There’s a content creator named KC Davis who has introduced me to so many great terms to help me talk about my life as a caregiver. I found her on TikTok at Domestic Blisters but she also has an instagram and a website. For me, as a Mom/Caretaker of 25 years…a lot of these concepts are not new to me, or even new perspectives, but the new language is so key. Whether you’re a young person only caring for yourself or a Mom with 3 babies, you may learn something from these concepts or simply just like the vocabulary she uses.
Note: If you choose to follow her on TikTok (which I recommend because I do and I love her) she does a lot of videos responding to Mom Shaming comments which she gets a lot (“I work full time and can keep my house clean, why can’t you?”) and sometimes I have to skip those because of my own history with feeling Mom Guilt. I have conquered a lot of that and don’t experience it daily anymore, but sometimes hearing her challenge those commenters can trigger some old responses. So, while I love how she faces off with the Mom shamers and really tries to teach love and kindness, I sometimes can’t watch her do it in order to preserve my own mental health.
Now! On to the language she has taught me!
She uses the phrase “care tasks” to describe any task, chore, or errand that is required to care for yourself and for anyone you might provide care for to keep life going. Typically, these tasks are recurring, never-ending, and are required to be completed in order to simply live with any level of health or care. You know…washing dishes, cooking, laundry, vacuuming…etc.
But what I love about the way she talks about care tasks, is that they are way more complex than society likes to view them and we need to allow for the difficulty that complexity can add to our lives if we are caring for ourselves or for others. She applauds you for simply feeding yourself because she points out that it required deciding what food to eat, maybe going to the grocery store, maybe cooking, maybe cleaning…a lot of things that can be hard if you struggle with anxiety or depression. I love her because she has finally given me the language to talk about the weight of these tasks and permission to find them difficult and exhausting.
Now, when I cook dinner for my family I am proud of all of the things that allowed me to complete that task. I went to the grocery store, maybe I bought this on sale, maybe this is not something I even like but other people in my house do. She really has helped me see that all of the care tasks I complete are not simple and so if I’m struggling one day, that is okay because the physical and mental weight of those tasks is not something to be discounted.
KC Davis and a lot of the TikTok’ers I’ve discovered have really reminded how – even caring for ourselves – can be a challenge if we suffer from mental health disorders. I sat in my car and SOBBED the other day in the car pickup line watching this one girl just offer a TikTok to help anyone simply have a meal and the guy that dueted it was having a panic attack and it was just the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in awhile.
I promise you, if I’m having a depressive episode or an anxiety spiral, I can barely get dressed. I’ve taken to wearing pajamas that aren’t obvious pajamas just so that I can avoid the “getting dressed” care task if I need to on some days. Care tasks – even if you are only caring for yourself – can be challenging so be kind to yourself and just do whatever you can.
Closing and Opening Duties
I also love how she talks about her own care tasks at the end of the day and the beginning of the day as “Closing Duties” and “Opening Duties.” Sometimes at the end of the day she’s too tired to put the dishes in the dishwasher so she looks at it as a “closing” task she does to help the opener. Which, of course, is herself. I just love looking at it like that because nightime is when I really struggle. Now, she’s not encouraging you to do everything that might “need” to be done, she’s just asking you to kinda be in tune with what would help your morning and for me? Dishes in the sink is fine, because I can’t really see them from the coffee maker. Everything around the sink or dishes still on the stove etc? That makes the Opener Kim very stressed and she can’t enjoy her coffee so Closing Kim tries to do that for her.
Again…this is kinda all familiar to me in concept and execution, I just like having the language now to describe it.
Oh man, the first time she referred to how she “clocks out” around 7:30pm and then she doesn’t do any more care tasks and just eats snacks and watches TV? I COULD FEEL THE RELATABILITY.
I’ve never used the term “clocking out” but I’m going to from now on. Sometimes the kids will come to me when I’m reading at the close of my day and need something and I’ll say, “I’m done for the day,” but now? “Clocking Out” is such a clearer picture of what it is I’m doing. She likes it because it reminds herself that if you’re not careful, you can “work” at care tasks for every waking hour and if your employer expected that of you, you would quit the job. So “clocking out” reminds you that you can end your “work day” (after you do your closing duties, of course) and then it gives you the language if you have older kids (hers are very young) to encourage them to do their tasks themselves.
Mine are bad about deciding they need specific clothes washed, so now they know if I’ve said I’m “clocking out” then there’s no chance I’m doing laundry and they’re on their own.
I just love her. She also does a lot of content trying to shatter the “instagram Mom” image of clean houses and perfect appearance and curated menus. She shows how sometimes she just throws wadded up dirty diapers in a pile for awhile or how she just lets the kids chaos takeover sometimes and teaches herself to ignore it once she’s clocked out. If you struggle with care tasks and want a relatable person to guide you? I definitely recommend her.