Top Ten Ways to Naturally Parent the Slacker Way

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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People are always shocked when I tell them I cloth diapered the girls. What they don’t realize is how easy it really was. Over four years (eight cumulative years) of parenting our twins, I have mastered all the slacker ways to incorporate the AP ideals that work for us. Here are my secrets:

1)  Don’t buy a lot of stuff. Contrary to the lists they hand you at Babies R’ us, there’s really very little you need to keep your kids happy.  And the less stuff you have the less you have to clean and keep track of. You could get by in the first year with twenty pieces of clothing, cloth diapers, a cup, and somewhere for the kid to sleep. Truth.

2) Breastfeed. Pure and simple it is the one thing that will save you the most time, sleep, and energy. No bottles to wash, no trips to the store to buy formula, and an unlimited supply of food (obviously this won’t work for everyone since not everyone is able to breastfeed but if you can breastfeed, do).

3) Throw out your chemical cleansers. Kids turn people into clean freaks. My kids ate food off the floor until they realized they weren’t supposed to. Guess what? They’re never sick. Antibodies are nature’s gift. And if your cleaner is just white vinegar and water you can put your kids to work as soon as they are able to push down on the spray handle. You’ll be sitting around eating bonbons in no time.

4) Go outside as much as possible.  Who needs toys when there are leaves to eat? Even babies are happy sitting on a quilt. I spend many a happy afternoon reading while they rolled around in the sun.  Those days are long gone since I now spend my outside time running like a madwoman after them. But that first year was slacker heaven.

5)  Feed your kids what you eat. Puree what you’re making for dinner until they are old enough to chew. No separate meals to make and no running out of baby food, ever.  And kids get used to spices, etc. before they are old enough to get grossed out.

6) Trust your instincts.  People will tell you all sorts of things you MUST DO FOR YOUR CHILDREN. They may have some good suggestions but you know your child best. If you tune out the advice channel you will spend a lot less time trying to do the right thing and a lot more time with your kid.

7) Be good to yourself. The best quote about parenting is: Children’s needs are best met by parents whose own needs are met.” Put your own oxygen mask on first. Know what you need to fuel yourself so you can fuel your kids better. And guess what? Your kids will learn how to play by themselves. The best imagination comes from some time alone.

8 ) Don’t over-schedule your kids. To be honest, we sleep trained some. But we let our kids set their own rhythm and then stuck to it. We stayed home a lot and turned down invitations. But the result is well rested kids who go to sleep like clockwork allowing us time to spend together.

9) Give everyone breathing room. Positive discipline is the hardest thing for me as a parent. I could read a lot of books on it but instead I have embraced the slacker way of doing things, avoidance. I give myself time outs where I go in another room and calm down. When we all leave the situation it’s easier to come back and get along.

10) Cloth Diaper. Yes really, this is for slackers too. try a few systems, find what works, buy used, get some white vinegar, do a load every other day, fold while watching TV. Never run out of diapers again and spend way less time changing clothes and applying diaper cream.

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Comments

  1. I love your top ten ways and don’t think they are slacker, just laid back?

  2. Love it! It’s good to point out that we aren’t all trapped in a high-performing mindset to parent naturally. Almost like we are born knowing some of this stuff!

    (If you will allow me to add one for older kids: keep the children’s plates, bowls, and snack foods within reach so that they can get their own snacks.)

    • I need to start doing this. My hope is that it will direct them towards healthier snacks.

    • My girls (almost 5 and 6) want to eat ALL. THE. TIME. So I put all our fruit in the bottom hydrator and told them they could eat it any time, without asking first. It is so wonderful to not hear “Mooommmmmy I’m huuungryyyyy,” 80 times per day, and they’re eating a lot more fruit than before!

  3. This is such a refreshing perspective!

  4. Very good. Tongue-in-cheek with a very solid base. Also, a good way to counter the “I’m too lazy…” argument. Thanks for this.

  5. love this title! Peaceful parenting had an article like this once, Lazy parenting or something

  6. What a fantastic list! That is definitely a driving force in my attachment based parenting choices–the other stuff requires so much more energy! I even practice elimination communication because I’m too lazy to wash a load of diapers every other day.

  7. Love this post! We definitely figured out the hard way that it is cheaper to parent naturally. The first time we had a crib, monitor, cradle, bottle warmer (I have no idea why we wanted that, because I breastfed) and a bunch of other stuff. Now we don’t need any of that. I did splurge on some nice cloth diapers this time, but I got a great deal on some used ones. I was pleasantly surprised upon starting to cloth diaper, which we did about 8 months in with #1, that the dirty disposable diaper trash was far more aggravating and stinkier than a bag of dirty cloth that had only been sitting for a day or two. One of my favorite things about cloth diapering!

  8. Hah! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this NP idea is not only philisophically ideal but, hey, actually easier than the rat race others seem to be participating in. ;-) I totally agree with your list, especially #s 1, 2, 3, & 10; they’ve made our house our home, you know?

  9. I wish I had read this list before I had my daughter. I might have tried cloth diapers. I was going to, but got overwhelmed and intimidated…
    I felt peaceful just reading your list, which is really how I want my daughters life to feel.
    Thanks!

  10. I agree that many NP practices are totally easy – but it was SUPPOSED to be a secret. Darn you woman! ;)

  11. This is awesome! I identify as a slacker parent too. Instead of scheduling “enriching” and “educational” activities for my kid, I just bring him where I go and include him in what I do. Much easier and probably better for him, too. I almost choked when I read a blog post recently where the mom was glad she was putting her child in daycare because, “After all, I’m not qualified to teach early childhood education.” The only qualification you need to teach a baby is love! Professionals like to make it sound more complicated than it is because they don’t want to put themselves out of a job. ;)

  12. Wonderful list! I bough WAY too much with my first child and am now blessed to pass on lots of my extras. With the next one, I won’t need a thing!

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • I really like the “don’t overbuy” tip. We buy a lot of our stuff at mega-consignment sales that are held every August/February. That has been a huge money saver, and I feel good about recycling perfectly good stuff!

  13. From one slacker to another, I love this post!

    I love the point about using vinegar so they can start cleaning for you — I TOTALLY do that! :) Yea for spray bottles!

    And #5: I was so lazy I didn’t even bother with the purees. They give it the fancy name of baby led weaning, but it’s just slacker behavior to me. ;)

  14. Love it. I am totally a slacker, I honestly think that if you do it naturally ‘slacking; is built in LOL

    Lori
    http://www.beneaththerowantree.com
    Come & Join the Playdate!

  15. Love your list!

    #1 I’ve recently caught the minimalist bug. I wish I’d known to get less stuff when I first got pregnant. Better yet, when I first left my ex-husband. It was a great opportunity for a fresh start and I wound up with so much junk!

    #2 Best Lazy Tip Ever!

    #5 We do “Child Lead Weaning.” That means I’m even lazier than you on this one! I just gave her solid food. What she couldn’t chew came back out. She still (at 1½yo) eats directly off my plate a lot!

    #6 Excellent advice! It is too much to stress what everyone else thinks you should do as a parent. They’re YOUR kids!

  16. I love this list! I’m totally a slacker mom as well. I hear a lot from other parents about how they would love to do (insert thing I do) here, but they just don’t have the time, but as you say, it actually takes less time to nurse than to bottle feed, to hang around outside instead of cleaning the playroom, etc!

  17. Yes yes yes! I totally agree with everything on this list (and have twins, as well!). I am a huge slacker and often it has served me well in terms of parenting. I think simplifying, relaxing and taking a step back are often incredible tools for maintaining sanity and peace, as well.

    Thanks!

  18. Love it. I’m going to chill out even more from now on!

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