Ever think living a simpler, more ethical and minimalist life is just too hard? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There are plenty of modern moms making small changes and big shifts to bring more balance, simplicity and conscious consumption to their everyday lives.
Today I have another edition of the Modern Parent Series. In this series, I interview everyday parents who have a knack for making parenting and family life a little bit simpler and more manageable.
I’m beyond excited to introduce you to Ralphie of Simply On Purpose. She’s the mom of four daughters and an up and coming Instagram rockstar, as evidenced by the the thousands of followers she’s gained in the last few weeks. She shares amazing insights about how to keep parenting simple and not so stressful.
The thing I love about Ralphie’s account is that, as the name implies, her ideas and tips feel easy to implement. So many parenting books and blogs leave me feeling like I need a lifestyle overhaul to experience the change I desire or they’re so academic I wonder how to apply them to real life. Ralphie’s ideas aren’t like that at all!
Mom Modern Interview with Ralphie of Simply On Purpose
Welcome Ralphie! Let’s start by introducing yourself to everyone.
One of the questions I am asked the most is if Ralphie is my real name. Yes, it is! I’m named after my grandfather.
What inspired you to start consistently sharing your parenting insights on Instagram?
Have you ever had a time in your life when lots of pieces come together and it seems a little too… purposeful? Well, that’s where I am! After teaching parenting classes, sweet mothers began reaching out to me asking for ideas, insight, and encouragement. It was just too obvious that now was my time to speak up.
The world needs women who are passionate about motherhood and cultivating a strong family. I needed a format that was quick, visual, and community based. Instagram was the perfect answer. I love sharing what is good in my life and learning from others so we can all walk a little taller and easier on this journey.
I know you have four daughters and come from a large family, but where did you amass such insightful knowledge about parenting? Is it a passion you have developed over time? Read about often? Learned from experience?
I think that all of us are cultivated from a very early age to fill a space in the world and make a positive difference. My mother is a child psychologist and watching her be a child whisperer my entire life has shaped my perception of children, that they are inherently good and easily molded.
I was blessed to have a mentally and physically handicapped older sister which has made my heart forever open to children who struggle. My degree is in Early Childhood Education, and I have always had an eye for the wonder of childhood learning.
When I had my own children I started realizing my mistakes with raising them. So I spent the next 10 years pouring my mind, body, and soul into my little family. Books, yes! Experiences, yes! And more mistakes, yes yes yes. It’s all been part of a becoming.
And here’s the real secret ~ My mission in sharing is really all about the kids. I have learned early on that the only way to truly impact a child’s life for good is to teach the parent.
You recently shared your thoughts on sibling rivalry, a different perspective on managing fights between siblings that encourages siblings to work it out on their own. Not feeling responsible for mediating the fights certainly should help us all feel a little more patient about the battles. Do you have other tips for maintaining patience with our children, maybe a general trick that we can try?
My heavens, that’s the biggest battle, isn’t it? A light bulb moment for me was when I realized that if my children misbehave, it’s not because they are naughty. It’s because they haven’t been taught. So I say to myself “This is a great opportunity for my child to learn. And I’m just the person to teach them.” This statement creates distance between the child’s actions and who she really is.
I love watching your Instagram Stories, but I don’t always have a chance to hear them before them disappear. Do you have plans to share on more than Instagram so we can find your goodness later?
I do have plans to share and teach in a more permanent way, either through videos or a podcast. I’m still working on those details. I love that mothers are eager to share good things with their friends and husbands, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to give more. If you follow me on Instagram I will take you deeper into what ever I am teaching elsewhere, so be sure to follow me there.
I love being able to give followers tangible resources so the blogs that I contribute to are a huge help. Raise The Good and Conference For Moms follow my ideals and goals, and they are the perfect place for a mom to hang out and gather ideas.
I heard you mention on Instagram Stories that you teach parenting classes. Can you tell us a little more about what you do and how readers might be able to participate if you’re in their local area?
Teaching face to face classes is my very favorite because I love meeting new people and learning from them. I do workshops where we talk about how behavior in the home develops, what to do when your child behaves well and not so well. I also give a good portion of the time to developing family culture.
I want every one to walk away with skills they can use in ANY situation, such as knowing how to seize the opportunities to have lots of positive interactions with your child, and the ability to clearly communicate your expectations.
If I have a class coming up and it’s open to the public, I will let you know via Instagram when and were the classes are!
You’ve shared on Instagram a lot about your Family Economy, which was one of the first things that got me hooked on following your Instagram account! Readers who haven’t heard about it can take a look at your blog post all about it. I love the benefits you describe related to financial responsibility, ownership, and choices.
Have you also seen that it encourages some aspects of minimalism or lessens consumption because your girls are more thoughtful about their purchases, more grateful for the things they have and want, and generally make fewer wasteful or impulsive spending choices within your Family Economy? If so, can you share an example or two of that?
Oh yes, to all of these. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being amazed at how much that system is teaching my children.
A great example of how it teaches thoughtful purchasing was the day that my 6 year old saw a doll at a store and just had to have it. I am truthful when I say that I allow them to choose what they do with their money (otherwise, it’s not a system of ownership and choice). She bought the doll, and it completely depleted her checking account. The next day she cried and cried because she didn’t want the doll anymore and missed her money. Now, a year later she still talks about what she learned from that decision; that she will remember her goals and save up for them.
An example of giving that I love is actually from a good friend of mine who also does the economy. One week her son did really well and was paid on pay day and her daughter was not. Later that day they went out to dinner. Because there is power in having money, the son decided to buy himself some hot chocolate. After seeing the sad look on his sister’s face, he bought her one too. The joy of giving is absolutely one of my favorite things that the economy teaches.
Do you have any tips on managing picky eaters??? Any advice on encouraging them to make healthier choices?
I get this question surprising a lot! And it’s a tricky one because each child is very different. What I would suggest is to not forget that table manners is a taught skill and that skill comes slowly. It’s okay (and should happen) for you to place food before them that you know they won’t like. In our home I have a wide range of picky pallets, but I don’t pay any attention to it. We have the simple guideline “Only tell adults what you DO like.” We talk about how important it is to learn how to navigate around food. Find something that you like and eat it with gratitude. This is a life skill.
Anything else you want to share with readers that we haven’t touched on yet?
The most important skill that any parent can learn is to go out of their way to have positive interactions with their child. If you can do that, say 8 positive things for every 1 negative thing, your life and your children’s lives will be happier and easier. The more attention your children get for being happy, kind, and peaceful, the more you are rewarding and reinforcing those behaviors. Give it a try!
To find more of Ralphie’s amazing parenting insights, follow along on Instagram and check her out on Facebook at Simply On Purpose. I also really love this article she shared on Raise the Good about The Places Children Go and why we feel like we never have a minute to ourselves. You won’t be disappointed!
If you have a mom (or dad) friend who might also love this article, Ralphie and I would both love for you to share it with them.