Here is a new car, a new iPhone. We buy. We discard. We buy again. In recent years, we've been doing it faster.
Each person's drive to overwork is unique, and doing too much numbs every workaholic's emotions differently. Sometimes overwork numbs depression, sometimes anger, sometimes envy, sometimes sexuality. Or the overworker runs herself ragged in a race for attention.
People who volunteer at the recycling center or soup kitchen through a church or neighborhood group can come to feel part of something 'larger.' Such a sense of belonging calls on a different part of a self than the market calls on. The market calls on our sense of self-interest. It focuses us on what we 'get.'
No work-family balance will ever fully take hold if the social conditions that might make it possible - men who are willing to share parenting and housework, communities that value work in the home as highly as work on the job, and policymakers and elected officials who are prepared to demand family-friendly reforms - remain out of reach.
In response to our fast-food culture, a 'slow food' movement appeared. Out of hurried parenthood, a move toward slow parenting could be growing. With vital government supports for state-of-the-art public child care and paid parental leave, maybe we would be ready to try slow love and marriage.
Ellen Galinsky's surveys at the Families and Work Institute pointed to a desirable norm for many parents for working not full-time, but part-time. And I get that. I mean, Norway has a 35-hour work week. That counts as part-time for us in the United States, you know. And Norway's doing well, by the way.