Every Monday, Momstamp features parenting ideas from women that inspire us.  In anticipation of the upcoming Crafting Community at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, May 1-3, founder/creative director Karen Kimmel, chats with Momstamp’s Julie Hermelin.  

As creative director/founder of Karen Kimmel Studios and Crafting CommunityKaren has made her distinctive mark as a designer, curator and creative consultant for brands such as Splendid, Target & Nike. 

1. Golden Rule

If you put out into the world what you’d like to receive, the payoff is immense. If I treat my husband the way I want to be treated give him time and freedom he needs to work, to workout, and he does the same for me, it keeps us both balanced and helps us function better as parents. On Sundays we try to figure out a game plan and build that into the week.   Of course, the plan that you set is not always the plan that manifests, but the goal is to be upfront, so both of us can know when it’s our turn for hardcore parenting and where our windows are to exercise or have personal time.  When I was younger, I was a little less generous with how I understood the importance of giving people their own freedom.  As my relationship has grown, and I’m 15 years in now, I see how important it is.

2. Outdoor Therapy

Outdoors is the ultimate panacea for our family. Getting outside, whether that’s the beach or a hike, seems to re-calibrate the whole family.  Kids are the ultimate reality check and if the balance is off, we can really see it in how our family dynamic is functioning.  If we’re out of whack, I’ll say “Everybody in the car, we’re going to the beach,” or, “Everybody outside we’re going to go on a hike.” Usually, someone’s disgruntled about it, but it always works.

3. Morning Prep

Before I go to bed at night, I try to set up everything that I need in the morning, even laying out lunch containers.  I problem solve for anything we may need so that when I wake up in the morning, if I’m a little groggy or one of us is not the best version of ourselves, we don’t have that added logistical issue to figure out.

4. Family Time

As parents, we want to fulfill our kid’s needs and desires but I feel like it’s not at the continual cost of breaking up the family unit so that there’s no togetherness. There’s real value in family time even if it means everybody doesn’t 100% totally love the movie or bike ride or whatnot.  Family weekends are sacred for us.  In this society of “ME” what is most interesting to me at any moment is really seductive. We try to set limits.  If we don’t cultivate that family time, our kids won’t learn to value it.

5. Stay Local

We try to stay super local. On the weekends, we’ll drive anywhere, but for the day-to-day logistics we have tried to keep as much as possible local. The only exception is ice hockey, because it’s hard to find it close. You want to celebrate the talents and interests of your children, but you don’t want to undermine the well being of the family. If you’re exhausted, or if one child is not getting what they need because of the needs of another, than you have to make a change.  As a parent, you’re always having to pay attention to balance and what seems right.

Check out Karen’s inspiring list of local recommendations on Momstamp!