By Meisha Rosenberg
Moms struggle to find decent child care and family-friendly activities every single day in the year: the rainy ones, the sleety ones, the ones with vomit in them. Then, there are the many “holidays” we are forced to celebrate—Labor Day (real name: More-Labor-for-Mom-Day), winter flu break, and Talk-Like-a-Pirate-and-Your-Home-Will-Be-Covered-in-Spitballs Day. You see, a holiday is not a holiday for a mother. It’s extra work.
Even worse, we are getting arrested for regular things like leaving children in the car for a few minutes and for choosing to homeschool. And the pundits blame us: We should, says author Pamela Druckerman, be more like the French. Or we need to be regimented, like Tiger Mom Amy Chua. But who actually wants to stand over their child with a whiteboard, crossing off the minutes while they play agonizingly out-of-tune violin? Not me.
Well, I’m here to tell you, if, like me, you have zero interest in “curating” art in the nursery or in turning your progeny into mini-Iron Chefs while your kitchen goes down in flames, the following tried-and-tested parenting styles are for you. They’re (mostly) legal, inexpensive, and idiot-proof.
1. Religious Parenting
Pick a religion; literally any organized religion will work. Little known historical fact: most converts signed up when they realized that places of worship provide child care, even on the weekends. Parents, hearken, for the Lord is calling our names!
2. Pinterest Parenting
Find a project, like painting a rock. After they’re done with that rock, have them do all the rocks; then paint the grass, the trees, the street, etc.
3. Paleo Parenting
For the health-conscious type—go where cell phones don’t work. Teach kids survival skills like how to go to the bathroom behind a tree. When in doubt, drum.
4. Dog Parenting
Go to a shelter and adopt as many dogs as you can. Works to establish pack hierarchy for “difficult” children, and most dogs willingly help by chewing up the evidence (Cheerios, wadded-up toilet paper) of a rough day.
5. Cable Parenting
Turn on the TV. A lot.
6. #What-Happens-At-Grandma’s-Stays-At-Grandma’s Parenting
This is a natural fit with cable parenting. So drop them off and try not to be bothered by the inter-generational guilt tripping that ensues.
7. “Look, It’s a Plane!” Parenting
Distract children with patter about whatever is happening in the vicinity. This method works wonders from the toddler years right on up through teenager-hood.
8. Third-Person Parenting
Talk about yourself in the third person. We don’t know exactly why this helps, but Mommy does it a lot.
9. Gym Parenting
Incredibly, gym memberships often include child care, although it’s usually a germ-infested room with marginally awake teenagers. At least they have CPR training and liability insurance, and they’re getting paid to do it, unlike us.
10. Ghost Phone Parenting
When all else fails, this one’s got you covered. Pick up your phone and pretend to push buttons, then have a fake conversation with someone named “Aunt Hedwig.” If the children act out, call out “Aunt Hedwig is coming! Aunt Hedwig is coming!”
11. Hang at the Drive-Thru Parenting
Come on, admit it: you’ve done this. And what’s not to like? Fast-food joints have public restrooms and kids’ meals, and the din drowns out the constant whining. So take the kids to McDonald’s (hello, indoor playgrounds!), Starbucks (I love ya, cake pops!), or Chuck E Cheese whenever you can’t figure what else to do with them, which is like, every day.
About the Author
As a nonfiction writer Meisha Rosenberg has been published in Literary Mama, Bitch, the Women’s Review of Books, AlterNet, the Times Union, and others. Her poetry has appeared in the Connecticut River Review, Cold Mountain Review, and SLAB. Meisha writes and parents in Upstate New York. Find out more at http://meisha-rosenberg.squarespace.com/