Time is limited. Sanity, even more so. That’s why I don’t feel guilty having taken these (hopefully common) parenting shortcuts.
Skipped the shower.
I love a good shower as much as the next guy…once I’m in the shower. I could stand under a hot stream of water for tens of minutes before beginning an actual cleansing routine. Sometimes I just don’t make it into the shower.
There are nights when bathing isn’t even on my radar. To be fair, I have an office job and average about 2,000 steps on the days I work. There’s also the season to take into consideration. On a winter night when I haven’t moved all day, I’ll gladly forego a shower in favor of some other form of “me” time.
Not changed a diaper.
Here’s the scenario: I’ve finally gotten both kids ready for preschool/daycare. We’re heading for the door. This is the time my son decides to take a dump. I can smell it. When I do a quick check though, it’s a tiny little thing, a poop nugget, if you will. Instead of removing shoes, pants, and diaper, I pick up the poop with my fingers and walk it to the toilet.
In the back of my mind, this is okay, because even if the diaper is a little soiled, daycare changes diapers at regular intervals (barring any noticeable BMs). By 9:00 my baby’s bum will be outfitted in a clean, new nappy. Hey, it’s built into the tuition.
Re-gifted a present.
I do feel slightly guilty about this one. Usually, I become a bit giddy when I find a really good gift for someone. There’s a creativity component to gift-giving that brings me joy. Re-gifting is just too good an opportunity sometimes.
When my son was born, my daughter received just as many gifts as he, if not more. I appreciated the sentiment, and these gifts made my daughter happy during a time of uncertainty for her. But we only need so many puzzles and activity books. We even have a few duplicate toys.
Shelf space is limited. My capacity to pick up sh*t all the time is decreasing. Occasionally, I’ll leave a gift in its packaging and bring it to the random-kid-from-preschool’s birthday party my daughter has been invited to. Why not make someone else happy and me less stressed about having so much stuff around?
Employed child labor.
Ah, the real reason we procreate. Just kidding. It is amazing, however, when you can get your little one(s) to do something for you when you, yourself, just don’t feel up to it.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out both my children like to clean. More so my daughter, but my son has a ball moving a Swiffer back and forth over the same square foot bit of floor. Don’t worry, he’ll get there. Or else (just kidding again).
So, when I skeptically ask, “Do you feel like cleaning the coffee table?” and my daughter enthusiastically responds, “Yes!” I seize the opportunity. Husband and I also have no problem having our daughter grab us cans from the beer fridge. It was a proud moment for Husband when he requested a Heady Topper and she brought one right to him. #parentinggoals
Cut short/improvised/or otherwise botched story time.
Some stories just suck. They suck even more when it’s the eighth night in a row you’re reading them. It used to be easier to skip pages or even lines, but now my daughter picks up on even the slightest variation to the story.
“No, all it needed was SOME frosting,” she’ll point out when Husband or I have left out a word. Tough crowd.
Other stories are odd, or too long. I make variations, or leave out entire sections. I try to still make sense, but depending on my daughter’s level of wakefulness, sometimes I don’t need to.
Parenting is a tough and often thankless job. The road to developing happy, well-adjusted children is a long one. Sometimes a little shortcut can go a long way.