There’s no shortage of books explaining the “right” ways to parent. Add to that classes, support groups, pediatricians, grandparents, Mommy & Me events, religious organizations, and well-meaning (if not astonishingly nosy) strangers and you could consider yourself rich with advice. However, while those sources might offer “friendly tips” for the best teething salves and discipline strategies, not one of them explains how to really survive small children.
That’s where the 10 Commandments of Parenting comes in. Allow me to get you up to speed:
1. Thou shalt never feed your kids anything for dinner that you don’t want to have to look at, smell, wear, or clean up later when they vomit it up.
This includes, but is not limited to: spaghetti, hot dogs, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and peas.
2. Thou shalt dress your kids in the outfits your mother-in-law gave them for Christmas/their birthday/that occasion when she just had to buy them the itchiest/ugliest/most ill-fitting sweater in the store the next time you see her.
Really, just do it. The kids being uncomfortable for three hours won’t match the pain your MIL will otherwise inflict upon you for the next 11 years by reminding you weekly how sad she is for never getting to see them in the sweatshirt with the squirrels embroidered on the front. You know, the one she had to go to four stores to find. In a snowstorm. During her regularly scheduled mah jong game that she LIVES FOR, but had to miss just to buy this for the kids.
3. Thou shalt do as you want, not as you tell your kids to do.
Thou would just be smart to do what you want when your kids aren’t watching.
4. Thou shalt enjoy silence, except if thou has children under the age of 8.
Then thou needs to check and see what those scoundrels are up to, because thou knows silence is never golden with children under the age of 8.
5. Thou shalt make plans to leave the house child-free at least once a week, if possible.
Thou should know, however, that at those times when thou actually dresses up to go out, one of thou’s children will throw up on thou while walking out the door (hence Commandment No. 1).
6. Thou shalt never hire the most expensive babysitter at night, unless thou wants to guarantee thou’s children go to sleep immediately after thou steps out for the evening.
Because the children stay up so late on nights when thou is home, they will need their rest when it’s on your (very precious) dime.
7. Thou shalt never be “too above” eating their kid’s leftover food scraps.
Thou will graduate from high school, and college, and maybe even graduate school before becoming a productive and respectable member of society. If thou has a child, however, though will probably end up eating macaroni and cheese off the floor, which is where thou’s child will throw it after the first four meals thou prepared were rejected by the child.
8. Thou shalt clear away the children’s old or unused toys when they’re not home.
However, thou shalt hide them and not put them in the garbage for three months, because the second thou throws anything away, the child will ask for it and thou will be stuck knee-deep in a trash can digging it out.
9. Thou shalt never allow Play-Doh, Sharpies or glitter to pass through thou’s front door.
10. Thou shalt not buy Halloween costumes until Oct. 30.
If thou buys them before, thou had better be rich, because children who get costumes early invariably change their minds and have to be something else instead at the last minute.More On