Being a kinkeeper is a role that I never anticipated having, but one that I have come to accept and embrace.
As the eldest child in my family, I have always been the one to take charge and keep things organised. But when my parents became ill and my siblings started to have their own families, the responsibility of being the kinkeeper fell solely on my shoulders.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task. Keeping track of everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events was a full-time job in itself. Add to that the countless phone calls, text messages, and emails that needed to be answered, and I found myself struggling to keep up.
But as time went on, I began to understand the importance of being the kinkeeper. Not only was I responsible for keeping everyone connected, but I was also the one who could provide emotional support during difficult times. Whether it was a family member going through a divorce or a child struggling in school, I was the one they turned to for guidance and advice.
Balancing the Joys and Struggles of Being the Kinkeeper
The role of kinkeeper has historically been assigned to women in many cultures, with the expectation that they will take on the responsibility of maintaining social connections and coordinating family gatherings and events.
However, this gendered division of labour can create an unfair burden on women and perpetuate traditional gender roles that limit opportunities for men and women alike
As much as I love being the kinkeeper, there are times when it can be a burden. It’s a 24/7 job, and there are times when I feel like I never get a break. But I have come to accept that this is the role I have been given, and I try to balance the joys and struggles as best I can.
One of the biggest challenges I face is finding the line between being helpful and being taken advantage of.
I have seen cases where kinkeeping can turn into weaponised incompetence, where family members use their dependence on the kinkeeper as an excuse not to take responsibility for their own lives. It’s a delicate balance, and I have to constantly remind myself that my role is to empower my family members, not enable them.
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Making Time for Self-Care
With so much responsibility on my shoulders, it can be easy to neglect my own needs. But I have come to realise that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of my family. I make sure to carve out time for self-care, whether it’s going for a run, reading a book, or simply taking a nap.
It’s not always easy to prioritise myself, but I have learned that it’s necessary. If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of my family.
Kinkeeping and Empowering Family Members
At its core, kinkeeping is about keeping the family connected and supporting one another through life’s ups and downs. But it’s also about empowering family members to take charge of their own lives. As the kinkeeper, I have the opportunity to help my family members build the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient.
Whether it’s teaching my nieces and nephews how to cook, helping my siblings navigate a job search, or simply being there to listen when someone needs to vent, I feel a sense of purpose in helping my family members succeed.
If you find yourself in the role of kinkeeper in your own family and are struggling to keep up with the demands, it’s important to communicate your feelings with your spouse and children. Let them know how much you appreciate their support, but also explain that you need their help to lighten the load.
It’s okay to ask for assistance with keeping track of important dates and events or managing household responsibilities. Encourage your family to be proactive in taking on tasks and offer guidance and support when needed.
By working together, you can create a more balanced and supportive family dynamic where everyone plays a role in keeping the family connected and thriving.
Being a kinkeeper is not always easy, but it’s a role that I have come to cherish. It’s an honour to be the one my family turns to for support, and I hope that I can continue to be a positive influence in their lives for years to come.
Image Source: iStock
As told to the author
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