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I'm a 'lazy parent' and proud of it

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.

How?

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. 😉

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You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

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This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

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Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

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Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

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Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

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Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

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BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

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Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

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Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

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Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

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Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

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Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

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boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

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For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

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Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

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A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

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Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

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Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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