Am I Lazy, Or The Best Parent Ever?

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Daddy Stories

One of the most difficult aspects of stay at home parenting is the monotony of it all. With exception of a few days here and there where you are on vacation or lock the kids in the basement and go on a wine and bacon bender, stay at home parents do the same shit every day. Mind you, I am totally NOT complaining, this is the sweetest gig one could ever imagine. It’s just that I hate some aspects of the job so much that if they were stuffed in a gunny sack, I would stab them repeatedly with a pitchfork and then whomp them against the side of the house, like a cat that is just not right. See? Totally NOT complaining.

In the past few months, I have realized that the best things to do with tasks that I don’t particularly enjoy doing is to simply stop doing them. “But Paul,” you ask, “Who will make Malcolm’s lunch? Who will brush his teeth? Who’s gonna track down all the underwear he seems to enjoy throwing around his room and put it in the hamper?” The answer is simple: he will.

This three point line that Malcolm wanted installed in our driveway may not be beautiful to you, but since he did it (while I played Scrabble on my phone) I think it's the most ridiculously perfect line ever.

Remarkably, we have found that Malcolm is surprisingly open to tackling a lot of responsibilities around the house. Sure, there may be some griping here and there, but for the most part Malcolm has accepted his new responsibilities with the same zeal a cubicle worker receives a new stapler. We have found that these simple guidelines will help you along the path to turning your child into an indentured servant (or is it dentured? Not sure about that one.)

First, make sure that the kid knows he/she is the one who is going to have to do it. If they call your bluff and you do it, they will know you are a pushover. You can be ready to assist them while they get up to speed on the new tasks, but they have to do the heavy lifting themselves. Show them how to use sharp knives and demonstrate how one washes their own testicles, but for crying out loud, don’t do that stuff yourself. Of course, things may be a little painful to start with. Fingers may be hacked off and sandwiches could be a little messy (finger sandwiches usually are!) but when your kids finally start doing things themselves, it will be worth it.

Second, tie the new work to the fact that they are now older. We told Malcolm that he was a big boy now, and as a result, he was going to be responsible for making his own breakfasts, lunches and helping out with dinner.  This turned the task into less of a, well, task and more into an honor. He resisted, smelling out the rat that he’d just been given, but if big kids make their own food, then who was he to stand in the way of the natural order.

Lastly, give them tons of praise. This builds confidence in your kid and gets you out of the constant loop of criticizing them. Find something nice to say about their work before offering any “suggestions” for how to make it better. When Malcolm made Christmas cards for all the grandparents last year, I told him that his penmanship was beautiful and his choice of colors was amazing before indicating that the picture of a rifle that he had drawn was perhaps not the best way to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. Stay positive!

So there you have it. Go out and turn your kid into a worker bee. You’ll find that once they “get it” they will automatically start doing more things for themselves. Every task that they do for themselves is one thing less that you’ll do every day, breaking the shackles of monotony from your beaten down neck. It also means more free time for you and hopefully less stabbing things in a gunny sack with a pitchfork.

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3 responses to “Am I Lazy, Or The Best Parent Ever?”

  1. conrad says:

    Does it start with the sign posted above the kid as a new born pronouncing that he/she will work for boob?

  2. Juddy says:

    Wait, will I lose a finger if I wash my own testicles? Better not start. We already have Dylan trained to mow the lawn (it’s so cute watching her chase cats on on the John Deere) and Grady makes a mean Old Fashioned.

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