But the fact remains that good parenting is hard work, and hard work sucks.
There ought to be a happy medium, right? Thankfully, you don't need my help to find it. All you have to do is let the unexamined flaws in your personality and character follow their natural course as you interact with your child, and you're pretty much set. All parents screw up their kids, so why fight against it? Remember, there's a reason it's called the path of least resistance -- it's just plain easier. And easier is better. Obviously.
If, however, you find yourself wanting that extra bump, I've compiled a short list of techniques you can adopt to lounge your way into the happy average of medium-awful parenting.
1. Ignore all the stuff your children do that you could reasonably expect of any decent, well-mannered adult. They should pick that up by osmosis, so pointing it out and rewarding it is just going to make them feel proud about something you really shouldn't have to teach them to do.
2. In that vein, you need to make sure to praise them expansively for stuff over which they have little or no control -- especially their looks. Girls should be extolled endlessly for their prettiness, and boys for their handsomeness and strength. That way they'll grow up feeling like their value comes not from their efforts, but rather their very gender-specific, culturally-approved attributes. They'll learn to depend on you for validation, and you won't have to pay much attention to what they're actually doing all the time.
3. In situations of stress, you're going to want to respond quickly, and with your emotions. Don't bother to balance those emotions with your mind, or an eye to the long-term ramifications of your actions. Your first emotional response will be the easiest and, fortunately, is likely to be one of anger. Your children will learn to fear you, and that fear will keep them in line whenever you're around. They'll learn how to behave appropriately in front of you and your friends, which is what you want and need most as a parent -- to look good in front of other people.
4. Food is important. Your children need to know that you're not there to serve them, you're there to get by with a minimum of effort. Fast-Food is key, and fortunately often comes with another piece of plastic they can add to the overflowing plastic bins of plastic in their rooms. And if you do find yourself forced to cook at home for whatever reason, make sure it's something starchy, sugary, and easy. They can get healthy when they're older, but worrying about all that right now is just gonna stress you out.
5. Lastly, don't forget to insist that your children spend time every day staring at glowing screens. This cannot be over-emphasized, as television, movies and youtube will teach them how to function and behave properly in society. How often have you been left out of a conversation because you haven't been watching the right media? Don't let this happen to your kids. And the best part of this is that while they're watching glowing screens, you don't have to do anything. You can take a nap, buy stuff online, or tweet about your depressing life and your stupid spouse. Win-win.
I hope this helps.
I'm sure there are countless other things you could be doing, and I'd love to hear them in the comments.
As for me, I'm gonna go watch some television.