Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
For some reason, after you have kids, it no longer feels like there are 24 hours in a day. Where does the time go? I completely lose mine. A few hours every day sneak away and hop onto a plane to Hawaii. That’s where the new book Minimalist Parenting comes in. Authors Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest (of Parent Hacks) have identified the areas in our lives that overwhelm us the most and give advice for streamlining our priorities and schedules.
I love the advice about the drug store–it’s so true. How often do I spend 15 minutes reading over the boxes of children’s cold medicine trying to figure out which one is the best and is going to make my sick pumpkin better? The fact is, the different brands are pretty much the same, and if I could just pick on in 3 minutes, how much more time and brain space would I have?
This book is filled with tips and tricks that will help reduce those feelings of overload regarding work, kids, romantic relationships, chores, quality time and more. I asked the authors a few questions to give you a better sense on what their enlightening, much-needed book is all about:
KK: For today’s parent, what’s the biggest hurdle to becoming a Minimalist Parent?
Christine and Asha: The overwhelm in processing the deluge of information and options, and the residual self-doubt when faced with the many “shoulds” out there. Parents juggle so much with work, home, school, activities, friends and communities…not to mention lack of sleep and a schedule that inevitably gets thrown off track for any number of reasons! It’s difficult to set aside the attention it takes to prioritize, declutter or simply rest.
KK: What’s your best advice for parents with a baby or very young children?
Christine and Asha: When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to grasp just how big a transition parenting is. Responding to a baby’s needs really means giving up control over much of your schedule for a time. So we’d say the best takeaway at that stage is to trust yourselfand to ask for help. You may not feel like it now, but you will figure out how to raise your beautiful baby. And it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help when you’re feeling depleted; you don’t need to do everything alone.
KK: You talk a lot about getting parents to trust their own decisions and that “course correction beats perfection.” Can you please explain what this means? Christine and Asha: We’ve found that there are few parenting decisions that don’t come with “do overs.” Whether you’re making choices about sleep, diapering, food or extracurricular activities, there’s usually room to adjust or change your mind altogether. And truly, perfection is overrated! Not only do you set yourself up for failure by striving for perfection, but grownups and kids alike (even babies, to an extent) thrive when they stumble then discover they can solve problems on their own.
KK: What are three tips you would give to a parent overwhelmed by after school activities?
Christine and Asha: 1. Kids–even those who are gung-ho on lots of activities–benefit from both activity and quiet. They need time and space to process what they’ve learned and experienced, and they also need downtime for rest and unscripted play. At first, that that may feel like “boredom,” but boredom actually can be an amazing catalyst for creativity.
2. You’re driving the bus…literally and figuratively. A kids’ schedule has to work for the entire family, including you. If endless driving and weekend games or performances are throwing the family out of balance, it’s perfectly acceptable to reevaluate.
3. Know that learning never ends. The flute lessons and basketball clinics will always be there next year. Is “falling behind” in competitive activities really a problem before high school or college? Perhaps for passionate or exceptionally talented players. But we don’t think that’s true for the majority of kids.Add a Comment