Our first school break was… rough. I had no idea how much I’d come to rely on the restorative powers of Momo being at daycare or school while I worked. So when it all came to a head, I treated myself to a long hot bath and sitting down to watch the show everyone had started talking about that day, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I had flipped through a book of hers before and immediately fallen in love with the mindful way she approached organization – not framing it as mark of virtuous character, but as a way to show thankfulness for what you have. Thankfulness has been a little thin on the ground these past few weeks, so I guess I had a bit of an epiphany in that bath… while laughing at her assertion in the first episode that her children love tidying up as well. Oh, how nice, I thought, but that’s a bit of exaggeration to sell her schtick.

Well, friends, I tried it. As we were careening towards a meltdown today about the last-day-of-holiday-before-school state of the house, I tried it. I sat down on her bed and pretended I was Marie, coaching Momo on decluttering her room. And it was working! I watched while Momo stayed calm and made a few breakthroughs on some problem spots in her room all on her own. She asked me for some specific things I could help her with, like making labels for her drawers, and she even was finally ready to say goodbye to her giant play kitchen. So, the comic punchline may be that I Tom Sawyer’d her into doing all the work, but jokes on me, by golly, it worked.

What I forget constantly is that kids are all emotion, and I am a more logical, efficient planning type. Part of why I get so frustrated when I try to talk through things with Momo is that she’s barely affected by reason at all. So, to come in with this method of mindfulness that’s entirely about welcoming emotion – does something make you happy – spoke to Momo in her language. It was the easiest, nicest hour we’ve spent in each others company in… a really long time.

So, uh, thanks Marie Kondo; apparently you were exactly what we needed at this point in our lives!