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

More Fuel for Grounding Those Helicopters

Kim Kinziehelicopter parenting, our bookLeave a Comment

In our book and on our blog, we make the case for moving away from helicopter parenting and toward a style that’s less kid-centric, more laid back.  We recognize that it’s not always easy to let go and give up control, but it’s necessary for everyone. As we here at Conscious Unparenting note, taking a step back is best for YOU, so you can devote some of that freed up energy to taking care of your own needs as well as those of your kids.  As research shows, it’s best for your children to help them develop self-esteem, independence and critical life skills such as conflict resolution, negotiation, and dealing with rejection.  In case you need to hear it from the experts (as opposed to a couple of middle-aged women who seem to want to justify their time away from their families), here’s a new study conducted by Brigham Young.  My only disagreement with this article: the notion that “helicopter parenting is relatively uncommon.”  Not from my vantage point. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you’ve done to ground your helicopter.  Or maybe you feel a bit lost and need some help or suggestions on being more laid-back.  Comment here and we’ll write back. Please like & share:

Skipping the Field Trip

Dawn Michaelguilt, our book, School issues, self care5 Comments

I love a good field trip just as much as the next gal!  Shopping, yoga retreat, tastings (wine or food)!  School field trips, not so much.  And so it was with reluctance that I told my daughter to add my name to the chaperone list to Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI.  Just what I wanted to do with a day off from work- spend it with 31 fifth graders!  I did get a little excited when my daughter said there might be ghosts at the mill!  Would these spirits channel my energy and offer me some supernatural advice?  Perhaps this trip wouldn’t be so bad?! Alas, I wasn’t chosen as a chaperone.  Two other moms got their names in before me.  What if I had told my daughter upfront that I didn’t want to go on the field trip?  Would that have hurt her feelings?  Would she have thought I didn’t care enough?  Part of being a parent is to make sacrifices for your children.  So even though the thought of making small talk with other chaperones and keeping all those children in line wouldn’t have been my thing, I owe it to my daughter to support her.  Yet, as a believer in conscious unparenting, I need to put my needs at least on par with my child’s. I decided … 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 School Bus Rush

Dawn MichaelADHD, our book, School issues1 Comment

I don’t enjoy school day mornings.  The chaos that encompasses them is relentless.  Though I get my children up in plenty of time for the bus, they are always rushing around, scrambling to get out the door.  The patient bus driver and bus monitor sit parked in front of my house, waiting for my two cherubs to board. I still have trouble fathoming why such a simple thing as getting ready in the morning takes so damn long!  My children are free of dress choices as they wear a uniform.  However, they still manage to fight about personal items.  Like rabid dogs, they lunge at each other, “That’s my headband!”  “She’s wearing my North Face jacket!  Take it off now!”  As an anxious negotiater, I offer a trip to Claire’s if they agree to share their accessories for the day. Breakfast is always a challenge because they’re never hungry in the morning.  The problem is they need to eat something so that their ADHD meds don’t upset their stomachs.  They sit at the table, staring off into space while I circle around them, stuffing pieces of cantaloupe in their mouths.  I repeatedly check the time, my voice rising an octave with each progressive check.  My youngest responds, “Mom, stop.  I know what time it is!”  Stubborn as the day is … Read More

Who Made Me the Judge?

Kim Kinzieour bookLeave a Comment

A few weeks ago my 5 year old started swim lessons at the Y. As he headed off with his instructor, I watched a gaggle of new moms and their babies head for the pool for the “mommy and me swim lessons.” I remember doing the same with my sons. Even though I knew he wasn’t truly learning to swim, it was something to do to alleviate those endless hours at home. I soon noticed that the women were grouped according to looks: the cute, skinny, young moms in one group; the chubby, older moms in another group; and the average but smart looking moms in a third. I listened to their conversations, which all centered around nap times and eating solids. They weren’t asking one another for advice; just sort of doing that “this is what I do” game. You know it; it’s the game where you talk about something you’re doing because you think you’re doing a great job at it, but underneath you’re really insecure and just want validation in the form of another person’s praise. It’s something we parents start the moment our children are born and it never ends. In the beginning it’s about sleep and breast-feeding; later it morphs to topics like screen-time limitations and eating habits. We speak up when we think we’re doing … Read More

The Go-Gos Would Never Sing a Song About THIS…

Dawn MichaelADHD, our book, self careLeave a Comment

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to get the book, here’s an excerpt from my chapter called,”You Call This a Vacation???” It takes place in 2013 at Loon Mountain in NH. Foolishly, we had decided to take the kids skiing. Here’s what ensued when we signed them up for lessons. Hope you enjoy! We got to the mountain and made our way over to the ski school corral. I put the girls in level two classes and my son in level three with his buddies. My friends and I kissed our kids goodbye and skied away. I felt the familiar sensation of exhilaration I always felt when I finally get some time to myself – one you can only feel when you’ve also experienced deprivation. As a working mom, my time away from my kids is mostly when I’m at work, so when I get some actual time to myself, it’s positively delicious – like the first glass of wine after nine long months of pregnancy, an unexpected warm day in the middle of winter or eating that chocolate Easter bunny after giving up candy for Lent. Yeah, it’s that good. I hit the mountain and slowly re-acclimated to the swaying and balancing that comes with skiing while the sun shone on my face. I was so … Read More

Tag- You’re It!

Dawn Michaelour bookLeave a Comment

Three years of hard work and it was finally here-our first book signing!  Longing to present my best self, I went to the mall two days before the event to scout a new outfit.  I didn’t have much time, so my mission had to be quick.  I checked out the fabulous tendy jeans, complete with shredded rips up and down the legs.  The sizes confused me- they were all European.  Just as a salesperson asked if I needed some help, I noticed the price tag- $239!  My measly budget of $50 didn’t come close.  Dejected, I headed off to accessories.  Surely I could afford something to update my look.  I spotted a fun, tie-dye blue headband – perfect for our book’s 1970’s theme!  I hit the cosmetic department last and overspent on a fabulous orange lipstick called, “Mischa.”  I was ready! The day of the book signing, I was able to leisurely shower, dress, and primp.  I even applied clear nail polish to my chewed fingernails.  I met Kim for lunch, where we indulged in a glass of wine and teeth friendly food (no spinach).  We reviewed what excerpts we’d read and how we’d sign our name -cursive writing with a whimsical comment.  We were prepared. Slightly anxious, we got to Symposium Books in plenty of time for the reading. … Read More

Book Release Day – Getting Ready for the Haters.

Kim Kinzieour book4 Comments

Today we released our book into the world. I realize saying “the world” is a bit optimistic (and possibly unrealistic), but the fact is this: everyone who reads our book will now know the grit; the details of our darkest, ugliest parenting moments. It was one thing to admit them to one another and a small group of friends. Putting them out there to be criticized by strangers is a whole different ball of wax. Friends who’ve read the book have said, “I hope you have thick skin. You’re going to get bashed.” I know this, and have always known it. I’ve even lied to them (and myself) by saying, “I can take it.”   But the truth is – I can’t. At 47 I’m quite confident about myself and happy with the person I’ve become. I won’t change my basic personality at this point and I feel my stories reflect that personality, to a tee. So if people reject and dislike my stories, essentially they’re rejecting and disliking the core of my being. Do I care? Hell yeah! I don’t care the way I did about wearing Levis over Toughskins in sixth grade, but I am feeling prickly at the thought of being on the receiving end of harsh criticism and name-calling. I know it’s inevitable. In researching this book, I read hundreds, … Read More