There are people out there, many from different generations or the ones who only ACT like they should be, who seem to think that my way of doing things isn’t “right”. They think I should do things differently, or they roll their eyes when I give my reasons why I’m not doing what they think I should. Well, I’ve decided to sum up pretty much every argument I’ll ever have with these two words: I’m Lazy.
I don’t say this in a self-deprecating way; I see nothing at all negative about my referring to myself as “lazy”, and if you think I am, then clearly you don’t realize that I only say I’m “lazy” because I’m too lazy to look up a more “positive” word to describe my laziness.
But since my explanation of “laziness” doesn’t satisfy a lot of people as to WHY I feel my way is “easier” or more “convenient” for me, or why I’m “too lazy” to try it their way, here’s a list of things I’m too “lazy” to do “right”.
Bottle Feeding. I have nothing against moms who think that my approach to breastfeeding (exclusively, on demand) isn’t “convenient”. I’m sure you all have your own levels of what is or isn’t easy for you, and maybe the idea of having to keep your baby with you 24/7 and whip out your boob on a moment’s notice isn’t something you’re comfortable doing. Hey, it’s all good. I’m not saying your decision to pack a bottle with you or send your baby off for the day with dad or a babysitter is a bad one. But for ME, it is a freaking pain the ass and I just don’t want to do it! Here’s what bottle feeding is to me; it’s me having to hook myself up to the freaking electric pump. It’s having to pour milk into a tiny little freezer bag and store it for future use. It’s having to then deal with overfull boobs for the next few days because that “extra” milk I pumped has adjusted my milk supply and I now have the discomfort of engorgement if my baby doesn’t feel like nursing that much. It’s WASTING that pumped milk because baby didn’t feel like taking the bottle while daddy was out with him/her. It’s having to clean the pump, bottles and nipples etc. It’s having to deal with warming up or defrosting the milk. It’s having to prepare a stupid bottle (and be faced with sour milk if baby doesn’t drink the whole thing) when it’s so much easier to just pop the baby on the boob.
So while you may think it’s awful that I won’t let anyone else take my kid for more than a few hours (or a day) while they’re actively nursing and under a year old, and you may think it’s super ridiculous that I can’t be bothered to “just pump”, I think you’re underestimating just how much I *don’t* want to pump or clean bottles.
Weaning. Again, I totally have nothing against moms who want to wean, but I’m just not that committed to it. So yes, my 2 year old still nurses and no, I don’t give a damn what you think about that. See, here’s the thing about nursing my toddler: it keeps him happy. It is sometimes the ONLY way I can get him to get to sleep. And besides that, there’s the whole engorgement thing. And the period thing. Because it turns out that breastfeeding my toddler for as long as I have is a very effective way of delaying my period. I’m in NO hurry to get that bitch back. Do I want to get pregnant again? Sure I do, but my plan is to accomplish that BEFORE I get my period back. So instead of risking getting that bitch back before I want her to come back, I’ve been SLOOOOWLY weaning my toddler over the course of 2 years. I’ve done this by doing…nothing. I haven’t really done anything to wean him; he’s just gradually been cutting back as he’s gotten older. When he was an infant he nursed on demand, almost constantly. When he hit a year old he was eating more regular meals with us, starting with just a few scraps off our plates and gradually moving up to getting his own plate of food by the time he hit 18 months. Now he’s at the point where he can go all day (or even overnight) without needing to nurse, and I can get him down for naps and put to bed without resorting to the boob. He mostly just does it in the morning now, and so as he drops his nursing sessions my boobs naturally adjust. I’m not dealing with any engorgement or a fussy baby, and until he stops completely I have a guaranteed way of NOT seeing my period.
Sleep Training. I hear this crap SO often from people who “never let their kids sleep in their bed” and I get so many suggestions to “sleep train” or have him “cry it out”. They say it’s only hard the first few nights and then it’s easy, but you know what? I just don’t want it to be hard AT ALL. I don’t enjoy hearing my son scream his head off, knowing full well that all I need to do to get him to sleep is to just lie next to him and give him cuddles in the middle of the night. I don’t relish the thought of having to get up several times in the middle of the night to gently inform my child that it’s sleepy time and that he needs to just go back to bed without me next to him. I value my sleep too much for that and I value my sanity even more. So here’s what co-sleeping looked like for me, in case people still think my way wasn’t “easy”.
Newborn: SEVERAL hours of sleep. Blissful, peaceful, barely interrupted sleep. He’d nurse several times a night, but never make so much as a whimper because I could just pop him on the breast and that’d be that. We slept in the middle of the afternoon, or in the evenings, or in the mornings; it was glorious.
Infant: SEVERAL hours of sleep, often only waking once or twice a night for a second or two until he could nurse himself back down to sleep. Sleeping in until 10am most mornings, because co-sleeping synced up our sleep patterns. Falling asleep in my arms no matter where we were or what I was doing. Falling asleep next to me even if we weren’t sleeping in our own bed. Still sleeping for four hours or more (with sleep-nursing) when he had a cold (or I did).
Toddler: Sleeping in until 9am (10am on a particularly good day) and gradually setting his own bedtime as he got older. He now has a fairly predictable nap and sleep schedule and I’m able to sneak out of bed for a few hours before he calls for me. Then I can get him back to sleep in less than 5 minutes and enjoy the rest of my evening. At NO point did I ever have to come up with this schedule or enforce it. He established it all on his own, when he was ready, and I followed his lead. And when he’s ready he won’t call me back into the bed anymore either. So calm down with that nonsense that he’ll “never” want to sleep alone. He already has nights where he rolls away from me and wants his own space, so I’m not too worried about when he’ll be ready to sleep alone. It’ll happen.
Potty Training. I’ve decided that even though he’s turned two this year, I’m in no hurry to potty train. See, there’s two ways I can go about this. One way is the way that EVERYONE in the older generations says I should: start training NOW and he’ll eventually get it. This way requires near-constant vigilance and multiple trips to the potty every day. It requires me to accept (and clean up) any accidents that may happen. The OTHER way is the one I’m leaning toward; to just let it happen “naturally”. Basically my plan is this: Tell toddler that if he wants more “naked time” then he needs to learn to use the potty like a big boy. Place potty chair in an easily accessible location (like the middle of the living room). Continue to use diapers. Wait for toddler to become verbal enough (and aware enough) to actually tell me when he wants to use the potty. Let toddler decide when he’s ready to use the potty and ditch the diapers for good and follow his lead. Be done potty training in less than a week, because toddler is ACTUALLY ready to do it. Never have to clean up puddles of pee on the floor (or worse).
This isn’t to say that those who want to potty train are being ridiculous to want to do that; I’m sure you all have your reasons and unique set of circumstances that makes potty training a desirable thing for you. But it’s just not something I feel the pressing need to do. Pullups are expensive in comparison to diapers (because I’ve mastered the art of getting the big box of Huggies when they’re on sale dirt cheap at Walmart). I’m at home most days, and the time when I’m out of the house I don’t even bother with a diaper bag because I can change him as soon as I get home (and most of the time I don’t even need to do that; he’s dry more than he’s wet these days). I know that if I were to potty train him, I would have to constantly ask him if he needed to use the potty. I’d risk having to clean up an “accident” while we’re out (and I HATE changing diapers when we’re away from home). And think of the laundry I’d have to do IMMEDIATELY! No…just…no. I’m not in any hurry to inconvenience myself with potty training; not when my kid isn’t ACTUALLY ready to do it on his own, without my having to hover and prompt him and bribe him every 5 minutes. He can stay in diapers for another year; it’s no big deal to me.
Limiting Screen Time. Look, I get where you’re coming from. I get that the studies all say something about how screen time is bad for kids and blah, blah, blah. But you know what? I grew up on Disney movies and Disney Sing Alongs on VHS and I still read. I still have a functioning brain and I’m not any “worse” for all my screen time. So if I feel like actually getting some chores done, or want to play on the computer for an hour or so while my son is awake, or I just really don’t feel like dealing with tantrums and turning on 101 Dalmatians or The Aristocats (for what feels like the 90th time this week) is the only thing that will distract my kid from destroying the house or getting into things he shouldn’t be, then I’m going to do it. And you can leave your judgey comments about it at the door. Some days (and weeks) I’m just not in the mood to entertain. I’m tired, I’m stressed, and I just need a break from doing stuff or dealing with messes. Now that my son is willing to sit and WATCH the Disney movies I put on for him, I can get away with having a few hours of PEACE. Sorry, but I’m not giving that up, and he’ll be fine no matter how much screen time he’s ACTUALLY getting per week. It’s not like I don’t take him out of the house or have playdates, so he’s not deprived.
Starting Solids according to “the schedule”. Obviously this was more when he was under a year old, but it will apply to the next kid so I figure it’s relevant. You know how those guidelines for six months to a year all suggest appropriate foods to start giving to your baby, and how you should feed them the solids first before nursing them? Yeah, I didn’t do that. I didn’t feed him baby food either. I tried the cereal for his breakfasts, but really it was just soooo messy and he barely ate half of it. It was SO MUCH EASIER to continue nursing on demand, and feeding him the occasional scraps of chewed up or mashed food off my plate. He’d only eat a few bites anyway, and this way I didn’t waste food. I also didn’t have to deal with the gross mushy baby food, OR buy it. So that saved a ton of money in his first year, because when you don’t feed baby anything other than what’s on your own plate you don’t really have to buy baby food jars. And as an added bonus, BECAUSE he was eating the same things we were, he never got used to mushy textures and bland food, and therefore he will eat anything we give him (unless he’s not hungry/teeth are bugging him). That includes BBQ sauce and spices; literally ANYTHING. So whatever he doesn’t want to eat off his plate is actually palatable; I’ll happily finish off that chicken and rice he didn’t eat. Can’t say I would ever touch that baby food though.
Introducing and Establishing “Routines”. I never did this; ever. I don’t see the point when it’s become clear to me that my spirited son will do things in his own time in his own way. I never had to implement a chore list with him. One day he just decided he wanted to help me feed the cats. So I let him, even though he got most of the food all over the floor. I just let him keep pouring the dry food into the bowls each morning from the time he was 20 months old and now he barely spills at all. I’m pretty sure that if I keep this up he might just go in there one day and feed the cats without me even realizing it, and then that’s one job I won’t ever have to worry about. Another thing I’ve done is had him clean up his own messes. If he throws the shoes down the stairs, well, he’s able to climb up and down those stairs well enough to go get them all. Does it take twice as long for him to do it as it would for me to just gather them all up? Sure, but the important thing is that I don’t have to go downstairs to get them. And today he decided to spill his cheerios and goldfish crackers onto the floor and chair. So I brought out the vacuum cleaner (because f*** sweeping!) and he reached for it. He wanted to do it…so I let him. I had him vacuum up every single cracker and cheerio that was scattered across the floor and furniture (helpfully moving things as needed). And he did it, at two years old, and I didn’t have to clean it up myself.
Hovering or “Helicoptering”. I’ve adopted the attitude that if it’s not life threatening or morally threatening, and it won’t damage anything (other than his own toys) then I don’t care enough to step in. So if my son is climbing the play equipment at the playground, I let him. I know that if he can get up there on his own then he’s fine, and I will purposely NOT help him up just to see if he’s actually “ready” to be up there. If he’s likely to fall and hurt himself, but it’s not something that could result in a visit to the ER, then I let him find out for himself. So he falls and scrapes his knee after I tell him that might happen; so what? He’ll learn. And if he’s eating things he shouldn’t be (like lotion or soap or crayons) then my only concern is whether or not it’s toxic and/or he could choke. If neither of those things is likely to happen, then I’m not overly concerned. Again, when he realizes it makes him sick he won’t do it anymore. Same goes for if he throws his toys and they break, or he rips something he shouldn’t. Well, gee, that’s a shame; his toy got broken/ripped and is now garbage. I told him that might happen, and now he doesn’t have it anymore. Oh well.
See, the thing I understand about “hovering” is that I actually have to watch my kid constantly, and step in the second he does something that he’s not supposed to. And that’s EXHAUSTING! So I choose instead to pick my battles and only step in if the consequences of his actions are greater than what would be considered acceptable. For me, that means that he can’t do anything that hurts himself (beyond the usual bumps, bruises and scrapes), others, or other people’s property. He gets a “warning” for everything else, and then if he chooses to go ahead anyway, well, then he lives with his choice. That’s not to say I won’t give him a hug if he falls down, but along with that hug I’ll be asking him “what did you learn?”
My point is that whether you call it laziness or convenience, my methods of parenting have worked for ME. I’m not going to apologize for not wanting to try it the way that other people do it, nor do I think that they are wrong for not doing things MY way. We all have our reasons for doing things the way we do, and these are mine. There are plenty of other reasons too, but without getting into a tired debate about benefits of certain methods and studies that cite those benefits, these are the “lazy” reasons WHY. Because I could quote all the studies and articles I wanted and it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference to someone who was set on parenting a different way; a way that WORKS for them. And you can quote all the counter-studies and articles preaching the opposite of what I believe is “best” and it won’t make a difference to ME. At the end of the day, we’re not doing things because one study or another said it was beneficial; we’re doing them because they work for us. People do what WORKS. And maybe Sleep Training “works” for some people. Maybe bottle feeding is easier for someone who doesn’t have the time or energy or milk supply to breastfeed exclusively for as long as baby wants to do it. Maybe potty training early is necessary for your family lifestyle. That’s fine; you go ahead and you do what works for you. I only ask that you extend that same courtesy to me, and stop trying to tell me that my way isn’t “convenient”. Because honey, if it wasn’t convenient for me I wouldn’t be doing it. My laziness wouldn’t allow that 😉