Life... Health... Reviews...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Are you a lazy parent?

I am the type of person who doesn't sit down and watch live television too often. Instead, I set my DVR to record shows that I like, watch them later and fast forward the commercials. I was doing this last week and watching the Dr. Phil show so I can't tell you exactly which one it was. What I can tell you, however, is that he said something that caused me to pause and think.

But let me tell you a little bit about the show first.

There were several different parents who were talking about the difficulties they were having with their children. One woman was talking about her trouble with getting her autistic and mentally disabled child to do the things she needed him to do now that he was almost 100 pounds. He was cognizant enough to choose not to walk or not to move when she told him to.


Photo by Jerry Avenaim for
Newsweek magazine (2001)

This mom was overwhelmed, becoming physically unable to cope and experiencing extreme fatigue, guilt and defeat. Dr. Phil offered her and her husband experts to assist them in dealing with their son and deciding if placing him in a facility, which is what the mom wanted to do, was the best choice for all involved.

The last mom featured was one who acknowledged that she had a good life, healthy children and a fabulous husband. Her problem? She just wanted to run away from it all. If I remember correctly she had six children and had began having children at a young age. She said the kids were loud, unruly, wouldn't listen and there was always something going on.

She said she couldn't cope and she felt guilty if she thought about taking some time out for herself or wanted to get away from the kids. (Sounds familiar, huh?) Well, after Dr. Phil assured her that taking a break was healthy for both her and her family he told her she was lazy. Although he didn't say it exactly like that; he did get his point across.

After he acknowledged that he knew it sounded crazy given how tired she is and how she's always doing something -- like most mothers -- he explained what he meant: He said that if kids are out of control and unfocused or into everything then it was the parent's job to provide activities and direction.

Basically the kids are running wild and tiring her out when she needs to take control of her pack. Hmmm? I thought. There are times when I am sitting at the computer trying to get some work done when my two middle kids are arguing, the baby is getting into something and I have to keep stopping to reign them back in.

There are times when I am fixing dinner and I keep having to redirect the baby from under the cabinet or from on top of a table.
Was I being lazy in not giving them a focused activity? I didn't think so. I tried to remember times when I had gotten them involved in an activity or task. Since I couldn't remember specifics I started from scratch. Over the past week or so I've been trying different things and I am still exhausted. LOL. I let the kids stay on the front stoop to blow bubbles, but have to keep stopping because they start blowing them into the house or the baby (who refuses to focus on anything longer than five minutes) tries to go out of the door.

Although I allow limited television watching I sometimes decide to let them watch a movie so I can finish working, take care of the baby, help the teenager or prepare dinner. Oftentimes before the movie is over they're jumping, running, throwing, arguing or involved in a different activity of their choosing. Like moving my couch to get a stray toy. (Imagine my thrill when they figured out how to do that.)

My conclusion? I don't think I am a lazy parent. I think there are times when kids will just be a little off the chain and not every single moment of everyday has to be focused and planned. However, they do need a lot of direction, tasks and consistency. So there's always a happy medium.

So tell me: Are you a super mom who plans your days and the kids' activities to the T, are you a little more laid back or a combination of the two?

I interrupt the regularly scheduled programming... uh, posting... for a little adult talk:

My good friend Tina F. asked me what code word I used for a booty call (you'll have to read that post if you missed it!) and I don't think I really have one. I guess I should say had. When my husband and I were together I can recall saying once, "Do you wanna have a date tonight?" He would get the hint. :D
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8 comments

  1. Having kids mean chaos! If anyone ever said they are a super mom and plans everything to the "T" and never gets stressed, they they are LYING! Kids are a lot of work and stress, but they are so worth it!!!

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  2. Honestly, sometimes I get "lazy" (or exhausted, whichever you want to call it) and let the tv "babysit" my kids while I take a break.

    For the most part though, I think that I'm really good at doing what's best for my kids. Like most moms that I know, I do my best!

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  3. Dr. Phil is an idiot! I'm sure he wasn't planning all those very loonngg minutes for his kids all day while trying to cook, clean, do laundry, pack lunches, work, and everything else that moms do. Motherhood is hard work and yeah, we do need a break and so what if the kids are bored for a few minutes. Kill me if they happen to get hurt or into mischief while I unpack the groceries.

    My favorite time was 2:00 (nap time) everyday--ahhhh, an hour where I didn't have to entertain anybody.

    Once, after my daughter tripped over the weedwacker while I was cleaning the shed and hurt her wrist, I told her to get her own ice pack because her legs weren't broken. Yeah, later we found out her arm was broken. Ooops.

    My theory is that I tried hard with my kids. Really hard. If I messed up--well, then they've got something to tell their therapist. They won't spend wasted time on his couch trying to figure out what happened. It is my gift to them.

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  4. I don't think you are a lazy parent. I'm sure that your oldest will tell you ( as well as the younger ones later in life) that you are a wonderful mother.

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  5. ah dont beat yourself up mate. your not lazy your great! moms can only do so much in a day!

    i have a tag for you too mate
    http://www.mummydiariesblog.com/2008/09/facts-about-me-tag.html

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  6. I'm no way a Super Mom. I let the girls do as they want through the day, they choose the activities more or less. Sure I'm probably on the computer more than I should be in a day, but the girls play and entertain themselves a lot and don't really need me around too much anymore. You're not a lazy mom by any means. BTW, I hate Dr. Phil! lol

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  7. As a single full time working mum I dont have 24 hours in the day to spend on planning and running activities for 2 children. Sometime it's not laziness leaving them to their own devices, you just can't always be in 2 places at once.

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  8. Tell me about it!Being a good parent doesn't mean being super heroes!
    I love my kids and I love being a mom but there are days that they just drive me nuts!!!
    xoxo

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