I am not too proud to admit that there has been a time or two when I've given my child my phone to watch something while I caught a few more z's after an early wake-up call. And I'm not too proud to admit that chicken nuggets, shredded cheese and carrots sticks is one of my go-to dinners. I'm not too proud to admit that I have outright cheered when my child has been old enough to help me do something or get something for me, easing the load of motherhood just a little bit. (Honey, could you throw this diaper out for Mommy, please?)
If you want to call this "lazy parenting" I won't be offended. I have come to embrace this laid-back parenting style. It fits me like my "lazy mom" uniform (aka capsule wardrobe) of yoga pants and t-shirts does—naturally and comfortably. It speaks to my soul. It just gets me.
1. I don't worry until there's something to worry about.
(Aka, I take it easy on my nerves when I can.)
There are plenty of instances with raising children where the "something to worry about" comes up. So when those times arise—when my preschooler has a 104-degree fever, my toddler keeps repeating a fresh word, my teething baby seems so uncomfortable—I typically worry. But there's also a LOT of things that I *could* worry about (like whether I should be buying everything organic or what other people think of my mom abilities) that I try really hard not to get caught up in.
For example, you won't catch me following my older kids around the playground reminding them to be careful. I keep my eye on them of course, but I also let them do their thing. I will run as fast as humanly possible when they actually need me, but otherwise, I'll be pushing my 7-month-old on the swings.
2. I teach my children to do things for themselves.
(Aka helping them become independent humans.)
Now, when you call this 'Montessori', it sounds more pleasant, I think. And that's what I am doing. I am teaching my child to be self-sufficient. And right now since they are four and two (I let the 7-month-old off the hook with this stuff for the time being) that looks like moving their cups and plates to a cabinet they can reach.
Or ordering a Brita filter with a spout so they can get water when they are thirsty. Or teaching them to put their dishes in the dishwasher when they're done, watering the garden, picking out their own (weather-appropriate) outfits, putting their own toothpaste on their brush and brushing their teeth, or letting them take a shower and wash themselves (I still need to be in there, but I can be answering emails, etc. if I need to).
My 4-year-old can now buckle both car seat buckles by herself. I do a check once she's done, but she is really good at it and I've only had to fix it once. I know this sounds so small in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like it was a game changer. I guess when you have three kids you'll take the wins in efficiency where you can…
3. I encourage my kids to play with each other.
(Aka I'm helping them build strong social skills.)
My husband and I joke around with each other about the fact that we created baby #2 and baby #3 so that they'd all have people to play with. So they can entertain each other when we need to get something done.
Siblings are nice to have around for companionship and entertainment, for sure, but I do get that some people only want one child or maybe a family is experiencing infertility or a long adoption waitlist—so many a sibling to play with isn't the answer. But, fear not! Friends, cousins, neighbors, classmates—scheduling a play date even for an hour or two can give you a much-needed break.
It's not like you could go run errands or say, "See ya! I'm going to take a nap!"—you still have to be around to supervise and whatnot, but you can probably cook dinner or get another task done that's on your list without having to entertain at the same time.
And believe me—the whole "playing with each other nicely" does not always work. There's fighting, arguing and yelling. But then there's the laughing, the singing, the dancing, the pretending together. And so even if you get 15 minutes, let's consider that #winning, shall we?
4. I buy things that make all of our lives easier.
(Aka I spend our money wisely and efficiently.)
Why get shoes with laces that you have to tie when they're little when God (or someone else) created velcro? (Save those laces for when they're a bit older…) We've been gifted a step stool for each child that we keep in the bathroom so I don't have to pick them up every time they need to wash their hands. We also encourage them to pick it up and move it about the house as they need to reach things.
We've bought kid-safe chopping knives so I can have little sous chefs help me during dinner prep and a small broom so they can help us sweep after dinner.
So, sure, maybe this is "lazy parenting" at its finest… but if you're going to call me 'lazy,' please also call me 'creative' and 'efficient', too.