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Method Mixed Bag: June

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Welcome to this month’s Mixed Bag, a collection of mini posts on various topics that are relevant to me right now. I am headed into Week 4 of what I’m referring to as ‘The Month of Crazy’ which includes 2 of my children’s graduations, a weekend away with friends and my 30th College Reunion. The month entailed travel traveling each of the 3 weekends leading up to my daughter’s graduation party and as of publication time I have T minus 4 days until the party that we are hosting at our home.  All of the hoopla surrounding the celebrations of these important milestones has me thinking a lot about my kids, their childhood, their formative years and their futures – sigh. I’m focusing this month’s content on Method For The Madness on kids, but in the meantime here are a few things occupying my mind at the moment.

graduation crazy

Our oldest Brooks graduated form Chapman University in May – we raised an adult!

My son graduated from college a couple of weeks ago and I was surprised at how emotional I felt.  This experience was very different from his High School graduation where I got a little misty but mostly was excited for his impending college years (HS graduation was also the height of his nest-soiling phase, which may have had an impact on my lack of sentiment.) Brooks will spend a month with us this summer before starting his adult life in the Bay Area, with a job, a car, an apartment and other adult things like health insurance.  I will cherish this last month with all 5 of us living under the same roof.

Soon after Brooks departs for adulthood my youngest will head off to college, leaving our nest empty (thank goodness for our dog!) I suspect that her graduation from High School will be more emotional for me because she is the last, representing the (almost) end of our tenure as hands-on parents.  Yes, she and her sister will be home for a few more summers before they graduate but it does seem like the end of an era.  Am I ready?  I think so.  Are they ready? I hope so.  There is a book that I discovered when Brooks was midway through High School that changed me and heightened my awareness around certain aspects of parenting – I hope that much of what I took from that book had an impact on my kids’ level of independence.  Time will tell but in the meantime if you are a parent you should read…

how to raise an adult

This book changed my life – please read it if you have kids

‘How To Raise An Adult’ by Julie Lythcott-Haims is my parenting bible.  I’m only sad that Julie wrote this book when my kids had already hit the teen/tween ages.  I wish I had been able to read it when they were smaller; it would have helped me navigate and swim against the very strong currents of over-parenting that surrounded my experience.  The book’s main focus is navigating the college application process with teens, a topic Julie became passionate about after spending many years as the Dean of Freshman at Stanford – seeing firsthand the effects of overprinting on a generation of incoming freshman at one of the most elite universities in America.  It covers that topic in detail but there is so much more

This is supposed to be a short blurb to peak your interest in reading the book yourself but I will give you my 3 biggest takeaways:

  1. Letting your kids fail (and get hurt) is the only way they are going to learn and build resiliency; trying to protect our kids from everything that can hurt them is doing more damage to their future mental health than any failure ever could

  2. Model modern parenting for your kids by prioritizing things you enjoy that are independent of them; show them you have a life outside of their existence. Not only will they grow up to be more independent but they will be more likely to see you as a fully dimensional human vs. just their parent

  3. The 2 most important things you can do while raising adults are: 1) Start them young with chores/household responsibilities and 2) encourage them to get a summer job in their teen years

If you have kids please read this book – it will change your life!  And your kids’ lives!

macro-micro sort

Need to do some sorting? Start with Macro categories – then move to Micro

I’ve been working on several kid’s spaces of late and it always puts me in mind of a key approach to organizing that is really helpful when tackling a project on your own.

The first thing you should always do when beginning a project is take everything out. Only when you have pulled out all the things from their various hiding places can you get a visual of what you have (and what you need to get rid of.) Now you are ready to sort, but most people don’t realize there are 2 levels of sorting that need to happen and the order of operation matters:

First is the MACRO sort – this is identifying the big categories/families and getting all of the like-items together.  The Macro sort is critical to decluttering  and should be accomplished prior to any product purchasing!

Second is the MICRO sort – this is going down one level further with your categorization, which will then determine the appropriate storage solution. 

Since kids are the theme in June I’ll use a kid example: when organizing a play/craft room a Macro sort would put anything art/craft related together in one category.  Then the Micro Sort would go one step further and identify the categories within arts/crafts: paints, crayons, markers, paper, scissors, tape, etc. 

Sometimes one of the Macro categories won’t have any Micro sub-categories – but I find with kid-related anything this is rarely the case, so before you go nuts on a shopping binge with the goal of a insta-worthy playroom make sure you have completed both sorts!

college reunion

My 30th College Reunion – looking good Class of ‘92 Leopards!

Amidst all of this celebrating of my children I was able to sneak away for my 30th College Reunion at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. We had beautiful weather and it was such fun to reminisce and catch up at the same time. I hope Brooks and all of the college graduates in my life had as much fun in college as I did – and have the opportunity to re-connect with the people they hung with at a hugely formative time in their life.  Phases of life…super cool.

Stay tuned this month more more on how to stay organized for summertime, when college students invade and kids have the run of the house!

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