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Simple Happy Parenting

It's amazing how things can come into your life just as you need them, isn't it? For me recently, that thing was a book called Simple Happy Parenting, a book that has changed the way I think and now parent in more ways than one. 

On the front cover, the book promises to share the secret of less for calmer parents and happier kids and it begins with a really honest, completely relatable letter to the reader from the author - Mum of two Denaye Barahona who has a Ph.D in child development with a speciality in family wellness. She talks about how when she was pregnant she wanted to give her children the world (like most parents do) and that this to her meant more love, more protection, more toys, more opportunities - more, more, more, but how then this desire to give her children more left her feeling less.. Less energy, less joy, less calm - something I can totally relate to in my own parenting.

She goes on to write that she hopes that we, her readers find inspiration from her book and that we take away tools and bits of advice that are useful to us and leave anything that doesn't suit our families. She reassuringly says that we'll never fit any perfectly shaped box or any expert-defined parenting philosophy and it's obvious even before the first chapter has begun that this isn't going to be a book that makes you feel that you have to parent a certain way or else feel like you're not getting it right. This is a book written by a Mum, who understands that parents and children and families as a whole are all different and celebrates parents for being the best they can be, rather than striving for an unrealistic 'perfect'. 

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One part of the book that stood out and really resonated with me was when a woman named June was introduced quite early on, she's described as someone I feel like I exhaust myself striving to be - someone who manages to manage it all completely and utterly seamlessly. Her home, her work, her parenting, her relationship, her own wellbeing, she's flawlessly balancing it all. She's literally who I thought I wanted to be until I read the next paragraph... because "June is fiction. This woman does not exist on Earth."

And it was reading those simple words after just a few seconds before having been nodding along to the ideal of June that made me realise, I'm putting too much pressure on myself. And the next few words were even more of what I needed to read... "Do your absolute best job as a mother, but let go of June. Instead of chasing the impossible, choose to live simply and love immensely. Be the best that you can be." It was at this point that I realised that this book had come into my life at the exact time I needed it to have. It was as if I suddenly let go of some of the guilt and the pressure that I put upon myself for not being able to do it all, as I realised that nobody can do it all. 

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Simple Happy Parenting offers much more than reassurance to parents who often wonder how others seem to be managing so well, it also offers heaps of practical advice, steps and tools to help us as parents deal with the daily overwhelm of modern family life. It's a book that teaches us to reduce the 'noise' in our own and our children's lives and instead enjoy a much simpler, calmer approach. It's not about suddenly having super-human patience, it's about discovering practical approaches to things in our lives that help us to feel less busy and therefore less stressed.

simple happy parenting, simple happy parenting book review, minimalism parenting book,What's so appealing about this book, is that the author takes us through her own personal journey. She describes in very easy to follow and clear sections in her book exactly how she took herself and her family out of the fast lane and put the breaks on and then goes on to explain in simple steps how exactly we can do the same. In one part of her book, she writes about the benefits of having less stuff, and how having fewer toys can actually encourage our children to play more and how research has shown that fewer toys help children to grow their imaginations and be more creative. 

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The section on toys and 'more stuff' really resonated with me as it's something that had been playing on my mind for a while. I've never been a fan of toys boxes as I dislike that the toys at the bottom often get forgotten about and never played with. I prefer to have a few select toys 'out' so that the boys naturally go over to pick them up and start playing without me having to prompt them. Reading Simple Happy Parenting actually sparked me into getting out a bin liner and going through the toys that we have in our home. Between the living room and both of the boys' rooms, we managed to fill up two bin liners for charity full of toys that the boys have outgrown and now wish to donate to somebody else.

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Another thing that we decided to do after reading the book was to skip on the gift shop on our last day out, we decided that whilst it's fun at the time to get a new plastic toy, the excitement soon wears off and the toy gets discarded quickly. I explained to the boys that the day out was the gift and we spoke about how using our money for days out and creating memories is more worthwhile than spending our money just getting something for the sake of it is. I was surprised by how much they seemed to understand this and how quickly the gift shop was forgotten about.

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Simple Happy Parenting also covers and offers practical tips and advice on things like getting screen time under control, refereeing our children less, encouraging free play, teaching mindfulness to kids, parenting with less fear and worry and so many more incredibly helpful topics. The advice is clear and concise and not pushy in the slightest, as the author says at the beginning you can take what you need and leave the bits that don't suit your family, though I have to say that I almost feel that this book was written for our family as so much of it is relatable. 

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I've read a few 'parenting' books, but nothing quite like Simple Happy Parenting, it's completely different in that it's straightforward, it's honest, it's easy to pick up, put down and pick back up again whenever I get a free moment, it's totally relatable and incredibly helpful in terms of helping parents to find a balance that actually works and it's modern in the sense that the author really understands how busy life can be and so provides steps that can be utilised by any parent and any family no matter how busy their lifestyles are. 

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It's my favourite parenting book by far and I honestly can't say enough good things about it. If you'd like to pick up a copy of Simple Happy Parenting you can find it over on Amazon here.

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Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo

*This is a collaborative post, however, all opinions that I've shared here on the book are entirely my own, as always.

1 comment

  1. I like the idea of simplifying parenthood a bit. I should do the same as you with the toys as my son has outgrown most of his.

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