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Marie Kondo and the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Parenting

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Dr. Meg Meeker

In 2014, Japanese author and organization expert Marie Kondo released the English translation of her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Since then, the book has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S., Marie Kondo was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, and now her best-selling book has been turned into a hit Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

Kondo has grown famous for her unique method of organizing called the KonMari method. The method takes you through intentionally decluttering every space in your home by holding individual items and asking if that item “sparks joy” in you. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, give it away.

The series has been met with mixed reviews, but has been popular and widely discussed, proving that people want to tidy up, declutter and live more simple lives.

In one particular episode, Marie Kondo helps a family with two small children. Through tears, the parents say that the clutter in their home really began to take its toll when their kids were born. They had less time and energy to clean, less time to be together as a couple and the messy kitchen and bedrooms were simply adding to their problems.

Never do you want a simple and decluttered life more and never is this harder to achieve than when you are the parent of young children.

While I am not a professional home organizer, as a pediatrician and parent myself, I understand this struggle that young parents face. I also know that parents have more control over the speed and clutter in their lives than they think they do. By making a few simple changes, I think it is possible for parents to find joy in parenting again.

Slow Down.

Make a commitment to yourself to slow down the pace of your life. In order to do this, you will have to tidy up your and your children’s schedules. Find one thing that you can either cut back on or completely remove that will open up time in your life for you to breathe. It will be hard but remember, giving yourself the gift of time or your child the gift of more time with you will bring you only good.

Giving yourself the gift of time or your child the gift of more time with you will bring you only good.

Take off the badge of exhaustion.

Most mothers, whether working outside the home or not, believe they are tougher, stronger and more accomplished if they live so busy that they are exhausted. If you are an exhausted mother, ask yourself “Why do I thrive on being exhausted?” Then make a commitment to yourself to reject these feelings. They are not reasonable, they are irrational and very unhealthy. Children don’t want chronically busy, exhausted parents, they want present parents who like being with them.

Children don’t want chronically busy, exhausted parents, they want present parents who like being with them.

Be courageous enough to live differently from your peers.

If I am contemplating taking on another project, even if it is small, I have a heart to heart with myself and ask, Why would I take this on? Often I find that I don’t really have a reason other than the belief that I should do it because it would be expected of me. This is not a good reason. I have to tell myself no to many things and it is critical for all moms and dads to do this. There will likely be pushback, but if we want peace, we must learn to be comfortable with living very differently.

Trust Your Instincts.

The truth is, your instincts are there for a reason. They may stem from your thinking, the way you were trained to think and believe. But 99 percent of the time they protect you, and you need to listen to them. One of my biggest frustrations in working with conscientious parents is their fear of listening to what their instinct tells them to do when it comes to parenting. De-clutter the noise and trust what your gut is saying.

De-clutter the noise and trust what your gut is saying.

Tidying up your parenting is possible and when you do it, it will feel magical. Follow this method, allow life to slow down enough for you to savor it and soon, motherhood and fatherhood will spark joy in you again.

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