353. Setting Boundaries and Getting Help: A Candid Conversation with Dr. Kelly J. Baker

Today I’m chatting with Dr. Kelly J. Baker, who was also part of my episode with Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom last year. In this conversation, Kelly and I talk about her academic work studying white supremacy and the klan, and how history is never only in the past.

But the core of this episode is talking about setting boundaries. Kelly and I have been having an ongoing casual email conversation about setting boundaries, especially within specific organizations and settings.

We talk about the expectations placed upon women in terms of

  • Email replies
  • Social media interactions
  • Demands up on your time
  • External expectations of time and expertise
  • Organizations like the PTA

We are going to dish on PTA a LOT. I bet you have PTA stories. Bring it. Tell me about them.

We talk at length about the ways groups of people keep one another in line with damaging expectations, and how much shame and shaming play a role in that exercise. And without being explicit, we are also talking about emotional labor, and how, when people, often women, refuse to tolerate unpaid emotional labor, and say no, usually someone else who is vulnerable pays the price. It’s a whole thing.

As I read in Burnout, it can be a challenge to have empathy and compassion for a person or group who is trying to push you back in line with their expectations of your behavior, knowing that in a lot of ways they may be driven by internalized misogyny and patriarchy. Those expectations come in many different subtle, damaging messages, and we’re going to talk about some of them.

Kelly also touches on setting boundaries for yourself in working from home, or being self employed, and the pressure we put on ourselves to Produce All The Time.

We also talk at length about mental health, and mental health crises, and seeking therapy. Kelly recently wrote about the the cost of coming to terms with your own mental illness and asking for help.

And of course, we have book recommendations.

Listen to the podcast →

Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Kelly at her website, KellyJBaker.com, and on Twitter @Kelly_J_Baker.

In this episode, we also mentioned:

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Thanks for listening!

This Episode’s Music

Michelle Sell Secret Harbor a shot of a palm tree from underneath against a purple pink and red smeared sky The music you are listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. This is called “Rivertown” by Michelle Sell, from her album Secret Harbor.

Michelle Sell is, according to Sassy, “a San Fransisco-based harpist who has not released new music recently, but she has some really beautiful older music. This is one of my favorite songs to write to. When I need to write a moment where a character does some serious alone time self analysis, this song tops my playlist. Michelle’s music is up on iTunes, and if our California listeners dream of a harp at their wedding (and who doesn’t), she takes bookings.”

You can find Michelle Sell on iTunes, Amazon, or at her website.

Podcast Sponsor

This episode is brought to you by The Second Chance Rancher by Kate Pearce.

Spinning off of her popular Morgan Ranch series, New York Times bestselling author Kate Pearce introduces the Millers of Morgantown! It might be the pride of hard work on rugged terrain, the welcoming community, or the memories—but wherever the folks of Morgantown may roam, they have a way of coming back to the ranch.

When Jackson Lymond returns from serving in the Air Force, the last thing he expects is strike up a friendship with Daisy Miller, the girl he always noticed in high school even though she thought she was invisible.

Daisy doesn’t really expect Jackson to remember her. Back in school she did her best to blend in—and pretend she didn’t have five brothers who’d hogtie any boy who even looked at her. These days though, she and Jackson might have more in common than just their ranching relatives. After all, they both left home only to return.

Trouble is, under the watch of her fiercely protective family, Daisy is longing for some privacy. Letting Jackson into her life could make that even more difficult—or it might be the second chance they’re both looking for.

The Second Chance Rancher by Kate Pearce is available wherever books are sold and at Kensington Books.com.



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