Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Slacker Dad" Is Redundant

Shortly after Slacker Mom made her first appearance this summer, she had a much-anticipated and long-overdue appointment with her colorist. (You know it's bad when your pre-teen says, "Um, Mom, I don't want to insult you, but I don't want anyone thinking you're my grandmother, either." Thanks, kid. I'll remember that when you want your first highlights - and you want me to pay for it.) So off she went to the salon on a Saturday morning, no kids, no husband, just Slacker Mom and her new magazines. (And not parenting magazines, either. Really educational stuff like People, Us Weekly, and Glamour.)

Meanwhile, back at home, Daddy was in charge. Now, during the week, Daddy is rarely home during daylight hours. So, in his defense, he's not always up on all the latest rules and procedures, like "no eating on the couch", or "meals before dessert", or "we brush our teeth at least now and again". The girls were enjoying his, shall we say, more carefree and relaxed parenting style. That is to say, they had Pop Tarts for breakfast (on the couch), used every utensil in the kitchen for their Play-Doh cakes (on the couch), and had Wendy's for lunch (thankfully NOT on the couch). Four hours of mayhem later, the playroom was nearly unrecognizable, and the kids were not much better off. You don't want to know what they were wearing: just watch out for the "what not to wear" column.

When Slacker Mom arrived home, the kids were parked in front of Hannah Montana and their daddy was camped out in front of the computer. Hugs, kisses, compliments for the new hairstyle, a few nervous glances around (mine) - and then the pets scurried off, fear in their eyes, to hide. They say animals can sense danger, after all. That's when I started looking around and saw the damage - the crumbs, the dishes, the fast food bags on the kitchen table, the Play-Doh stuck on the new rug. I could feel my blood pressure rising, the salon-induced warm fuzzies rapidly draining from my once-relaxed body.

The kids were easy to break. They figured Daddy'd be the one to get in trouble, not them. They gleefully ratted him out, sparing no detail. "Daddy let us have TWO Pop Tarts!" Really? "Yeah, AND gum! You never let us have gum!" No, I don't. Because I'm tired of finding it in your hair, on the carpet, on the dog. And on it went.

Finally, my husband looking sheepish and the kids tiring of this game, I sent the kids upstairs to clean up and brush their teeth (and put on clean clothes, I'll admit). I looked at my exhausted, sweet, hard-working husband, who always encourages me to take time for myself and never gives me a hard time when I'm the one hitting the drive-thru or breaking out the sugared cereal, and decided to give the guy a break. To lighten the mood, I said, "So, what? Did Slacker Dad come by here today?"

And my witty husband, who used his fine sense of humor (and timing) to suck me right in when we were dating, looked at me and said, "SLACKER Dad? Isn't that redundant? Isn't the slacker part just assumed?"

Slacker Mom Says...cut the daddies some slack, too. Let them do it their own way, even if it's not the "right" way or your way. No kid ever died from eating a few Pop Tarts or got a mouthful of cavities because they skipped brushing their teeth once or twice, and most dads really don't get the whole "outfit" thing anyway. So if you come home and your daughter's hair looks like something Madonna tried in the 80s (don't pretend you don't remember) and your son is wearing his diaper backwards, get over it. Hey, that's one diaper you didn't have to change, and the 80s are in again, right? Dads need to find their own style, their own groove, without us always telling them how to do it. And besides, sometimes daddies are just more relaxed, more easy-going, more fun. They can be. The "slacker" part is assumed.


  1. Kelly, you know I love the Slacker Dad that resides in your home! His relaxed parenting style and lack of knowledge of household rules is endearing to those of us who know him. Even though my husband is slightly more experienced in what it takes to run a household due to the fact that he stayed home with the girls while I went back to work, he still exhibits some of the traits of the Slacker Dad. For example when he picked up the girls from school on an early release day his intentions were good. He wanted to spend more time with the girls and give me a break so that I could come home from work more relaxed and less stressed so that we could enjoy the little bit time we have together as a married couple. Unfortunately that was NOT what happened. When I arrived home at 4:00, early for a change, things were not quite as they should have been. The girls hadn't done their home work nor had they put away the clothes that I had separated on their beds. As all moms know kids can sense the assumed slacker dad characteristics in their fathers. His surprised response when I brought this to his attention was that the girls didn't tell him that they had home work, that their agendas needed to be signed, and that they had promised to put away their clothes as soon as they got home. As a result the relaxed wife he expected did not make an appearance. After the home work was completed, agendas signed, clothes put away, and the kids finally asleep an hour after their usual bed time, I had to take a cleansing breathe and looking at the big picture. The girls adore the father that makes time for them, that plans special outings, and cherishes each and every minute he has with them. I realize I would rather have a little bit of a slacker dad for my kids than an absent father. It is enough that I have taken on the role of the heavy hand in our home. Even though at times I envy the fact that the girls treat him as if he is a GOD, and me as if I'm the Grinch, it's Okay! I know they love me and hope that they will realize how much work I put into ensuring they become successful, well rounded, responsible, smart young women.

  2. Amen, Nina! it's true...daddies are different and that's ok. Your girls know who rules, and so do mine. I have to be the "bad guy" so that they get what they need, and he gets to be the "fun guy" but that's ok. They don't see him that much, so why not let him have some fun? Let's be honest, I'm the one they come to with owies and bad dreams. They know I love them!