What is Conscious Unparenting and is it Right For You? (Of Course It Is, Silly)

Kim Kinziefriendship, guilt, non-judgment, our book4 Comments

If you’ve stopped by our blog and maybe even read our book, you probably have a vague notion of the concept “Conscious Unparenting.” Perhaps now you’re wondering: what does it look like in one’s day-to-day life, and is this the right philosophy for me? Great questions…Let’s discuss. You might recall a year ago or more when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split up. Rather than get a lowly divorce like the rest of us plebeian slugs, they opted for a conscious uncoupling. Of course this begs to be mocked, so that’s what Dawn and I did one summer afternoon when discussing potential book titles – hence the term “conscious unparenting.” The more we thought about it, however, the more we realized that the title truly fits what we’re trying to accomplish, as we’re not asking our readers to disengage from their children and families, but rather to intentionally begin the process of doing less “parenting” and more enjoying. For example, one of the biggest issues I face is complete cluelessness when it comes to discipline. I grew up without any sort of discipline whatsoever, while my husband was raised in an authoritarian regime. Together we’re a hot mess, as we each struggle to find a middle ground. In my attempt to do better than our parents (because that’s what we’re expected to … Read More

The Benefit of Boredom

Dawn Michaelfriendship, Screen Time, self careLeave a Comment

My daughter asked if she could have a friend come over after camp and sleep at our house for the night.  Sure!  Having another child over would encourage hours of wondrous play for my two girls.  Memories of my childhood sleepovers came to mind-staying up late, french braiding each other’s hair, and dancing and singing into an imaginary microphone.  They were in for a fun night! After camp, we drove home.  The girls whispered and giggled while the radio drowned out their conversation.  We were almost home when I got the question, “Mom, what are we going to do tonight?”  I had already offered to take them to a movie, either in the theatre or the drive-in.  Both options were shot down as Jurasic World wasn’t something they wanted to see.  There were no other age appropriate movies that we could agree on seeing.  The idea of a drive-in didn’t appeal either as they couldn’t understand the concept of being able to see the movie screen with cars parked in front of you. One daughter suggested staying home and watching Dance Moms.  “No, that’s child abuse,” responded the friend.  Lighten up kid, my girls like to watch the dancers.  It’s reality tv- exaggerated behavior, but not to be taken too seriously.  I suggested we browse the bookstore and get Del’s … Read More

Mean Girls

Dawn Michaelfriendship, School issues2 Comments

As a mom, I look to protect my children from physical and emotional harm.  Physical harm hasn’t been a problem yet.  We live in a cozy, middle class town where break-ins are pretty low and violent crimes are few.  Emotionally, however, this town cultivates its mean girls.  I didn’t really understand how this happened as all the parents seem nice.  Am I naive?  Do these people propagate nastiness?  You see, for whatever reason, my daughter is drawn to these mean girls. These girls defy all the values I’ve been trying to teach my children.  Instead of supporting one another, these children rat each other out faster than a stool pigeon.  “Excuse me, Miss Teacher, student X(my BFF) just read.  Why should she get to read again?”  Or, your child forgets her homework and calls the mean girl for the assignment, “Uh sorry.  Gotta go.  Can’t help you now.”  What’s the right thing to teach my child to do?  Often, I scream, “Make new friends!  Play with other kids!  So and so is not kind and doesn’t deserve your friendship!”  Ths doesn’t seem to work as my daughter is repeatedly drawn back to this friend like a moth to a flame. By chance, I come across a book called,”Queen Bees and Wannabes ,” by Rosalind Wiseman.  It was as if the … Read More

Summer: A Great Time to Exploit, I Mean Make, New Friends

Kim Kinziefriendship, non-judgment, summer6 Comments

Last year I started out excited and optimistic for a fun-filled summer, but ended up broke, overweight and miserable, literally counting down the hours until that first day of school.   This year I’m more realistic. I know summer will be like running a marathon. Those first few miles are pure bliss, when you feel like you could run forever. As the miles tick by, you gently move from mild exhaustion to “holy shit – I can’t do this anymore!” Then you hit the homestretch in which you’re dehydrated, delusional and possibly have diarrhea running down your thighs but you’re just too tired to care.   That’s summer with young children when you’re a stay-at-home mom, unless of course, you can afford 8+ weeks of camp. So how can we survive summer? There’s only one way: spend time with friends. You can’t do this alone – seriously – so if you don’t have a host of fellow stay-at-home moms with whom you can spend time, get out there and make some new ones. Forget about trying to find friends who are completely compatible; you’re in crisis mode so it’s time to start seeing the good in all types of parents – enough with the judgment and divisiveness. Here are some of the women you want to couple up with this summer: … Read More

Life’s Paths: Respecting the Choice to Not Have Children

Dawn Michaelfriendship, non-judgmentLeave a Comment

I remember the quote, “You’ll never regret having children, but you may regret not having them.”  I thought of that when I read an article in the March issue of Bazaar magazine called “Opting Out of Motherhood.”  The author, Meghan Daum, had concluded that children were not something she pined for.  She preferred the calmness of drinking her coffee while listening to the birds chirp.  How come I hadn’t foreseen that my coffee moments would be in the car driving my children here, there, and everywhere?  Had I not given thought to what I’d someday sacrifice?  We are fortunate to have the choice whether to reproduce or not.  The author remarked how there were many times to doubt herself for not having children, but at her present age, she no longer had an option. Do I think she’s missed out?  I’m not sure.  Having children is a very personal decision.  I don’t look down upon women who don’t have children as “selfish.”  Rather, I see them as selfless.  It takes a lot of courage to say no to societal pressure.  Imagine having so much conviction in your belief that you won’t have a child “just to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything.”  Kudos to those who knew their limitations and opted out of procreating. For me, I’m thankful … Read More

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

Kim Kinziefriendship, non-judgment, our book2 Comments

As a long-time subscriber to the Huffington Post and mom of two, I’m a big fan of their parenting section, with contributors like Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery and Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy. With each click, I’ve always felt confident I’d be reading something interesting, thought provoking, or, at the very least, having a good laugh. I’ve therefore come to consider Huff Post Parents a reliable and professional source of information.  That is, until yesterday. A post entitled “Parents ‘Demanding’ Invitation to Baby’s First Birthday Goes Viral” popped up on my Facebook feed. It seemed to be getting a lot of attention so I clicked in because, admittedly, I’m human and immature, and sometimes enjoy laughing at stupid shit like this. The article highlighted an email sent by an anonymous parent who’s planning her 1 year-old’s birthday. She apparently emailed some family and friends with some birthday gift edicts. I use the term “friends” loosely, as clearly she has some frenemies – you know, those people you thought were your friends but clearly they can’t stand you – as one of the recipients passed the email around at work and it went viral. The result: the writer of the email is now the subject of mockery and scorn. As I scrolled through the contents of the email, I didn’t see the … Read More

The Prisoner Gets Furlough

Dawn Michaelfriendship, self care2 Comments

My life is full of endless responsibilities.  I play advocate, parent, wife, daughter, friend, and colleague, always morphing from one role to the next.  It takes concentrated effort to pull this off.  Someone always needs me for something, “Where are my gym socks?  Hey, can you take a peak at my eye?  Did you stop at Target for juice boxes and sandwich bags?  Did you sign my permission slip?”  As fellow moms, you can probably all relate.  Though grateful for the wonderful people in my life, I sometimes feel like a prisoner. It’s so freeing to give up those roles and just be me.  I crave that respite from my daily life.  I try to emmulate our book, “Conscious Unparenting” by placing my needs at least at the same level with everyone else’s.  In fact this weekend, I put myself first.  I let my husband take over my role of chauffeur, church goer, and frozen yogurt connoisseur!  I escaped to the Cranwell Resort and Spa in the Berkshires with four wonderful friends.  It took a lot of planning and money to make this happen, but the results were pure bliss!  After a weekend of shopping, eating, drinking, and relaxing, I was able to reconnnect with who I am.  I mattered.  My effortless existence allowed me to stay focused.  I wasn’t … Read More