I’m a hands-off mom

Don't get me wrong, we still know how to have fun together!

I’m a hands-off mom.

We play together, but for the most part I leave my son to his own devices. He has learned to play independently quite well. And when he does want me to play with him, I am there for him.

I don’t plan activities or do arts & crafts with him. I leave that to the school.

Sometimes I blame the fact that I didn’t do Mommy & Me classes or whatever because I was severely depressed, and super poor. But even in a better situation, I still wouldn’t have gone.

If we go to the park, I sit on the sidelines and watch him. His imagination is simply incredible when I’m not trying to lead the play.

When T had a friend sleepover this weekend, K’s mom asked if I had anything planned for the boys. I felt bad saying no, but it’s the truth. I let them entertain themselves in T’s bedroom, and they watched a couple of cartoons on DVD. I pretty much only interacted with them when they were tattling on each other, or when I was eating meals with them.

I don’t want to be a mom that has to run around to a bunch of different activities, sports, and club meetings. I’ve signed him up for T-ball, and that will probably be enough for me. One thing at a time. He’ll decide if he likes it, and then maybe we’ll try something else.

I was going to sign him up for karate, but that would take up 4 days a week. Four days! That’s more than half of my week. Maybe that makes me selfish, but it just seems a little ridiculous to me.

I believe that children learn through play. Not everything in their lives needs to be forced and scheduled.

T has thrived in this environment I’ve raised him in. He’s an intelligent little monster, and that’s without me forcing anything. He potty-trained best when I stepped back and took away that ridiculous reward chart.  I’ve bought him flashcards and books to learn reading, but he’s doing it all on his own. He looks at the word on the flashcard, sounds it out, and then checks the picture on the back to see if he was right. If I try to help him out, he gets frustrated.

Sometimes I do worry about whether I’m being laid-back or lazy. But, for the most part, I can shrug my worries aside and see that this is what works for us.

I step back, and he flourishes.

And what could possibly be wrong with that?

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9 comments on “I’m a hands-off mom”

  1. Ali

    I’m the same way. I’m not good at playing kid stuff. My kids are extremely resourceful and well-adjusted. I’m not worried. 4 days for Karate? I’ve never heard of something like that for his age.

  2. Emu Stu

    While my son is only 15 months old, I plan on raising him the same way you are raising T. I already hang back a little bit and let him explore things on his own. I am never too far away, but I don’t force him to play with a certain toy a certain way – if he wants to keep it upside down and backwards to play with it, fine with me! I agree that kids need to explore and learn on their own. Kudos to you!

  3. Mommy Shorts

    I’m like this with Mazzy. My mother and my sister are both super involved when they play with her but it doesn’t come naturally to me. But Mazzy is happy and smart and obviously very loved. So I can’t be messing up too badly…

  4. Jen

    Wait – I’m not the only one?! I thought I was the only mom that doesn’t spend $500 a month on Gymboree classes! This post makes me so happy!

  5. rachael

    I think you’re fab!! I quite agree, I don’t think kids can develop their imagination unless they are left to get on with it. I also think they can see through you if you do things with them that you don’t enjoy and I don’t see what sort of life lesson that is teaching them -surely not that you appreciate their company. I play football, cycle, read, cook, draw with my kids. I’d rather gouge my own eyes out than play monopoly, and as I told my son – I don’t make yu watch me read the paper, why should I come to watch your game?

  6. Arnebya

    I admit to sometimes feeling bad when my middle girl wants to play dolls. It used to seem so naturally to me but now…there are other things I need to be doing. And when I say no and make her or all of them play alone together, man, that is warming, the things they can come up with. And once I realized that she/they aren’t internalizing my not playing, but enjoying their imaginations and each other — I’m good. And you should be good with how you’re parenting too. It’s working for you and him, no justification needed.

  7. Carmen

    I, like the others who have commented, are also hands-off. When I do make attempts at ‘leading’ play I find that I am just limiting what they are doing rather than teaching anything.

    We all parent the way that works for us and our children!

  8. Jessica

    I am pretty much the same way with my kids. I sit back and let them do whatever instead of trying to plan and control them. As long as they are not screaming, crying, or killing each other.

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