The Easy Way Out

posted in: Confessions, Life, Motherhood, Parenting 103 comments

My preschooler has eaten french fries and mini tubs of choco-berry yogurt for dinner two nights in a row. A repeat performance is very likely tonight. It’s far easier than cooking something that requires the hiding of vegetables, thinking of an alternate name for it that he’ll recognize so he’ll deign to try it, only for it to be rejected. Again.

I’ve also been taking him out to the nearby mall in the afternoons, when it’s just the two of us. Instead of staying home and doing crafts, or learning to read, or something remotely educational, we’ve been cruising the escalators, and riding shopping carts. It’s fun for him, and sets the tone for the rest of the day (happy versus bored).

The baby feeds himself lunch, standing up at the coffee table, while watching Blue’s Clues. It’s that, or having him sit in the high chair where he throws more food than he eats, which I have to clean up.

I don’t do craft with the baby either.

I’m okay with the kids not wearing pants at home. Less laundry.

I wanted to cloth diaper a long time ago, but the idea of constantly washing allthethings put me off. See above.

I encourage independent play for the kids because I get bored sitting on the floor for longer than 20 minutes. I do think it’s a good idea to get down and play with them frequently, but taking breaks in between is essential for (my) sanity.

I know they will likely love Lego, but the idea of cleaning up tiny pieces of foot-killing objects, is putting me off. I have no plans to buy any Lego anytime soon.

I am unsure about introducing 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles to them when they’re older. See above.

So yes, sometimes, I take the easy way out because there are so many hard things already. Decisions on schools, extracurricular activities, their health, our health, worrying about my oldest’s speech, GMO-foods, food in general, allergies, the future.

So yes, some days, I do some escalator cruising and french fry eating with my children. Even if I’m the only one wearing pants.

Linking up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out.

Do you ever take the easy way out?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • June 19, 2013 Christine

    I wouldn’t say that it’s taking the easy way out – I think that it’s more picking your battles. At least that’s how I like to look at it. OMG the legos drive me nutso but my boys love them so much. Speaking of 1,000 piece puzzles, my mom thought it was a good idea to get the boys one. I pretended to help put it together for about a day and threw up my hands and said it was too hard. We packed it away and *may* pull it out in about 5 years.
    Christine recently wrote…Turning CartwheelsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Hah! Grandparents and their well-meaning gifts. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 sarah

    Dude, you just described my entire parenting style. mostly around here we take the path of least resistance. but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. we’ve got rules and routines and then we have fun and let loose too. all business all the time and I might just go insane. and who would that benefit? πŸ™‚ ride those escalators to your heart’s content!
    sarah recently wrote…sock it to meMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      You’re so wise, and you just made me feel a ton better.

  • June 19, 2013 Elaine A.

    I love the no pants rule, as do my boys, especially the oldest. He would hang in his underwear all day if I would allow it. And LEGOs are great, until you step on one. I take the “easy way” sometimes too and any Mom who says they do not is a big ole liar. xo
    Elaine A. recently wrote…MJ and old Things (including me)My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I see that many Moms advocate Legos simply because the kids love them. I may get them some. If they learn to pick up after themselves. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Michelle

    Some days you just have to pick your battles and decide what’s worth it to you. Of course that is easier said than done sometimes too. My youngest loved Legos. I bought a big tub and that’s what we kept it all in. But none of my kids were ever all that interested in puzzles. And I don’t think its that big of a deal that you’re cruising escalators…honestly, I bet he’s doing a lot of people watching and that is great for socialization (watching people, seeing how they react, etc)
    Michelle recently wrote…I’m on Twitter! Now what?My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      That’s a good perspective, Michelle, thank you. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Robbie

    It may be the easy way but it’s also the FUN way! I LOVE LOVE LOVE legos! The 6 yr old chose me for his assistant as I am “ovbiously, a lego expert.”

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Okay, I’m getting a little swayed towards getting them Lego….well, maybe once the boys are old enough to pick up after themselves.

  • June 19, 2013 sheri

    I love this. I am so very similar in dealing with my almost 21 month old daughter. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t sit in the floor for hours with her but now we do 20 minute increments. It’s better for all involved. and dinner has been a piece of wheat bread and handful of frozen peas lately soooooooo no worries, we are all ‘making things easy’ πŸ™‚
    sheri recently wrote…a bullhorn. REALLY??My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh yes, 20 minute increments is what I do too. If I stay any longer, I’d fall asleep. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Kim

    I believe in easy for everyone. New crafts and foods and mountains of Lego are great – but sometimes we need French fries and escalators and Blue’s Clues. (And sometimes, we just need to give something that we know our children will eat.) And pants? Totally optional at my house. πŸ™‚
    Kim recently wrote…Three If By SeaMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Kim!

  • June 19, 2013 Kerstin

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with “no pants”. It’s a rule I follow myself all the time. (Of course only when I’m at home. I’m over beating myself up about my weight, but I do not go in public without pants ;))
    My kids did love Lego, but they loved Playmobil more – and it hurts way less when you step on it:)
    Love your honesty, love your (parenting) style!
    Kerstin recently wrote…Totally over itMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      It’s good to know that most people are okay with pantlessness at home πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Adrienne

    Haha!! Awesome. Just pure awesome.
    Adrienne recently wrote…Answering Your Homeschool Questions!My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Thanks Adrienne πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Natalie

    Hey sometimes these times make the best memories and more learning than they would have gotten from the crafts. Keep at it sista!
    Natalie recently wrote…Father’s Day WeekendMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Natalie!

  • June 19, 2013 Nicole

    Easy way out? I think not! And 20 minute stretches on the floor is IMPRESSIVE! Sometimes I look at the clock and think it’s messing with my head because there is no way it’s only been 6 minutes since we started playing with toys, doing a puzzle, or, horror of all horrors, playing a board game! I think modern society puts too much pressure on us to fill every waking moment of our child’s lives with some meaningful, educational experience when our children are much healthier and happier when we relax and just let them be kids. And pants are overrated!
    Nicole recently wrote…Survival Tips for Flying with ChildrenMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Pants are totally overrated πŸ˜‰

  • June 19, 2013 Andrea

    I loved this, Alison. So good to hear that other moms sometimes just go with it. (Says me whose daughter ate a LUNCHABLES for breakfast!! OOPS!) :>
    Andrea recently wrote…Seven. It’s coming.My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh you know, some days, we just have to do what we have to do. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 Kimberly

    I’m a firm believer that as long as kids are doing what they’re happy doing, then that is totally ok. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about…of course there are limitations with that πŸ™‚
    elevators rule. I’m 32 and think they’re awesome.
    Don’t do legos. Ever.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Secret StashMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      They are awesome. So says my son!

  • June 19, 2013 Ilene

    I take the easy way out all the time – except is the easy way out really the easy way out? There is no easy way out with parenting. And when we embrace it the way you do and I do, a little “lightness” is called for. Let’s hear it for french fries and escalator riding!
    Ilene recently wrote…The GoodMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I like “lightness”. Sounds better than easy. πŸ™‚

  • June 19, 2013 melissa

    Oh I take the easy way out pretty often! I’m pretty known for my laid back parenting skills lol
    melissa recently wrote…What have you learned from being a parent?My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Sounds like you’re my type of parent!

  • June 19, 2013 Kim

    Thanks so much for the smile today, Alison. I’ve had a grumpy week, and your post brought back fond memories of spending joyful time with the girls, especially without pants. πŸ™‚
    Kim recently wrote…When Fear Meets the Pushmi-PullyuMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I’m glad I helped in any little way, Kim!

  • June 19, 2013 Andrea

    The last line put a smile on my face!

    When your children grow older, it is likely that they will reflect on these memories fondly; these are the years when our love for our children seeps into their souls and they hang onto them forever, no matter what form they take. They won’t remember all the times you hid veggies in their dinner, but they will never forget days of escalator riding and french fry eating.
    Andrea recently wrote…TenMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh Andrea, I certainly hope so!

  • June 19, 2013 Kim

    I am guilty of taking the easy way out pretty often as well. On most things it is more about picking my battles with my 3 year old. Wearing a bathing suit to the store is not going to kill her, neither is fruit loops for dinner (she went through a phase where this is the only thing she would eat). I figure she is happy and healthy, so I must be doing something right.
    Kim recently wrote…Time Doesn’t StopMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I think you’re definitely doing something right!

  • June 20, 2013 Alexa (katbiggie)

    I LOVE THIS post! I really appreciate your honest approach to this, and I’m so glad to know that I am not the only one who takes the easy approach on certain things. I choose which battles to fight… or I’d be fighting all the time. And I’m with you. Happy, even if it’s not what “that mom” is doing with her kids, is often better than being miserable doing the educational, crafty, or whatever thing with them! I think we’d be besties if we were neighbors. Although we’d need to recruit at least one really crafty friend to make sure our kids did crafts from time to time! LOL!
    Alexa (katbiggie) recently wrote…Cascade Platinum {Sponsored Post}My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      We would definitely be besties! I might have to pay someone to do crafts with the kids though, yes. πŸ™‚

  • June 20, 2013 Shell

    I’m totally with you on this.

    There’s so much of parenting where we can’t take the easy way out that we SHOULD embrace it when we are able to!
    Shell recently wrote…Pour Your Heart Out: Reevaluation ResultsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Right? We need to enjoy this parenting thing as much as kids enjoy being kids!

  • June 20, 2013 Leah Davidson

    I’m not sure if it’s the easy way out – or the only way I can stay sane??!!
    Leah Davidson recently wrote…Quote of the weekMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I’ll go with the latter!

  • June 20, 2013 Susi

    Alison, been there – done that. Sometimes, it is just easier to take the “easy” way out and keep the peace! No judgement from me – ever. My kids all used to have a phase where all clothing was optional. Good thing we live in Florida. πŸ™‚
    Susi recently wrote…{Project 365} — 165/365-171/365My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Good thing we live in Malaysia πŸ™‚

  • June 20, 2013 Rivki Silver

    I totally hear you on this one. Sometimes there just isn’t any energy left to do anything more than what we can do. So there are good weeks, and there are just-making-it weeks and, hey, it builds character. Right? Right. I love the escalator idea. My four-year-old would LOVE that. I’m making a mental note to do that with him sometime.
    Rivki Silver recently wrote…The Truth About Feeding Small ChildrenMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Be prepared for a lot of escalator love. πŸ™‚

  • June 20, 2013 Tamara

    What’s weird is that I can totally remember commenting on this post, but it must have been in my head. So here I am in real life! Choco-berry yogurt? I’m intrigued…
    And learning is learning – whether it’s on an escalator or using legos and puzzles at home.

    Oh and like no one in my house wears pants. I despise them!
    Tamara recently wrote…You Have No Power Here.My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Chocolate + strawberry yogurt. Chocolatey with a nice tang, yum.
      Pants are so pointless, no one seems to like them. πŸ™‚

  • June 20, 2013 keely

    It would be easier to list the times when I DON’T. (You rock.)
    keely recently wrote…We Don’t Wear This Shirt For Just Anybody.My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      You rock, all the same.

  • June 20, 2013 tracy

    I really have a feeling that our parents certainly never worried about it. I think you are doing it all just perfectly. I don’t even know what GMO means. xo
    tracy recently wrote…Big Kid StepsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I love you. And you’re right. xo

  • June 20, 2013 Maureen

    Blue’s Clues used to be my life savers, seriously gotta love that blue dog!
    Always love your honesty, Alison.
    Maureen recently wrote…Into Brighter DaysMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I tell myself that Blue’s Clues is actually pretty educational. πŸ™‚ And thank you.

  • June 20, 2013 Kristin

    I resemble this post. A lot.

    At least you can make it 20 minutes sitting in the floor. I can barely make it 10. Independent play FTW!
    Kristin recently wrote…According to JimMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      20 minutes is the absolute maximum. I find myself nodding off beyond that. Independent play FTW indeed!

  • June 20, 2013 Tricia

    All the time! But I agree with others, it’s not necessarily the easy way out but the right way in. When the littles are happy and doing something they love and we are relaxed and enjoying what we are doing too, those are memory making moments right there. Crafts and healthy hidden foods and all that are fine but, although it still surprises me when it happens, it’s always the unplanned, simple moments that are the best. Escalator cruises and shopping cart rides are more educational and enriching than we often give them credit for!
    Tricia recently wrote…Growing Together: Sometimes You Just Have to Face the TrollsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I sure hope so, Tricia, because we’ve been doing A LOT of that. πŸ™‚

  • June 20, 2013 thekitchwitch

    In the summer, I count going swimming as bathtime. Yep, I’m a slacker!
    thekitchwitch recently wrote…Forever Judy BlumeMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Dude, you cooked for 18 people, you’re no slacker!

  • June 20, 2013 Julia\'s Math

    That’s called picking your battles and understanding what’s important. Three cheers for the easy way!
    Julia\’s Math recently wrote…My Earliest MemoryMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Yes, picking battles! (sounds better than taking the easy way out, heh)

  • June 20, 2013 another jennifer

    You know what, Alison? I like to think it’s those “easy way out” days that become the most memorable for kids. I think part of parenting is knowing when it’s okay to not do what you’re “supposed to” do.
    another jennifer recently wrote…Old School Blogging, Another Jennifer StyleMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh Jennifer, I sure hope you’re right.

  • June 21, 2013 Lady Jennie

    Alison, I think you are just PERFECT the way you are. Really and truly.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Musings About Boring Technical StuffMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      You are too sweet, Jennie. xo

  • June 21, 2013 Tess

    I can totally relate to that. My son found out about Legos thanks to my mom. I do try to take the easy way if it can help keep up with other things. Hang in there!
    Tess recently wrote…Peanut Butter and chocolateMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Hanging on in there!

  • June 21, 2013 Arnebya

    We are better parents when we are calm and patient and happy and not obsessing over allthethings “they” say we should be obsessing over. More of us need to just go with the flow, take the easy way out, whatever you want to call it. TV, fast food, pantslessness, eating food from the floor because it was only there a second (oh, no, wait, that was me) — doesn’t matter. YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING DETRIMENTAL TO YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN. There. That’s the important part.
    Arnebya recently wrote…Old School BloggingMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh, people eat food off the floor here in my house. And not just the baby. Ahem.

  • June 21, 2013 My Inner Chick

    I encourage independent play for the kids because I get bored sitting on the floor for longer than 20 minutes**

    You just said precisely what hundreds other mothers will not say.

    I dig you LOTS., Alison Lee. Xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Murder, Therapy, & Walking Thru The FireMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thank you hon.

  • June 21, 2013 Julia

    I love this! Sometimes you just have to take the easy way. Some days the hard stuff is just too hard and you might as well make the fun stuff easy. I take breaks from playing on the floor too, I get bored.
    Julia recently wrote…Good DecisionsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Making fun stuff easy is my mission!

  • June 21, 2013 Jennifer

    This would be me if I were a SAHM. I always thought I would be good a the crafting and playing and teaching and all of that stuff, but I’m really not.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Dark DawnMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      I *really* suck at the crafting. I tried. Can’t hack it.

  • June 21, 2013 Dude Mom

    They’re happy and healthy, right? And so are you. All that matters really. We had s’mores for dinner two nights ago. I pretended like I forgot about the fact they hadn’t eaten, but I was lying. I knew it. Didn’t care. Also, we’ve been on summer break here since Monday. They had their first showers last night. 7 full days of no showers despite swimming daily, playing soccer, and hitting the beach twice. No one has died and everyone’s happy. And, I don’t even have a baby to blame it on!
    Dude Mom recently wrote…When Your Zumba T-Shirt Splits: Zumba YouTube.My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      You’re a cool dude mom, Amanda!

  • June 21, 2013 thedoseofreality

    Taking the easy way out is totally okay…sometimes, you just have to give yourself a break!-The Dose Girls
    thedoseofreality recently wrote…Pinterest Nightmare #552: Stiletto NailsMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      That’s what I tell myself. Frequently. πŸ™‚

  • June 21, 2013 Greta

    Oh, yes. Some days, it’s just going to happen. I firmly believe that kids are going to be in school for most of their childhoods….why not have fun with them before they start that loooong process. Some people would probably think I’m lazy, but I know what they’ll learn in kindergarten and beyond, so why not let their teachers teach them?
    Greta recently wrote…Simple Things #iPPPMy Profile

    • June 21, 2013 Greta

      OH, but, I do disagree about the Legos. Yes, in a small living environment, without a designated space, yeah, TOTALLY annoying. And annoying in my son’s room, too, BUT. He has an area in his room, and he goes up there to build stuff BY HIMSELF. FOR HOURS. If that’s not the easy way out, I don’t know what is!
      Greta recently wrote…Simple Things #iPPPMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Y’know, I tend to agree with you about the teachers doing the teaching. Especially here, we’re actually paying for preschool, and it ain’t cheap!

      As for the Legos, we’ll see. When he’s older. Maybe. πŸ™‚

  • June 22, 2013 Krystal

    Yes, I take the easy way out whenever possible. You see, I have 6 kids, and deal with autism, and tweens, the easy way out is the way to go.
    Krystal recently wrote…City Mouse in a Small TownMy Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      6 kids? There’s hardly anything easy about 6 kids πŸ™‚

  • June 22, 2013 Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} I give myself permission to take the easy way out now and then, too. I have to catch myself from entering into patterns, but we all need a break from the pressure to get it all right all the time. Especially during the summer, I find some days are just about survival! πŸ™‚
    Mothering From Scratch recently wrote…falling short, mom? it’s time to celebrate!My Profile

    • June 22, 2013 Alison

      Yes, it is about survival some days!

  • June 22, 2013 misssrobin

    Sounds like you are doing great! Choose your battles. Thanks for telling the truth so other moms will forgive themselves when they aren’t doing everything they think the perfect moms are doing. It helps to hear from real moms.

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
    misssrobin recently wrote…The Delicate ThreadsMy Profile

    • June 23, 2013 Alison

      Being real is all I know how to be. And taking the easy way out. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  • June 22, 2013 Sharon

    Love it! With the beginning of this summer I have decided to be easier on myself and the kids by taking some easier ways out. I am not doing any serious cooking this summer. My girls were informed that they would be cooking and cleaning. (This lasted all of two days when my teenager informed me that if she had to cook everyday when she grew up, she would not be having any children.) Though, my youngest love to fiddle around in the kitchen, she hates the idea of cleaning each day. So, my summer just got better. Now, when I ask are they hungry, they ask do they have to cook. I say yes. They say they’re not hungry, plus they mess up less. Love it.
    Sharon recently wrote…How to Make and Refill Foam Hand SoapMy Profile

    • June 23, 2013 Alison

      That’s awesome Sharon! Happy summer!

  • June 23, 2013 Katie

    This is most of our days. I am fairly certain the interwebs would die of horrification (sure, it’s a word) if I admitted how many hours of TV my kids watch…per day. Sometimes, that is just how it is.
    Katie recently wrote…Mennonite in a Little Black Dress {book review}My Profile

    • June 23, 2013 Alison

      Horrification – hee!! No judging here. TV is a savior for us.

  • June 23, 2013 Gainfullly Funemployed

    Nothing wrong with French fries πŸ™‚
    Gainfullly Funemployed recently wrote…Why I hate online job applicationsMy Profile

    • June 24, 2013 Alison

      I agree!

  • June 24, 2013 Kristen

    I can’t tell you how many photos I have of my girls with no pants on. There was really no point if it wasn’t cold and we were just hanging at the house. I’m with you…the less laundry the better!
    Kristen recently wrote…Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb – Review by a TweenMy Profile

    • June 24, 2013 Alison

      I wonder if they’ll be pissed at me for all the photos of them pantsless πŸ™‚

  • The other night I found myself agreeing with the four year old that she did indeed not needed a bath since she had played in the kiddie pool.
    Letting children play by themselves is a not ‘taking the easy way’ it is actually a very good way for kids to develop independance, coping skills and stimulate their imagination.
    So really don’t change a thing, you are doing absolutely fantastic.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…How to fail at to do lists: an 8 step guide.My Profile

    • June 25, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, you’re too sweet!

  • July 2, 2013 Corie Clark

    Love this post! I’m the same way! It’s nice to know there are real moms who are honest and open about how they do life. I parent very much like my parents did and I turned out okay… I think πŸ˜‰

    • July 2, 2013 Alison

      I think our kids will be A-OK πŸ™‚

  • July 9, 2013 Robin

    Yep. Have I told you about how lame I’ve been with introducing new foods to the baby? He’s still eating mostly pureed stuff because I can’t be bothered figuring out what to do next. Sigh.
    Robin recently wrote…Freedom in a BottleMy Profile

    • July 9, 2013 Alison

      Um, we just let the baby eat off our plates πŸ™‚ (talk about lazy!)

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