By Jessica Lehmann, Registered Dietician-Nutritionist
In the United States, on Labor Day, we celebrate “contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But did you know that there’s another day on which we celebrate another group of workers who also promote the “strength, prosperity and well-being” of another important institution - the family? It’s not a federal holiday (yet), but the first Friday in September is…National Lazy Mom’s Day!
So what’s in store for you on National Lazy Mom’s Day? For starters, there are no parades or barbecues. It’s like Mother’s Day, but without the pressure of gifts and dressing up for brunch. National Lazy Mom’s Day is all about taking a break from parenting duties to enjoy some leisure time away from your kids.
The point of the day is to promote healthy and balanced mothering. Raising our kids to be smart, kind, funny, brave, sweet individuals is such an important calling that we, as parents, can’t afford to let ourselves burn out. Scientific evidence tells us that breaks are necessary for well-being. No matter how adorable and wonderful our children are, being able to enjoy some time away from them is necessary for our psychological well-being.
Kids need their parents to role-model appropriate self-care activities so that they can learn to give themselves downtime too. Parents are told not to overschedule their kids so that “kids can be kids”. Well, we moms need to avoid overscheduling ourselves, too, simply so that we can feel fully human in all our imperfect glory.
Since there’s no official “clocking out” of the motherhood shift, we just have to carve our downtime whenever possible. Everyone defines “leisure” differently, but reading, napping, taking a bath, exercising, and going out to a restaurant would all be acceptable activities. Let’s not consider working outside of the home as a leisure activity for National Lazy Mom’s Day, even if you, like me, might consider your paid work to be more leisurely than your unpaid mom work.
The following activities do not count as official NLMD leisure: supervising kids, refereeing fights, meeting with teachers, dealing with tantrums, cooking, cleaning, grocery-shopping, laundry, picking up toys, and chauffeuring kids to and from school and their activities. Online shopping could work, as long as you’re not shopping for your kids.
And let’s get one thing straight: just because one day has been named National Lazy Mom’s Day doesn’t mean that moms should forget to take a break on all of the other days of the year, any more than celebrating Mother’s Day means remembering to call your mom only once a year. Moms clearly have a need for child-free downtime that should be met daily. (When I read this aloud to my fifth-grader, he said, “Isn’t ‘child-free downtime’ just called ‘sleep’? Clearly, I need to continue working on being a role-model for child-free leisure time.)
Being properly lazy all starts with some planning and prepping, though. Here is my plan for the day (and feel free to borrow any of this):
On National Lazy Mom’s Day, I will get up and eat the overnight oatmeal and green drink that I made the day before. I’ll let my husband and kids pull out the yogurt, fruit and cereal and make themselves breakfast. I’ll pack the lunches that I made the night before, including my own.
Before I leave for work, I will look happily into the fridge at the meal I prepped for dinner the day before. Then I’m going to listen to The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars on the way to work. After I’m done teaching and holding office hours and meeting with students and meeting with other faculty about various projects, I will leave.
I will have scheduled playdates with friends for two of my kids so I won’t have to worry about picking them up from school. I will pick up just the youngest from preschool and then we will go home and watch “Cupcake Wars” on Netflix on the sofa together. However, we will not attempt to make any cupcakes, because after all, it’s National Lazy Mom’s Day.
On his way home from work, my husband will pick up our other two kids from their friends’ houses and when he gets home, I will hug him, hand him a beer, point to the dinner in the fridge that I made the night before and wish him luck.
Then I will go see “Bad Moms” with some of my favorite friends who also just happen to be moms. We’ll Uber to the theater, then go out for dinner and Uber home. (Or, maybe I will just crawl into bed and read.)
Moms: we work hard and we play hard, and now it’s time to rest hard. Let’s not apologize for needing a break. Embrace National Lazy Mom’s Day. And then turn it into Self-Care September. Before you know it, you’ll feel empowered to indulge in some lazy mom time every day!