I have known Christine Koh as a digital strategist, graphic designer and Boston-based blogger for a number of years. I am now pleased to introduce her as the newly published author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less. Here she shares some secrets of how she makes being a mom of two seem so easy!
Parenting is one of the most gratifying jobs around. It also can be one of the toughest and most overwhelming at times! But fear not, there are ways to make parenting easier. Here are six tangible ways to "minimalize" the drain on your bandwidth. These tips will help you tweak your routines so you can enjoy family life more -- by doing less!
- Delegate chores. When you delegate chores, you’re actually giving your kids a gift. Chores help kids learn that they are part of a family system and equip them with essential life skills. Whether it’s setting and cleaning up the dinner table, helping with laundry, or tidying toys, as soon as kids become verbal and can follow simple instructions, they can help! For example, my two-year-old knows how to take her dish from the table to the sink after mealtime and help with toy cleanup.
- Bring your kids into the kitchen. Have your kids help you with food preparation. Yes, sometimes it will be messy and/or imperfect but keep at it and have fun. I’ve had my daughters Laurel and Violet in the kitchen right from the start and at age 9, Laurel cooks dinner for the family on occasion and can make chocolate cake and other tasty treats from scratch. WIN.
- Give kids space. The next time your kids (or your kid + a friend) start squabbling, resist the urge to jump in and solve their problem; just hang back and do whatever it is you were doing. If the kids come complaining to you immediately, tell them they need to try to work it out for 10 minutes. Kids need the time and space to figure out social interactions. Same goes for the "I’m bored" complaints. Wait your kid out and delight in the amazingly creative things that happen once they have a chance to exercise their imagination.
- Identify and aim for your family’s "Goldilocks" level of busyness. Look at the last couple of months of your calendar. Jot down the number of events that made a week feel too busy, not busy enough, or just right (Goldilocks!). Continually assess your family calendar; if you find weeks that creep beyond the Goldilocks level of busy, start editing out commitments.
- Say no. And don’t apologize for it. Related to #4, a big part of editing your and your family’s schedules and to-do lists involves learning to say no. And one reason people have a hard time saying no is because they don’t want to lie or make a lame excuse. Relieve yourself of the need to apologize or make excuses. Simply decline gracefully; no excuse needed.
- Get help. The reality is, you only have 24 hours in a day. It’s not a sign of weakness to get help; it’s a sign of strength. Whether you need to carve out a little more time to hit a work deadline, get breathing room during school pick up transitions, or crave a date night with your partner, book a sitter and give yourself the gift of time. You’ll be better equipped to parent in a happy place if you’re not totally depleted and frantic.
The beauty of these six things? They are totally doable adjustments that offer major time and sanity rewards. For further inspiration on how you can simplify your work, life, and parenting, check out Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less.