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4 Ways We're Slacking as Parents

Photograph by Twenty20

Let’s face it. We are living in one of the most intense periods of parenting to date. We have more information about safety than our parents did—like the importance of carseats, sunscreen and healthy eating habits. More moms are working outside the home. We’re faced with navigating technology with our kids, and the pressure and perfectionism that social media creates as we see other peoples’ “highlight reels.” We are torn in more directions than ever, and yet most of the moms I know hold themselves to high standards.

So high that something has to give.

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I asked friends to share the parts of parenting that they’re laziest about. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I’m not alone in cutting corners here and there:

1. Screen Time

Sarah says, “My older son watches upwards of three hours of (quality Netflix) shows on the days I have both boys. I am not proud of that.”

“I’ve been relying on TV. Especially when the children turn into wild beasts. There has been SO. MUCH. FIGHTING. this summer. When I get to the point of nearly losing my mind, I allow screen time,” shares Brooke.

“Screen time,” agrees Margaret, Suzanne, Lauren, Megan, Carrie, another Sarah, Jennifer and me.

I may have STRONGLY encouraged my daughter to get a short haircut with bangs for summer for the sole reason that I rarely need to even brush it.

2. Hygiene

I always cringe when I hear other parents say they bathe their children every day. We’re on more of a weekly routine ... and sometimes bi-weekly. The good news is, I’m not alone—and neither are you if you slack a bit on bathing.

“Our kids bathe only if they are offensively stinky, have visible chunks of dirt on them, are in need of an attitude adjustment or if they ask for a bath,” admits Lindsey.

Megan agrees, “We do a ‘whore's bath’ in lieu of the real thing.” A whore’s bath, as defined by Wiktionary, is “A quick sponge bath by hand, using a wet washcloth or a pre-moistened towelette, to extend the interval between showers or clean up after casual sexual intercourse.” Does Amazon Prime deliver moist towelettes?

Kristen shares, “Cutting fingernails is my lazy parenting thing! My daughter looked like she was going for the Guinness Book of World Records. I felt totally ashamed every time I looked down, but forgot every night for at least three weeks.”

“I may have STRONGLY encouraged my daughter to get a short haircut with bangs for summer for the sole reason that I rarely need to even brush it,” says Betsy.

3. Food

I feel like my kids should be eating meals like whole grain hummus wraps stuffed with a bouquet of vegetables. Or baked salmon on a hammock of quinoa. But the reality is, my kids are picky and I never really learned to cook. So dinner might be whole wheat toast aside a bed of baby carrots. I just can’t hold myself to high standards when there are three meals to figure out—every damned day.

Christy says, “Last night I let the 7-year-old make the lunches because I was just done. Contents: gummy bunnies, watermelon, blueberries, corn, popcorn, crackers and a load of ‘whatever’ from this mom who just wants a frickin’ break from making lunches every day.”

Suzanne, who has a tween and teen shares, “We do McDonald's on the days when there's no time between afternoon and evening activities, and also on the nights when I'm just DONE. And if there's a vegetable as part of dinner once a week, I'm kicking ass.”

“I have been serving cold sandwiches and an apple and cucumber for dinner. A lot,” says Margaret. That’s a fruit and a veggie, so you’re all good in my book.

4. Bedtime

Last winter, our family discovered the joy of the slumber party. My kids curled up in their sleeping bags in the den on Friday and Saturday nights, and my husband hung out on the couch with them until they fell asleep. It was a fun weekend ritual, and I figured we were creating memories, dammit! But, the weekend slumber party oozed into an all-summer-long slumber party. Instead of memories, we’re probably creating scoliosis, and I expect riots when we get back into the fall routine of sleeping in their own beds. But for now? By 7:30 p.m., it’s just me and my Netflix, baby.

“This summer I've gone to Lazy Bedtime, which skips the book and song, and replaces them with a pile of books and a flashlight. Self-service, yo,” Christy declared.

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In hearing from other moms, I’ve decided these short cuts aren’t so much lazy parenting as creative, strategic parenting. We only have so many hours in the day, and it’s unrealistic to do it all. Let’s all be a little easier on ourselves, and maybe steal a few ideas from these funny, fabulous moms.

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