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Clean Slate Parenting

We begin. The art of clean slate parenting.

The other day my son, André, who is nearly 10 years old, and I were talking about growth mindset vs fixed mindset. (Many thanks to Carol Dweck for her visionary book, “Mindset”.)  I asked if he felt like he had a fixed mindset for any of his subjects in school. Because, I told  him, I had a fixed mindset about other things (housekeeping, some yoga poses, zumba, earning money ) and I had a growth mindset about some things (parenting, sculpture, meditation, performing). 

We agreed that some parts of our life are bathed in the light of growth mindset and that  some parts that were clamped down by a fixed mindset. If you have a growth mindset, you see failures as opportunities  to learn and grow as opposed to final judgments about your character. If you have a fixed mindset, when you fail you have proved to the world that you are a sham and not worth anything.

 They are teaching the 4th and 5th graders at André’s school these wonderful concepts by Carol Dweck and I am grateful. As had happened so many times in the last ten years: I am delighted that my son is getting such good lessons. And, it turns out that I, myself, need these lessons just as much if not more than my fourth grader.

The fact that I have a growth mindset around parenting is quite a bonus. Because I’m a single, older parent who struggles to make ends meet. Most of my family and a good number of my friends don’t have to worry at all about day to day/ month to month expenses. And while I like to have a clean, organized apartment, tidying up is at the bottom of the list. It is far below spending time with my kid, working on my own art and writing, and earning a living. Now- I know, so don’t say it- I know in order to do the things at the top of my list, I need a clutter-free, dust free living space. I get it. It’s just hours in the day, right?

Where did my lustrous growth mindset for parenting come from? I have been thinking about that for a while. Some of it is luck: in general, I look on the bright side. Some of it is circumstance, I have always wanted kids so there has never been any ambivalence about having a child. And some of it is tricks and routines that I have stumbled into or sought to help the days be pleasant and manageable. Since it’s fun to share and it’s good to review, I will share with you here the tricks and traps I have found along the road of this parenting journey.  

The gratitude practice, doing a “clean slate,” grumpy pirates, messy parent shares, a list of heroes,  hopes for the day, 30 minute vacations, to name a few, have been shelter in storms and icing on the cake. Because helping another human grow up, take care of themselves, and do good in the world is quite a task. And-newsflash- it means you have to take care of your own sweet self and do good. ( You knew that. Sometimes I need to write it because I need reminding. I beg your patience.)

Practicing is the key.( I realize this is something Captain Obvious might say, but it's true.) Practicing these tricks and weaving them into our life have saved me, saved the day and taken the prize. Because being an optimistic,  productive parent and person is a moving target. Sometimes the target is moving at breakneck speed. Especially when you live in Crazytown. And, let’s face it, we all basically live in crazy town. 

Some of these stories and strategies might help. Huzzah for that! Some of these stories might feel too groovy or make you roll your eyes. That’s cool too. I would  say whatever inspires a fervent reaction positive or negative can be instructive. Take what works. If nothing rings true, take a nap. There have been some stupendous out-takes that need to be illuminated, for sure. 

I’m calling my collection of parenting stories and strategies “Clean Slate Parenting.” (Maybe because “doing a clean slate” is one of my all time favorite tools not just for parenting but for life.) 

Welcome everyone! Enjoy. Let’s get started.


  1. I am so looking forward to hearing more! The clean slate is frequently-employed here on grumpy evenings with piles and boxes unsorted but dinner on the table and "graceful" being said. Thanks for giving us the clean slate in practice in our house and in words here.


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