KJ Dell'Antonia: How You Can Be Happy Even When Your Kid Isn’t

June 19 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Natural Consequences

Natural consequences: It’s a phrase that stayed with me when I spoke with today’s Woman to Watch. What’s something that’s been a struggle in your life? Maybe it’s getting your “three-nager” out the door on time, or getting your partner to text you back more quickly. These struggles are often struggles because we’re trying to control someone or something.

If Miss Independent is late to preschool, let her face the natural consequences of missing out on show and tell. If your boo is MIA, let him face the natural consequences of being single (ouch). Set those around you up for success, but then, let them navigate it for themselves.


A little easier said than done, right? If you’ve got to clock in at 8, it might be possible for you to let your kid figure it out on her own. No one said this motherhood thing was simple. Heck, we’re all lost. Fifty-six percent of working parents with kids say it’s difficult to balance the responsibilities of work and home. Don’t be like the other 44 percent: Admit to yourself and those who support you if you’re struggling, and feel comforted by moms who nod in understanding.

WOMAN TO WATCH: KJ Dell’Antonia, Podcast Host & Author of How to be a Happier Parent

KJ Dell’Antonia is one of those mothers who will be the first to tell you this parenting thing isn’t for the weak. She’s got her own podcast and is the author of How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. Her journey toward becoming one of the world’s most celebrated parenting experts is an interesting one, and perhaps even more interesting is she’s super candid about it.

Writing is KJ’s bread and butter. She’s been doing it since she called herself “mom” to her first kid. KJ started writing for The New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode. At the time, the publication didn’t have the funds to pay for staff writers. When the editor of The Motherlode moved on, KJ positioned herself as the only person for the job.

That’s where KJ shines. She’s got a confidence about her that’s convincing, in part, because she delivers on her promises. When KJ got the call for a tight deadline and a potential seat in the editorial chair, she seized it. Did KJ tell the person on the phone that it’d have to wait because she was sitting in the parking lot about to go in for her doctor’s appointment? Nope. She got started, instead.

KJ was the editor of The Motherlode for five years before it pivoted into a more health-focused resource. She knows what she’s best at, and she bravely made the jump to becoming a full-time writer and podcast host. How to be a Happier Parent is KJ’s newest book, and it gives parents the tools to grow patience and kill resentment.

Now a mother of four, KJ has some seriously helpful wisdom as both a parent and as an expert. There’s a lot of advice out there on modern parenting, but what’s particularly intriguing about KJ’s approach is that she encourages you to work with what you have and where you’re at; there’s no special product to buy, no weekend overhaul.

Here are some of KJ’s parenting mantras: Just because you see something doesn’t mean you need to say something, whether it’s battles between siblings, or your kiddo has a bad day. Similarly, you have permission to be happy when your child isn’t. Not taking on your child’s disappointments might just be the key to a happier household.


Writer N. K. Jemisin said:

“In a child's eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

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