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It may not surprise you that in some research Bupa recently did, it showed that lots of parents are turning to Google to confirm or deny their parenting fears, and answer questions about that are bound to come up in that First Thousand Days of parenthood.

While it’s comforting in some ways to know that there’s potentially support at the end of our fingertips, it’s also a bit concerning… I mean, why can’t simply trying to be the best parents we can be, be good enough? Why are we comparing our parenting journey to someone else’s and seeing if we measure up?

When I say minimalist parenting, I’m not talking about it in the sense that we need to cull some toys, but instead that we should trash the idea of perfection. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others on social media; reality will never hold a candle to someone else’s highlight reel.

I’m not sure where this idea of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parenting came into play but it seems to be the culprit behind mass judgment, the ‘mummy wars’, and an assembly line of guilt sandwiches. If someone else is doing it wrong, does that mean you’re doing it right?

How Can We Fix It?

Minimalism is a buzzword these days. I love the idea of decluttering our lives (physically and socially) to free more space for the things we truly covet.

When I think of minimalist parenting I’m talking about parenting styles. I’m talking about an approach that won’t leave you burnt out and bummed. I’m talking about getting some time to yourself (you are responsible for making that happen, sorry, something else to add to the to-do list.) I’m talking about ditching the guilt and plopping your kid in front of the TV for an afternoon while you shower, nap, work, or do anything else that makes you feel good.

So, what is minimalist parenting?

Living a joyous life that’s in line with your values (instead of some manufactured version of successful” modern parenthood) will give your kids room to grow into the strong, unique people they are meant to be. More importantly, this way of being will provide a model that shows your kids how to trust their instincts as they move toward independence and adulthood.” -Christine Koh Author of Minimalist Parenting

I suspect that with the increasing absence of our villages, modern parents are trying to take on all the roles; parent, teacher, elder, relative, entertainer, chef, friend, coach etc. Guess what? It’s not our job as parents to make up for an entire community.

Becoming a mother has been one of the most challenging, rewarding things I’ve ever done with my life. These First Thousand Days of my daughter’s life has inspired me to be a more patient person, to ditch the unimportant stuff, and most of all it’s taught me to work on myself so that I can be someone she looks up to.

Everything in me wants to wrap my world around my daughter, but I know that it would be damaging for both of us. I need to work on my own life and carve my own path that I’ll continue once she leaves the nest. I must ensure that this path is fulfilling enough to sustain me when she has her own world, her own family, and hopefully, she’s living the contented a life I’ve modelled for her.

What an ironic combination- giving the ultimate sacrifice by being more selfish.

5 Reasons to Try Minimalist Parenting:

  1. It gives us the space to parent better by focusing on what matters: I take parenting very seriously and yet I’m learning to let go of some of that seriousness. Being a Mother is the most important thing I’ll ever do but so is living my life to its potential.
  2. Saying, “no” is one of the simplest, easiest ways to take better care of yourself and your family. Consider shrinking your social circle to beef up family time, cutting down on extracurricular activities, schedule downtime in your calendar.
  3. Teach kids life skills- get them involved in everyday chores rather than with elaborate games and toys. My three-year-old sets the table and loves ‘helping’ with cooking and laundry. We make it fun, and she sees reality. I don’t run a sweat shop and she has plenty of time to be a kid, but I’m raising her to be an independent human all while spending quality time with her.
  4. You don’t need to keep up with the social expectations. You just don’t. You know what they say about comparison? It’s the thief of joy.
  5. You become a better role model: I’m very aware of the example I’m setting for my daughter. I want her to see a strong independent woman who is a mother, and who is also a writer, a wife, an artist, and a friend.

To find out more about the First Thousand Days, and get some more tips on how you can be the best you can be during this important time, visit here.

Author: dawnrieniets

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