7 Things I Learned from Reading “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It examines why so many of us feel so stressed and time-pressured and, more importantly, what we can do about it. Here are seven lessons I took from “Overwhelmed.”

"Overwhelmed" by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all

“Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all

Disclaimer: Schulte is a friend of mine, and we were both participants at recent White House Summit events. However, this article represents only my honest opinion; I received no compensation (never have, never will)- not even a free book!

With that, here are seven personal lessons that can help us feel less overwhelmed (The book also contains an analysis on how US culture, public policy, gender norms and corporate culture all contribute to “the Overwhelm,” but for now, let’s focus on things we can control):

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Daniel Murphy: From Paternity Leave to All Star

You may recall the media firestorm a few months ago, when NY Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took paternity leave and missed the first two games of the season to be at his son’s birth. A few months later, Murphy has rewarded his employer with a career year and, tonight, he makes his first all-star appearance. Here’s a look back.

Here’s what I wrote for the Wall Street Journal on this subject a few months ago:

The Good News From the Daniel Murphy Paternity Leave Kerfuffle

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EEOC Issues Guidelines on Parity for Maternity and Paternity Leave

The EEOC issued its new guidance on parental leave today. In it, they lay the basis for parity between company-offered maternity and paternity leave. In short, companies that offer mothers “time for care and bonding” beyond time for physical recovery/disability must also offer that “time for care” to fathers. This decision brings needed clarity to the emerging set of case law on paternity leave (see here, here and here) and is yet another indicator of the recognition of the importance of fatherhood and paternity leave.

Parity for fathers in parental leave is one step closer thanks to new EEOC guidelines!

Parity for fathers in parental leave is one step closer thanks to new EEOC guidelines!

This guidance is part of a larger and much more comprehensive document concerning pregnancy discrimination, disability and related employment concerns. You can read the entire document here. I’ve copied the relevant information below. After that is my analysis.

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Leading By Example: EY’s CEO Mark Weinberger on Work and Family

At the recent White House Summit on Working Families, Ernst & Young’s CEO Mark Weinberger told an anecdote that, to me, represents our best hope that corporate leadership is finally recognizing the importance of work-family balance and will begin to sincerely address this issue.

EY's CEO Mark Weinberger (center) spoke about his personal work-family balance priorities at the White House Summit on Working Families

EY’s CEO Mark Weinberger (center) spoke about work-family balance at the White House Summit on Working Families

The White House Summit was a glitzy affair- The President, Vice President, the First Lady, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Robin Roberts and other bigwigs all spoke about the importance of supporting working families.

However, for me, one of the standouts of the Summit was the understated CEO of EY, Mark Weinberger. He spoke during the first panel discussion (along with Economist Claudia Goldin, entrepreneur Makini Howell, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, and moderator Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic) about how supporting family is also good for business.

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The Challenges Faced By Working Dads, All In One Awesome Infographic!

This infographic with statistics compiled by the White House for the Working Fathers Summit, makes a compelling case of the importance of working dads' issues. (click to see full graphic)

This infographic with statistics compiled by the White House for the Working Fathers Summit, makes a compelling case of the importance of working dads’ issues. (click to see full graphic)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Even moreso for this awesome infographic that the White House issued as a lead-up to the recent Summit on Working Fathers and Summit on Working Families (I am proud to be a participant in both of these efforts). To me, this graphic reinforces three important messages:

  1. To Working Dads- You are not alone. Many share the same challenges that you do.
  2. To Employers- Why you can and should be part of the solution, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is good business to do so
  3. To Everyone- This graphic makes it clear that working fathers’ concerns are really important for company and public policy. The fact that the White House and so many employers are giving them increased attention is a sure sign of progress.

See below for the full infographic (or click here):

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My 5 Favorite Parts of the White House Summit on Working Families

On June 23rd, the White House held the main event of its Summit on Working Families (see here and here on my reports from two other Summit events I participated in). I was honored to be in attendance at this event in which the President, First Lady, VP, several CEOs (including Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, EY, Deloitte, and PwC), entrepreneurs, researchers, advocates and celebrities all joined their voices in support of working families.

Here's my report on the White House Summit on Working Families

Here’s my report on the White House Summit on Working Families

Despite some frustration that the event did not move things forward enough for my tastes, the Summit gave me A LOT to be encouraged about. Here are five highlights:

The Highlights! (part 1)

1. Biden and Obama Speak From the Heart as Involved Working Dads

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School’s Out For Summer! (on the mixed blessing of school vacation for working parents)

School summer vacation can be a great time for downtime. But this extra time can also be too much of a good thing, leading to too much screen time for both dads and kids. I need your help!

This summer, I want to spend time doing this...

This summer, I want to spend more time doing this…

I’m technically not employed by FDU for the summer (although I always have class prep and, of course, writing to do). So, I am so incredibly lucky to be home to share the summer with Nick. Nick just ended third grade (where does the time go!), and Amy’s both rehearsing a show and directing a youth theater program. Nick will be going to a local camp from 9-3 on Tuesdays through Thursdays and has gymnastics on Monday and Friday afternoons. This means lots more me-and-Nick time, which is 95% awesome, with a small downside.

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The Smartest Things I Heard at the White House Summit on Working Fathers

Programming note. Today, I am at the main event of the White House Summit on Working Families in DC. Obama, Biden and a host of bigwigs in government and business are here. I will report out to you soon.

Dads are the greatest untapped resources in the lives of American kids- Kyle Pruitt

We live in a “Modern Family” society, but our policies are stuck in “Leave It To Beaver” mentality- Thomas Perez

On June 9th, I was honored to participate in the first ever White House Summit on Working Fathers. It was an amazing event, with so much great information and so many inspiring speakers. Here’s a short compilation of the most memorable quotes and ideas I heard during the event.

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White House Working Fathers Summit: A Photo Essay

On Monday, June 9th, I was a panelist at the 1st ever White House Summit on Working Fathers- an event in which high-level administration officials, business leaders, experts and advocates came together to discuss the challenges faced by working dads and work towards public and private sector solutions. I’ll write more about the discussions and my experiences in the coming week, but for now, enjoy this photo essay of the day. Plus, a roundup of media coverage in links below.

Selected media coverage:

Reactions from attendees:

A Very Happy (and Busy) Father’s Day

Dads always get more media attention on the build-up to Father’s Day. However, this year seems different to me in that there is so much attention, not just on “yay, dads!” but specifically on fathers facing the challenge of balancing work and family. As such, I’ve been very busy lately spreading the word about working dads. Here’s a quick round-up of my recent Father’s Day media:

National interviews:

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Welcome Bloomberg Radio Listeners and HBR Readers!

If you’re a dad who works, this is a good time to celebrate. Not only because it’s Fathers’ Day, but because caring about fathers and their needs is no longer a touchy-feely, Phil Donahue kind of thing. Businesses, researchers, the media, and all manner of celebrities have been throwing the spotlight on men who enjoy full lives honoring the importance of both work and family.

- From my June 13 HBR article, The Rise of the Hands-On Dad

Welcome to Fathers, Work and Family

Welcome to Fathers, Work and Family

Thank you for listening to The Hays Advantage on Bloomberg Radio, reading Harvard Business Review and for visiting my site. For those of you who are visiting Fathers, Work and Family for the first time, feel free to have a look around. A link to my “Greatest Hits” here, links to my work at HBR, Good Men Project, Time and HuffPo, as well as information about my participation at recent White House Working Families Summit events up at the top of the page, category listings along the right-hand side, and of course, buttons you can use to follow Fathers, Work and Family via email, twitter or Facebook.

You can listen to the audio here, and read the article here.

Paternity Leave for All Dads! Join Me and Support the FAMILY Act

This Father’s Day, let’s call upon Congress to give dads and their families a truly meaningful present- paid parental leave. Please join me in signing a petition asking our elected representatives to pass the FAMILY Act.

We all deserve paternity leave- time to bond and develop as parents. Please support the FAMILY Act

We all deserve paternity leave- time to bond and develop as parents. Please support the FAMILY Act

I didn’t exactly take a paternity leave. I’m a college professor and my son, Nick, was born three days after my Spring semester ended. Perfect timing (although we didn’t actually plan it that way). I was able to spend the summer on a “de-facto paternity leave” with my wife, Amy, and Nick as we all got to learn how this whole “baby makes three” thing would shake out.

I was able to forge an immediate bond with my son, gain confidence as a new parent, strengthen my relationship with my wife, and emerge from the experience as a fully involved co-parent to Nick and equal parenting partner with Amy. In short, my paternity leave fundamentally shaped me as a person, parent, and spouse, and I believe it contributed to the strength and resiliency of my family.

That’s why I support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would enable new parents – including dads – to take 12 weeks of partially paid time away from work after the birth or adoption of a child. That’s why I’m working with CLASP and other advocacy and fatherhood organizations to help bring about this change. Today, I’m inviting you to join me in supporting this important bill by signing a petition.

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