I’ve forgotten how to feel better.

Most of my adult life has been impacted by chronic illness. I’ve got two: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and polycystic ovary syndrome. (I also have depression and anxiety, but they seem to be symptoms of those two physical illnesses, because when those are well-managed, the mental illnesses are barely noticeable.) I spent many years learning to manage them, and they were fairly well-managed before I got pregnant and for the first two trimesters of my pregnancy. Most importantly, I developed several strategies to use when I feel like absolute garbage.

I can’t remember any of them.

Breastfeeding is a funny thing; it basically takes whatever you knew about your hormones – whether they were affected by PCOS or not – and makes all of that invalid. Now your estrogen is suppressed, you’re producing prolactin, and when it comes to menstruation, all bets are off. So you might, for example, find yourself having your period for 4 or 5 weeks in a row, then not for a week, then again for several more days.

Which might, purely hypothetically speaking, leave you feeling fatigued, lightheaded, and with a sensation of pins-and-needles in your feet.

Perhaps from anemia.

I have, in fact, found myself in this situation, and I have seen my doctor, and she has assured me that yes, this is probably related to breastfeeding, and we’re doing blood tests to figure out next steps in fixing my symptoms, even if the menstrual wonkiness persists. So I’m doing what I can, medically.

But let’s say she puts me on an iron supplement tomorrow. (Likely.)

It’s still going to take some time to feel better. And I don’t know what to do in the meantime, because I can’t just retreat from life.

 

Now: July 2018

Here’s a complete list of everything I’ve got going on right now. And by “going on,” I mean a level of intensity ranging from “thinking about maybe doing it” to “seriously working on it.” (Categories come from the Integrative Nutrition Circle of Life exercise.)

Spirituality

Creativity

Finances

  • Reducing grocery spending via using my Soda Stream, freezing leftovers, and eating out of the pantry/fridge/freezer

Career

Education

  • Working on the Makerspaces section of my comprehensive literature review
  • Developing workflows that will allow me to chip away at the other sections while im still writing this one.

Health

  • Visiting my doctor for my quarterly follow-up
  • Focusing on hydration

Home Cooking

Physical Activity

Home Environment

Relationships

  • Celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary

Social Life

  • Planning birthday celebrations

Joy

  • Watching GLOW
  • Playing video games
  • Delighting in my kid’s ever-improving communication skills

A Start-to-Finish Literature Review Workflow

Remember how I was going to read Chris Guillebeau‘s Side Hustle and see if it had any lessons for treating grad school like a side hustle? It does! One of the things Chris recommends is developing workflows for your side hustle. I’ve been tweaking my literature review workflow for a while, but as I write up the current section and start planning the remaining sections, I’m finally feeling like I have a handle on things. Today I’m ready to share it with you, in hopes it will make your own writing go more smoothly.

Before we begin, please note that this process draws significantly on what I learned in Dr. Barbara Wildemuth‘s course Research Issues & Questions (aka babydocs) and from Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s blog post about preparing for comprehensive qualifying exams.

Let’s get started!


Step 1: Identify a topic.

If you’re writing the literature review for a class, this might be assigned to you. If you are developing a research proposal, then your research question will inform what needs to be in your literature review. You might just be interested in something and want to learn more about it. Regardless of how you arrive at your topic, make it as specific as you possibly can. Here are some examples, based on actual literature reviews I’ve written, of general topics vs. specific topics.

GeneralSpecific
MakerspacesMakerspaces in school libraries
ArchivesThe role of archives in K-12 education
CatalogingDescribing and organizing information for children
LeadershipSchool librarians as leaders
GamingTabletop roleplaying game library programs and teen identity development
Everyday life information needsThe everyday life information needs of young adults
Information retrievalDesigning information retrieval systems for children's use
Scholarly communicationsLibrary professionals as practitioner-scholars

Step 2: Set up a process for capturing literature once you identify it.

For the first literature review I ever did, back in 1999, I photocopied journal articles and used index cards to write down citations. Now, I much prefer some sort of reference manager with a browser plug-in. I’ve tried RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, and am now using Paperpile, which I learned about from John Martin. Find one you like and work it. I loved Zotero for a long time, but the most recent versions kept being finicky for me. Plus, Paperpile was designed to work with Google Docs and that’s where I write now, so it was a more natural choice.

Step 3: Set up reading storage and a reading environment.

You may have to poke around for tutorials on the best way to do this with your reference system. You may just prefer to print everything on paper and take notes that way. I use an Android tablet, Xodo Reader, and the “Starred Papers” feature in Paperpile to put papers in a Google Drive folder, download them for offline reading, and read and mark them up. If you’re using Zotero, definitely investigate Zotfile. However you go about it, you’re looking for a system that will let you easily find, read, and annotate your readings.

Step 4: Identify potential literature.

And we’re finally at the place where most advice on literature reviews begins!

Here are the things I do, learned in the aforementioned Research Issues & Questions class:

  • Consult with a trusted colleague (advisor, mentor, disciplinary expert, etc.)
  • Search databases. I start with those directly related to my discipline (library and information science), but because I often am working on youth services or school libraries questions, I tend to incorporate education databases as well. Most research databases have a wealth of features that go beyond the simple full-text search box that is the default. I highly recommend meeting with a librarian and learning more about these features. Subject headings, search modifiers that let you exclude unhelpful things, and especially search alerts will make your life much better. Search alerts keep you up to date on the latest literature related to your search terms. A librarian can also help you identify the best search terms to use to begin with. And you can probably learn all this stuff without meeting a librarian face-to-face: your university and public library probably offer some form of online research services via email or chat.
  • Search Google Scholar. This will turn up all kinds of stuff you may not have seen in the databases (especially if you’re looking at open access journals). But it can also be super overwhelming. Be sure to look on the left side of the search results page and use any filters that seem helpful.
  • Follow citations backward. As you find useful readings, look at their reference lists.
  • Follow citations forward. My favorite way of doing this is to just type a reading’s title in Google Scholar and click the “Cited by” link. But you can also check with a librarian to see if you have access to this feature in ISI Web of Science or Scopus. Those are both very powerful but not especially intuitive, so I would definitely get a librarian’s help with them if I were you.

As you find citations using any of these sources, capture them either manually or automatically. Most reference managers have a browser extension that makes this a one-click process. Obviously, if you’re using paper, that’ll be a more manual process. Reference managers will often capture the PDF/full text for you, too. Definitely get a copy of the readings if they don’t.

Step 5: Identify and eliminate stuff that’s outside the scope of your literature review.

Sometimes a title will look like a good fit, but then when you dig in to the abstract, you’ll realize it’s actually not relevant to your work at all. Quickly skim the abstracts for all the citations you’ve identified. If it doesn’t fit with your current work, set it aside. I usually keep a subfolder in my reference manager called “Don’t Use” and drop these in there. That way they’re not lost if I change my mind or expand my scope.

This process will help you decide if you’ve got the right scope, too. When I was first working on my literature review, I grabbed everything about makerspaces and learning that I could find. At this stage, I realized I’d never finish if I tried to use all of them, and decided to limit my scope to only those studies that look at making in library settings.

Step 6: Read, highlight, and take notes.

Oh hey we’re here! This part can be really fun or really tedious. I recommend using Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s AIC extraction method. Read the abstract, introduction, and conclusion. Look for the context and rationale for the study. Identify the research question. Find what you can about the methods, especially the setting, population of interest, sample size and selection methods, data collection methods, and data analysis methods. Then grab what you can about the findings. Do this quickly. Use highlighters, take notes, whatever works for you. I highlight and add notes directly in PDFs.

Step 7: Write synthetic notes.

Another recommendation of Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s methods. Write notes based just on your existing highlights and notes. This might just be one sentence, or it could be multiple paragraphs. It will depend on what you have time for, the depth you need to go into, and how useful the particular reading is. Make a note of whether you want to read the study more deeply later.

Step 8: Add each study to a master list.

I like Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump.

Step 9: Create a concept map, grouping different readings by big themes.

I use bubbl.us, which I learned about from Dr. Summer Pennell, for this. Here’s what the one for my current lit review looks like (click it for full size):

You can also do this same process using index cards or pen and paper if you prefer.

Step 10: Create an outline.

There’s a ton of advice on the internet about this already, I’m sure. It’s worth noting that bubbl.us will actually create an outline for you if you want. I think you’ll still need to generate your own to get you ready for writing, but it can help you if you want a more linear visual once you’re done with your concept map.

Step 11: Write.

Get it out. Identify gaps. Find the places where your notes on a particular study don’t give you enough information, and go back and skim or read the middle of it. Make more detailed notes on that, perhaps writing a memo and then putting some of that in your paper draft. Leave yourself funny little comments like “MORE HERE” and “Not sure if this fits here.”

Step 12: Revise.

Fix the gaps. Add more details. Do whatever your weird idiosyncratic comments tell you remains to be done.


That’s how I do it. I’m really good at literature reviews. I don’t know how many other scholarly endeavors I’m good at, but I’ve got this one down cold, and now maybe you do, too.

A Goth in New Orleans, Day 1

Embrace your cliches.

Our hotel has an amazing view of the river. This does not do it justice.
They’re giving out Magic: the Gathering cards at registration. Yes please!
The one thing I HAD to do besides give my poster presentation was go to Cafe Du Monde and get beignets. Done!
We rode the St. Charles Streetcar all the way to the end, through the Garden District. We passed one of Anne Rice’s houses.

Canal Street at Sunset

Toddler Parent Responsibilities

In the interest of helping myself recognize what things I do as the parent of a toddler, I’m making a list. I’m just thinking through a typical day and every task that occurs on that day, plus every task that has to happen to make sure that task can happen. I don’t do all of these things – W. does a lot of them. But somebody has to do them.

Here goes.

  1. Changing diapers.
  2. Purchasing diapering supplies: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, diaper pail, trash bags.
  3. Researching diapering supplies.
  4. Toilet training.
  5. Purchasing toilet training supplies: toddler potty/toilet seat.
  6. Researching toilet training processes.
  7. Dressing.
  8. Purchasing clothing and shoes.
  9. Researching clothing and shoes: sizes, fabric types, cuts. (Ask a toddler parent about snaps vs. no snaps, overalls or no, and you’ll see what I mean.)
  10. Feeding.
  11. Preparing food.
  12. Purchasing food.
  13. Meal planning.
  14. Researching nutrition.
  15. Playing at home.
  16. Purchasing books and toys.
  17. Researching books and toys.
  18. Playing out in the world.
  19. Identifying potential activities.
  20. Researching potential activities.
  21. Purchasing supplies for activities: sunscreen, bug spray, specialized clothing.
  22. Packing supplies for activities.
  23. Transportation.
  24. Purchasing transportation supplies: primarily a car seat.
  25. Researching car seats.
  26. Entertaining.
  27. Learning new songs.
  28. Vetting media.
  29. Soothing.
  30. Discipline.
  31. Researching soothing and discipline methods.
  32. Bathing.
  33. Purchasing supplies for bathing: soap, shampoo, toys, brushes, combs, cotton pads, cotton swabs.
  34. Researching supplies for bathing.
  35. Getting ready for bed.
  36. Dental care.
  37. Purchasing supplies for dental care: toothbrush, toothpaste.
  38. Researching supplies for dental care.
  39. Taking to the doctor.

All of these have to happen. And in addition to all of these, there’s usually a decision layer associated with each one: which food to eat, which clothes to wear (based on the weather or activity of the day), whether that fever merits a call to the doctor. There are several tasks that could be grouped, obviously: purchasing and researching different types of supplies happens again and again.

And most of these happen every day.

On radically reduced sleep.

Alongside all the normal responsibilities that come with being an adult.

And I wonder why I’m tired all the time.

Kids. They’re a lot of work. But they’re worth it.

Alternatives to “What do you do?” and “What are you going to do with that?”

It’s not that careers aren’t an important part of our identity, they just aren’t the only part.

When I took my first improv class a little over four years ago, I was careful on the first night of class to ask other people, “How do you spend your time besides coming to improv class?” I phrased it this way because I didn’t just want to know what people got paid to do; I wanted to know how they chose to spend their time.

The most common question I get about my doctoral program after “How long until you’re done?” is “What are you going to do with a PhD in information and library science?” I think a more interesting question is “What do you want to get out of a PhD in information and library science?” Because honestly, who knows what I’ll do? Independent of what I might like to do (and teasing that out is a whole process itself), obviously I’ll be at the mercy of market forces.

But if you ask me what I want to get out of it, I have a great answer:

I want to spend some time in a situation where my number one professional priority is acquainting myself with the evidence about what works in libraries. I want to understand qualitative research methods better. (This was really my #1 desire and I think I’ve done a really good job of working on this.) I want the opportunity to think deeply about what effective library services for youth look like and how they can facilitate exploring passions.

Isn’t that more interesting than “I mean, maybe teach future librarians? Or just be a better librarian myself?” I think so.

If you want to get to know people better than just these surface questions without getting too awkward and personal, here are some questions you might try:

  • What’s fun for you right now?
  • What kind of expert are you?
  • What do you want to learn/try next?
  • What kind of people are you hoping to meet?

They’re good questions to ask yourself, too.

Now: June 2018

Here’s a complete list of everything I’ve got going on right now. And by “going on,” I mean a level of intensity ranging from “thinking about maybe doing it” to “seriously working on it.” (Categories come from the Integrative Nutrition Circle of Life exercise.)

Spirituality

Creativity

Finances

  • Reducing grocery spending via using my Soda Stream, freezing leftovers, and eating out of the pantry/fridge/freezer

Career

  • Revising culturally sustaining pedagogy online curriculum module and writing other modules for Project READY.
  • Reading the archives of YALSA’s The Hub ya lit blog and trying the books mentioned there

Education

  • Working on the Makerspaces section of my comprehensive literature review

Health, Home Cooking, Physical Activity

  • Focusing on water: drinking it, bathing in it, swimming in it

Home Environment

  • Putting together a list of tasks for the handyman

Relationships, Social Life, Joy

  • Reaching out when I feel isolated

A blog post about everything.

This might get a little stream-of-consciousness. Consider yourself warned.

I went to a play today. It was Wakey Wakey, the last performance of the last show at Manbites Dog Theater‘s physical performance space. I’ve always been sort of Manbites-adjacent; I remember when they had a space in a different part of town than they do now. I have been friends with or worked with many other people involved with them. The art they have made over the years sits in this beautiful space – a sort of off-Broadway space – that is not beholden to the commercial, but is art explicitly intended to inspire conversation, as opposed to the let’s-put-on-a-show vibe of many theatre projects (including all the ones I’ve ever produced). Being in that space – reading the program – and most especially smelling that small theatre smell of painted scenery – made me feel keenly how this is a piece of my life that I have let go – certainly since having my son, but in some sense extending even farther back – to when I began college almost 19 years ago.

And yet the theatre is in me.

Wakey Wakey is a good show for making you think about the parts of you that are with you and in you that maybe you’ve been neglecting.

I started to think about Sarah Ruhl, and her book 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write. I haven’t read it. I want to. I want to read everything Austin Kleon recommends on art and motherhood.

Last week I had a frightening dizzy spell. It started as I was going to sleep Tuesday night. I thought, “Probably I’m just tired. It’ll get better overnight.” It did not. Wednesday morning I was genuinely afraid to go downstairs. W. was out of town, so it was just me and toddler M. We walked across the hall into my home office. I popped him in front of the TV with some Daniel Tiger and ate some candy I had on hand. At the end of the Daniel Tiger episode, I felt better enough to venture downstairs. I called in the grandmas, and my mom came over so that I could engage in enough self-care to try and get better. I thought maybe I was having hypoglycemia, because I’d only eaten a scone and cheese for dinner. Then I remembered that my hormones were acting all wonky in a way that maybe was leading to anemia. I thought maybe the intense nursing that M. has desired for the past couple weeks was leaving me dehydrated. Over the course of the day, through the careful application of food, water, and caffeine, I got mostly better. Thursday I wasn’t dizzy anymore but I was exhausted. Friday and yesterday (Saturday), I was basically a lump for most of the day.

I interpreted this episode as my body telling me that it was time to contract. Time to replenish. My mom said to me, “Please don’t let yourself get more depleted,” and I thought, “Yes, that’s the word.”

I was the opposite of replete. I felt like a jack o’lantern after the emptying and before the carving and lighting up. I felt scraped out. I genuinely felt as though my life force had left my body in very physical ways.

Today I started to feel better. I’m beginning to get a handle on it.

&&&&&&&

I unsubscribed from all my newsletters with Unroll.me. It’ll be easy to add back the ones I miss.

I unsubscribed from all of my RSS feeds.

I unsubscribed from all of my podcasts except The Hilarious World of Depression and Self-Service.

I lay in bed reading novels and playing mobile games.

I decided to let the Self-Service podcast be my guide. And it led me to water. Literally. An early episode is called “Stay Hydrated, BB,” and I decided to let go of the idea of calling things in for the next year of my life except water. I’m calling in water: for drinking, for swimming in. For making magic.

I was listening to Cinderly’s Mermaid Podcast months ago (I definitely want to pick this one back up!) and in one episode the host visits the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid camp. One of the experienced mermaids tells her, “The water is a teacher.”

I have held that thought in my mind ever since.

Water changes its shape to fill the vessel it is in. Water can be solid, liquid, or gas. Water can carry things. Water can erode things. Water water water water.

&&&&&&&

I wasn’t kidding when I called this a blog post about everything and threatened stream-of-consciousness, y’all.

Being a mother feels like being a piece of kintsugi. It shatters you and puts you back together. You are shinier and more beautiful than before. You are disconnected from yourself, but all the pieces of you are still there. It’s easy in the early days to think they’re gone, but they’re not.

&&&&&&&

Some months ago I told W. that I felt like I needed a side-hustle because my research assistantship doesn’t bring in a lot of money, but that I simultaneously was struggling to do what I have to do now so I couldn’t really take on more.

“You’re a full-time mom and a full-time grad student,” he told me. “I would encourage you to consider one of those to be your side hustle.”

It was only this week that I realized mom is the primary gig and grad student is the side-hustle.

I’m feeling pretty silly right about now.

I kind of want to read Chris Guillebeau’s book Side Hustle and see if I can apply anything from it to how I organize my schoolwork. I told myself that I can buy it once I finish turning my concept map for the current chunk of my comps lit review into an outline.

&&&&&&&

It’s important to recognize that when you are caring for loved ones, even minimally, it’s going to impact what you can do elsewhere. It’s important to give ourselves grace and permission both to take a break from caring for others in order to care for ourselves, and to accept that the rest of life will move slowly when care is our number one priority.

&&&&&&&

Back in April, I did a lot of massaging of my online identity to make it fit a job I was applying for. I did want that job, and I do want to be the person who would get that job… but I didn’t want that job right now, not really, and I didn’t get the job, so that worked out well. (It’s the kind of job that isn’t available very often, in that it’s one particular position in one very specific organization, so I decided to go for it even though I wasn’t really in the place where I was ready for it, because I don’t know how long it’ll be before another chance comes along.)

Anyway, the massaging I did of my online identity has left me feeling a little dissatisfied, a little inauthentic, so I will probably be doing some reconfiguring of my bio everywhere, and my pictures and everything, to feel more like myself again.

&&&&&&&

I’ve recently started to allow myself to call myself a writer.

I wonder if I’ll ever be comfortable calling myself an artist?

&&&&&&&

How are you doing?

If you don’t feel like replying here, you can drop me an email. kimberly at this domain name right here. Love you, Internet!

Perpetual Mood:Kitty Pryde - The dust is your life going on.

2018 So Far

I was listening to Lindsay Mack’s Tarot for the Wild Soul monthly medicine podcast for June, and she suggested that this is a great time for review because we’re coming up on being halfway through the year. Then I read the Astrostyle horoscope for my sun sign, Cancer, that said it was a good time to think about what I want to bring into the next year of my life, since my birthday is coming up soon. (About six weeks to go!) These are both great examples of the value I find in woo woo stuff – an invitation to consider what’s already within me and set my intentions for moving forward. I embraced the synchronicity of these two suggestions and decided to look back over the year so far, and then start making plans for what I want to bring into my 38th year on earth. (I’ll be turning 37. My dad will correct me if I call it my 37th year, since I had a whole year here before my first birthday, so.)

Before we make plans for the future, though, let’s look to the past!

I have a bad habit of telling myself nasty narratives about my own value: specifically, of thinking I don’t do anything. Life as a hybrid stay-at-home-mom/grad-student-working-on-comps is weird. You don’t go into an office. You don’t go to class. You theoretically set your own schedule. You spend a lot of time doing what your kid thinks sounds fun. You need to be ready to be interrupted at every moment of your day, yes even when someone else is taking care of the kid. It’s easy for me to let this unstructured amorphous blob of a life I have lead me to believe that I just sit around all day goofing off on the internet. I’m wrong; I know I’m wrong; but it helps to have documented evidence to remind me I’m wrong.

So here was my review process: I sat down with my bullet journals for 2018 and made a list of any metric I thought was interesting. I’ll be sharing those metrics here along with some additional notes. Categories are ad hoc.

School/Work

Submitted paper proposals: 2. One conference paper, one contest paper. The conference paper was rejected but I received some valuable feedback, Reviewer 2 Syndrome notwithstanding. (And honestly, Reviewer 1 was pretty harsh, too. Reviewer 3 was very encouraging, though.)

Submitted IRB applications: 1. Approved!

Comps prepared: See my earlier posts for notes on this.

Professional development modules drafted: 1.

Presentations given: 3.

Webinars attended: 1.

Job applications completed: 1. I’m not on the market, but there are a very few (okay maybe 2?) jobs that I would jump at regardless of my life circumstances, and one of them came open recently. I applied. I haven’t heard back beyond a confirmation that they received my application, but I’m not devastated because, as I mentioned, I’m not actually on the market.

Parenting/Relationships

Well Child Appointments: 1. And really, anyone who takes a toddler to the doctor should get a gold star, because they’re squirmy af and getting a weight/height measurement is always tricky. But my kid is done with vaccines until he goes to school!

Trips Taken: 3. At the end of February, M. and I accompanied W. on a work trip to Knoxville, TN. At the beginning of April, I took a whirlwind tour with my sibs, bro-in-law, and M., stopping in Savannah and Melbourne on our way to celebrate my grandmother’s life (she died in November at age 98) and then stopping in Melbourne and Atlanta on the way back (spending a couple of nights in Melbourne with my other grandmother, and a couple of hours in Atlanta with one of my bffs – remember that a best friend is a tier, not a person). WOOF. And then at the beginning of May, we took a much briefer trip just down the road to Greensboro, again accompanying W. for work travel. We went to the Children’s Museum and the Science Center. FUN!

Adjusted to new childcare situation. This has been huge. It’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated, but I think we’re hitting our stride. M. and I became members at Nido, a coworking space/Montessori school community. In the first few weeks, he was so demanding that they were devoting one teacher exclusively to him, which obviously was not sustainable. He threw a tantrum every time I left him. He would go on nap strike rather than sleep there. We were both stressed out by the whole thing. Now, he happily waves bye bye to me and takes two hour naps there. It’s been a long transformation, but what a big one! Next step: me leveraging my time there to get a lot more work done.

Health crises managed: 2. M. woke up with a slightly swollen eye one morning and by the next morning it was swollen shut. We had to figure out how to get him to take antibiotics. It turns out the least sneaky way is the most effective: squirt them inside his cheek and exhort him to swallow. Also, my dad had a pretty major surgery (it went well!) and I didn’t contribute much, but it still had a pretty big impact on how the day-to-day went for us during his recovery.

Creativity

Podcast episodes recorded: 3

Podcast episodes edited: 2

Journal pages filled: About 300. It’s worth noting that these are bullet journal pages, so this is a lot more lists and brain dumps and a lot less long-form writing than you might think. And a lot of this is notes that overlap with the comps preparation mentioned above. Still. 300 pages. It’s not nothing.

Blog posts made: 167 (including imports of old Instagram photos)

Doodles made: 2 so far. Keep up on Instagram for more.

RPGs played: I’ve got two running. One is face-to-face and one is via Slack.

Consumption

Books read: 9 (Including a couple of re-reads)

Haven’t tracked podcasts listened to or TV watched or articles read, but: a lot.

Adulting

Crises managed/in progress: 3. Got into a car accident (my fault). My wallet was stolen. There’s a big deal leak in our house, apparently from a flaw in our waterproofing somewhere (i.e. when it rains, we get water damage). I haven’t actually finished handling any of these, but I’m in the process on all of them and have taken steps.

In conclusion…

That’s a lot more than nothing, am I right? I should probably cut myself a break and stop thinking that I’m someone who takes up space but does not help. And I didn’t even mention all the invisible labor of parenting and adulting: meal planning, food prep, ordering diapers, clothes shopping, noticing which things we run out of and setting up Amazon subscriptions for them, figuring out developmentally appropriate activities, deciding how to spend the day… (I should note that I have a partner who recognizes a lot of this labor, rendering it visible which thank goodness, and who does a bunch of invisible parenting/adulting labor himself – laundry, dishes, yardwork, sweeping, mopping, reading to the kid while I make a smoothie – thank himSo when I call it invisible I’m referring as much to my own tendency to devalue this work as anything else.) Plus basic self-care, which I occasionally manage: showering, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, washing my face, putting on clothes, remembering to eat, remembering to take my medicine and supplements…

Honestly, we all do a lot, don’t we? Just to live in this world?

Let’s give ourselves some credit. I will if you will! (I will even if you won’t. But I hope you will.)

What Kimberly Wrote, 5/21 – 5/23, 2018