Reject the Hustle in Parenting
Parenting is inherently its own type of constant hustle. Let’s not turn it into madness.
To reject the hustle in parenting isn’t about ignoring children or their needs. Rather, it is about maintaining a sense of priority and being conscious of the greater good, the health of our household and ourselves, and only nodding “yes” to the things that work for us and our families.
1. Do not get sucked into the fringe stuff of parenting.
For purposes here, let’s define “fringe” as all those (rather contemporary) activities that might appear fun, but will actually create more work and cost a fair bit of brain space and sanity. Of course, what the fringe stuff is for you might be different than what it is for another parent. No judgment. Examples could include:
- Weeklong school dress-up days
- Elf on the shelf
- Extravagant birthday parties with a crowd of children at a paid venue
Ask yourself: Does the very mention of this activity cause stress to rise within my being?
Do I instinctively know my support and participation of this has nothing to do with being a good parent or community member/neighbor, yet I somehow still feel an underlying obligation to participate?
If the answers to both of these questions is a resounding “yes,” it’s quite likely the endeavor is a fringe one, and should be swiftly removed from consideration.
2. Be mindful of the negative pressure of social media.
Yes, this advice is starting to feel old, but sickness of social media obligation appears to still strike a chord with modern-day parents. (Now, this isn’t to be confused with all the positive ideas we see on posts and platforms. How else would we have known how to make slime with our children if we didn’t have YouTube?) The pressure turns negative when we compare what other families are doing with our own lack of…keeping up. Remember, behind every smartly-styled family shoot is a pressure-cooker parent/actor with an academy-award-winning smile.
3. Establish a quiet time.
It now seems appropriate to refer to quiet time as in-house physical or social distancing. Every child to her own room or space. No beckoning a parent unless of an authentic emergency, and no coming out until the quiet time is over. Children can read, imagine, dress-up their dolls, race their matchbox cars, build with their Legos, daydream, make career plans, count their money, or lie on the floor and stare at the cobwebs in the corner. Parents can work or rest or hole up in the corner and eat ice cream from the carton, undisturbed.
4. Don’t (necessarily) attend every single performance or sport event.
Every game your child plays in. Every performance of the same theatrical production. There are a lots of ways parents show love and build camaraderie and have quality time with children. Seeing them at 100% of everything they do is not necessarily how that happens.
5. Make accommodations as you see fit to prioritize connection over completion.
We’re in an uncertain time of crisis and anxiety. Public health is at stake. Our mental and emotional well-being is sketchy. If we are fighting the battle for every last long-division math problem to be finished at the expense of making education at least somewhat enjoyable, we’re not taking proper care. Yes, children have schoolwork and parents have jobs. But we’re going to have to let ourselves off a few hooks.
by Rhonda Franz
Rhonda Franz is an editor, writer, educator, and home operations specialist. A city girl at heart, she is raising three lively boys with her husband in the rural woods of Northwest Arkansas. She has actually never made slime with her children, but has delved into the ice cream carton during quiet time.0