For some people, if they are honest with themselves, the answer is yes…
Parenting is hard. Anyone who tells you differently… Well, let’s just say for me parenting is hard. Not because I don’t love my son but because taking care of him is more than a full-time job, it’s a lifetime of responsibility. From the time I first knew I was pregnant until the day one of us passes away, I will be responsible for him. Of course, that responsibility will gradually decrease as he gets older (hopefully) but I will always feel some level of accountability to be there for him.
Some parents, I have observed, don’t seem to take parenting that seriously. They are content to allow others to do the bulk of the work – a day care center, the school system, other family members… I even had a lady who rents fun jumps tell me about the parents who bring their kids and leave them for hours without coming back to check on them.
Lazy parenting also manifests as…
“Not right now…”
“I don’t feel like it…”
“Just go somewhere and play…”
I will admit that I am guilty of uttering those phrases sometimes and I have to catch myself and be sure that I am making time for my son. I realize that he won’t always have time for me so while he does, I need to take advantage of it. That doesn’t mean that I drop everything I am doing when he beckons but it does mean that I…
- look him in the eye when he’s talking to me so that he knows he has my attention
- review his homework, everything in his backpack and ask questions about school every night to be sure I know what’s going on with him
- try to find activities that we both enjoy – UNO, golf, reading – so that it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice when he wants to “do stuff”
- plan dates for the two of us to hang out or go out to dinner because I want him to know what quality time really means
- give him more experiences than stuff… when choosing between a hundred-dollar pair of sneakers and a trip to the museum, I am sure you know which we choose
- saving and planning for his future, yes… that is an important component of not being a lazy parent, set your kids up for success instead of failing to plan and making them suffer the consequences later in life
- most importantly, let him win, I don’t think we spend enough time teaching our kids what it feels like to be victorious, although I can beat him in almost anything that we play, there is nothing like the excitement that I see on his face when he has won a game of UNO or hit the ball a little further than me on the golf course
Like I said, parenting isn’t easy for most of us but we owe it to our kids to put in the work to help them become well-adjusted adults. There is not instruction manual for raising kids so we all do the best we can and that’s what our kids deserve… our best, even on our worst days.