Why I am an awesome parent – my new parenting philosophy
A male friend of mine sent a group email with the MOST fabulous article this week about ‘idle parenting’. It sparked much comment and a whole new language. The opening sentence of the article by my new hero Tom Hodgkinson sums up the whole concept:
Cancel all clubs, ditch the after-school activities and leave those kids alone.
In other brilliant highlights, the article includes gems such as:
a lazy parent is a good parent
A lot can be achieved by lying in bed. Simply by doing nothing, you can train children to do useful things.
My kids are happy because we’re happy.” Do not suffer. Enjoy your life.
I had no idea that I was already subscribing to such a widespread and legitimate* child raising methodology. But I am loving it.
I’ve gone through MMG™ (Massive Mother Guilt) induced phases of belting around like a mental person, taking my children on an exhaustive march through West London’s kiddie activities, stimulating them to the end of their little toes, getting them that all important head start. Head start to what I am not quite sure, but it is ALL IMPORTANT. Well I did with number one. Gymboree, swimming, Monkey Music, Little Kickers, Rhyme Time at the library. I know, reading that list makes me want to stab me too. And that is by no means a crazy list. Other activities in the area include baby orchestra, baby art classes, toddler rugby and toddler archery. TODDLER ARCHERY. My toddler can’t undo his own trousers – the mind boggles at him with a bow and arrow. And then poor little number two – the closest she’s come to swimming lessons is sitting on the edge of the pool in her car seat. And I think I once showed her a picture of a pool. The day I found myself pondering those archery classes, I knew it was time to rethink things. And now I’ve found the justification. I’m a happily idle parent.
And bloody hell, I am GOOD at it. Evidence includes:
- I’ve been idle parenting this weekend. I could have run a masterclass in it I reckon. Saturday morning husband went out to play golf (he too is embracing the concept, although taking it one step further it appears – he calls it ‘remote parenting’) and I idle parented. In fact, I lay on the couch in my pyjamas ALL MORNING, pondering the papers and offering helpful advice and witty comments to the kids from a prostrate position. Miraculously, once I had constructed the plastic box barrier between 2 year old train track playing area and 11 month old soft toy zone (they can wave to each other over barrier, just means avoidance of screams as 11 month old methodically destroys every track as it is carefully positioned and tries to eat the trains as they make their way out of the station), they played happily for well over an HOUR. This is longer than any previous record at playground, library or even beach. It’s a miracle. And as I was actually employing a solid parenting method, I felt no guilt about say, lying on the couch reading the papers. And they did seem to appreciate my being in the room. I’m looking forward to stepping up the process until I am actually parenting from bed. With a cup of tea. Made by the kids.
- Sunday we idle parented at lunch. We were at previously reviewed awesome venue The Old Belle. Children ran amok in large enclosed garden and we ate and drank in relative peace at table. Apart from one slightly dodgy scene (picture three 2 year old chasing terrified rabbit at great pace across said garden), they were generally delightfully happy. Jumping off a tree over and over again (no-one said we were raising genii – although clearly I am, having made use of the plural of genius) and playing on some ropes that apparently were part of a pirate ship. And it turns out I was just following the instructions of the idle parenting philosophy to a tea: “My idea of childcare is a large field. At one side is a marquee serving local ales. This is where the parents gather. On the other side, somewhere in the distance, the children play.” See, that’s MY ideal. I am SO on top of this.
- “Idle parents are sociable. We recognise the importance of friends. They lighten the burden”. Having other friends around often is key to this idle parenting lark it appears and I concur. Every Friday afternoon we have playtime and toddler tea. Turns out we’ve been idle parenting the whole time. The event involves the mothers sitting together and gossiping discussing current affairs over a glass of wine cup of tea and doing a great job of avoiding rampaging children in the garden. The kids adore it (the odd pirate sword to the neck notwithstanding), mothers kick off the weekend. And it’s all part of the parenting plan. Not just a fun thing to do.
See? I am on FIRE. Seriously, I could write a book on how good I am. Or a pamphlet at least. There is already a book that my new hero Tom has written unfortunately, but I’ll be spreading the good word in your neighbourhood soon. Watch out, I’ll be the relaxed one with a wine and children running riot.
In an individualistic, free range type of manner rather than potential axe-murderer way.
So, are you an idle parenter? Tempted to take it up? JOIN US…………….
For the full article on idle parenting, click here.
*If by legitimate you mean an article written by some bloke who writes a blog.