Birthday parties and toilet paper rolls…and why women have nothing left to give

Nov 15, 2016

Keeping Kin |

Change upstairs bathroom toilet paper roll.

Email daughter’s friend’s mother to see what kinds of toys he’s into lately; put birthday party on calendar.

Check work schedule, go to toy store to pick up birthday present on lunch break.

Get laundry from washer to dryer before it moulds.

Take out meat from freezer for tonight’s dinner.

Partner’s mother’s birthday party next month; think of present, purchase, wrap, label “with love from all of us.”

Houseplants need watering.

Sign son up for swimming lessons.

Check in with friend who has just had a baby.  Bring a casserole, take her other kids for a few hours.

Out of milk and eggs; must purchase on the way home to avoid morning mutiny.

Hole in yoga pants; must repair.

Return books to the library.  Pay overdue fine.

Schedule date night; it’s been a while.  Call the babysitter, make dinner reservations, see if that movie is still playing.  Stock fridge with snacks, brief the babysitter, be “on call” throughout date night, come home, clean up freshly-made play-dough and put over-tired children to bed.

Plan weekend activities:  farmer’s market, playground, housecleaning, family hike.

Daughter’s birthday in one month.  Start Pinterest board for birthday party inspiration.


It’s called Keeping Kin.

It feels like spinning plates.

And it’s usually women’s work.

Generally relegated to social and household obligations, keeping kin is an automatic, engrained behaviour that many women engage in.  It often, if not usually, goes completely unrecognized by those who benefit from it.

And it is exhausting.

And we wonder why “I have no time,” “I am so tired,” and “I have no headspace” are phrases that we repeat over and over.

And then we shame ourselves and should ourselves:

“I just need to get organized.”

“If only I could get my act together.”

“I know I should be getting to yoga class, but for some reason I never manage it.”

“When the kids go to bed, I just crash on the couch and watch Netflix.  I hate that I don’t have the energy for anything else.”

How does Keeping Kin show up in your life?


Read more about Keeping Kin and Emotional Labour here.


And here.

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!