I have a confession to make. I am the Queen of Parenting Shortcuts.
Whew, now that I got that off my chest, allow me to elaborate upon how this terminology translates into action in my house.
1. “Turning Japanese”-
Instead of nagging my kids about where NOT to eat, I have surrendered and now SERVE them on the floor. (I reason that all food, plates, cutlery, cups, and liquids always end up there anyway, so I just eliminated a step.)
2. Scaring my kids into submission-
In order to get my kids to brush teeth, floss, wash hair, wash hands after using the bathroom, not streak butt-naked throughout the neighborhood, etc. I use various modifications of “scare tactics” - i.e.,
“Put your shoes on so the bugs don’t bite your toes.”
"Don´t run out of the house without clothes on- the policeman is coming!"
“Brush your teeth quickly before the cavity bugs arrive and eat your teeth while you sleep.”
(I've got a repertoire of about 25 varieties.)
Each one is equally effective and produces almost instantaneous results.
3. Bribing and Blackmailing-
To get my kids to make their beds, help fold laundry or realize any chore, some sort of bribing or blackmailing dynamic is always in play. Appealing to their compassionate and sensitive side like,
“Because Mommy is exhausted and ready to jump out of a moving bus if she doesn’t get help,” doesn’t work or evoke any empathy MOST of the time.
“Do it and I’ll let you pick out the movie next time,” works every time.
4. OK, You can do it until you get hurt-
This is the philosophy, (motto) that I’ve adopted when approached with inquiries about playing acrobatic games that involve wrestling techniques, boxing moves, tumbling and jumping. It also serves as a barometer to determine and manage the actual risks associated with each new "invented" activity.
5. Promises of Junk Food-
I entice my kids into eating a "proper meal" with promises of desserts and snacks awaiting them at the end of the rainbow. ‘Nuff said.
6. Carrying my two year-old like an infant-
In an attempt to control the curious, untamed, and ultimately destructive hands attached to my two-year-old’s upper limbs, I choose to hold her hostage, literally. If I have to shower, she sits on the floor in the bathroom watching me. If I need to cook, she sits on the kitchen floor emptying out my drawers of cutlery, but under my surveillance. The alternative of leaving her alone with her own devilish thoughts that convert into action immediately, albeit for a second, is recipe for disaster and always leads to something breaking.
7. Fallen soldiers-
At the end of a long and exhausting day, the logistics of putting 5 small kids to sleep in their respective beds, at about the same time, can get rather tricky. Especially with each one suffering from “only-child syndrome” and demanding at least of 20 minutes of tickles, stories, milk, etc. My system has naturally evolved to one of allowing the “I don’t want to go to my bed yet ones” to pass out wherever their hearts desire- on the couch, chair, kitchen floor or at the foot of my desk. All I need to do afterwards is carry their relaxed snoring little body to bed.
I see it as a win-win. They are not officially “going to bed,” and I know they will fall asleep faster this way and thus, less work for me!
Do you have any parenting shortcuts you want to share? (I am running out of ideas so please don’t be greedy!)
Don’t worry; nobody is going to judge you. On the contrary, we will admire you.
Look at it from my perspective- the mere fact that you’re admitting to something, reveals that you are really a great mom who is introspective and loves her children dearly- enough to take the “easy way out” when it is necessary!
After all, we all need to do what it takes to preserve our SANITY. For without that, even a plate full of fresh organic broccoli and spinach won’t be healthy enough for a child with an INSANE mommy!
Stay tuned for my Sneaky Mom confessions….
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald