As you may have gathered from reading this book, my childhood experiences embedded in my cells a longing for meaningful relationships—to be a valued, accepted part of a community. One gift that writing Minimalist Parenting has given me is a reminder that I am, in fact, blessed with many wonderful relationships.
Thank you to the BlissDom 2010 attendees who told me after my panel that I should write a book (I drafted the outline for Minimalist Parenting on the plane ride home and bought the domain name not long after). Thank you Whitney Johnson, for telling Bibliomotion they should talk to me, even though you didn’t know I had a book idea, and Morra Aarons-Mele, for being a wonderful colleague and also the brilliant inspiration behind Pivot Boston (the stage on which the Bibliomotion connection took place). Gretchen Rubin, thank you for our early book conversations, and for guidance on agents once the Minimalist Parenting wheels were in motion.
Erika Heilman and Jill Friedlander at Bibliomotion—you have created an incredible new way of doing things that should be a model for all publishers. Our fellow Bibliomotion authors—you are a deep well of thoughtfulness, humor, and generosity. Josh Getzler—you are a trusted advisor and your feedback on the first draft of Minimalist Parenting was invaluable. Rusty Shelton, Barbara Henricks, Margaret Kingsbury, and your teams—thank you for your social media and marketing expertise and guidance.
Kristen Chase, Liz Gumbinner, Ellen Galinsky, Melissa Massello, Ellen Seidman, Aviva Goldfarb, Sarah James—thank you for sharing your wisdom despite having very full plates of your own. The countless parents who shared anecdotes via the Minimalist Parenting, Boston Mamas, and Parent Hacks communities—it was an honor to weave your stories into our manuscript. Karen Walrond—thank you for your counsel and brilliance in producing our book trailer and Jen Bolitho, Stephanie Brubaker, Leslie Fandrich, Sarah Hubbell, Jim Lin, Rachel Matthews, Irène Nam, Stephanie Precourt, and Maile Wilson, thank you for contributing the amazing photos that punctuated our script so beautifully.
To my brilliant coauthor Asha, I could write a whole book on what I learned in working with you. Thank you for joining me at Camp Mighty to talk about this dream, and agreeing to embark on this journey with me. Thank you for making this the most joyful entry into book writing possible. Thank you for knowing when to edit our to-do list and for picking up my to-do list items when I was coming apart at the seams. Thank you for your ever present support at so many levels.
To my dear friends and family—I can’t list everyone but I love and appreciate you all so much. Rachel and James (in absentia) Koh, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to convey how much respect I have for what you experienced, parenting so many children under such challenging circumstances. George, Kyoungho, Jason, Jennifer, Stephanie, Sharon, thank you for being my teammates during those early years. Estelle, Marjorie, Christophe, Jonathan, Nancy, Led, Josh, Claudia, Peter, and Joanne—I truly couldn’t ask for better in-laws. Patrick and Jeannie—thank you for so many laughs. Kate Fichter, Paige Lewin, Heidi Milne—thank you for helping me realize I could make a go of it with my creative leap. Nicola Majchrzak, Heather Hoffman, Heather Zuzenak—I value our dinners so much. Lynne and Kevin Lappin and Sharla and Frank Randazzo—thank you for all of the playdate swaps (several of which helped me meet book deadlines!). Anne Maka and Michael Dakin—we treasure your stateside visits so much. To my ONEMoms Ethiopia team—you all occupy a deep and special place in my heart. Mary—thank you for being the most incredible day care director in the history of the universe. Adelaide—thank you for all of your wise teachings.
And finally, Jon, Laurel, and Violet. Thank you for teaching me so much about myself and how to be a better person. Thank you for supporting my book journey; I know that I have shared many details of our lives and I hope that the result is what I intended: to convey the remarkable lessons I have learned from you all, with respect and deep gratitude. So many things in my life would not be possible—or would be completely meaningless—without you. I love you all.
Ushering a book into the world resembles the long, remarkable process of parenthood, with all its surprises and opportunities for humility. Also: the deep knowledge that it’s a group effort. I’ll never be able to thank everyone that has contributed to my inspiration for Minimalist Parenting, but I’m grateful to you all.
My first and sloppiest mention goes to Christine, my multitalented co-author and dear friend. I’m so thankful for all you’ve taught me about partnership, work ethic, generosity, and friendship. Thank you for trusting me with your dream, and for giving me the space to make it my own.
I never would have met Christine were it not for the community that gave me a voice: my blog, Parent Hacks. I share credit for my part in this book with the thousands of parents and blogging colleagues who have sent in their tips, left comments, and participated in smart, generous conversation for the last seven years.
I echo Christine’s thanks to everyone involved with the production of Minimalist Parenting: the inspiring moments made possible by the BlissDom and Camp Mighty events combined with Whitney Johnson’s pixie dust; our amazing publishers, Erika, Jill and the rest of the Bibliomotion team; Josh Getzler of HSG Agency; Rusty Shelton of Shelton Interactive; Margaret Kingsbury and Jessica Krakoski of Cave Henricks; Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks for her video editing magic, and all the brilliant contributors to (and champions for) our book, blog, and video.
As we were writing Minimalist Parenting, Christine and I traveled to Ethiopia with the ONE Campaign. This experience placed our parenting assumptions into a global perspective for which I will always be grateful. Huge thanks to Ginny Wolfe and Jeannine Harvey of ONE for making such an experience possible. To the ONEMoms—Kelly Wickham, Liz Gumbinner, Maya Haile Samuelsson, Diana Prichard, Alice Currah, Rana DiOrio, Gabrielle Blair, Cathleen Falsani, Jennifer Howze, and Michelle Pannell—you gave the warmest embrace one could ask for. And to the people we met while in Ethiopia: you showed me we’re all capable of great things.
My thanks to the educators in my kids’ lives: Carol Hewig, Lisa O’Brien, Rick Short, Jennifer Edler, Kristin Werts, Melissa Dragich, Teri Geist, Cara Pettit, Abby Largo, and Charla Cunningham. The only way I could focus on a project of this scale was by knowing my kids were thriving in your care.
To my friends, neighbors and guides: so much of what’s in this book came out of conversation with you. Alisa Mallinger, Judie Sedrick, Karen Einbinder, Kyran Pittman, Harriet Steinberg, Heather and Nate Angell, Mary Wells Pope, Lyla Wolfenstein, Mary Levy, Katrina Norwood, Jill Duval, and my beloved cousins, Leslee Koritzke and Hayley Alexander.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my family, without whom none of this would exist. My wonderful parents, Rosalyn and Jagdish Jirge; parents in-law, Carol and Franklyn Dornfest; and brother and sister in-law, Robin and Eileen Dornfest.
To my children: you inspired everything I wrote here. Sam, your strength, humor, and perspective has added richness to my own. Mirabai, your wisdom and clarity astounds and delights me every single day. I love you both more than I can ever express, and I am so grateful to be your mother.
Finally, to my brilliant husband, Rael: thank you for supporting me through each step of our journey. Your light shines on everything I do.