What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Month: June 2017

Episode 19: Does Messy Matter?

Does messy matter? In our kids’ rooms, in our front halls, in our kitchens?

We’re not talking about hoarder-level mess; we’re talking about the tendency toward entropy and chaos in any house with multiple children who play two travel sports and/or bring home backpacks brimming with loose slips of paper every afternoon.

Margaret’s house is pretty messy, and that stresses her out.

Amy’s house is pretty neat, but keeping things that way stresses her out.

In this episode, we talk about how to manage both our household chaos and our expectations around it. We discuss:

  • why keeping the toy room too neat may stifle your children’s creativity
  • the value of a decorative box
  • the importance of (once in a while) going “back to one”
  • why making beds is either the most important thing you can do OR the biggest waste of a daily minute

Here’s links to some further reading on the topic that we also discuss in this episode:

Laura Vanderkam: The Magic in a Messy Playroom

Alison Gerber for Apartment Therapy: Dirty Little Secrets of Tidy Families

Gretchen Rubin: Drowning in Clutter? Observe the One-Minute Rule

also Gretchen Rubin:  what she’s found to be the most popular happiness-making resolution

ABC News: Study Says Tidy or Messy Environment Can Impact Decisions and Behavior

Lauren Cunningham for Her View From Home: I Keep a Clean House. Can We Still Be Friends?

We want to hear from YOU for an upcoming episode! What’s the “how old is old enough to…” question you’re struggling with at your house?  Maybe it’s how old is old enough to get a phone… or how old is old enough to babysit…. or how old is old enough to walk home from school alone. Tell us in the comments- or click on the gray microphone on the right sidebar and leave us a Speakpipe message! 

(photograph by Sue Barr)

Episode 18: When To Let Kids Quit

Out of all the things we stress about as parents, whether to let our seven-year-olds quit the violin seems like it shouldn’t matter that much. If they wouldn’t have made first chair in the Vienna Symphony anyhow, what difference does it make?

But letting our kids quit— or making them tough it out— gets at the very crux of parenting: pushing our kids enough, but not too much. Directing their young lives, but letting them find their own paths.

In this episode we discuss:

  • the crucial difference between quitting and “non-re-upping”
  • the importance of “dabble-level” activities for little kids
  • finding the “less-intense alternative” for older kids
  • the times that it’s okay to let kids quit
  • the times that you need to push them through. As Dr. Angela Duckworth, the esteemed “grit” researcher, put it: “Don’t let them quit on a hard day.”

Here’s links to some further reading (and some viewing) on the topic, most of which we discuss in this episode:

Nina Sovich for WSJ: When To Let Children Quit

Delia Lloyd for Brain, Child: Should You Let Your Child Quit?

Amy Wilson (!) for New York Family: Finding the Optimal Push

KJ Dell’Antonia for NYT Well Family: Raising a Child with Grit Can Mean Letting Her Quit

Melaina Juntti for Men’s Journal: Six Signs Your Kid Should Quit a Sport

Angela Duckworth: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals

HBO’s documentary State of Play: Trophy Kids

This episode is sponsored by Blinkist. Read all those non-fiction books you’ve been meaning to get to in 15-minute “Blinks” on your laptop or phone. You can read, listen– or both! What Fresh Hell listeners can try Blinkist for free at bit.ly/WFHblinkist

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