Writer, reader, parent of adults. Author of PARENT HACKS and other books + the Parent of Adults newsletter on Substack.

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The secret of quality time

Meet my Dad. He’ll be 80 this year. He’s a strong, quiet man, not much for novelty or fads, yet interested in what’s happening in the world. Retired for 10 years. A devoted gardener, exerciser, and reader. Amazing cook.

My dad was born in India and arrived here in his early 20s with a college admission slip and the clothes he was wearing (the airline lost his suitcase on the flight over). He jokes that he was on “Pan-Am scholarship” because the reimbursement for his luggage paid for a year of tuition.

I’m an only child, so growing up it was just my parents and me. My dad didn’t have much time to talk or play; he was out the door to work before 7am each morning, and back after 6pm. Ours has always been a relationship of few words but shared experiences. Sitting on the couch together watching football, trailing after him doing garden chores, leaning against the fridge watching him cook.

Now, we take long walks in the neighborhood where I grew up. We talk more now (perhaps because we’re both adults and there’s more to talk about), and I’m hearing bits and pieces of his life at various stages. I have to connect the dots, as he’s not going to do it for me. But I do, and we laugh, and then we walk silently again.

Are minimalist parents lazy parents?

In “What Everyone Can Learn From Lazy French Mothers,” Pamela Druckerman examines Parisian mothers’ attitudes toward the “hassle” of extracurricular activities. The women she spoke to had no intention of clogging family life with endless driving and events at the cost of homework, free time and even boredom.

At first this attitude caused her to bristle. But time and research changed things.

Pamela writes: Were these French moms selfishly preserving their own leisure time at the cost of their kids’ development? Several years, and a whole lot of research (and Parisian parenting) later, I feel I can safely say: probably not.