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The Minimalist Mom: How to Simply Parent Your Baby Paperback – August 1, 2016
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"'Less stress. Less mess. More love' is the book's mantra. The Minimalist Mom breaks down the areas where you can minimize into three sections: home, gear and clothing, and time, and asks us to examine what we really need, while giving us examples of how to un-clutter each of the categories." --Fit Pregnancy
About the Author
Rachel Jonat is the author of Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized and Happy Life, The Minimalist Mom: How to Simply Parent Your Baby, and The Joy of Doing Nothing. A sought-out expert on minimalism and simplifying, she has been featured on television and radio, The Globe and Mail, Babble, and Business Insider. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and three sons. You can read more of her work at her popular blog TheMinimalistMom.com.
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The book is organized into four major sections: What is Minimalist Parenting, Home, Gear, and Clothing. In the first section, Jonat explains what my husband and I realized after we had our first baby: though quality family time was our highest priority, we were spending our money and time everything but: on our house, its furnishings, baby gear and toys, and maintaining our lifestyle. Ironically, our stress and guilt around having a bigger house and things to fill it achieved the opposite effect. We were stressed, had zero time, and our relationship suffered. The thing is, it's easy to realize what's going on, but even knowing that it's hard to stop it from happening. It creeps up on you, unless you follow Jonat's strategies.
The other three sections take you through strategies, life hacks, and product lists that help you avoid being consumed (time and money) by *stuff*. We're thinking about trying to have baby #2, and will be coming back to this book over and over when we have to decide what to buy for the baby, and how our lives will change with the introduction of a new family member. Perhaps the most helpful portions for me were the break-downs of how to organize your time to get the most quality time with family, at the same time that you take care of yourself. Because you have to really take care of yourself if you want to be a good spouse and parent. Jonat acknowledges that different families are in different situations, and provides three different strategies in each section for the beginner, intermediate, and all-in minimalists.
I can tell you that this strategies in the book work because we live them. In 2015, my husband and I sold our 3 bedroom house and took to the road with our 1-year-old son. You could call us all-in minimalists, and we've never been happier. Babies don't need a room full of toys and a big house to be happy--they need the loving stimulation of their parents, families, and caregivers. Now that we're not paying the extra taxes, mortgage, upkeep, and maintenance of the 3 bedroom house, we can afford to spend time and money to be together more often, to take our son to parks and playgrounds, to travel with him and introduce him to new cultures. We're no longer hanging on for that two-week vacation every year--without our mortgage, in a perfectly comfortable two-bedroom apartment, we live every day the way we want to--with stimulating work for Mommy and Daddy, and plenty of time with our son.
If the idea of becoming minimalist sounds great but overwhelming (how do I actually go about changing my lifestyle?), and frightening (can I really do this?) Jonat's book will guide you through everything. Though we've been minimalists for almost a year, there are plenty of strategies in here that will streamline our lives even more, help us gain efficiencies so that when we have baby #2, we can still maintain the simple, happy life we're leading now.
*I received this for review - all opinions are my own*
It’s only in hindsight that we realize how many of those registry “must-haves” were really unnecessary. How wonderful if someone had told us beforehand “you probably don’t need this” or “wait to buy it until you do.” Rachel outlines everything you need to know in such pleasant, readable fashion; it’s like getting advice from your best minimalist mom-friend over coffee. This book is truly a gift for all parents-to-be (and should be required reading for grandparents, too!).