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This article first appeared on Parents.
When Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's eldest L.O. Luna was just 17 months old, Chrissy took to Instagram to share that her little girl did her first chore: carrying a bowl of dog food to feed one of their pups. The internet blew up with comments about what kinds of household chores are appropriate at different ages. Everyone has an opinion, right? That's been proven yet again by a mom named Brooke Hampton who runs a blog called Barefoot Five.
Posting to Facebook on July 1, Hampton shared a photo of her 13-year-old daughter hard at work on the family grocery budget, and alongside it, she asserted that "lazy moms raise better kids."
Hampton explained that she has "more energy than most" and "could easily handle everything" for her kids, but she doesn't, because she wants them to "learn to do it for themselves."
She acknowledged that her philosophy isn't universally-accepted. "I love the harsh, judgmental looks and comments I get from other parents when they see my kids doing things deemed 'too hard' for them," she wrote. "'What a lazy mom. Those poor kids,' they whisper. Yea, well they can judge me all they want but I’m preparing my kids to not need me. And I personally believe that’s the greatest gift I can give them. I think we severely underestimate our children. They are far more capable and dependable than we will allow them to be. Most of us are over-scheduled control freaks and we don’t create the time we need to let our kids try and fail and then try again. We’re too busy to be lazy and it’s hurting our kids. Children that are treated like they are capable become capable."
Hampton explained how it can be a lot to start little ones young, describing "the toddler who wants to help do the dishes and you end up with a tsunami in your dish room or the 4 year old who wants to take the trash out when you’re on our way out the door- it takes 20 minutes instead of the 2 it would have taken you because the trash bag is the same size as them, it got a hole in it cause it was dragging the ground and you pretty much have to sanitize their whole body now cause they’ve somehow managed to touch every part of the trash bag. Now you’re late for your appointment but your kid is feeling empowered and damn it, that needs to be worth it."
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She admitted that "it takes patience and determination to be a lazy parent. Because the way they do it won’t be perfect (at first), they’ll make ungodly messes, it will be crooked and mismatched, things will break, and it will likely take 4 times longer than if you just did it yourself. And it’s hard to watch them struggle, we love them and we want to make life easy for them. But life isn’t easy, it’s f***ing hard and we are doing them a great disservice when we don’t let them struggle and prove to themselves that they are little badasses."
And even though people might want to wait to let kids learn on their own "because they are going to get hurt, they don’t have time or they like their house to stay looking magazine worthy and a 3 year old learning to organize their own space or make their own breakfast has rough edges," Hampton advised that parents "simply get over it, because raising capable adults doesn’t start at age 16 when they can’t do anything for themselves, it start at age 3 when they need you to back off and let them make a tsunami in your dish room. Do yourself and your kids a favor and be a lazy parent. Back off and let them try."
She shared that in response to her original post, she got quite a bit of backlash over her parenting strategy—specifically when it comes to her 13-year-old's financial tasks. "I was shocked at how many messages I got telling me she was too young to have so much responsibility," Hampton wrote. "They labeled me a lazy mom and I took it as a compliment (though I’m not sure that’s how it was meant lol)."
Nonetheless, plenty of commenters were onboard with Hampton's way of thinking. "I raised my sons with the one most important piece of advise my mother ever gave me. 'You are raising adults, not children,'" one wrote. Another said, "I love this so much. I'm so guilty of being a helicopter mom & just doing everything for him. But this changes how I want to parent now. I've gotta back off & let him learn on his own. I wish someone would have done this for me as a child. Now I see the damage it does. Even as an adult, I can barely cook, I can't balance a check book, I can barely stomach making phone calls, I'm horrible at budgeting, & I want better for my son. Thank you for this post!"
Sounds like Brooke Hampton has inspired more than just a few parents to be even a bit more "lazy."