Letting Go of the Invisible Labor with Kambria Evans
As a busy entrepreneur, your work day goes well beyond the hours you work in your business. Unfortunately, you don’t always get “credit” (or paid!) for the extra work you’re doing?

What do I mean? I mean the invisible labor that society expects us (women) to do. I’m talking about organizing carpools and birthday parties, writing thank you notes, volunteering at school, planning vacations, making sure the house is taken care of, and the list goes on. Even when we’re not the ones doing the work, we’re often still responsible for making sure it gets done.

This invisible labor is contributing to burnout and overwhelm as well as the massive guilt so many of us feel when we can’t (or simply don’t) get it all done.

This week on the podcast, I’m talking with fellow therapist and mom Kambria Evans about the cost of invisible labor on our businesses and, especially, our relationships.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and resentful around the responsibilities you feel compelled to say yes to, it’s time to stop. Listen in, because you are not alone!

About Kambria Evans:

Kambria Evans is The Teaching & Learning EMDR Consultant, and Founder of Zero Disturbance. She guides therapists in creating high-value offerings that embrace both client & clinician. Since 2018, she’s mentored therapists all over the world in designing clinical intensive programs and passive income systems.

Before going into private practice, Kambria was the Director of Education & Quality Improvement at Stanford Medical School. With two Masters Degrees in Psychology and Education, and extensive training in EMDR and relational complex trauma, Kambria is on a mission to share all that she knows with therapists, so that they may share their own voices with the world.

Links and Resources:

Time Stamps:

[3:19] – Therapists need support too
[4:50] – Business owners: we have to take care of ourselves because we’re the secret sauce in our businesses
[6:28] – Invisible labor defined
[7:45] – It’s like a grief cycle
[10:05] – Acceptance and outsourcing; you can’t do it all
[11:48] – Whoever it’s important to is the one who needs to own it
[12:53] – Just because you’re good at it doesn’t mean you like to do it
[14:44] – You have no idea how much invisible labor that’s coming at you
[16:24] – Using humor
[17:50] – Letting go of responsibility – and the guilt
[21:22] – Preserving emotional experiences for family
[24:26] – Creating space for ourselves
[29:09] – An “opportunity” may not be right for you right now
[32:11] – You can do experiments with invisible labor and let the data inform your next choices
[33:36] – Not everything is a priority
[34:34] – Keep talking about it; it’s not going away
[36:29] – When Dad is the primary caretaker
[37:11] – How others handle this is different for everyone
[39:30] – Acknowledge you’re responsible for things that exhaust you
[40:27] – Make hard decisions about letting things go
[42:29] – Teaching your kids that there’s a limit to what you can do
[43:27] – It’s not about changing your personality, it’s about having boundaries

Amber Hawley 0:01
Business owners are increasingly being pulled in so many directions, feeling like they aren’t reaching their full potential in business and life despite their type aways. With my background as a therapist, entrepreneur, and as a.com dropout with ADHD, I interview and coach high achieving business owners like you who want to stop struggling for success by using psychological systems, strategies, and the occasional care plantation. This is the easily distracted entrepreneur, your place to slay overwhelmed perfectionism and shiny object syndrome so that you can get done what matters most of you. Hello, Happy Wednesday, all today, we are going to be talking about a really important topic. That’s a little bit of what is my soapbox kind of things that I like to talk about and help people with and spend a lot of time helping, especially women with and that is talking about invisible labor? And I thought, why would you want to just hear from me when you could hear from an another, another amazing therapist, who is also brilliant and does all the things and have us both talk about our experience with invisible labor and what you can do about it. So please welcome my wonderful guest Kambria Evans to the podcast. Hello, Kambria.

Kambria Evans 1:31
I Amber, thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here with you.

Amber Hawley 1:34
Yes, I’m so excited. I told you, when I reached out, I was kind of mentally going through my list of people trying to think about I wanted somebody who, you know, has, who’s running a successful business and understands and has, you know, young kids, and is juggling all of the things, and to be able to come on and kind of talk about different perspectives of, you know, the invisible labor thing. That really is it’s really an epidemic. And it’s, you know, men can experience it too. Although the research will tell you primarily, we see it in women, and especially women of color, even more so. But I just think it’s one of those things that we discount. And then we wonder, well, why am I not doing it better? Or why is this such so hard for me? Or Why am I always so tired? And so I just think it’s one of those things not talked about enough. And I thought, hey, who better to talk about this than another busy, busy mom doing the things? And who also has the psychological understanding of it, too. So why don’t you share a little bit more about yourself with the guests, and then we’ll get into it?

Kambria Evans 2:48
Awesome. So I am in San Jose, California, I am an EMDR. consultant. And so I’ve been helping EMDR clients since I actually had my EMDR training when I was pregnant with my twins. So since 2016, yeah, no problem. I’ll just do everything at once. So I can see him to your clients now for about, I guess, eight years. And what’s become really kind of my passion and labor of love is, you know, still guiding EMDR clinicians, but really just expanding into supporting therapists create what I’m calling high value offerings, where the therapist is considered and embraced because we’re oftentimes taught as therapists, especially in the EMDR community, you know, follow the script, honor the script in the protocol attuned to the client. And the last couple years with COVID and motherhood and business, I’m like, Well, what about me? Like, what about the person, the clinician who’s burnt out and like trying to juggle all that. So I really expanded to help EMDR clinicians and other therapists to design like intensive programs and passive income, because I just think that we need to shift the focus back to the clinician, because we’re the secret sauce. Otherwise, if we can’t sustain none of this stuff’s gonna happen for healing. And that’s really been where the passion has been for me the last couple years with COVID, because that’s what I’m going through.

Amber Hawley 4:13
Right. Absolutely. And, you know, so I think most of the listeners to the podcast, I think, fall into the realm of being service providers, you know, from all different kinds of industries. But a lot of people from the helping professions, like I work with a lot of therapists myself, and, you know, but but I’m seeing all kinds of health care providers, but I do think and it is mostly women that listen to the podcast, I do have some, you know, awesome gentlemen who do too, but all of all the women that are listening or people who are reaching out to me or that I’m talking to that kind of like we have to take care of ourselves because we’re the secret sauce in our business I think fits Regardless of industry. And yes, you’re right. I think the COVID stuff, there’s an extra layer, as therapists or healers, or, you know, people in the health space are taking on because so many people are struggling and needing help right now. So there’s this extra level. And then I always say, you know, we already had this all happening, right? Like before COVID, we had all of these, you know, being stretched too thin, and feeling like we had to wear all the hats and take care of everything, and then take care of your home life and family. You know, whatever your family looks like, I don’t care if it’s just you, or a partner, or Furbabies, or, you know, children, whatever it is, like, I think we all there’s always these things we’re managing, and, you know, for taking care of parents or other people in our life as well. But then you go and add COVID to the mix, where it’s like, our bandwidth is less, this space feels noisier there, it feels like we have to do more and you know, like, and all of our, well, not all, but a lot of our coping mechanisms aren’t still available to us, that we normally were able to do so. And so yeah, we’re just, there’s a lot, there’s so many layers. And then when you have all of these layers, right, taking care of all of these things, your business, your family, your health, your all your employees, all the things and then it’s like, but also, what about me? How do you also take care of yourself. And the piece that I think it’s so like, like glossed over and not recognized is invisible labor. So invisible labor is something that you’ve maybe read about, or seen some articles, or maybe let’s do another podcast about, but Arlene Davis is a sociologist from Berkeley. And she says that invisible labor is unpaid work that goes unnoticed and unacknowledged and thus is unregulated. And so by that definition, I think we know that in the in our home lives, there is a lot of this going on, right? But but it’s also showing up in business, whether you work in another business, or you’re a business owner. And so again, this is something that’s impacting our energy, our exhaustion, our space, our time for ourselves. And, yeah, in fact, we’ve already had a couple of conversations before we started recording. And you’re like, oh, yeah, this is actually perfect for this to happen. So I don’t know, what are your What are your thoughts about invisible labor?

Kambria Evans 7:32
I mean, so many thoughts.

Amber Hawley 7:35
That’s a big ask question. Right? How would I give you a very succinct direct question? No, just tell me everything.

Kambria Evans 7:41
You know, when we were talking about having this conversation together, I really got curious with my own process around what invisible labor has looked like in my home, what it’s looked like in my business. And you know, as a therapist, I was trying to think of some kind of framework to make sense of it. All right. And what came up to me in my mind was the grief cycle, right? So we know that there’s this grief cycle where we have, you know, the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, right. And I was thinking to myself, I think it’s not linear. But I noticed myself going through this grief cycle phase, with invisible labor, not just in my home with my kids, and like managing the house, but also in my business, right? Because as entrepreneurs, we have so many things that we’re called to do. And it’s the same kind of overwhelm, it’s the same kind of invisibility. And so I was thinking about that term in both spaces for me. And of course, you know, as a therapist, I’m thinking about, you know, from these different phases, what has been my adaptive response, right. So like, when I when I’ve been in denial about how much there was to do? Hmm, oh, yes. And I was when I was in denial with myself about it. And my and I noticed this adaptive response, it’s like, Well, I’m just gonna do more, and I’m just gonna do it. All right, doo doo doo doo doo. And then seeing this consequence come in of like, Oh, I’m pissed at my husband. Because here I am doing doing doing doing doing and kind of denying the amount of stuff there is to myself really, in a clear way. And I’m resentful, like, it’s it’s creeping into the marriage. Right? So it’s been interesting to see myself go through these phases. You know, the, the phase of like, being angry and kind of like, shutting down, right? You’ve ever had this experience of like, Screw it. I’m not gonna do anything. Like I’m done. Kind of, you know, just you’re at your house and you’re like, No one’s gonna help me. Right? It’s all these like, emotional phases. I’ve gone through I think where I’ve landed now, because COVID was so clarifying about invisible labor. I think where I’ve landed now is like, acceptance, I think. And I really take into outsourcing, which has been really hard for me.

Amber Hawley 10:14
Right. And yeah, I agree. I mean, I think similarly, you know, it’s something that because I think because of working with clients and coaching clients, you know, therapy and coaching clients, and, you know, helping people I see this and so I’m extra cognizant, so I’m really trying not to be the one that does it. All. Right, because I don’t even think that’s an adaptive response. That’s unrealistic, right? Like, how can I continue to be the one that everything gets loaded on to? And so yeah, I would say I was in this place of acceptance of these are the things I agree to, these are the things I don’t. And it’s sneaky thing about this, though, is, these aren’t always conscious agreements, we’re not always agreeing to take these things on. Right now. There are some times when I even think about, oh, you know, this is important to me, and I want my husband to help with it. And my husband is very supportive, and he does a lot. So I am, even though I may throw him under a bus a few times during this, this podcast interview, I’m gonna tell you, there’s also a deep appreciation for him. But some of this has been set up by generations of societal expectations and conditioning between men and women. And, you know, even just our own dynamics, like growing up in the Midwest, and it’s like being a people pleaser, or slightly codependent. And, you know, being kind of brought up and all of that it’s that stuff sneaks back up, right? It comes back up. And so there, even though he is fantastic, there are times where I’m like, Okay, I want him to do this. But as a couples therapist, I’m like, hey, what have I said to couples before, whoever it’s the most important, who is the one who has to own it? The problem is, my husband is content to not be bothered with anything. So everything that means that I have to own it, even if I’m delegating it, I’m owning it. Because there are times where like, I’ll ask him to do something or delegate something, whether it’s to somebody I’m paying or him. But I’m still the one that has to follow back up to make sure it happened. Check back in. And that’s the that’s the invisible labor part of it. Right? Like, there’s this idea of, oh, he took this off my plate? Well, no, he didn’t, you know, I mean, literally, today that something just happened and it’s small. But all of these small things add up. I came home from I was at a hotel for two days doing a GST. And when I was leaving, I said, Oh, hey, you know, our son left his brand new sweatshirt over at his friend’s house, the next door neighbor, they were gone at the time. So I said, Hey, make sure he gets a sweater back. Because you know, it’s his new sweater, you know how that’ll happen, you’ll well forget about it forever. But even remembering where things are, that’s invisible labor, those are the things we are responsible for remembering where things are remembering people’s costumes, remembering, you know, to that some so and so needs to go to the dentist, or whatever it is. It’s all of that stuff that we’re not always like, even if we’re good about being on top of it. It’s still we’re holding it, we’ve been conditioned to hold it. And you know, and so I struggle with that, like I both understand, like, if it’s important to me, but then I think about the couple sessions where, you know, I’m, again, I’m not throwing all men under the bus here. But in these cases where the husband is saying, Oh, well, she’s just so good at it. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, planning a date is not rocket science. So she’s good at it, because she’s been having to do it all. So don’t, no, no, no, no, no, you are perfectly capable. You’re a friggin CEO, of a company. You can plan a date, my friends, you can take responsibility.

Kambria Evans 13:47
Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like to do it or want to do it. Right. Yes. And I will tell you, I appreciate you naming the training, like the internalization that we’ve gotten, you know, as fellow Midwesterners like I came from a certain value system, which I’m proud of. And I’ve noticed as a woman, as an entrepreneur, it’s been hard to hold, right? The part of me that wants to take care of my family respond to my kids, right? Like, I had one of my kids come in my room at 2am with a bad dream. And I could feel myself like doing parts work on myself, like the part that wants to go help or go back to sleep, and I’ll stay up as long as it takes. And then the part that’s pissed, like, I have a full day tomorrow. And my husband and I didn’t map out, like who’s responsible for responding to the kids in the middle? Like, like, we’re not that structured and organized. And I, I think it’s almost like as a business owner, and as a parent, you just have no idea how much invisible labor there is. Yeah, it’s almost like I don’t even feel like I know what’s coming in terms of invisible labor. Like I think it’s like I figured it out in this phase of my kid’s life, or this phase of my business and it’s like, oh, no, here’s more invisible labor to do. figure out.

Amber Hawley 15:01
Exactly. And that’s. So that’s why when you said, Oh, I was so frustrated, because, you know, my kid woke up, and then I couldn’t get back to sleep. And you know, like, your husband’s just laying there sleeping. me it’s like, oh, no, this is perfect. This is perfect. laying there sleeping like a baby. Yes. And, and I honestly, I think each of us from just even today or yesterday, and today could probably come up with three or four examples where there’s a little bit of not maybe not full blown resentment, but a little bit. And it’s like that tells you something. It’s happening on a daily basis. And that’s what I think, again, we minimize, like, I think I have a handle on it. And then occasionally, like I’ve said something to a friend or a client. And I remember I remember this distinctly Yeah, this was years ago, and I said something and I can’t remember what it was about. It was about taking care of something for the kids. And I said, Oh, and you know, I’m sorry, I just had to XYZ. And my client was like, Oh, well, why didn’t your husband just take care of that? And I said, Oh, well, because he’s not good at it. And then I literally looking at her, we both kind of laugh because I had helped her. I’ve helped her so much with that kind of stuff. But it’s constantly happening, right? Where it’s, it’s these things where they pop up. And yeah, there are times you know that how you talked about the grief cycle, is there are times where my husband, I use humor a lot where, you know, it’s our banter. It’s fun, it’s it is very genuinely fun and funny. However, there are times then where it tips over the edge where I am ceiling pissed off about. And I you know, and I have my like meltdown about like, and there’s this and this and because I feel the avalanche coming on top of me, right? Because even, you know, thinking about we just came out of the holidays, right? And I said, I’m the one who sets the budget goes with the kids has them like we go to like toy stores take picture, I organize all of this, take the pictures of all the things they like, send out the emails with I go to Amazon, add them to their wish list, send out the emails to all the family. You know, everything, everything comes, it’s all been ordered, I figured out what part were giving. I mean, I check in with them, right? But I do all of it. And then it comes and I’m at the point I said, I hate rapping I just hate wrapping presents I love when they look beautiful. I don’t rap at all. And, and I’m like, I’ve done everything else. If I had to wrap I would then punch you. So you need to write he does it. Of course he doesn’t do it on my timeline. But that’s different. And he has forgotten things in like a shed and not wrap them. You know, like because he has ADHD too. So it’s the disorganization piece. And I’m like, I’m so organized. And then I have to sit there with the piles and go, What are you doing this one, Santa needs to be wrapped this way, you know, like, so I’m doing all of this stuff all of the time. And then when I say I want to abdicate responsibility for this, and then it doesn’t happen, it’s still really frustrating. Like, you need to be in charge of thank you cards to everyone, because I’ve already done everything else. And that’s not my strong suit. You know, like, and I think it’s important. But you know, what happens is I know, I know, everyone’s blaming me. I know that if his family feels slighted at all, it’s they’re not blaming the husband, even though it’s his family. They’re blaming me, right? Like, that’s the conditioning we get. I luckily have let go of that. I just don’t.

Kambria Evans 18:25
Let’s talk about that for a moment. Because I think that’s that’s the gold, right? Is is like what can you let go of and not care about? And I think that when you are an entrepreneur, you are probably somebody who is very motivated and driven and maybe have it has a part that’s perfectionistic? I don’t know.

Amber Hawley 18:43
Yes, yes, everyone listening is a go getter with a little perfectionism.

Kambria Evans 18:49
And I’ll tell you something. I, my kid was up at 2am Put her back to sleep, I was laying there and I was like crap, I have a big data model. And you know what I did, I picked up my phone, I turned off my alarm, because I’m the one that sets the alarm for everyone in the house to wake up for school and work. I turned it off. And I was like, I don’t care if they go to school on time. I don’t care. I was like, I’m gonna let it go. Because they’re five. And I’m sure great things are happening in kindergarten. But right now, I want to sleep as long as possible. And so I had to let go of this idea, right that I’m going to do X, Y and Z and, and it was actually felt really hard. Like it felt good to go back to sleep, knowing I’m going to have more sleep. But it felt hard. Like I was kind of hard on myself about like, well, they should be to school on time. And so letting go of all of those expectations is still hard for me. And I will tell you something. COVID has been so brutal in so many ways. And it has been so clarifying to me about letting go of so many things I just cannot care about because we’re surviving.

Amber Hawley 19:53
Yes, yeah, I agree with you. I think the lack of bandwidth is like, I don’t fucking care and you can truly let it go in ways that we couldn’t before. But I think you make a good point of, I would say, you and I are people who were really great at delegating and hiring people. And, again, we have very supportive spouses. And we have these conversations about delegation of labor. Again, the visible labor, though, right? And so there’s all of this stuff happening. And it’s still hard. There’s those moments, and we feel it, but we still make the choice. Like, it’s sometimes it becomes really easy, because you’ve just got such extreme clarity about it. And sometimes you’re like, Oh, but I feel bad. Like, I don’t want my kid to miss out on this opportunity. Or, you know, I don’t like this is a special tradition. And it makes me sad. And there were things this year that we just didn’t do, because I didn’t have the bandwidth to manage it. And I had to just make a choice, like, I am going to rest like I literally chose rest. And there was mold those changes, right? Like the hinges of Oh, but that’s so fun to do. And then I was like, let it go. I have plenty of years for this all to still happen. And but yeah, I think it’s important to say like, I don’t think you’d necessarily get to this point where you never have any of those tinges of something pop up? Because that’s where it’s like, how long do you entertain it? And how bad do you feel about it? I think that’s the key. Were this last what was it last week? We had a big blizzard here in Asheville, well, Blizzard quote, unquote, if we got a blizzard, we got some snow. Exactly, no, I know, we actually got like 12 inches. However, I think, however, growing up in Minnesota, like you would walk to school in a blizzard, but around here, they don’t have the infrastructure. And because of the mountains, they canceled school. And I remember my friends texted me and said, she’s like, Oh, cuz they, they now of course, with COVID. They’re like, Hey, we’re having an asynchronous school day. So which means we’re the Teachers will post the packets of work or the, you know, whatever they have to do. And they have to do it on their own time. So it’s like going back to 2020. Right? And so she’s like, Oh, of course, she goes, I would rather have a snow day. And I said, Well, I’ll tell you, because they texted the night before I said, I’ll tell you tomorrow, if I’m not feeling it, or they’re throwing big fits, I’m having a snow day. And I don’t care. Like that is not a battle and fighting and I could care less, because I’ve said the same thing as you like, look, they’re they’re not, you know, on the cusp of going to Harvard this year. They’re 12, nine and seven. And you know, we’re gonna we, we try to structure it and sit with them and encourage them, but at the end of the day, I don’t care and they’re not going to all of a sudden not know how to write or read or do math or anything, because I took a snow day.

Kambria Evans 22:46
Well, I love about what you just said, it’s so many things. But I love that you are trying to preserve the emotional experience that you and your family want to have. Right? I mean, I had Cambria Evans psychotherapy as my private practice. And then when I made this new company during COVID, called Zero disturbance, it has two meanings. One is, you know, in EMDR, at the end of a trauma target, you want a zero disturbance on the disturbance scale. But in terms of values, for me, knowing my personality and knowing what was happening with COVID. I was like, girls stay in zero disturbance yourself. Like, like, like, just make choices that are going to make you be successful, but also just like, outsource stuff, let stuff go, right. And it was so hard for me to like, let stuff go. But also outdoors. I mean, I grew up in Michigan, wearing garage sale clothes until I was 11 years old. Like I didn’t even go to the mall till fifth grade to get new stuff. And so for me to talk to my husband about like, you know, hiring a dog walker or someone to come cook for us, because it’s like, it was so disorienting to have those conversations. But it was so necessary, because I was like, I married a great guy. I want to stay married to him and not resent him all the time. Exactly. And I want to like, be able to enjoy this life. I’m busting my ass to create, I mean, you become an entrepreneur to have a certain lifestyle. And it’s like, yes, there is an invisible labor, and how do I still feel good? And all of that? It has been the question, right?

Amber Hawley 24:24
Yeah, and that’s the thing, if we push ourselves to the edge, there’s no space for anything else. There’s no space for ourselves. There’s no space for you know, our marriages. Sometimes there’s you know, because if especially if we’re only prioritizing the kids or and even then it’s like we push ourselves to this exhaustion point. And I think also that money stuff does come up for people around this when you know, I talk about outsourcing it’s like, Well, who am I to do this right and, and it feels like kind of diva ish sometimes and I’m like, Well, why why is that David like, this is insane. Like why should this matter, you know, if somebody is wanting to do the work and make money if you can pay them to do it, you know, my husband is retired, and we have a weekly house cleaner. And so there’s this like, but he’s not good at cleaning, and it takes him 100 years, and it’s still up to my expectations. I would rather him have energy, take his naps, and we enjoy time together, then be worried about all of those things, you know. And so it’s like figuring that stuff out. It’s like, well, of course, yes, we could spend our whole day working and cleaning and doing things. But I do think it is about making those choices. And, but going back to, I think there’s so much around, like special events or birthdays, or, you know, like school stuff, what, oh, today’s, you know, whatever Spirit Day or whatever, sometimes I feel so resentful of like, oh, my god, stop doing this to us. Because now I forgot to give my kid a yellow sweater. And I will feel like shit about that. Now. Those are the ones that hit me of like, I didn’t know, they’re great. The great thing is my kids want to participate. So they become a little personal and responsible for themselves, which I think is actually a good skill set. Right? So they’ll remind us or they’ll say something, but it’s that stuff where again, it’s sometimes it hits you and it really hurts or it’s a little painful. And sometimes you get to that place where I’m like, I don’t give a shit. And you know, I have so many examples of that one I like. So I just share this again with a neighbor. Because we’re having this conversation. She invited me over for a drink and just like dinner and catch up. And she said something about, oh, did you make something for Mark and the kids? Because it was very impromptu? No, I was like, What? No, I’m like, No, like he’s an adult, he knows how to feed himself and feed the children. Like, why would I do that? Like, I just got an opportunity to not do that tonight. Right? So there was that kind of thing. So I was telling her the story, though, of my kids were little and I think my I think my daughter was in kindergarten, and the oldest and so I had three kids under five. And you know, the two were 22 months apart. And I remember going to school and I’m still I’m running a group practice, but I only had sitters for exactly the time I’m seeing clients. So all the other work, I had to figure out when to do that, right. And so I’m taking taking her to school, whatever. And my husband was working at UPS still. And so he works like 15 hour days, sometimes, you know, like 12 hour days, for sure. And the teacher had these packets, and they did like a reading packet. And they’re like, Oh, you have to fill this out every week, whatever. And it just became this thing where my husband that wasn’t his strong suit. He doesn’t do that, you know, like he’s, he wasn’t used to it yet. And I said, we read every night, we read like three books. It’s part of our bedtime routine. And, and I told the teacher, I’m not filling it out. We read every night, I don’t have time to fill this out. I can’t, I said I have three Exactly. They wanted documentation. I like wrote a couple they’re like we need to see more books, you need me to prove to you that I’m reading to my kid, and I just don’t give a shit. So I told I wrote on it and said, we read every night three books, we are not going to be documenting it because I have three children under five. And that was it. And they accepted it for like half the year. And then they tried like strong arming us again. But it’s those things of like, oh my God, just because it’s important to you, it’s not going to be important.

Kambria Evans 28:21
And that takes a lot of work. That takes a lot of work as a as even though we’re therapists, right to get to that point of just like we’re invited to do so much invisible labor. Yeah. And thank you for inviting me. And no thank you to that invitation. I know. Thank you for that invitation. Right? I mean, I love that you are so clear about that. And I’m hoping that if people are listening to that they can give themselves permission, right to do that. Because we’re not hearing a lot of that permission. At least I didn’t hear that permission growing up in my family of origin. Right? That No, exactly the way that you showed love was by essentially making yourself available to everyone in the family for every single thing

Amber Hawley 29:03
24/7 All the time for everything. And I think, you know, part of my discernment thing is I have to be super selective about what I do agree to ensure up to Can I think they’re valuable? Sure. But is that right now, given my workload, giving my life with the season? Is that Is that realistic? I could do that I could show up to every single meeting or thing. But then I’m going to be super exhausted and then feel this pressure to get things done. And, you know, my experiences I think a lot of people or a lot of women struggle when it comes to their kids to like saying holding that boundary and saying no. And I think questioning it like sometimes it doesn’t even matter to the kid that you’ve decided it mattered. The other place is in our businesses, when we’re asked to show up for free to do things for these opportunities. Here’s your opportunity. And you somehow feel like I have to do this like I have. And that’s the thing where again, you know, well, one statistically, women are getting more of these unpaid opportunities for visibility, right. And men tend to get more of the paid ones. But there’s also this idea of like, I’m supposed to be doing all of this extra stuff. And and then that’s the burden. And so we’re focusing on showing up for others, because they’ve asked us to, and it’s hard to say no, as opposed to showing up for ourselves for the goals that we set for ourselves in our business.

Kambria Evans 30:27
I feel like that needs to be like printed and put on a t shirt that I wear every fucking day. And I’m going to have a little confession that I just realized I was gonna confess as you were talking, you know, I have twins. I have two kids for the first time. And that’s it. So I want to do a great job and I want to do everything I have this part of me and I have to manage it. I signed up to be room parent for both of my kids kindergarten classes. Do not do this. Anyone listening? Do not find. Oh, right. I was just invited to make like a walk a thon poster with like skiing and like there’s like pieces to it. And then I was just like, I cannot do arts and crafts. Like Like, what did I just commit to? Because I want to I want to believe and feel like I’m a good model. And five year olds don’t give a shit. If I make a poster for a walk a thon for fundraiser there isn’t gonna know that I made.

Amber Hawley 31:27
Yeah, they won’t remember. And that’s the it’s, it’s the ego thing to write like, I want to feel like a good mom. And yeah, it’s all that extra stuff. And I think yes, you can commit to things and I know parents who, like they purposely, you know, save time out of their in their day to show up for stuff like that, which is great. If that’s your top priority, do it. We’re not saying don’t. But my thought was like, Well, I would see if you if you wanted to do that. Maybe you do it every other year. Like one kid gets you this year, the other kid gets you the next year, something like that.

Kambria Evans 32:00
Are you crazy as a planner, like crafting. But you know, what’s interesting is I realized what’s important is like, I want to pick my kids up from school. And maybe I’ll come back to work. But like, that’s like, and you have to kind of do these experiments, right? It’s all zoom out and see myself in my relationship with this invisible labor and these invitations. And I try to see what my relationship is like moment to moment. And I tried to give myself grace and say, girl, you signed up to be prepared for your twins. Know, that experiment gave you some data? We’re not repeating that. And how is that informing your next choice about where to put energy and what to let go of. And I think that actually helps me feel less crazy and more anchored in this entire conversation.

Amber Hawley 32:45
100% and I’m a huge fan of experimenting, and I want to put out there. I would say if you were really struggling, I mean, maybe you you weren’t, it was just more like, whoa, I’m feeling it like this was not a great idea. But if you’re really struggling, it’s also okay to go back and say, Hey, I can’t do this for the second half of the year. Like it’s okay to go back to things. And I mean, this is something I talk about, with my clients all the time. It’s like, let’s get real about what’s on our plate. And then like, can always say no, or put a pin in it or, you know, maybe one day I you can do those things or volunteer again, at the charities, I used to do a ton of volunteer work. And now I’m more likely to do a one off or pay for or like donate, right? And even with the school thing, like you said, I know so many people who they want to pick their kid up after school and have that time together. And that’s great. If that’s the priority. You can’t make everything in priority, you have to then choose. Like if you’re doing that, and you’re at school all day being room mom, or room parent, how are you then how were you working? You’re staying up till 2am working is what you’re doing. But I’ve done the thing where I love parties. So I will volunteer for the parties and I will show up like the Halloween party, the Christmas party like I love those. And they’re one offs, right? Like they’re, they’re the they’re the short exertion of things. And so yeah, you do experiment, I think you do figure it out. I think me knowing I had three children like that it made it so crystal clear. My friends with one kid, they feel the pressure a lot more.

Kambria Evans 34:17
Well, and there’s pros and cons, right? I mean, I have I have my friends with one kid and like, it’s so hard to like, I’m sure it is and I’m having my twin thing. And then like I have friends like you with three kids or four kids. And I’m just like, Oh, is that possible? But I appreciate that we’re talking about invisible labor. I appreciate, you know that this is a conversation that’s come into mainstream society. And I appreciate that we can keep talking about it, and keep talking about our relationship with it. Because this isn’t going away. Right.

Amber Hawley 34:46
And in fact, the pandemic has made it worse. I mean, that’s what the that’s what the research are the people who are doing questions and like questionnaires and talking to people and getting data, right. It’s getting worse. I wish When I started looking into it that the concept kind of came up in like 1985, like being talked about and published about, I was shocked it went back that far. Like, because, yeah, exactly.

Kambria Evans 35:12
He’s in college. And that was not in my curriculum. I know. I know, late 90s,

Amber Hawley 35:17
I think it started, I think it was the concept started, it was called second shift. And maybe I’m wrong that that was what was published about in 1985. Again, by a so it was some it was either a psychologist or sociologist who did that. But that’s the thing where it’s like that stuff. Again, I know, I took a lot of women’s studies stuff never talked about that, right? We never talked about that stuff. But it’s, it’s something that has been around in the consciousness. And we as if you’re a couples therapist, I just posted Tik Tok about this, where and people have some reactions, but it’s like, we see this all the time, this struggle, this fight over, I feel overloaded, and you’re just doing nothing. And I see it again, both ways. I’ve seen it with both genders, statistically, we see it more with women. But when I you know, work with like, you know, same sex couples, you know, there’s this, the the disparity is still there, you often have those people who are like the people who kind of take care of things. And that’s part of their identity to be caretaker, and then, you know, they still can feel this this resentment, this feeling of being put upon, right?

Kambria Evans 36:27
Yep. And I think it’s especially hard for me, because I was raised in a house where my dad was the primary caretaker, and my mom was working, you know, a harder job, or like a more demanding job. And so especially coming from that perspective into my marriage with my like, you know, marine husband, who was raised in a more traditional framework, right? I mean, that’s been an interesting conversation. And I want a model for our kids like, what it’s supposed to look like, or what a healthy marriage looks like, when there is all this invisible labor, and how do we split it up and outsource it and talk about it and name it? And I don’t have the answers to that. But I just appreciate that you’re making space to keep the conversation going.

Amber Hawley 37:08
Yeah. Yeah. Cuz we have to talk we have to, we have to bring it into our consciousness. And, again, the decisions I make about that are not going to be the same as yours. I just want to point out she when she said harder, or more difficult, she did air quotes and people couldn’t see that because she’s, you’re used to your video stuff, right? So she wasn’t clearing it was Carter, but there Yeah, we have to fight this idea, though. That like just because you have a vagina, like somehow you’re better like, equipped to like, take care of things or manage shit. Although, incidentally, somehow having a vagina vagina, means you can manage it at home, but somehow not in the workplace. Right? Like, where’s this double mixed message bullshit?

Kambria Evans 37:53
Come on the podcast.

Amber Hawley 37:56
Yeah. But yeah, like going back to my, my husband is now the primary parent, like in the last few years since he retired, and he does so much of the stuff. And he’s really great. And he’s happy to do it. He kind of just does this little thing. But he still does not address a lot of these other. And he will admit it, we joke about it. He’s like, Oh, boy, you know, he goes, How do I do it? Because people will like, Oh, I love that card. I know, Uncle Mark sent that to me. He’s like, Well, how do I do it? You know, he’s always saying stuff like that. And, and, you know, he shows up at our children’s birthday parties and just enjoys himself and I’m still running things, right? Like that kind of stuff. So but even if they’re helping out, it doesn’t mean that that bigger piece is being addressed. And that’s where like you said, I have to go back for myself and like, reassess, because I don’t want to be resentful. And then all of a sudden in my stress space, like lash out, and just like start attacking him or her whatever, because because I kept taking it on or thinking like somehow I had to do this, right?

Kambria Evans 39:04
Yeah. Well, I don’t have all the answers. I’m learning the answers. I mean, shit with my kids are older. Maybe I can come back and tell you what all the answers are. I mean, but you’re gonna set your mouth before we are older.

Amber Hawley 39:17
Oh, I’m sure if it hasn’t been figured out by now. You and I give us a couple years. We’ll do it. We’ll make it magic. Yeah, but like you said, I think the important part is having this conversation and just talking about it and acknowledging this isn’t about hating on your partner. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about understanding unconsciously we are considering ourselves responsible for things and managing things that exhaust us and so so you’re doing all this extra stuff, managing all this extra stuff and then saying, Oh, what’s wrong with me? Why couldn’t I put up that? You know, social media post or you get this thing done that I said, I would get done by tomorrow, you know, you know, in your work like all the extra that why am I once again late on my taxes? It’s a big one, you know, especially with my ADHD peeps. But again, we have all of this extra stuff that we’re constantly dealing with that we just think, is we’re not supposed to, like acknowledge, like, Oh, we’re supposed to do that, in spite of it all. It’s not realistic.

Kambria Evans 40:26
Yeah. And that’s the zooming out part, right about noticing. I mean, I think, you know, me checking myself about my relationship with this invisible labor both at home and at work, right, and just having those check ins with myself and talking about it. But you know, it’s easy to slip into, like the denial phase, right? Where it’s like, oh, no, I got it all. I’m fine. I’m the fucking room mom, for everybody. And I’m doing this and this content for work and seeing all these intensive clients and teaching and, and it’s easy to fall into kind of like the shutdown phase, right. But when I can zoom out and see, see where I am, I kind of know what to do. And I know what, you know, adaptive responses aren’t so adaptive after all right?

Amber Hawley 41:09
Yeah, yes, yes. Yeah. And I like that keeping perspective. And, and I think we do have to make hard decisions about letting some things go. And that’s, that’s the one thing I see most people pushing back against, like, and I’ve jokingly said, you know, I have people, I think you reach a point in business where you started a business because you don’t want other people to tell you what to do. But then you get a point in business where I’m like, can I just hire somebody to tell me what to do? And then I start going, oh, I want to do this. And my, you know, my person is like, No, you can’t do that. You don’t have time for that. And I’ll like, okay, and I’ll agree, and I’m like, But secretly, in my mind, I’m like, oh, but I’m gonna do it. You know, I think it and then I make peace with, it’s not gonna happen. It’s one of those things where it’s a constant battle. And remember, it feels good to do things for others, especially if you care about people, it isn’t about being disrespectful, or, all of a sudden, you don’t care about other people’s needs or feelings. It’s it feels good, we get those dopamine hits, we feel useful, we feel valued. And that’s important for our self esteem. But there’s, there’s like diminishing returns, at a certain point, always showing up for people, you know, they don’t find you that much more valuable or amazing. And you just deplete yourself.

Kambria Evans 42:26
We all want to be good. Like literally, you know, I mean, we notice as therapists, like, we just want to know we’re good. And that’s like the impetus for like everything we’re doing and I’m trying to almost brainwash myself into thinking, Oh, that’s smart, like, oh, noticing that, you know, phaser in that smart or Oh, outsourcing that was smart. Like, I think I can kind of buy into this. I’m good, I am smart, because I am noticing the relationship now because I am outsourcing her because I am, you know, saying no, thank you. Right? So maybe maybe we propagate like a new positive cognition of like, look how smart you are saying no. And look how smart you are outsourcing. It’s a different message than like, you’re such a great mom doing everything for your kids all the time. You know, yes,

Amber Hawley 43:16
you’re an awesome mom for teaching them reality and not showing up all the time. Yes, I love that. And to be aware, if you have any sound any any part of that desire to people, please, even if you’re not doing it in an unhealthy way. Like, again, it’s not about changing your personality, and you can’t be a caregiver or somebody who takes care, you know, takes care of things or shows up. But it’s about understanding that it either has to be boundaries around that, or we end up in this totally depleted place. So that you don’t have the energy to do the things you’re super excited about to grow your business the way you want to or, you know, have hobbies or travel or whatever, whatever it is that you’re wanting to do. Or maybe it’s just sitting at home and Netflix for two days straight. I don’t care what your thing is. Whatever it is, I don’t care even if it’s to answer it’s to not people like if that’s the goal, do it. But yeah, I love it. Well, I know we could keep going forever and ever. Never. But I love I love that reframe that, that you’re that you’re talking about is like understanding that this actually choosing this. And I say to clients, this is modeling, being a good this is what modeling what it is for your children when they grow up. You don’t want your girls to feel like they have to do it all or shove for everyone to be lovable to be acceptable. Right? And so like remembering that but thank you, thank you. I love this conversation. And as I knew it would go so fast. I’m like how did an hour ago?

Kambria Evans 44:51
It was fun to talk with you and it’s an important topic, so I’m happy to be part of it.

Amber Hawley 44:56
Yeah, I have a feeling we’ll be still having these conversations for vinyl.

Kambria Evans 45:00
I’m 10 years older than that, yes,

Amber Hawley 45:05
I’m yet i, we have a date, we’re coming back and in some form or fashion, we’re having another conversation about this. So if people wanted to find out more about your brilliance and hear more about your wonderful ideas, where should they go to find you?

Kambria Evans 45:20
Awesome. Yeah, I have a website, zero disturbance.com, and all sorts of support for therapists there, around intensive programs, passive income, lots of EMDR EMDR, informed clinical reasoning tools. So hopefully that feels in service to any therapist who’s needing a little support right now. We’re awesome work right now.

Amber Hawley 45:43
Awesome. And yeah, thank you again. And I’m hoping that your takeaway from this conversation is maybe to create some space, say, notice something, go get some space for yourself, get some quiet or some music, whatever makes you happy, and really look at like, what are the things that I’m putting on my plate that I’m committing to, that are possibly depleting me and not actually something that’s important to me, right. Beautiful. Awesome. All right. Thank you all.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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