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Time to parent...

Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and You.

Another wonderful evening. Once more I find myself flooded with feelings of gratitude and fulfillment. And it feels so, so good.

Last night was the 3rd lecture of my salon (yay!). This time it was Julie Morgenstern, organizing & productivity consultant, New York Times best-selling author and speaker, who imparted her priceless wisdom on us.

The dangers of ambiguity” she stated as she went on to explain how performance and self-esteem are affected when we are unsure of what to do or how to do it. “In parenting there is ambiguity as to where the edges are”. Julie’s goal with her latest book was to create a manual that would provide parents with these “edges”. A framework that can be revised and tweaked at any time, checking for imbalances within the two main pillars she identified as “Raising a Human” and “Being a Human”. Each one of these pillars broken further down into four quadrants that she cleverly grouped as follows:

Under the pillar of “Raising a Human” she created the “Doing your P.A.R.T” quadrant, comprised by the areas of: Provide, Arrange, Relate and Teach.

Under the pillar of “Being a Human” she created the “Fueling your S.E.L.F” quadrant, comprised by the areas of: Sleep, Exercise, Love and Fun.

The overarching idea being that to feel fulfilled as human beings, as parents and to ensure we are doing the best we can for ourselves and for our children there needs to be balance in all eight of these areas.

The next piece of advice was :

“...short bursts of undivided time delivered in a consistent manner, doing something that interests your child.”

Simple sentence that carries so much power. The answer to the century-old question of “what is the right amount of time we should allocate as parents to our children to ensure they grow physically and mentally healthy and happy, all while feeling fulfilled and balanced as adults?”

It was conceived by connecting the common threads that Julie identified as a result of eight arduous years of research on child development, interviews with experts of all fields of expertise related to child development, as well as focus groups and individual interviews with countless families.

Here are some highlights of these common threads:

1. Children have a maximum of one minute of attention span per year of life. In other words, a one-year old has tops one minute, a 12-year old has 12 minutes or less before you lose them. Hence the term “short bursts”.

2. Relate to your child. Here she stressed the importance to relate with eye contact, face-to-face. “It’s only for a few minutes!” she reminded us. “Drop what you’re doing, the dishes, that email, the laundry, that phone call, and give those few minutes of undivided attention”. I confess I felt panic when she said that. Was I really going to be able to peel myself from the urge to have all my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed before sitting down to give my children undivided attention? How could I realistically do that when the kitchen looks like wild cats just had a feast? But as Julie shared anecdotes of real parents, I realized that what there was to gain was so much more rewarding -for both me and the kids- than me stressing over finishing my to-do’s and then expecting myself to be ON, all perked up and ready to spend a bigger block of time with them. It could be as simple as a hug or being an attentive listener to their story.

3. Parents need to change the way we relate to time. Again, she explained, short bursts of time vs. putting pressure on ourselves to finish everything we have to do first in order to “be free” to give them a big chunk of time. This, as she reminded us, never really works anyway. First, because finishing everything we have to do isn’t realistic since – as Julie said - “it’s a conveyor belt” and second because, again, we have their attention for a limited time before they are off onto the next thing.

4. Child led activity. This was brilliant. Total A-HA! moment for me. Example: taking your child to run your errands for three hours. Yes, there is bonding and talking, which is all positive and many times it’s the best we can do, AND as adults we might feel super competent: “got my stuff done, all while dedicating time to my child. Check. Check!”. But, as Julie explained, it’s not perceived that way by the child. When she explained what it entailed to truly relate to your child, she really drove the point of “entering their world”. Yes, sometimes the stuff they want to do is boring (Candy Land for the 9th time anyone?) but as she explained, it’s not about us as adults having to forcefully have fun while doing the activity with our child(ren). Quite the contrary, she urged us to approach it with curiosity. To take these moments as an opportunity to see what is it that lights up our child? Why is it that they like reading this particular book? or playing this particular game? What she was proposing was a mindset shift, a change in our perspective. A small, doable tweak that held the huge possibility we all have in these instances to get to know our children better in the context of THEIR world, not ours.

The entire lecture resonated with me from beginning to end.

And so, here I am again, grateful to all of you that made this evening so very special. To Julie and Tatiana for making the trip “to the country from the city” ;) to help us further grow and improve, to each mama that came last night amidst the madness of the holiday season and managed to carve out some very needed “me time”, and to each one of you that couldn’t make it physically but is reading this (very long!) email.

May this holiday season and the New Year bestow upon you and your families a flurry of blessings.

With intent,


For more on Julie Morgenstern’s work you may visit her website @

#juliemorgenstern #timetoparent #organizing #productivity #nytbestseller #timemanagement #parenting

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