The Structure of Busyness

In Anthropology there are a few theoretical concepts that are discussed in the course. One of the most highly discussed concept, comes from structure. In the book Busier than ever by Charles N. Darrah, it is said that American Families these days are busier than ever before and cannot seem to find leisure time with families or to just relax. There is a problem there and one of the reasons to why that may be is because of structure.

To further my explanation to my statements, I first would like to give some backstory of this book Busier than Ever! By Darrah. This book is a study that the authors did that followed families of different kinds on a daily basis and followed their lives. The thing that these families all had in common was how busy they all were and how they managed to intersect their busy lives and their family time. A couple that consist of David and Janelle Smith is an example in the book that really opens your eyes about how important it is to spend with your family no matter how busy life gets. The couple had two daughters and the couple had good schedules in that they can both equally spend time with their kids until the unexpected happened and the two children became very ill. Now the Mother and Father had intense schedules and it filled with expensive doctor visits, work, and constant supervising of both children. This is described as a health crisis issue, and it is a type of busyness that can occur in any family and it makes it tough for families to really enjoy family life because they have obligations and priorities to take care of.

A structure for this “busyness” of life is that in modern day society, a typical type of an American family is a dual-income family. Back a few decades ago the typical family was the usual stay at home mom while the husband went to work and earned to provide. Now decades later, that is not the norm and I feel it is almost not possible to provide for a family with just one income in my opinion. A structure to busyness is this dual income family because times have changed drastically to me and nowaday’s families really do not have a choice to make the decision of which one of the partner gets to work and who gets to stay home and take care of the family. Most of the time, in this economy, both parents have to be working and they have to find care for their children. People are not choosing to be busy but rather they are forced to be busy because that is one of the only choices to provide for their family and to take care of their children.

Another concept that I have come a crossed in the book is not only do American families have a tendency to be real busy because of work and home chores, but they are kind of immune to being so busy that even on their time off, they still find ways to be busy to consume their time and I do not think they notice it. It is not that often that working Americans have leisure time and when that time does come across, they tend to fill up that space with work or with activities that relate to work. For example, technology is a big part of our lives living in modern times and I feel like every chance we get, we tend to use that time with technology; whether it be on our smartphones, laptops, tablets we are consumed in technology. Children these days are also so involved with technology that instead of playing outside, they are inside playing with their devices. Not only does technology take up most of the time, but technology also intersects with work and leisure time. It is kind of mind blowing to me that technology is so much a part of our lives that we tend to be busy not being busy almost. Like even though we have little time to ourselves, we still use that time to be busy in a way. That to me shows how much American society has become use to being busy and being on the go that we do not really know how to take time for ourselves.

In conclusion, I think from a structure point of view the state of Americans being busy has a lot to do with the way times have changed over the decades. Back then I feel like not that people had more choices to choose from on how to live, but I think they had a little more financial stability in that it was more common to see one person out of the relationship to work rather than two. These days, it is completely different that now both parents have to work and not only that, but if there is one person out of the relationship working, it is not uncommon to see the woman working rather than being the stay at home mom. Being busy also has to do with the fact that these days we are on the go constantly and sometimes we have no choice else but too. There are too many life demands and unexpected events that go on in one’s life that sometimes we cannot take a timeout, but it is important that we do once and a while and enjoy life and most importantly our families.

by Irlinda Garcia

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