I follow an online blog called WikiHow. The site features a number of How-To articles, anything from “How to Tackle the Seven Summits” to “How to Make a Non-sew Tutu”. I get the “How To of the Day” updates and I recently came across an article that really stood out to me: “How to Be a Slacker Mom”, I don’t really care for the title of the article, because in my opinion the tips that they provide do not make any mom a slacker. The ideas and the common theme of the article is that as a mom you don’t have to do it all. As a mom, you will not be getting a performance review (like you would in your professional job) and your kids will survive if you don’t volunteer for every opportunity at their school. In fact, your kids will be okay if you let them get dirty, scrape their knee, and have a runny nose every so often. Learning to say ‘no’ is something that a lot of moms (me included) need to learn how to do a little more often. There will be plenty of opportunities to say yes and help out, but maybe you could make your life a little easier if you only help with the projects that are truly interesting to you, its not necessary to sign up for every event that comes your way.
It is also important to remember parenting is not a competition. One tip that I really like from this article is “Stay Away from Alpha Moms” – again, there is no reason to compete with these moms or let them judge you or for you to judge yourself, based on their thoughts and opinions. Instead, find like-minded moms and form your own casual meet-ups and chill-out sessions, with lots of unstructured play going on as you chat and relax together.
As a mom, you need to determine what is important for you and for your family. If your child loves dance classes than by all means let them take a dance class, but there is no need to force them into playing soccer or learning piano if they have no interest and fight their way to each practice and lesson, even if you think it is good for them. This is something we have learned the hard way in our family.
There are a number of resources out there for more information on how to raise your kids without being a “Helicopter Parent”. Allowing your kids to roam free, which is discussed in more detail at Free Range Kids, can be beneficial to both parents and children. The concept of the site and Lenore Skenazy’s approach is to raise safe, self-reliant children, without going nuts with worry. In fact, this weekend, Saturday, May 18, 2013 is Take your Kids to the Park and Leave Them There Day. This is recommended for older children as a way to instill some freedom and responsibility for them. It will also allow them to meet other kids in the area and a good opportunity to go over safety issues and conversations.
Whether you are a Helicopter Parent or a Free Range Parent, the bottom line is that you need to do what works best for you and your family. For me (and maybe others too), the goal is to be less stressed, less anxious, more relaxed and just happier in general. Some tips on how to do that are always helpful.