Manifesto of the Idle Parent
One of my favorite parenting books that I read last year was more of an anti-parenting book: The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson. He includes this rather snappy manifesto that will give you a pretty good feel for the tone of the book. This is probably going to go up on my fridge or near the family calendar.
- We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work.
- We pledge to leave our children alone.
- We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children’s lives from the moment they are born.
- We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals.
- We drink alcohol without guilt.
- We reject the inner Puritan.
- We don’t waste money on family days out and holidays.1
- An idle parent is a thrifty parent.
- An idle parent is a creative parent.
- We lie in bed for as long as possible.
- We try not to interfere.
- We play in the fields and forests.
- We push them into the garden and shut the door so we can clean the house.
- We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small. 2
- Time is more important than money.
- Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness.
- Down with school.
- We fill the house with music and merriment.
- We reject health and safety guidelines.
- We embrace responsibility.
- There are many paths.
I’m not 100% sold on this one. We’re big fans of family hikes and museum trips, and last year we took our daughter to Universal Studios. I don’t have as many kids to juggle as the author does, which is an important bit of context. ↩
This and No. 15 are easy to say when money is of no concern. My husband is a software engineer and despite me being a stay-at-home mom, his pay his high enough that he can get away with a typical 40 hour work week. This is a privilege offered to very few. ↩
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