A good friend is about to have a baby. Like any first-time Mom, she’s not only with child, she’s with questions. Lots of them. And who can blame her? There’s no “test -run” in parenting. It’s not like Driver’s Ed class in high school when the teacher sits in the passenger seat with his or her own steering wheel and break pedal just in case you fuck up and take out a city block. When it comes to parenting, your passengers can’t do anything but watch (and judge.)
It’s fairly common for first-time parents to consult parenting books. After all, what other resource is there? Friends with kids older than yours will all claim to have been struck with a childbirth-induced lobotomy that has them totally forgetting “the infant” phase. In actuality, they don’t want to give you advice on parenting because the only advice they’d give that would be helpful would be, “Don’t.”
Other new parents think their own Mom would be a great resource. When I was a soon-to-be Mom, I asked my own Mom for advice. She gave me helpful tidbits like, “For teething, we used Brandy. If it didn’t work on the baby, we drank it ourselves.” Or the famous “glass bottle” story of my youth in which my Mom (and chances are yours) not only gave me a glass bottle to drink milk out of, but she put me to bed with it. My parents are still mesmerized, all these years later, as to how I didn’t cut myself on all that broken glass. I, and most new parents, quickly realized that it’s best to ask our own Moms for advice only in the event that we want to end up in jail. Otherwise, it’s best to ask strangers.
Which is where the parenting books come in.
No one else will tell us the truth about parenting, so we figure a professional writer will. This is, of course, total bullshit. As a new Mom, I threw out each and every parenting book I owned by the time my son was 6 months old. This was about 6 months after I should have. Because the truth is, not one parenting book seemed to tell the truth about parenting.
So I’m here to help. Here’s 10 things I’d tell you, if you asked me what’s the shit you really need to know about parenting.
1) HUSBANDS ARE LIKE DOGS, THEY KNOW HOW TO PLAY DEAD.Your husband isn’t actually asleep, he’s just hoping you’ll think he’s dead so you get up and help the crying kid.
2) PARENTING IS A COMPETITIVE SPORT. Always brag about things you had nothing to do with like your child’s height or weight. For example, lie about how long your kid naps. If you tell the truth, other parents won’t be as jealous of you.
3) MORE TEETH=MORE SMARTERER. If your child gets teeth early, other parents will assume your child is smarter. Mention this early and often if your child gets teeth early. And make sure to tell the Harvard Admissions Officers that your kid got a tooth before all the other kids. They let those kids in first.
4) REAL MOMS DON’T BOND AND NEST. Many new Moms will confess to a “bonding and nesting” phase which has them wanting to do things like “spend all day watching their child sleep” while saying things like, “I just can’t get enough of my baby.” You on the other hand, will be texting from labor and delivery and will have the Pilates schedule for the day after birth as a screen saver on your iphone. This does not mean you will be a bad Mom, but it does mean you will be an interesting human. So don’t worry. And if you do see one of those Bonders and Nesters, run. They’re not actually human.
5) STRANGERS WILL SEE YOUR VAGINA. You haven’t had this many strangers looking at your vagina since college, but get ready. Because when you go into labor, interns, residents, doctors, UPS men, roofers, the termite guy and the guy holding that arrow pointing toward the cell phone store will all be in the room. It may seem weird that all these new friends want to witness your labia grow like the Little Shop Of Horrors plant, but they’re just there to cheer you on and to see how your vagina rates in the “Weirdest Looking Vagina Contest.”
6) TITS ARE FOR GROPING, NOT FOR FEEDING. Breastfeeding sucks. If God didn’t want my kid to have formula, she wouldn’t have invented it.
7) YOUR SON WILL INTENTIONALLY PEE IN YOUR MOUTH. There’s a reason why you buy a cover for your little guy’s penis (it looks like a penis-yarmulke). That’s because the minute you take the diaper off, your son will pee. This will also be the exact moment you say something like, “You are the cutest human person ever born.” And he’ll know it. He can’t talk yet. But when he can, his first words will be, “Ha ha!”
8 THE PARK = GUANTANAMO BAY. The park, also known as the casting call for The Lord Of The Flies, is the single most excrutiating place on Earth. You will bring enough toys for your child that others will mistake you for a sherpa, only to have your child immediately melt down because some kid brought a cotton ball and your kid wants it. Your child’s water will always spill on the bottom of your purse and you will never bring the right snacks for your child, or enough. Some kid will have a green gooey nose, which his Mom will blame on teething, even though the kid is 14. This will be the kid your child chooses to play with guaranteeing your kid will be struck with the plague (or teething) by the time you get home.
9) PARENTS OF TEENAGERS ARE PATRONIZING. Parents of teenagers like to say things like, “Get ready” which is code for “My teenage daughter just blew the whole school.” Whatever your toddler parenting complaints are, the parent of a teenager will always roll his or her eyes and refer to you as an amateur. Don’t worry. You’re going to be a teenager’s parent someday. That means you’re going to get to be patronizing, too.
10) YOU DON’T LOSE WEIGHT FROM BREASTFEEDING. You only lose weight from starving yourself and throwing up.
What parenting tips would you like to share?