I want to give a shout out to all my fellow “lazy parents” out there — high five, my people.
Ok, ok, no one has actually called me a lazy parent to my face. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen “the look” from other parents, the look of horror that says “what kind of parent are you?!” Like when they find out my three-year-old isn’t potty trained yet. Or when I let my kids play zombie games on the iPad. Or when my kids eat cookies for lunch, and I just shake my head and move on.
In all fairness, I know “the look” because I’m pretty certain I’ve given my own “look” to a few parents. Like when I find out a parent doesn’t take their kids to the library. (Really? Have you ever heard of books?) Or when I find out a parent doesn’t ‘do Santa.’ (Do you want your child to become a sadist?) Or when a parent tells me they don’t let their kids eat sugar. (Are you a sadist?)
All of us parents have certain things we would NEVER do or ALWAYS do, things we think are ridiculous, irresponsible, or just plain, pure lazy parenting. And if you’re someone like me, after spending time around other parents who seem to have a lot of “I would NEVERs…” or “I ALWAYS…” I often walk away feeling like a lazy parent with horrible children.
This all came to a turning point for me a few months ago after spending time with some friends and their kids. I had started out the day feeling really proud and happy with my kids, but I left feeling less than proud. Actually quite frustrated. After a day of comparing my kids to everyone else’s, all I could see were my parental shortcomings and my kids’ imperfections.
I wasn’t disciplining my kids well enough.
I wasn’t teaching my kids proper enough hygiene.
My kids were too whiny.
My kids were too rowdy.
I was raising a pair of wild animals dressed in cute clothes.
I was sure all the other moms were shaking their heads behind my back, going home to tell their husbands how they’d NEVER let their kids behave like mine. etc. etc. etc.
And then it hit me.
I was being ridiculous.
I had allowed my petty worries about what others might think about my parenting skills become the measuring stick I was using to judge myself and my kids.
And that kind of habit is worse than lazy parenting.
So I’ve tried of late to quit seeing my kids by through other people’s eyes. It’s not easy. I think most of us humans have this predisposition to compare ourselves to others, and it’s a hard mentality to break. For some ridiculous, unexplainable reason, it’s hard not to care what other people think.
But I’m trying. My kids behave badly some days, and I’m sure in the future there will be many more days other parents will label me as “lazy” and my children “wild animals.”
But none of that matters. Because I know better. I see the bad, but I also see the good. And there’s a whole lot more good. I hear laughter in my house everyday. I get to listen to little voices tell me their hopes and fears. I hear the “I’m sorrys” and “I love yous.” I see how they’re learning and growing each day, and though it may not be apparent to outsiders, I see my kids making little improvements all the time.
Our home is happy, our home is safe, and our home is with each other. And from now on, my kids will make me proud no matter what their, or my, shortcomings may be.
To heck with whatever anyone else may think.
And on the flip side, maybe we should all call a truce and quit thinking of other decent people as “lazy parents” or “crazy parents” or “poor parents.” Maybe we should just call them “parents.” Because in the end, there’s no one right way to be a parent, and if their kids are fed, clothed, happy, and safe, they’re doing a pretty darn good job.
So I’ll stop judging your lack of a library card if you’ll turn a blind eye to my diapered three-year-old. We all have our own priorities.by