293: Rethinking Housework // KC Davis

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A few weeks ago, I shared a video on Instagram of my sink overflowing with dishes and pots and pans, spreading across the counter, and I said, “This is what my kitchen looks like right now, and it’s the end of the day, and quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to tackle this. I could force myself to, but what feels like the self-compassionate thing right now is to throw a few of these dishes into the dishwasher and just start it and ignore the rest–because I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with this crusty cereal bowl right now or to do a bunch of hand-dishes. And that’s ok.”

 This type of self-compassionate attitude has not always been easy for me to adopt, but it’s become easier and easier as I’ve done lots of therapy and dug in to the work of therapists I respect, such as my guest today.

KC Davis is a mom, therapist, and author. Her book How to Keep House While Drowning has sold over 160,000 copies and is an Amazon and USA today bestseller. Shortly after KC had her second baby, the world locked down from covid and the stress of being postpartum during the pandemic soon sent her into postpartum depression. One glaring result of her struggle was that her house had become unmanageable. Having been a messy but functional person all her life, it was surprising to find that housework had suddenly exceeded her ability to cope. She began making tiktok videos about cleaning, cooking, and hygiene for all the other people that were struggling and shared the tips and life hacks that were helping her. Her online platform quickly built to over a million followers and her unique and compassionate approach to self care resulted in a book and a podcast. Her tagline is simple: care tasks are morally neutral. You aren’t failing, you’re just having a hard time and people who are having a hard time deserve compassion. They also deserve nonjudgmental help and advice that works with their brains and lifestyle instead of the cookie cutter advice we so often get.

 

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Takeaways from KC Davis on Rethinking Housework:

  1. Change the meaning of mess. Try to look at the mess in your house through different eyes. Can you find evidence of things that are good about you or your life? You fed your family! Your kids are creative and you allow them to be! You live a rich life, full of the expected evidence of a rich life!  You can also look at the mess through an honest but compassionate lens of “I see that I am really struggling right now. And people who are struggling deserve compassion. There is evidence here that I need more support, and I am going to seek it.” 

  2. Focus on function, and start breaking the rules. We make up all sorts of rules about how a house “should” run, but when we start thinking about what could make our house function better for us, we come up with lots of creative solutions. I love KC’s idea of a family closet or of a no-fold laundry system. 

  3. Rest is a right, not a reward. If we are waiting to rest until all of our care task responsibilities are complete, we will never rest. Because as adults, the tasks involved in caring for ourselves and our families are literally never ending. We have to give ourselves permission to rest not because we earned it, not because we are having a really hard time for a supposedly “good enough” reason, but because we are human, and humans need rest. 

 

>>>Are these tips from KC Davis helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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