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Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brinkby Katrina Alcorn
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of a Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year Award
Katrina Alcorn was a 37-year-old mother with a happy marriage and a thriving career when one day, on the way to Target to buy diapers, she had a breakdown. Her carefully built career shuddered to a halt, and her journey through depression, anxiety, and insomnia—followed by medication, meditation, and therapy—began.
Alcorn wondered how a woman like herself, with a loving husband, a supportive boss, three healthy kids, and a good income, was unable to manage the demands of having a career and a family. Over time, she realized that she wasnt alone; many women were struggling to do it all—and feeling as if they were somehow failing as a result.
Mothers are the breadwinners in two-thirds of American families, yet the American workplace is uniquely hostile to the needs of parents. Weaving in surprising research about the dysfunction between the careers and home lives of working mothers, as well as the consequences to womens health, Alcorn tells a deeply personal story about having it all,” failing miserably, and what comes after. Ultimately, she offers readers a vision for a healthier, happier, and more productive way to live and work.
"This memoir of obligation overload mixes personal stories with impassioned, research-based rants about the struggles of working mothers in the U.S. Despite a supportive husband, good childcare, a successful Web design career, and a well-intentioned friend for a boss, Alcorn has to deal with anxiety and panic attacks. Though she tries to maintain control via cognitive behavioral therapy and sheer force of will, after the birth of her new baby and a work situation that requires her to return to work full-time almost immediately, she suffers a breakdown and dissociative anxiety that convinces her that quitting her job is the only sane choice, though she still must deal with residual anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Compared with the struggles of lower-income or single moms, Alcorn's story reads as entitled; her guilt comes from leaving her kids at a loving daycare provider, and dealing with difficult clients and too much travel for work. But for Alcorn's peers, the book is a brave admission that we are not all successfully managing our overbooked lives, and should not feel alone. On the whole, the book provides a powerful reminder that even well-to-do mothers do not thrive in our current system, that having a positive attitude, leaning in, or opting out aren't viable choices for many women, and that other countries (such as Denmark and Sweden) serve working mothers more effectively." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Katrina Alcorn was a 37-year-old mother with a happy marriage and a thriving career when one day, on the way to Target to buy diapers, she had a nervous breakdown. Her carefully built career shuddered to a halt, and her journey through depression, anxiety, and insomnia—followed by medication, meditation, and therapy—began.
Alcorn began to question how a woman like herself, with a loving husband, a supportive boss, three healthy kids, and a good income, was unable to manage the demands of having a career and a family. Over time, she realized that she wasnt alone in her feeling of overwhelm. As she questioned friends and coworkers, she realized that many women were attempting to do it all and crashing, and worse, feeling as if they were somehow failing as a result.
Since doing it all is not sustainable, moms are breaking down in record numbers, taking more anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants than ever before and feeling the tenuous edge of meltdown. Weaving in the staggering statistics of this acute area of concern for women, Alcorn tells her story and offers readers strategies for coping.
About the Author
Katrina Alcorn is a blogger and an experienced design consultant. She writes about the perils of working and raising children on WorkingMomsBreak.com, as well as on The Huffington Post, MomsRising, and other prominent blogs.
Alcorn holds a masters degree in journalism and documentary filmmaking from UC Berkeley. In her early journalism career, she worked as an associate producer for Livelyhood, a PBS documentary series about the changing nature of work. She also wrote for newspapers and magazines in California and Hawaii (including The San Francisco Chronicle, Honolulu Advertiser, and HONOLULU Magazine).
Since 1999, Alcorns day job has been leading design projects with corporations in a variety of industries—including financial services, education, high-tech, the non-profit sector, and life sciences—to help them put technology in the service of people. This work has given her an insiders glimpse into dozens of companies, from Fortune 500s to small startups, and she has spoken at more than a dozen design conferences internationally.
After being an employee at two leading web consulting agencies, Alcorn is now happily self-employed through her own company, Studio Sungo. She lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband, stepdaughter, and two children.
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