Monday, March 21, 2016

Idling away the years.....

My current read is a treasure.

I found it hidden in the most unexpected place. On those shelves in the library that normally crush the joy from me. Those foreboding shelves that lean in on the children's area.

The Parenting Shelves.

Gina Ford. What To Expect. Wonder Weeks. How Baby Led Weaning Makes Kids Poo Gold. How I Sleep Trained Three-Day-Old Quadruplets in 40 Seconds. Perfection in Toddlerhood. The Supremacy of the Stay at Home Mum. The Moral Uprightness of the Working Mum. Etc.

Drawn to these evil shelves like a moth to a flame, I spotted The Idle Parent. Promising. And - Yes! - herein I find a published voice to back up my belief that the key ingredients of being The Best Mum are more sleep and pleasurable hours for me.(And the rest of the family, of course!)

Philosophical rather than ideological, writer Tom Hodgkinson advocates freeing ourselves from all expectations of 'parenting'. Instead, learn to enjoy your life and your children. Work as little as you can afford to! Have siestas! Play with sticks! Say No! Don't buy stuff! Don't worry about morals and manners! Enjoy your meals! Socialise with adult friends and leave the kids in the garden to eat soil!

It brings to mind my friends Keith and Jenni who blessed me greatly during my pregnancy by humbly enjoying, rather than ostentatiously striving at, family life.

I forget to enjoy it very frequently. I try to control the children. I shout. I create and then resent their dependence. I convince myself to complete totally pointless, status-anxiety-fuelled household tasks and get stressed when the toddlers find this boring. I have angst about getting back to paid work. I have guilt about everything.

But now, I have the Idle Parent Manifesto to keep me on track. An abridged version:

We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work.
We pledge to leave our children alone.
We read them fantastic stories without morals.
We drink alcohol.
We don't waste money on family days out and holidays.
We lie in bed for as long as possible.
We try not to interfere.
We work as little as possible.
Time is more important than money.
Down with School.
We fill the house with music and merriment.
We embrace responsibility.

Thank you. And, breathe......

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