When I was growing up, there was one phrase that my mom told me (and my siblings) ALL the time and it drove me absolutely CRAZY.
I hated it enough that I swore that my own children would never ever hear me say it. “Not today.” Perhaps this sounds harmless and I was overreacting, or perhaps my daydreaming comments like “We should go to Disneyland as a family” being shot down with “not today” got real old real fast. Like, "Mom, obviously we’re not going to pick up and go today!" But her answer was so automatic and commonly said that I truly heard that phrase all. the. time.
Now that I’m a mom, I get it. And have I said this phrase to my children on multiple occasions? Including the exact same occasions that used to aggravate me as a child? You bet I have. Why? Because being a mom is exhausting work! Not only do I get physically tired, but my mind gets tired, my happy/perfect mom attitude gets tired, and my patience answering half a million questions a day gets tired too. Thus, my “lazy mom” answers or requests.
I’ve broken down my “lazy mom” sayings into three categories:
- I don’t want to deal with this.
- I don’t want to move.
- I need a break.
First, I don’t want to deal with this.
You already know I’ve broken my oath to myself by saying “not today”. I used to get around it by saying things like “maybe tomorrow” but as my kids have grown, it turns out they have freaky memories and first thing the next day they are ready to do that thing I had told them they could do tomorrow! So “not today” has crept up to take the place of my “later” statements.
However, the use of that phrase doesn’t even compare to the phrases I most often use on my kiddos. My lazy phrases that get me out of a LOT of things. “How about when Dad gets home?”, “Dad will have to fix that when he gets home”, “You can ask Dad when he gets home” and so on and so forth. It’s by far the laziest tactic I use on my kids. But it totally works! And a lot of the time their freaky memories work here too so my husband gets bombarded at the door with broken toys or weird questions! It’s pretty great. Lazy? Yes. Genius? Yes.
Second, I don’t want to move.
Now this is a whole different type of lazy. But my body is so much bigger than my son’s body so really it’s easier for him to get up and grab things for me, right? “Can you run upstairs and get your sister some socks?” “Will you hand me that remote right there?” “Go put this on the counter so Dad can fix it when he gets home.”
I specifically remember my health teacher in high school telling us to avoid having our children do simple tasks for us because it’s a slippery slope into laziness and bad habits, but she failed to mention that this is actually one of the top 5 best parts of having children! Honestly, I think it’s good for them: it teaches them to follow instructions, it gets them brownie points for helping out, and occasionally they’re really motivated to be helpful and are proud of themselves for what they did! A lot of the time I end up having to go tell/show/direct them anyway, so I really don’t make them do an astronomical amount of things for me, but I still think it’s an okay lazy mom move on my part. Especially because I don’t have to move.
Last, I need a break.
This laziness typically happens to me when I’ve had enough of the tantrums, or I really have to get something done (work, dinner, etc.) or I don’t feel good, or I just plain old need a second to myself. “Want to watch a video on my phone?” or “We haven’t watched a movie for a few days, how about we start one?” or “Go find your dad.” This is more for my sanity than anything else, and it’s a much better alternative to losing my temper completely and ending up with guilt on top of everything else! My friend told me today that she wasn’t feeling well and her daughter wanted her to read her a book. Her response? “I forgot how to read.” Ha! I’m definitely going to remember that one!