I’m a little jealous of parents with Type A personalities. They seem to have it all together with their color-coded calendars, strict bedtimes, and clean houses, but I could never be that kind of parent. I fall safely into the type B personality category and my parenting style is definitely more laid-back (as is my husband’s). I used to read articles about bedtimes or other “this is the only way to parent” articles, and I would think, “I’m doing everything wrong!”
But over the past couple of years I’ve come to embrace my laid-back parenting style, stop comparing myself to other parents and just be me. I’ve found solidarity with other laid-back parents who assure me there’s more than one way to parent. From the outside, laid-back parents may not look like they have it all together, (which sometimes is true), but on the other hand, there’s also a method to our madness as we learn (and teach our kids) to go with the flow.
10 Things Only Laid Back Parents Understand:
1. Bed times? What bed times?
An 8:00 p.m. bedtime sounds ideal, but it has never and will never be our reality. We lose track of time, we read one more book, or two more books, or give more snuggles, or have random movie nights. We shoot for 8:30 bedtimes and always ask, “What just happened?” around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m when our kids actually fall asleep. We tell ourselves we’ll do better the next night, but it pretty much plays out the same way every night.
2. Warning: Enter our homes at your own risk.
“Sorry the house is messy!” is our mantra to anyone who dares to come inside our homes. We’d like to add, “It’s not always like this,” but we know that’s not really true. You might notice the laundry piled high and wonder if we will ever get it done. It does eventually get done – just around the time when everybody runs out of clean underwear.
3. Meal Planning is Done Via Text.
This is how meal planning usually works in our house. I text my husband (or he texts me): “What do you want to eat tonight?” Then we make a decision based on what groceries we have. It’s that simple.
4. We threw out “The Book” on parenting a long time ago.
You know the books I’m talking about – the kind that say that if you just do X, Y, Z, you will have perfect babies or kids. Those books don’t work for us. Our parenting styles are more fluid for different situations and different kids. We’re more likely to try one thing and see if it works for us and for our kids. We do read parenting books, just not the ones that aim for perfection.
5. We’re always running late.
We’re really sorry. Seriously! But, we’re also probably going to run late next week too.
6. Our cars are messy too.
You may find French fries from 6 months ago or several coats still in the car in the middle of the summer. I like to call it over-prepared. The upside is that we always find quite a bit of money when we finally get around to cleaning the car.
7. Our kids don’t always have clothes on.
You know those signs that say “No shoes, no shirt, no service”? Those were made for us, or rather for our kids. Our kids rarely wear shoes, the toddler is usually running around in a diaper and a t-shirt, and we let our kids dress themselves so who knows what kinds of outfits they’ll put together.
8. The nap schedule is flexible.
We’re willing to throw off our kids’ nap schedule for a fun play date or event. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but we realize life can’t always be picture perfect.
9. We’re not always laid-back.
Just because we tend to be laid-back most of the time, doesn’t mean we don’t get stressed every now and then. After all, being a parent comes with all sorts of stresses. We definitely have our freak out moments too.
10. There’s definitely an upside.
Kids will keep you on your toes; and every day has its own challenges, but laid-back parents know how to take each day as it comes and are able to flex when things don’t work out as planned. Our homes and cars may be messy, our laundry piles may look like skyscrapers, and our kids may stay up way past their bedtimes, but if we can still create a home where our kids feel loved, cared for, and protected, then I doubt they’ll mind the mess. Plus, they’ll never forget those random nights when bedtimes are thrown to the wind, and we all pile on the couches to watch a movie and eat ice cream.