How I Became a Dedicated Follower of 'Lazy Parenting'

parenting

Parenting philosophies and styles are all the rage these days (have they ever actually been out of style?). Even more so if you can attach a clever name to them. There's everything from Attachment Parenting to Tiger Moms, Helicopter Parents, Free-Range folks, and more. And I have to admit, they each have their own appeal. But somewhere along the lines in my nine-plus years of parenting, I stumbled into a wholly new style that has yet to see its heyday. The reason most folks have probably never heard of it is the reason it resonates the most with me. Pretty much from the moment my son was born, I've been a faithful subscriber to Lazy Parenting.

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At first glance, Lazy Parenting might sound like a joke or a parody, but trust me when I say it's not. It's also not an excuse (or stand-in) for neglectful or selfish parenting. It truly focuses on doing the least amount of work for maximum results, thereby fueling my inner sloth. There's also no head guru of this parenting philosophy, because the true essence of it boils down to doing what works best for you and *your* family, not anyone else's. And, there are definitely no studies or research to back any of this up, because, y'all -- we're just too lazy for that. Let me give you just a little glimpse into how lazy parenting worked when my son was a baby.

Feeding: I breastfed, because for me, that was the laziest method that worked. I didn't have to think about or pack bottles and formula with me wherever I went, and there was no preparing involved. I literally had my son's food source attached to me, and at the most had to undo a bra strap or lift up a shirt.

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Obviously, breastfeeding may not be the laziest option for all parents, but that's what makes Lazy Parenting so beautiful. You find the method that works best for you and run with it. No guilt. No judgment (after all, we're too lazy to bother worrying what everyone else is doing!).

Sleeping: This one seems to really get folks flustered. Cry-it-out? Co-sleep? Happy medium? Again, in our house, we didn't seem to have a plan beyond, "Do what will give everyone the most quality sleep." For us, that ended up being co-sleeping. And while yes, there is research to back up the pros of safe co-sleeping, that wasn't what appealed to us. Since my son was nursing, I was able to just barely wake up, pop a nipple in his mouth, and fall back to sleep, knowing he would also roll over and fall back asleep once he was topped off.

Co-sleeping made all sorts of things easier, from random middle of the night bathroom trips to dealing with a sick child. And, at 9 years old, my son has been sleeping in his own bed, in his own room (on his own floor of the house even!) with no issues for many years. This one was a life-saving lazy tip, especially in the early months when so many parents feel like they're running on fumes.

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Potty Training: There are SO many theories on the best way to get your precious little one to use the toilet, and even more specific methods if you have a boy or a girl. But for us, it was Lazy Parenting all the way. When my son was 2.5, we went on a family trip to the beach. I was adamant that I had no interest in dealing with sandy diapers and the inevitable rash it would give my chunky-thighed little one. The lazy solution? No diapers!

Since we were outside most of the day, there really weren't any messes to clean up and a week later when we arrived back home, my son was clear that he had no more interest in diapers. It was maybe another day or two of reminding him of the potty and BAM! Lazy potty training success!

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As my son has grown older, our Lazy Parenting has changed a bit, but the essence remains the same. While many friends have loaded their kids up with after-school and weekend activities, my son has chosen a couple he really likes but that still allow him afternoons free to just be a kid (but also as important, allows us not to drive all over the place!). It's given my son the impetus to learn how to cook, and while I'll join him in the kitchen on occasion, he's the true chef and I have not one ounce of guilt in eating his beautifully prepared and presented food while also not having to cook myself.

Lest you think that Lazy Parenting is the same as being a "lazy parent," it's not. My husband and I still very much enjoy planning and partaking in lots of family activities; our house is organized; we're not late to events or lacking discipline in our household. But, when it comes to those big milestone parenting moments when we need to decide how to do a certain thing, thinking about what a Lazy Parent might do can actually be beneficial while also taking some pressure off.

Of course, one of the fundamental parts of Lazy Parenting is something I've come to cheekily refer to as "Yoga Parenting" -- the main core is always remaining flexible!

One of the best aspects of Lazy Parenting is that we don't push it or promote it on other parents (again, we're too lazy!). I know so many folks who find a style of parenting they love and they end up becoming militant advocates for it, much to the chagrin of everyone around them. I think it's totally awesome to discover something that works for you, but if you don't want to stay hidden on your friends' Facebook timelines, maybe think about reining in the declarations that your way is the best one since sliced bread. It's alienating, off-putting, and more than a little annoying.

So, try Lazy Parenting ... or don't. But hopefully, through the mess of it all that is parenting, you find some tips and tricks that do work for you.

 

Avital Norman Nathman is afreelance writer and host of the best kitchen dance parties ever. Her work -- which places a feminist lens on everything from pop culture to parenting -- has been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan.com, The Daily Dot, MERRY JANE, and more. She's also the Editor of The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality.

 

Image via iStock.com/mediaphotos; design by Anne Meadows

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