Minimalist Parenting: A Review

Emily Hackethorn reviews & interviews

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Along with the natural nesting instinct accompanying pregnancy, I seem to notice all dirty, disorganized, not working things every March. Spring cleanse, anyone? Minimalist Parenting is the resource I’ve been needing to prepare for big transitions and clear head-space for my family. With beautiful writing and a down-to-earth approach, authors Asha Dornfest and Christine Kor present a workbook to improve our lives as individuals and parents. 

Newfound motherhood has, at times, revealed me channeling a hippo on a seesaw, who also has two left hands. An independent, social butterfly, suddenly soothing a crying baby, changing diapers, fumbling nursing tank-tops, internalizing the TIME Magazine-induced argument about Attachment Parenting, all while wondering “What does everyone think of me as a mom?” The core philosophy of Minimalist Parenting is observing yourself and your child.  Listen to your inner bus driver. With this confidence-boosting prospect, my seesaw might not be so skewed. 

Diving right in, the authors first share who they are, then ask us the same. Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned writer, designer, and consultant. Asha Dornfest is the founder of Parent Hacks, a blog named the #1 Most Useful of Babble’s Top 100. Full-time mamas with full careers, describing first-hand a simpler, happier family existence. 

Where do you come from? What are your values?

They help us find these answers with more detailed questions: 

What do you want to bring from your own childhood into the lives of your children? What makes your children and spouse happiest? How do you currently spend your time? How do you feel about that?  

We outgrew our bungalow last Spring: my husband carried the big stuff into storage, kissed us goodbye, and headed North to work. I had a deceivingly simple task: finish up. One evening, with a sleeping babe and boxes strewn about, I had an anxiety attack.  My relationship with the material world was in need of repair. Stuff = stress. Unreasonable expectations = disappointment. Thank goodness for friends who helped pack and got us out.  Since that move, I’ve been looking for a way to manage some of my nostalgia/organization issues. Minimalist Parenting reminds me: You’re not a bad person for having issues.     

Asha and Christine suggest our ideals and values are possible to attain (with a healthy dose of perfucktion) as we gradually eliminate what weighs on us and follow what gives us zing. 

Gems of advice like these have nudged me into a decluttering rhythm:

  • Choose your target area
  • Eliminate anything that provokes a negative reaction
  • Challenge the nostalgia—think in terms of your living history
  • Set reasonable goals based on your time

I’m currently working to simplify life for a transitioning toddler and birth of an infant, but Minimalist Parenting applies to our summers living with eight college-aged boat captains, too. Countless candid examples of solutions lie within these pages, and as you read, you’ll start vocalising your own.   

A comprehensive source for parenting with chapters like Tuning in and Prioritizing, Playtime: Good Simple Fun, Financing Your Minimalist Life, Education in and Out of School, Simplifying and Enjoying Meal time, Celebrations and Vacations: Less Fuss, More Fun, this book reveals how to make life easier, more meaningful, and more fun.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this minimalist movement makes a long-standing impact on parenting psychology in our culture.

Minimalist Parenting presents a walkable path toward enlightenment in your family, which will undoubtedly spill out to other facets of life. Feel like you need more simplicity in this complicated world? Don’t wait to borrow Minimalist Parenting. You’ll immediately start reflecting and underlining, keeping this resource within reach. 

Grab a copy for yourself!

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About the Author

Emily Hackethorn

Emily is a mountain mama & choir teacher, spending summers in Glacier National Park with Mr. Wonderful & baby Josephine, with one on the way! She loves to sing, play, collaborate, and write. You can find her blogging regularly at .

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March 2015 – Simplify
We are partnering this month with the marvelous minimalists:
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