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Parenting the Lazy Way

I’m trying to parent my first (and only child) like I might parent a second. Also known as the lazy way. And I don’t mean sitting my son in front of the television. As my best friend’s mom once said, “Put away the books and parent your child.” I like to think lazy is old-timey parenting to make her and my grandma proud.

Now that my 10-month-old is super mobile and on the verge of walking, most of the day is spent keeping him from killing himself. (After all, that’s pretty much a parent’s only job.) To do so, we guide and coax and distract him from dangerous interests (cords, outlets, the open oven), but we don’t limit his exploration unless there’s imminent doom (or, in the case of the cat box, imminent gross).

And for months he wasn’t showing any interest when I’d offer him organic, homemade mush. Who could blame him? But he also wasn’t reaching for my plate, so it wasn’t just the gruel that was unappealing to him. He wasn’t ready for food. But we didn’t stress. I figured he’d do it when he was ready; the kid wasn’t solely going to be on the boob until he’s 12. Suddenly, though, he wants to shove everything in his mouth. So he’s eating solids now. And I don’t have to do anything except cut it up into small, bite-sized pieces. Some call it “baby-led weaning.” I just call it the lazy way.

The same holds true for his toys. Sure, he has a few baby-friendly items (like a mini-piano from my parents and a wooden clacking walker toy). But his favorite “toys” are what we adults use every day. Wooden spoons. Measuring cups. Empty bottles. Junk mail. The drawer below the oven housing lids and pots and pans. He also likes the dogs’ feet, and chasing after the annoyed 15-year-old cat. His interest in these household items means he’ll stay occupied if I throw them his way, and I can get things done around the house. Thank jeebus for whisks!

Even the cloth diapers he wears are the lazy kind. They’re all-in-one pocket diapers, and all you have to do is pull them apart and throw them in the washer. I’m betting on the anecdotal evidence that cloth-diapered babies are potty-trained sooner to further underscore the laziness of this choice. I’m too lazy to worry about diapers for years and years.

Parenting the lazy way means trying to relax. Letting things go. It means not wilting in embarrassment when he cries in public and remembering that’s just what they do. It means picking up his toys and not even brushing them off before he puts them back in his mouth. It means sometimes you find things in the gutter and decide, hey, this is perfectly fine for my child. That’s where my son got his Sophie the Giraffe. I did run it through the dishwasher at least.

It also means you have time to worry about what really matters. Time to read to your child. Time to teach. Time to make wholesome food. Time to dance and giggle and belly laugh. Time to see the world as you once saw it. Time to pour yourself a beer after the kid goes to sleep.

By jennyroseryan

Jenny Rose Ryan is a DIY junkie and a self-professed grandma. (In the sense that she likes to say things like, "Back in my day..." and enjoys doilies, blue hair and making things from scratch.) A frequent contributor to BUST Magazine, Jenny Rose also contributed heavily to the BUST DIY Guide to Life (while 9 months pregnant -- the ultimate do-it-yourself experience), and is an avid runner and marathon-fiend. When not carin' for the grumpy babe, writing or running, you can find her listening to new metal (as opposed to nu metal) and being so horrified by American politics that she bakes instead.

12 replies on “Parenting the Lazy Way”

Way to go making that leap with your 1st child!  I have 3 kids and 1st was stressed over and fussed over.  By the time the second came I finally realized the stress was pointless .  By the time I had my third, I had totally embraced ‘free-range’, (cool title, Gorlitsa!) relaxed parenting.  My youngest is just as healthy and happy as my oldest. And I’ not as stressed out.

Amen.

Letting kids do their thing so as long as they are safe makes them more independent in the long run. And every kid is different, so it’s best not to stress compared to whatever “other” kids are doing. And yes, a drink at the end of the night is a must on some nights! Haha.

My kids are quite different from each other and 3.5 years apart in age (the boy is 4, the girl will be 8 in March — which, how the hell did that happen?) but when I often tell them to “find something to do,” they play really well with each other. I know not all siblings get along so well, so it’s nice to have them play without having to worry about whether or not they’re trying to kill each other.

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