About Parent of Adults

Photo of Asha Dornfest

Hello and welcome! I’m Asha Dornfest, a writer and parent of two young adults. I’m the author of PARENT HACKS, co-author of MINIMALIST PARENTING, and the former co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast.

I’ve been creating online community with parents since 2005. Time and time again, conversation and community has helped me through the fog.

Why this newsletter now?

When my youngest kid left for college, I figured there’d be some “empty nest” transition followed by the gradual settling into a new normal. But surprise, surprise, like every other parenting phase, the actual experience of empty nesting hasn’t been so tidy (even if my house finally is).

My relationships, routines, priorities and sense of purpose have shifted in ways I didn’t expect.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m thrilled with my kids’ departures. Not that it’s all smooth sailing, but I delight in the adults they’ve become. The breathing room is good for us all.

But the scale of change is daunting.

And it’s also freeing.

But it’s also scary.

And, but… *head explodes*

If you’re a parent of teens or young adults, you already know there’s no definitive advice that provides a shortcut to happiness or success or peace. There are only our stories: telling them, and listening to each other’s.

I created this newsletter so we can do this “empty nest” part together, because the longest phase of parenting begins after the kids move out.

How this newsletter works

Every Thursday, I send out a public post for all subscribers. A story, life lesson, practical idea…whatever seems helpful or interesting at the time.

Every Saturday, I send out a community post for paid subscribers. (Free subscribers get a preview with the full post + comments protected by a paywall.) The goal of these posts is to provide a cozy hangout where we can have more intimate, small-group conversations than we would in public comments or on social media.

Community posts might take the form of a Q&A thread or a crowdsourced list of tips or an activity or a journaling prompts or other bonus content. Or something else we invent together!

If you’d like to join a thoughtful, down-to-earth community of parents — or you’d like to support the work of this newsletter — I hope you’ll consider signing up for a paid subscription.

Gift subscriptions and group subscriptions are also available.

For more about why I charge for community membership, here’s a deeper dive into my community design choices.

More about me…

I’ve been married to my husband for 29 years, and my two kids (er, adults) live in another state. My son recently graduated from college (!) and my daughter is in her second year.

I created the Parent Hacks blog in 2005 when my kids were six and two. The blog ran for over ten life-changing years and is now archived.

I’ve written several books, but I’m best known for PARENT HACKS (Workman, 2016) and MINIMALIST PARENTING (Routledge, 2013), which I co-authored with Christine Koh.

Christine and I co-hosted the Edit Your Life podcast from 2015-2021. Christine continues to host the pod as a weekly solo show.

I like people.

I believe most people are good, or at least they’re trying. My definition of “good” is expansive and makes room for mistakes and changes of heart. That said, I have boundaries. I assume the best but I don’t tolerate bad faith in my life or my Internet hangouts.

I know without a doubt that kind, life-enriching spaces on the Internet can exist because I’ve created them before.

I’ve facilitated more than one long-running online community of thousands, and not just during the Internet’s golden era before social media.

I’m comfortable learning in public.

I find other peoples’ ideas fascinating, usually more than my own. I’m interested in real and nuance and growth. I’m confident about my values and opinions but I’m not attached to being the smartest (or coolest) person in the room, so I’m okay when folks don’t agree with me or point out flaws in my thinking.

I’m stubbornly glad.

I find hope in unlikely places. I think skepticism is healthy but cynicism is corrosive. I believe the best and bravest thing we can do is to keep going.

I love…

Nature, gardening, coffee with half & half, dogs (and cats, who am I kidding, I love all animals, okay, except mosquitos), travel, libraries, walking, goofy emojis, cooking, MY PEOPLE (family, friends, teachers, therapists, co-workers, kind and brave strangers, I love them so much), books, teenagers and young adults, exclamation points, picnics, 80s music, city skylines, free stuff on the curb, art, Portland, road trips, marching bands, a well-placed curse word, and many other things I’m forgetting to list.

I want to get better at…

Listening to new music, wearing more stylish clothes, resisting phone distraction, prioritizing delight and not letting my mail pile up.


I’m not easily embarrassed.

I’m quick to apologize, and getting better at knowing when I don’t need to apologize.

I rarely finish a glass of wine and never know what to order at a bar.

I fall asleep so quickly it alarms people.

I use she/her pronouns.

I’m highly enthusiastic about the stuff I love, unabashedly philosophical, a sucker for a good metaphor or pun, prone to intense moments of grief and joy, well-intentioned but annoyingly inconsistent at times, fierce at times, scared-but-doing-it-anyway, and trying to take things less seriously even though everything feels deadly serious right now.

My favorite pie is cherry pie.

And oh my God I love my kids, who are now adults.

The end. Finally!! Ready to subscribe?

Thanks for reading this extremely long About page. I hope you decide to subscribe.

Subscribe to Parent of Adults by Asha Dornfest

For parents who are thinking beyond the empty nest. By the author of PARENT HACKS.


Asha Dornfest

Author of PARENT HACKS; co-author of MINIMALIST PARENTING. Former co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast. Old-school blogger, community builder, stealthy agent of culture change.