8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Judge a Slacker Mom

8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Judge a Slacker Mom

The mom who looks like she’s doing it all wrong might actually be doing it all right.


By Leah Maxwell

If you’re the type of mom who is perfectly pulled together and runs her family with all the efficiency of a German train schedule, I salute you. Aaaaand I also ask that you please not judge my kid’s holey sock and the fact that my car hasn’t been vacuumed anytime in recent memory. I hesitate to call myself a “slacker mom,” because I feel like the term suggests I don’t care, when the truth is I do care (sometimes), I just don’t always have the means to follow through. Other times, I just have different priorities than the mom who seems to have it all figured out. It is in this spirit that I present a list of eight reasons we should all stop judging so-called slacker moms, even -- or especially -- if the slacker and the judger are one and the same -- meaning you!

1. She’s perfected the art of picking her battles. Don’t look down on the mom who sends her kids to school with uncombed hair or mismatched socks. Consider that she probably faced a dozen conflicts before 8 a.m. and decided to let a few of them slide to preserve her own sanity. That’s not slacking, that’s strategy.

2. She’s modeling the fine art of doing nothing. While some moms have their kids signed up for a different lesson or sport every single day of the week, how does the slacker mom think it’s OK to let her kid get bored on the reg? “Parents should model the fine art of doing nothing so their kids know how to relax and be bored in healthy ways,” says Susan Smith Kuczmarski, author of books on parenting and families. The slacker mom knows the value of letting her kids engage in things that are not necessarily considered “productive” or “worthwhile” in a traditional sense, and the slacker mom also understands how important it is to take some downtime for herself, too.

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3. She’s letting her kids flex their independence. See the kid who looks like he dressed himself? Is it possible he’s not the child of a slacker mom but of a mom who actually just let him dress himself on purpose, as a way of promoting self-confidence, independence, and creativity? He may look ridiculous, but does it really matter when he’s clearly so proud of his crazy ensemble?

4. She’s simply overwhelmed. “Some slacker moms may actually not be slacker moms all the time or at all,” says Jason Ma, author of Young Leaders 3.0: Stories, Insights, and Tips for Next-Generation Achievers. “Some may be experiencing periods in which they’re just overloaded and are trying.” Given infinite time, energy, and resources, I’m sure we’d all like to be totally on top of everything in our lives, but considering the demands we all face, it’s normal for some areas to receive less attention. In the case of the overwhelmed mom, the last thing she needs is criticism and judgment. Instead, find ways to be helpful and supportive.

5. She’s living by her own set of values and priorities. Acknowledge the reality that each family has a unique value system, advises parenting expert and author Debbie Pincus of EmpoweringParents.com. “Parents should never engage in one-truth thinking – ‘My way is the only way and you should think like me,’” she says. “Not only is this not helpful, it is certainly not inspiring or influential.” Maybe the slacker mom would rather spend her extra money on a family vacation instead of cello lessons. Maybe giving her kids nightly screen time allows her to spend much-needed one-on-one time with her husband. Every family is different.

6. She’s “failing” in some areas but excelling in others. The mom who sends her kids to school with lunch bags full of prepackaged junk might consider that a shortcut worth taking if it means she has time to prepare amazing sit-down dinners every night. The mom whose kitchen is always a mess might not like it, but she’s realized a chaotic kitchen is tolerable if it means she has time to play with her kids when she comes home from work.

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“Creating family time is critically important,” says Kuczmarski. She points out that slacker moms are often better at employing family bonding strategies than moms who appear productive and pulled together by the standards of modern culture. That’s not to say moms on the other end of the spectrum aren’t bonding with their kids, just that there are many different ways to successfully parent a child.

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7. She doesn’t want your opinion unless she asks for it. “Nobody likes to be judged, especially if an opinion is offered up without asking for advice,” says Pincus. “Remember to stay in your own box [and be] more focused on developing your own beliefs than thinking it is your job to manage other people's beliefs.” If you’re truly concerned, don’t say, “You should do X” but instead ask, “How can I help?”

8. She’s trying her best to do what’s right for her family, just like everyone else. Above all, keep the big picture in mind: “Everyone is ultimately concerned about the same thing -- raising their children the best way they know how,” says Pincus. If you find it hard to not criticize different parenting styles, recognize the common goal rather than the opposing personal style, and make liberal use of the mantra “she is not me.” It’s pointless to expect everyone to adhere to a single standard when there are so many ways to raise a child with love.

How would you say you “slack off” as a mom?


Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/vitapix


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I agree completely. Especially #5 and #7. Because not everyone has the same values. And your opinion is nobody else's business, unless they ask for it.

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