On writing, talking, walking, and eating dog food

Dog food heart
Photo credit: Flickr/Nancy Gonzalez

Hello, friends! I hope you're enjoying the first glimmers of Fall. It's gorgeous here in Portland — mid 80s, plenty of green leaves, a chill in the nighttime air.

It has been a full end-of-summer and back-to school around here. This was the first summer I felt pressed between my desire to write/frolic on the Internet and my urge to be present with my family offline. Usually that balance happens pretty naturally (during the summer I wake up early and my family sleeps in so my writing's done before anyone is conscious), but the last few months have been filled with an unusual amount of "But I want to write! But I want to laze around with the kids! But I want to write!" tension.

The tension is for the best reason: I've been working on something I love: my book, Minimalist Parenting. But it presented an interesting dilemma. While Parent Hacks has fueled my passion for years, I'm lucky that it can fit into the spaces around most days. I'm rarely on the computer after the kids get home from school, and I almost never check email (or Twitter or feeds) on my IPhone. But writing a book…folding the last several years into a package and writing about it…working with my coauthor, Christine…it's a completely different experience.

Writing Minimalist Parenting has caused me to think in themes and arcs instead of individual hacks. I've had to extend the focus on my thought process. It takes time, and I found myself in a mental tug-of-war quite a bit over the summer. Not with my family — Rael and my kids have been incredibly understanding about my increased workload — but with myself because I found myself with so much more to say and write than could fit into the morning hours.

* * *

I hate lingo-y catchphrases, especially the cheesy business-oriented ones. Things like talking the talk and walking the walk and eating your own dog food. But you know? They apply here. One of the central themes of Minimalist Parenting is making room for remarkable. Creating the space in your life for the important, joyful stuff. Making conscious choices about how you spend your time. I did a lot of that this summer. I spent a lot of time writing (more than I usually do during the summer), so when I wasn't writing, I was offline with the kids. Hence, the tumbleweeds and crickets here at Parent Hacks.

Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing LessWell, I'm excited to tell you that we're done (sort of). We just turned in our edits for Minimalist Parenting. The manuscript will go through another edit by the publisher, then get typeset into a book-looking file (I can't WAIT to see how that looks). We'll get a minor crack at it once more, then it's off to the printer. The book will be sitting on bookshelves in March, 2013. (Amazing how long it takes to produce a book, isn't it?)

Sometimes, you have this great idea in your head but the actual thing doesn't turn out like you'd hoped. Minimalist Parenting was the opposite. I'm so proud of the work Christine and I have done. It was the right moment with the absolute right person.

Throughout the writing, I've heard your voices, recalled your stories and our conversations, and thought about how much I've learned from you. Parenting is way too big for me to handle by myself.

While I'm catching up on my sleep and the laundry, I want to thank you for being with me, and for sharing all of your wisdom and intelligence over the years. I'm a better writer, and a better parent because of you.

Much, much, much more to come about Minimalist Parenting. We're working on some really fun and powerful ways you can get involved. Till then, back to the hacks!


  1. Erin says

    I just had to Google “eating your own dog food!” Cracked me up that I didn’t know a cheesy, business-oriented catchphrase.

    Congratulations on finishing the book! What a huge accomplishment.

  2. says

    Congratulations Asha! I think some celebration is in order and much deserved. I’m so looking forward to reading the book.

    Interestingly, I too have felt a much stronger pull in both directions : I want to spend every free moment on the Feed Our Families and writing, but I want to do so much more with my family. Balance has been hard for me as we haven’t found ourselves in a good school routine yet. It’ll come.

  3. says

    Congrats Asha! Love the concept of minimalist parenting and making space for the remarkable. Can’t wait to read the book! I find that it is also hard finding that balance of feeling obligated to fulfil the expectations of the people I work with and for but also balance that with enjoying my family, especially enjoying the age that my children are now (2 and 3). It has been nice to be working on my own so I have that flexibility that it also increases that tension as I don’t have that locked in time that I had as a teacher. Can’t wait to read your take on it.

    Founder – iWishfor

  4. says

    Congratulations! I cannot WAIT to hold your book in my hands. And I love the concept of “room for the remarkable.” Tucking that in my heart. xo