I feel like I’m often walking on eggshells these days. Not because I’m navigating complex politics at work… but because I never quite know what reaction I might get from Hudson. One minute, he’ll calmly and sweetly ask for a cup of milk even remembering to say please and the next, he’s about to launch his body out of his seat and onto the floor because I dared to butter his toast when he wanted to do it himself.
No joke. We walked past a neighbor’s house earlier this week, and there was a bright yellow dump truck in their sandbox. Hudson immediately spotted it, announced that he wanted it, and almost made a beeline to grab it. I get it. It was a pretty sweet dump truck so I tried my best to acknowledge his feelings, explain that the dump truck belongs to another family and encourage him to hurry home with me so we could play with one of the 10 construction vehicles we have at our house. He reminded me that our dump truck isn’t yellow so he wanted this yellow one and proceeded to throw himself onto the ground wriggling about, shouting that he wanted this one, and topping it off with an ear piercing screech.
As I did my best to remain calm and help him through his giant feelings, I wished that Christine was the woman who walked by us and witnessed this epic toddler meltdown. I could have used her all-knowing smile and a “we’ve all been there, it gets better.” With two kids under 3, I love any opportunity to learn from moms who’ve been through it before, but Christine isn’t just any mom either. We covered a lot of ground in this conversation, but my biggest takeaway was to always make time for what I’m passionate about because kids do eventually grow up and cherish the precious moments that I have with my boys while they last.
Watch + Listen to the whole conversation:
Most moms reading this will know Christine Platt as the author behind the beloved Ana and Andrews series of children’s books. But writing was a second, or even third, act for Christine. You may also know her as the afrominimalist, or the Managing Director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. And that’s after a career in corporate law, while raising her young daughter. How’s she managed to squeeze all of that in? Christine shares how she never lost sight of her passion – even if at times she had to put her dreams on hold – and how she fights to protect time, even if only a few minutes a day, to nourish those passions and never lose herself in the process of raising her child.
How would you say motherhood has informed your work and how has your work informed your motherhood?
Motherhood is everything to me now. I think the beautiful thing about motherhood is that you find a strength and resiliency that you didn’t even know that you had. I mean you would say that you were tired before you were a mother and then you become a mother and you’re like- oh now I get what it means to be tired.
I think in terms of it informing me as a mother- being able to have really candid conversations with my daughter and being able to get her to understand and explain systemic racism and some of these other things from a child’s perspective and building upon that information gradually. Don’t feel that you have to provide all of the answers right now and you need to give a three-hour lecture about how systemic racism is affecting our society. It may be a very simple question that you’re asked and you provide a very simple answer that you continue to expand over time so that when they are seventeen you can say- So here’s another example of systemic racism. And this is the world, that you are inheriting unless you do something different.
In terms of it informing my work, working in racial and social justice, there’s no way I cannot think about my daughter, her friends, our family and the world that I want them to inherit.
How did start your journey to become a minimalist?
We don’t even realize how much we have in our homes or don’t use in our homes because prior to the pandemic anyway, we were rarely at home. So at that time in my career, being home full-time really allowed me to see how much house we weren’t using. I had read a blog post at the time and I just remember looking up and seeing everything in my house for the first time and I decided, I’m going to be a minimalist. I ended up chronicling my journey online as the afrominimalist because I didn’t see a lot of minimalists of color. I decided my practice was going to look very different because it was going to include the history and culture of the African diaspora because those are things that are important to me.
Minimalism is thought of as an aesthetic choice rather than a practice. What I was doing was just showing the practice of minimalism which is- living with intention and being intentional about your purchases and what you keep.
What advice do you have for your pre-mom self?
Please remember your dreams. There will be moments where you have to press pause, but you’re not stopping. You will be able to press play again and pick back up when your children are older and you find an opportunity, move closer to family, or whatever it is that provides you that break or window of time to pursue them again. Sometimes I would only have maybe 15 minutes to write, but when I did get those opportunities to work for an hour or two hours, I utilized it. It is really important because the time will come when you have a lot of freedom to really give it a hundred percent. My daughter is fully independent now and I have a lot of time. I’m grateful that I have an opportunity to do so many things that I love to do.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.