Katrina Alcorn’s Maxed Out is a smartly written and candid memoir of “maxing out” in the workplace. Maxing out, in her case, didn’t mean hitting the proverbial glass ceiling, but rather her dangerous decline into anxiety and depression brought on by the dual demands of long workweeks in her web-design managerial career and raising two young kids. I read her book over the past week, and thought it was a powerful indictment of the lack of humane maternity and parental leave in America (we get one year here in Canada; American women don’t have a decent government-protected paid leave, which I wrote about in this blog post linking leaky diapers and maternity leave policies).
I wouldn’t say Maxed Out is the anti-Lean In (The Sheryl Sandberg-penned treatise to encourage women to step up their game). Instead, it could be titled Don’t Lean In So Much That You Fall Over, which is pretty much what happened to Alcorn. I believe her experience is common. Of my friends and acquaintances, I know more moms that feel they’re camping in the Burning Out category on an average day than feel like they need to lean in. I’m not saying these moms don’t want to ever lean in, but they feel maxed out on many more days that they feel they need to lean in more. For those maxed out moms, Alcorn has this advice:
As we know, exercise is the cornerstone of stress relief. “Run like you’re running from a bear,” Alcorn advises.
Alcorn keeps it simple with the advice to chug more water and avoid overprocessed foods. Can’t go wrong there.
Ah, but don’t we multitasking moms find this the hardest? Last night I was telling myself I really need to stop bringing the iPad Mini to bed with me. I’ll try again tonight. Alcorn says, basically, tell yourself there is no bear waiting to eat your kids (hey, you ran away from her, remember?)…now you can sleep tight.
I think that’s all really sound advice, even if you’re not “Maxed Out.” What would you add?