21 February 2013

Are "minimalist" parents lazy parents?

The Accidental Expert at BabbleOur conversation about store-bought Valentines got me thinking about the line between "relaxed" parenting and laziness (and, on the other side, the line between parental engagement and overparenting).

I'm still working out how I feel about it all, but here's a start. I'd love to hear what you think.

At the Accidental Expert: Are "minimalist" parents lazy parents?

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For me, it's not about being lazy but rather choosing where and how to spend my energy and focus. I think we're hackers - trying to be what we each believe makes the kind of parent we want to be, while balancing the rest of life at the same time. Shortcuts, tips, tricks and hacks are necessary.

I don't know about minimalist... But I'm definitely a lazy parent. And you know what? I'm also an awesome mom. Lazy is such a negative term, but personally I find the notion that kids need constant interaction much more damaging. My toddler plays well on his own without a bunch of projects or additions or interventions, and when he wants me? I'm right here, and I'm not burnt out from feeling like I need to entertain him all the time. But you know what? I'd much rather cuddle up and read a book with him than get down on my knees and play with duplo. Ive had commenters on my blog curse at me and tell me that makes me a terrible parent. Hate to disappoint them, but I've got more faith in myself and my son than that. He's self directed, doing great, and he's loved.

If someone else wants to be super super super mom and their kid's playmate/events coordinator, bully for them. I'm just surprised how many people think that's the definition of good parenting.

If you are present and engaged with your family that's all that matters. If you love getting crafty and that's how you connect with your kids, go to town. If picking up some Valentines at the store means your family can relax and do something everybody enjoys more, go for it.

I don't have any of the answers, but it reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother in law last week. He said, "I'm so glad mismatch socks are a thing. It's so much easier than trying to match up socks and find pairs." Lazy or relaxed or maybe both? I don't know, but it reminded me that his relaxed might be the same as my lazy- the standard is a moving target.

I agree with Megan. I don't believe it's necessary to constantly play "with" your kids. My children play alone, together, with other children, AND with me when they want to. I'm trying to raise them to be independent and self reliant.
I would never knock another parent for doing it differently, but I don't think it makes me lazy or a minimalist.

As for Valentine's.....I bought mine. And I don't feel bad about it. =)

I believe that being a lazy parent is a good thing! My mother called it "benign neglect" because she gave us space to take care of ourselves, and that helped us become independent. In practice, though, it is hard to determine what is "benign" and what is "neglect"!

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