Turning Your Flaws into Parenting Tips

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a mother posting another heartfelt quote about parenting on social media. Tis the season for everything from inspirational ditties to novellas about the joy of parenting due to the impending departure of a child leaving for college.

A lot of times these ramblings also contain parenting advice which I read and then I feel bad about myself. One of the reasons is because I think my parenting advice could fit on a Post-it Note. This is because I realize the most successful things I have done as a mother were totally unplanned and motivated by my own laziness.

Case in point is homework. I never checked any homework. Not once. I think maybe I should feel bad about this. Not because I didn’t do it but because my kids never asked me to. Did they believe I was too dumb?

Granted after math progressed beyond the multiplication tables I was kind of out of my league. (I did make up for it in the project category. I was a diorama genius. Truly, my gifts lay in the mastery of a glue gun and trips to the craft store.)

But thanks to me never being a homework hound my kids learned self-accountability or at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself. It’s not that I wasn’t vested in my children’s education, I truly was. In fact, I was devoted to doing a lot of what I’m going to call hands-on learning at home especially when it came to reading.

True confession time I’ve always yearned to be an actress. But alas it wasn’t meant to be. But my children (#captiveaudience) were the lucky recipients of my signature dramatic flair through many, many, hours spent listening to me read aloud to them. The result of this was that they both learned to read early so they “didn’t need mommy’s help anymore.”

Ouch. Talk about harsh critics.

Was I hurt that they no longer wanted me to act out “Thomas the Tank Engine” or “Junie B. Jones?” Yes, especially the Thomas books because my British accent is on point, but it did foster independent and lifelong readers.

Another parenting tip fueled by my laziness was the family dinner. I, 100 percent, believe that eating dinner together is crucial to a child’s success. But that’s not why I did it. I mandated family dinners because it was much easier than being a short order cook and feeding kids at different times and it meant I only had to clean the kitchen once.

The chore chart, the mainstay of many super parents, was also a no-can-do for me. Do you know how much work it takes to maintain a chore chart? It’s a behemoth.

 First, you have to make a chore chart (Oh, excuse me, the correct term now is “responsibility chart”) and invest upwards of $50 in stickers to track the chores, err I mean responsibilities. Then you have to list all the age-appropriate chores, create a tally system, inspect all the chores for a job well done and then hand out the rewards and punishments while your kids debate the fairness of your decision. It’s the ultimate parenting time suck.

You know what takes a whole lot less effort? Screaming at your kids to pick up their room while throwing sponges. Trust me – it works. Both of my kids know their way around a Scotch-Brite, non-scratch scrub sponge and a bottle of Mr. Clean.

Hmm, based on all this I guess my one piece of parenting advice would be that sometimes your worst flaws can become great motivators for your children.

🙂 Want more advice? Check out my two new audiobooks! Consider it a summer delight.