In Episode 50, I chat with K.J. Dell’Antonia, author of How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute.
From KJ’s website:
I believe each of us is responsible for our own happiness.
I believe happier parents are better parents, and better people.
I believe family should be a source of joy and refuge, not another stressor in a busy life.
I believe we can be happy even when things aren’t great.
We can raise our families, live our lives, and love (almost) every minute of it — if we let go of the idea of parenting as a direct route to destination: success, and decide to meander along our own merry way.
This former New York Times reporter is taking on the rug rat race — join me! I wrote and edited the Motherlode blog for the Times from 2011 until 2016 and was a contributing editor to the Well Family section from 2016-2017. Ten minutes in my kitchen would convince you that, while some parts of my family life are enviably together (the Rice Krispie treats on the counter, the meal in the slow cooker) others are works in progress (the child on the floor, wailing that the homework is “too hard”). “How to Be a Happier Parent” is not a memoir (far from it!). Instead, my research, interviews and reporting are geared towards helping all of us figure out “how it’s done” in the bits of family life we find most challenging.
I was fortunate to meet KJ at the Mom 2.0 Conference, read an advanced copy of her book, and interview her for the podcast!
To determine what her chapters would be about, K.J. asked parents, “What sucks most?” about parenting. Chores and discipline rose to the top of the list, and those are two of many topics we discuss in this episode.
How to be a Happier Parent description
In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell’Antonia has done on families over the years, one topic keeps coming up again and again: parents crave a greater sense of happiness in their daily lives. In this optimistic, solution-packed book, KJ asks: How can we change our family life so that it is full of the joy we’d always hoped for? Drawing from the latest research and interviews with families, KJ discovers that it’s possible to do more by doing less, and make our family life a refuge and pleasure, rather than another stress point in a hectic day. She focuses on nine common problem spots that cause parents the most grief, explores why they are hard, and offers small, doable, sometimes surprising steps you can take to make them better. Whether it’s getting everyone out the door on time in the morning or making sure chores and homework get done without another battle, How to Be a Happier Parent shows that having a family isn’t just about raising great kids and churning them out at destination: success. It’s about experiencing joy–real joy, the kind you look back on, look forward to, and live for–along the way.
Ignore It by Catherine Pearlman (mentioned in this episode)