I am self professed Lazy parent! There I said it!
When my boys were small, I found the daily challenges of parenting relentless! My goal was to make it to their bedtime at 7pm, all of us alive, fed, watered and relatively unscathed
Nothing pleased me more than seeing them tucked into bed, fresh and clean from their bath, in their jammies and ASLEEP! Because I know that I could now get some well deserved peace and quiet!
Maybe I would take a bath, read or just stare silently and mindlessly at car crash TV, simply enjoying the fact that with no one making any demands on me! BLISS
So why did I wish the day away so frequently? Why wasn’t I loving every minute of being a parent (despite loving them with every cell of my body!)? And why was I always OK with that, and not worried about ‘enjoying every moment as it is over in the blink of an eye!’
Well first off, the day of a Mum is at least 20 hours long, whether she is working full or part time out of the home, or a stay at home Mum, FACT! From the moment our small humans open their eyes until they close them again, they are full on, action desiring, attention grabbing, eating monsters, that demand the majority of our time.
I am parenting young adults now, so whilst I get time to myself, can pee on my own (95% of the time!) and eat my dinner with both hands, whilst it is still hot! I still feel the relentlessness of parenting, it consumes every area of my life, I am first and foremost, Mum, BUT there are days when I want to be MORE THAN MUM!
There are days when I take the ‘lazy’ parent route and don’t demand mobile phones are put down because quite frankly, I am enjoying the P&Q!
There are days where I don’t follow through with my ideals and insist the youngest takes a shower, or check he has changed his pants, because I have had a loooooong day and take the easy route of not having that argument again today!
Back in the day, when my eldest was just 13 months old, I fell pregnant with number two, and the morning sickness was hideous. I would plonk my son in front of recorded (we didn’t have Sky+ then….How Old!) episodes of Teletubbies, where he would happily sit for an hour, whilst I would lie on the sofa feeling so poorly. Teletubbies gave me 60 whole minutes of respite, from my little monkey – and I say that literally because he climbed and jumped everywhere!
I used the TV daily, as an electric baby sitter, and this is why I would be considered a ‘lazy’ parent! I have heard this phrase so many times during my 21 years of parenting, and it infuriates me! I was grateful to Kids TV for many reasons!
I was wrung out and exhausted from hanging with them all day! Our TV would give me space to breathe, time to drink a cup of tea whilst it was hot, the opportunity to catch up with a friend without constant interruptions, but mostly it would give me the ability to step away and grab a few moments to have a mini recharge when I was feeling, tired, exhausted, and irritated. The TV would enable me some time, so that when the show they were watching was over, they had a calmer, happier Mum that could go for a few more hours without loosing her shit!
As parents, and particularly to small people, it has never been tougher! Not only do we have the internal dialogue going on in our heads, telling us how inadequate we are throughout each and every day, we also have so many conflicting views coming our way, be it through social media (Facebook groups, Instagram ‘happy families’) or the zillions of books now on sale, all professing to be the answer to your parenting prayers!
‘Do it THIS way and you will have a contented baby!’
‘Do it THIS way and you will raise a confident child!’
Or more specifically, and how we generally interpret it;
‘DON’T do it this way…..you will ruin them/make them insecure/frazzle their brains etc etc etc etc…….(the list is endless!!!!)’
As well as the normal day to day ‘stuff’ we do as Mother’s (cook, clean and in many cases, financially contribute too), we are also expected to be constantly stimulating; be our children’s personal entertainers with days out, visits to interesting places , trips to trampoline parks or the cinema (open purse surgery!) this has become a requirement of parenting!
What’s wrong with building a den in the garden , jigsaws, games, drawing etc etc
And don’t even get me started on social media and the portrayal of perfect family life!
I hear the guilty voices of the women I support so often, saying they use TV (in a hushed voice) to allow them space to do what they need too, but feel so bad for it!
In that moment, maybe they just needed space to breathe or maybe they needed to entertain that child, knowing they were safe would stay in one place, whilst they see to another child.
Whatever the reason, there is no judgement here from me. I don’t believe that using the TV is lazy Parenting, end of!
What is the better scenario here;
Stress out irritated parent that just wants 5 mins to drink a hot drink (but instead allows the guilt and feels internally wrung out)
TV on , child happy, meaning 15 mins to make a drink and drink it or spend some time sorting another child, whilst knowing the other child is happy, safe and secure????
At the end of everyday, when that ‘Negative Nancy’ voice kicks in and tells you everything you are doing wrong, including allowing TV time too much (in your opinion), I want you to stop and look at your child and answer the following questions;
Have you fed and watered your child today?
Has your child been loved and nurtured unconditionally today?
Did you see/hear your child(ren) smile/laugh today?
Did you do the very best job you could have done for your child(ren), based on the situations that presented themselves to you today?
Just for today, don’t judge yourself, Just for today celebrate all that you are as a Mum, and Just for today allow yourself to be a good enough Mum