Book Review: Minimalist Parenting

I'm reviewing "Minimalist Parenting" because I'm friends with one of the authors, Asha Dornfest. (I only review stuff I have a personal connection to or that I find on my own.) That means I wasn't going to say anything bad about the book, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I do*.

This book feels like it was written especially for me and you, and for Moxites in general. It's got all the things we love:

1. The overriding philosophy that you're just great the way you are, so verbalizing your style and preferences is the way to go instead of trying to follow someone else's recommendations.

2. A whole wide toolbox of things to try in all different situations, with the understanding that one or more will work for you but you can ignore the ones that don't fit.

3. New ways of thinking about concepts, and questions to ask yourself to get to the essence of the situation.

4. An inclusive and welcoming attitude for whatever your style and priorities are.

I was a little hesitant, initially, because I was thinking "minimalist" meant Asha and Christine (Koh, the co-author) were going to tell me to get rid of my stuff. They do not. Instead, they're telling me to think about my stuff and figure out which of it is making me feel good, and then get rid of the stuff that's making me feel bad. Which is excellent, as that's the direction I've been going for the last five years anyway, so it's SO NICE to hear someone else saying that I should focus on what nourishes me and not feel guilty about getting rid of the stuff that doesn't. (I've got more on guilt for you later this week.)

They do the same with time, so they don't tell you to cut out anything frivolous, but they do tell you to cut out the activities that aren't doing anything good for you. Love it.

The book sets up the philosophy (refining your own priorities for how you run your family life), then talks about time management (using a lot of classic business-related time management techniques and bringing them into the personal), stuff, space, finances, playtimes, school, activities, meals, vacations, and self-care.

This book is probably going to overwhelm you if you have a first baby under three months. If you have kids older than that, though, this book will give you a nice framework for thinking about all the areas of family life so you can assess what you can control and streamline things so you can process the chaos as it happens and spend more time enjoying life and less time feeling like it's dragging you around.

So: Two thumbs up. You can buy Minimalist Parenting here. Check out the website, and follow them on twitter at

* I thought it was going to be more about tips and less about framework. And we all know how much I love framework.