders would generally like to work in a more flexible way, but how the the myth of the ‘ideal worker’ – the person who is always available to take meetings, jump on a plane, stay late – can hold people and companies back from making real change. The benchmark, the country that seems to have it all figured out in this area is Denmark, where couples share parental leave, overtime is frowned upon and people maximise their leisure time as much as possible. When I read some of the case studies of American women and maternity leave, I realised how good we have it in here in the UK and in Europe. A strong parental leave policy backed by government subsidised and regulated child care means that women can spend longer with their babies with generally good childcare options to fall back on.

Brigid talks a lot about the ambivalence that American mothers tend to have around work. Towards the end of the book, she realises that she “would never be able to schedule [her] way efficiently out of the overwhelm. [She] had to face [her] own ambivalence about trying to live two clashing ideals at once.”  She realises that she has to figure out how to embrace her own life with passion, in the face of ambiguity. I really relate to this. I admit that I still feel some ambivalence about being back at work, despite being freelance and really enjoying what I’m doing. I feel torn about putting my son in nursery, despite me knowing that for his three days a week there, he has a great time and has made some lovely little pals. Before reading this book, I thought this ambivalence was a natural part of being a mother – wanting the best of both worlds.

It’s clear that it’s time to let go of this ambivalence and start fully enjoying what I have and that I am privileged to be able to make my own choices – the choice to freelance part-time, to study towards my dream career part-time and to have two full days with my son to myself in the week.

 

Stories I loved this week.

Photo by Michael Hull How has your week been? Since we booked a short break to Formentera in September, I’ve been dreaming of white sands, Spanish wine and fresh seafood. I cannot wait for this lovely holiday and really feel like holidays have become so precious […]

What I’m reading: Unprocessed

  It’s so nice to get back into the swing of reading. I just finished reading Unprocessed by Megan Kimble and found it utterly inspiring. The book is half-memoir, half fact-finding mission, which made it a very compelling read. The book is divided into twelve chapters, […]

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Pineapple

How was your week? I spent the first part of the week getting back of the UK swing of things, only to be struck down with food poisoning on Wednesday. Bah humbug. Happily, it wasn’t too bad, I’m back to myself, ready to enjoy a weekend of hanging out in London and enjoying the summer sun.

Even though I hate the term ‘mom-preneur’ (why not just entrepreneur?), this is a sweet article about 4 women who have their own businesses and are also mothers to young children. (My Domaine)

Really enjoying having a read through Mother – a website for women, who wear many hats, including mother. And here’s a lovely piece on how Danish mothers (and fathers!) teach their children empathy. (Mother)

How rich people raise rich kids. Attitudes towards money matters a lot. (The Atlantic)

I’m so happy that there is a mainstream conversation happening about miscarriages. The stigma needs to go away. (Telegraph)

What happens to your body an hour after drinking a can of Coke and a can of Diet Coke.

Changing ambition.

  Photo by Tyssul Patel The lovely Katie over at beNourishd included a very intriguing opinion piece about women’s ambition in her weekly link round up that really got me thinking. Emma Barnett, the women’s editor at the Telegraph posits that “women are losing custody of […]

Stories I loved this week. 

   Photo by Kris Atomic  It’s a sunny Saturday and I’m looking forward to spending the day with family and friends doing a whole lot of nothing. It feels good to unwind after a very busy June and July.  Is the air conditioning in your […]