In the fast pace of day to day life, the quest for inner peace is a daily one. And for parents, it can be even more elusive. As a small team of young mothers, our KIM+ONO team understands what is asked of parents in this particular time in history. In short: it’s a lot! From activities to school, to vigilance around social media and mental health, to creating communities and giving our kids all they need to succeed, it’s no small task to raise a child during this moment in time.
One thing that has always given us a sense of peace is connecting to our Asian heritage. That’s because the connection to ritual, tradition, and heritage can still our minds and bring us back to our values. It’s also because there is so much to glean from Chinese Philosophy — whether you’re Chinese or not. And this is especially true in trying to find peaceful parenting. Turning to the wisdom of ancient Chinese parenting philosophies can offer profound insights into fostering tranquility and harmony. When our founders, sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam, created these modern kimono robes, from our plus size kimono robes to our men’s kimono robes to our signature silk kimono robes, they were guided by time-honored traditions and the quest for contemporary comfort. Finding peace has always been equal parts looking back and looking forward to find the present moment. So today in the journal, we’re going to be sharing how a few Chinese philosophies from the Confucian and Doaist traditions, when applied to parenting, can bring a sense of peace that is so needed in these frenetic times.
For Confucian philosophers, there were huge benefits in simply creating a ritual. That’s why it’s always been important to us to create rituals around wearing our silky floral robes. Slipping into your women’s and men’s kimono robes isn’t just a fun way to get dressed, it’s a way to create ritual. And when kids see and participate in rituals, it gives them a sense of place and purpose. In Chinese philosophy, rituals are seen as a way to cultivate qualities you want yourself (or your children) to have. Even if every day is chaotic, the ritual of coming together over dinner is enough to reset the tone of the day for a peaceful evening. Or perhaps you and your little one have a ritual of simply pausing before each meal to remember your ancestors, as Confucious himself did. For both kids and parents, rituals can be the connective tissue bringing you back to your center.
One thing we love about all of our charmeuse and silk kimono robes is that they will look unique on everyone. They bring out your unique qualities and nature. And this is a Daoist philosophy that leads toward more inner peace for you and your children, as well. Finding joy in what you do well — even if it’s not what everyone else is doing — is a way to feel peaceful, connected, and grounded in who you are. Teach your children that they don’t have to be like everyone else. And show them an example of that Daoist principle by following the beat of your own drum too. Simply giving yourself comfort and beauty when you want it — whether it’s in sipping a delicious aromatic tea or slipping into a silky floral robe — is a way to reaffirm your inner spirit and allow you the peace you need to approach the busy days of parenting. The added bonus is that when your children see you unapologetically being yourself, they’ll want to be themselves too.
Confucian philosophers taught that parents and children are highly attuned to each other. When you are feeling off, disconnected from your spirit, run down, or otherwise crummy, your kids know. And how you deal with that feeling is also something your kids pick up on. The Confucian philosophers taught that self sacrifice for the benefit of your children is not an actual benefit to them. Kids need to see you take care of yourself so that they can learn how to take care of themselves too. Slipping into your favorite maxi kimono robe and heading out for a night with your girlfriends is in fact a beautiful thing for your children to see — even if they protest in the moment! You’ll come back in a more peaceful state of mind, they’ll understand that relationships outside the family are important, and you get a chance for everyone to breathe and metaphorically stretch their wings.
The Daoist philosophers recognized that life is filled with imperfect moments and sometimes even misfortune, but they also knew that if faced with openness, life’s challenges can be turned into strength. When you look at everyday as a challenge to be endured, it’s different than looking at it as a challenge to strengthen you. There may be times you want to curl up in your silk kimono robe and shut out the world — and believe us, those times are valid! — but in addition to those moments, you will rise and your kids will see you rise. Approach the challenging times with openness, knowing there is something to learn, something to strengthen you, or something to gain when going through the toughest moments. It doesn’t mean they don’t feel bad, and it doesn’t mean everything is okay. But it will mean that you can trust yourself to get through them when those moments do come. And if your kids know you can get through challenges, they will feel equipped to get through challenges too.
There are many Chinese philosophies to help us find peace during parenting. And at different stages of our kids’ development, we’ll reach for different understandings. But we hope these few philosophies can help guide you on a journey toward inner peace and emotional well-being while doing the hardest job of all: parenting.