While the world is determined to make us believe summer is fun and relaxing, we parents know better. The days are long, which means are kids are up way too late. No school means scheduling in camps, play dates, sitters, etc. Then there's all that sun, which means coercing our kids into putting sunblock on. Yes, summer is hard, but you can make it easier by embracing some hot trends. Maybe you stopped caring about trends when you gave in and bought a minivan. Maybe it happened as soon as you peed on the stick. But trust me, there’s a reason these parenting hacks are hot right now. They save so much work.
The baby snuggles while you keep both hands free. Babywearing means not having to strategize your approach at every doorway or MacGyvering through stairwells with 40 pounds of stroller, baby, and diaper bag slung across your body at awkward angles. Babywearing eliminates those face-prickling, nervous-sweat moments when you’re futzing to unlatch your stroller as your baby wails and the one thing just won’t attach to the other thing and all eyes are on you in an otherwise quiet, public place. If I regret anything in my life, it’s that I didn’t wear my kids more when they were babies. (Exception: the Moby wrap. Wrestling 25 yards worth of cotton with a crying baby on your hip can make anyone weep, particularly a postpartum woman).
2 | Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping could be the best-kept secret of lazy parents. Contrary to popular belief, co-sleeping doesn’t make you an attachment parent, a helicopter parent, or a hippie. It means you are probably sleeping better than everyone else. It means you’re capable of snoring when the kid snuggles up with his center of mass directly over your Adam’s apple. It means you’re a gentle soul who finds the sound of your kid breathing like an overweight octogenarian adorable, even without an Ambien or two. Co-sleeping means never leaving your bed in the middle of the night. I regret not co-sleeping with my kids when they were babies. I also regret that they thought co-sleeping was a slumber party. Specifically, the kind of slumber party where the first girl to fall asleep would wake to find her underpants hidden in the freezer.
3 | Baby-led weaning
Baby-led weaning is fancy way of saying you feed your baby regular food. Instead of spoon-feeding your baby purees that you have to make or buy, you give them soft foods they can eat with their hands. Why did I spend so much time pureeing various combinations of fruits and vegetables, then struggle to simultaneously feed myself, read the paper, and spoon-feed them for hundreds, maybe thousands of meals? I beg forgiveness from the patron saint of judge-y mommies. My sins include (but are not limited to) ignorance and hypocrisy. I scoffed at baby-led weaning. I am ashamed to admit that this cloth-diapering, home-birthing, chicken-raising mama thought it was “too crunchy.” I wish I’d considered how much easier (read: lazier) it would have been to set a few mashed pieces of my chicken and sweet potatoes on my babies’ high chair trays and let them have at it.
4 | Waldorf principles
Waldorf schools are notorious for banning screens. While letting the TV babysit your kids is the epitome of lazy parenting, there is in fact a place for the Waldorf philosophy in the lazy parent's home. Waldorf emphasizes connecting with nature and creative play. Sending your kids to the backyard and shutting the door behind them is a great way for them to discover the natural world. Meanwhile, the glut of plastic toys hampers kids’ imaginations. Letting kiddos create a rich imaginary world means fewer toys to trip on and less time spent inventing ways to make clean up fun (or sighing loudly while shoving toys in bins after bedtime).
5 | Minimalism
While minimalism is trending right now, less is truly more. Fewer toys means less time spent sorting and tidying toys. A smaller wardrobe means less laundry. A smaller house means less cleaning. Principles of minimalism apply not just to your material things but to your emotional and spiritual life as well. In a culture that values staying busy, minimalism asks us not just to weed out material clutter but the obligations that clutter our calendars as well. Don’t feel like meeting up for a drink with that preschool mom you’d never be friends with if you didn’t have kids the same age? Don’t. You’re not a bitch. You’re just a minimalist, protecting your greatest asset – your time. (She doesn’t need to know your prior commitment is binge watching House Hunters.)
6 | Rompers
The romper should be the staple of every lazy mom’s (and dad’s) summer wardrobe. Yoga pants may be comfy and match everything but they’re not a great summer piece (unless you’re attempting a budget version of one of the those perspire-excessively-in-a-compression-garment weight loss strategies). Send your yoga pants to Goodwill along with the teeny-tiny Legos and find yourself a romper. The romper is superior to yoga pants in every way. It doesn’t just match everything – it is everything. Meanwhile, you’ll never wonder if a romper’s butt has grown sheer, or whether it’s giving you a camel toe. Once it’s on, all you need are shoes and you’re dressed. Romp-and-go style is yours with zero fuss…until you have to use the restroom. As parents, we are busy. We don’t have time to check out all the trending hashtags on Instagram. Don’t worry about hashtags. Do whatever is easiest and you’re sure to be in vogue this summer.