Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slacker is NOT a Synonym For Lazy

Recently, I had a conversation with some mommy friends about "slacker moms". There was quite a range of opinion about what the term meant. Some felt that slacker moms watch soaps while their kids run wild upstairs; some felt that the label applied to moms who aren't involved at school, or feed their kids fast food every day, or are just plain lazy.

So let's clarify: Slacker Mom isn't lazy. Far from it! Slacker Mom is a dedicated, devoted mom who has realized that sometimes, it's OK to be less than "perfect". That it's acceptable to buy frozen pizza for the annual Back to School Pizza Bash (although the cookies were homemade and the fruit salad was fresh). That there is nothing wrong with the occasional playdate at McDonald's because it's been raining for three days and everyone's going crazy being cooped up in the house. That Halloween costumes don't have to be made by hand every single year, and in fact, you can have the kids (gasp!) wear the same thing two years in a row.

Slacker Mom practices long-term parenting, realizing that what's best is usually not what's easiest, but it is what's necessary to raise healthy, happy, well-adjusted young people who contribute positively to their communities. This is our goal as moms, isn't it? But Slacker Mom has given herself permission to ENJOY this time in her life, not just get through it. She doesn't want to miss anything, so she "slacks" off on things that don't REALLY matter in order to enjoy the things that do.
Slacker Mom has realized that SHE matters too. She understands that if she's overworked and underappreciated, her kids will suffer. She has consciously chosen to take a breather from the hectic, harried schedules of motherhood to just enjoy life and, more importantly, enjoy her children for the very short time they are young. Ask any grandmother: time flies. Blink, and they're out of diapers. Blink again, and they're in school. Once more, and they're married with kids of their own!

Ask yourself: when was the last time you dropped everything to make a mermaid tail for a Polly-Pocket-sized Prince Eric so he could swim with Ariel? (Don't laugh, it's part of the job description. Read your manual.) There will always be dishes to do, beds to make, and floors to wash. Rather than ignore her kids, "Slacker Mom" is a way to embrace them, to embrace Motherhood (with a capital M!) and to focus on what matters. Instead of spending an hour making a perfectly well-balanced organic dinner from all the food groups, Slacker Mom serves oatmeal (hey, there's milk in there, and raisins, too!) on a picnic blanket on the floor.

When I had my first child, a very wise woman (a mother of five, police detective and small business owner) gave me some advice: Your kids will not remember that your house was always company clean, but they will remember what you did with them, that you played with them and took them to fly kites and made cookies. I thought, how true! how insightful! And then she added, "And sometimes, you've got to put in a DVD, order pizza, and take a long, hot bath." Hey, she's entitled to a Slacker Mom night, too!

Slacker Mom Says...embrace your inner slacker! Focus on what makes you happy. Enjoy your kids, enjoy being a mom, enjoy this season of your life. Cut out activities and social obligations that make you crazy and stressed. Avoid people who bring you down and drain your energy. Happy mom, happy kids, happy family.

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