Guest Blogger

#PLA2018 – How to Adult, the Long and Winding Road (Home), and Mom Guilt

Do you have teens in your library?  I hope so!  Do those teens need to life hacks to be ready to adult?  Probably.  Enter #PLA2018’s amazing How to Adult: Teaching Life Skills to Teens.  This presentation outlines a super successful joint program of several California teen librarians called Adult 101, that covers typical “life skills” topics like budgeting and time management, but also delves into some topics that are particularly important to teens in the first few years of life after high school.  The series covers issues like:

  • Some previous Adult 101 topics

    Moving out – how to find a place to stay, make sure it’s legit, find roommates, create a roommate agreement (or, How Not To Kill Your Roommates), and reasonable rent expectations.

  • Public Speaking – according to Forbes, only 10% of adults actually enjoy public speaking, the rest of us muddle through it.
  • Food prep – how to eat healthy on a budget, 20-minute or less healthy meals, and one of my tablemates suggested “Dollar Store Cooking,” which I think is a great idea.
  • And this one is mine – earning potential of different career paths (we have a large population in my area that doesn’t pursue education after high school).

The presenters (Kayla Marie Figard and Elizabeth Tanner) suggested several tips for marketing and designing Adult 101 programs with humor and “bait and switch” tactics to get teens there and make sure they experience maximum benefit from the program.  They also suggest spreading the programs out a bit, because constant heavy topics and reality checks can get overwhelming to teens.  They suggest 1 per month or 1 per quarter.  Not sure what topics to offer?  Talk to your teens – they’ll tell you!  I love this idea and can’t wait to introduce the concept to my teen librarian. 

After this session, I jetted back to my room and wrote the above portion of the blog post, but didn’t post it, because I had to pick up our scheduled shuttle to the airport.  Unfortunately, when we got to the airport we discovered that our first flight had been delayed from 1:30 to 5:00 (I have no idea why I didn’t get text alerts), and would have landed 30 minutes after our connecting flight took off.  Our alternatives were to not get home until almost 1:00 in the morning, or rent a car, drive to Baltimore, and catch a direct flight to CMH that got us home roughly 1.5 hours EARLIER than our initial itinerary.  Two of us didn’t have cars at the airport and were relying on significant others (with kids who would be in bed at 1am) or friends to pick us up.  So, yeah, we rented the car.

Now, at this point, I’d like to take a moment to talk directly to those of you out there with kids who think they can never go to a conference like this because of the kids.  Maybe you have mom guilt already for working and don’t want to take business trips on top of that.  Maybe you don’t want to “burden” your partner with child care for 4-5 days.

Let me reassure you that, no matter what your barrier is, you should go.

  • Your kids will be fine. Whether they’re staying with your partner, or grandparents, or friends, they will be fine.  In fact, they’ll probably get taken out for ice cream once or twice, maybe taken to a playground or science museum or two, and will generally feel like they’re on vacation.  Plus, when you get home, they will be ALL OVER YOU.  Like, possibly to an extent that you’re overwhelmed because your body has been acclimated to interactions with rational adults who understand personal space and usually don’t have snot running out of their noses.
  • Your spouse/partner, if you have one, will be fine. Perhaps he or she is kind of hands off.  Or maybe he or she is an incredibly invested domestic partner who carries an equal share to you.  Perhaps he/she has never experienced an extended period of solo-parenting.  Whatever the case, he/she *will* grow as a parent while you’re gone.  If you’ve ever solo parented, you know why.  When there’s no one to share middle-of-the-night duty, the poop hits the fan, and when he/she is the only one there, they will *have* to power through it, and will most likely feel more confident and competent when you get home.
  • You owe it to yourself. Maybe you’ve never flown alone before.  Maybe it’s been many, many years since you could just focus on yourself and what YOU want to do with your time.  Maybe it’s your first professional conference and you want to go to ALL THE SESSIONS and soak up all the knowledge.  Maybe you feel like you know all the stuff, and you’d rather spend your time networking and prowling the exhibit hall.  In my case, I got to spend a super fun 5 days with colleagues from different departments that I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know much since I started at my current library in November.  And you know what?  I am CERTAIN that we will work together better now, because I *love* them.  They are my work-wives.

There are so many benefits to a professional conference beyond just the sessions.  If you want to attend something like #PLA2018, but your library doesn’t have the budget to send you, consider applying to present…then they can’t say no!  I don’t know when I’ll make it to another PLA, because my system has a large pool of employees they cycle through, but even if I’m not there, I hope YOU’LL be at #PLA2019!

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