Some days you get home from work, collapse on the couch, groan loudly and yell for coffee. Others you make tea, go for a walk and help with homework. If you’re experiencing the first scenario, chances are you feel guilty.
When Mums tend to their own needs, however briefly, a “should” alarm goes off in our heads. “should be helping with the spelling, should be getting the washing in, should be making everyone a smoothie” – stop it!
This post was going to be titled Minimal Parenting but word order is a powerful thing. Minimal parenting sounds like a big parental fail. But parenting LIKE a minimalist has a totally different meaning.
Put simply, minimalism means taking a pared back approach. When applied to parenting, it means doing what you need to to raise happy, healthy children. Not doing everything you think you SHOULD be doing due to the patriarchal nature of the society you were raised in/too many glossy magazines/staying too long at the school gate!
Everyone has heard of “helicopter parents”. The people who run onto sports fields with tissues, do their kids’ homework, regulate their friendships and generally micro-manage every aspect of their wee lives.
The problem is, when they become teens (and they will) those kids will be missing key life skills. Resilience is the first victim of overzealous parenting. The ability to get up and try again, to work things out, to take responsibility for our mistakes and move beyond that.
So instead of worrying about what we should be doing, maybe we need to worry more about what we shouldn’t be doing? Shouldn’t make his bed for him, shouldn’t make his breakfast, shouldn’t clean his shoes for him.
Of course this depends on ages and stages! But at some point, we need to take a step back so they can step up. Here’s a few starters:
- hover less
- schedule less
- entertain less
- referee less
- buy less
If we don’t teach our children resilience, if they never have down time and space to just be, if they get everything they want instantly, then we are letting them down on another level.
So worry less about what you should be doing, accept that what you do is quite possibly more than good enough and teach your kids to make you a cup of tea!