Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quit Worrying, Take a Nap

All these years of reading parenting books that have only served to make me feel guilty, confused or inferior and now I come to find out I had the right idea all along.

Available here, unless you are too lazy to read in which case maybe you can find an audiobook. Or, just skip the whole thing and take a nap.

Full disclosure: I have not read this book but the title alone gets my highest endorsement. 

I remember a hysterical conversation I once had with another mom who was clearly NOT an idle parent. The conversation was hysterical to me because I try not to take myself too seriously and have no trouble acknowledging my faults and foibles (I can email you a spreadsheet with them itemized and categorized if you are interested, it's only 3-4 pages depending on the day). However, the mother I was speaking with clearly did not find our conversation hysterical. Or, if she did, she kept her hilarity really close to the vest because she barely cracked a smile.

She was discussing her two son's various activities (sports, piano, pottery, skydiving, leaping over tall buildings in a single bound) and how on top of that everything in their lives was 100% great.

That's super, really. I am not a fan of complainers so the last thing I enjoy is hearing a lot of moaning about how "busy" (by choice) parents are and how miserable it is to be a parent. However, on the other hand, there is an element of bonding that occurs between parents when you offer small admissions that life is not perfect and neither are your kids. I'll be the first to admit, it can be a fine line. Nobody likes a whiner but the everything-is-perfect-everyday-all-the-time person can be tedious, too. And if you are in the parenting club it is never more annoying than when speaking of one's children. A little humility goes a long way when conversing with other parents.

I could see we weren't going to have a lighthearted love-my-kids-but-they-aren't-perfect conversation so I tried to inject my own brand of humble humor.

I listened politely for a bit and then laughed a little and said, "I really admire you for getting your kids involved in so many great things. Honestly, I'm just too lazy to maintain a schedule like that. I keep hoping that what they say about the "good enough" parent is true!"


Nothing like a full thirty seconds of radio silence to tell you that you and your current partner in conversation are not on the same page.

Lucky for me, I have plenty of other people in my life who do share my love of relaxed parenting (I prefer "relaxed" to "idle", don't you?). My sister and I frequently talk about our desire to write our own book titled The Lazy Parent's Guide to Raising an Okay Kid. Of course there is the small problem that we are too lazy to actually sit down and pen this future bestseller. Instead, we are content to text or email one another small tidbits from our lives in which we regale one another with tales of our brilliant lazy relaxed parenting. We also commiserate with one another when our kids fail to cooperate with our lazy parenting (I'm too lazy to keep saying relaxed instead of lazy).

For example:

-they want to eat dinner every. single. night.

-they occasionally express the sincere desire to participate in a particular activity/sport/hobby and the guilt of saying no is too much to bear.

-they have a preference for clean clothes (although teaching your kids to do their own laundry takes care of this one...)

-they tug at your heartstrings with requests of wanting to spend time with you doing non-lazy things like bike riding, playing catch, swimming, or anything that can't be done while seated on the couch. We find this tactic particularly unfair and obviously must come straight out of a book for kids titled How to Get Your Lazy Parent Off the Couch.

I'm not sure I'm going to find the stamina to actually read the aforementioned book but the title alone has given me cause for hope. My usually relaxed style of parenting has taken a bit of a beating lately with all of the hyperventilating over college prep/applications/SAT's/GPA's etc... and I'm trying to find my way back to a more zen all-will-be-well frame of mind. And even though I've made it clear that I generally don't care what so-called parenting "experts" have to say, I confess that hearing that lazy idle parenting can have its advantages, makes me breathe a little easier.

And if you've been following along since the beginning and wonder how my lazy parenting philosophy fits in with the goals in my countdown challenge... the answer is...

...not very well.

Update: See my comment below... Apparently the ideal lazy parenting book has yet to be written...


  1. Well, after further review (which involved reading the comments on Amazon) it looks like my sister and I are still going to have to write our book. Sounds like there is a lot to appreciate in The Idle Parent about less worrying, letting kids be kids etc...but he apparently also stridently opposes any and all electronics in the raising of one's child and thinks their toy box should be outfitted with nothing more than a stick and a spool of twine. Yeah, that's not quite in line with my lazy parent philosophy. I'm more of a 21st century lazy parent. We are a different breed soon to be defined in the riveting book my sister and I will be writing sometime in the future. Or not. Come on, Valerie...start writing.

  2. Really, really good, Lori.Keep 'em coming, if it fits into your un-schedule.

    1. Thanks, B. It's really hard to say...everyday is a toss up.