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10 Rules Every New Parent Should Live By

Congratulations! You’re about to be a parent.

Now you should know, things are about to change drastically for you. But fear not. As any parent will tell you, it’s hard but it’s worth it. It’s true that your life will change, that you will soon go to bed dreaming of actually sleeping that night only to be rudely awakened by the sound of a baby crying, and that you will kiss your coffee cup if you ever get a chance to actually drink a cup while it’s still hot. But more than the clichés of parenthood, there are a few things you need to know.

So listen up, soon-to-be parents. I have compiled this handy beginner’s guide to parenting so you will be ahead of the game:

Rule #1: Don’t listen to anyone who gives you rules for parenting.

Seriously, who does this person think she is? How incredibly presumptuous to assume all parenting is the same. Run far, far away from any sign of such a parent. I bet she wears a lot of yoga pants, so what does she even know?

Rule #2: Use your pregnancy to confuse people.

Pregnancy will be a time in your life when everyone will offer you unsolicited opinions on a wide variety of topics ranging from diet to how you should discipline your children to how your great-aunt Mildred gave birth. It will be completely and totally annoying, so I suggest that you use your pregnancy to the best of your ability to confuse people by announcing that you plan to give birth standing upside down on your head in a forest, for instance. That might shut them up long enough for you to enjoy a mocktail in silence.

Rule #3: Prepare a list of FAQ.

As a soon-to-be parent, you will most likely be bombarded with the same questions over and over again, so it may be helpful to prepare a sheet to hand out or simply have a T-shirt printed with answers to the most intrusive of questions pertaining to your parenting situation. (Think: your adoption, your IVF experience, your “nontraditional family,” etc. etc.)

Rule #4: Create a new title for yourself.

Our culture seems to be insistent on labeling parents in terms of their employment status. I imagine that 200 years from now, anthropologists will study us and find our tombs divided neatly, gesturing to tour members like, “And here we have the full-time working mothers, but if you follow me down the hall we can observe some of the habits of the lesser known species of stay-at-home mothers, who it is rumored, were known for eating their young … “

But because you are fresh and new to this parenting thing, you have a unique opportunity to create an entirely new species of parent. The sky is the limit, so why pigeon-hole yourself into being defined by a parent through the lens of your employer? Why not buck the trends and start a few new, far more exciting parenting labels such as “Part-Time Skydiving Parent” or “Loves to Eat Chocolate Behind the Bathroom Door Parent” or “Hopes to Stay Friends with Her Teen Parent”? The drawing board is wide open, my friend.

Rule #5: Prepare for birth in a creative way.

If you are becoming a parent through birthing, let’s face it — there is already far too much advice on labor and delivery preparation, and honestly, where has it gotten us? Birth can still be painful and super unpredictable. I mean, what is this nonsense? Birth is pretty much the new weather — we can talk about it until we are blue in the face, but no one really knows how to control it, and that’s just unacceptable in this day and age.

It’s up to you as the new generation of parental units to change the conversation about birth and how it’s done. I’m not really sure how that should be done, but I can assure you that it needs be done, so the pioneering begins now. God speed to you all.

Rule #6: Always pack extra clothes.

Just trust me on this one. Even if you’re simply getting your mail, pack extra clothes for everyone in your near vicinity.

Rule #7: Give your spouse the gift of not caring.

Maybe you should care about each other in a relationship, but not caring about a lot of things will also get you super far. Saw a human shoot out of your partner’s crotch? Don’t care. Held her hair while she puked on the brand-new rug you bought? Don’t care. Both of you gained a few pounds and hair in strange places? Still don’t care.

Not caring = sharing. Love, that is.

Rule #8: Get accustomed to bragging about your kid’s every move.

This is the No. 1 way to impress people and gain tons of new mommy and daddy friends. Junior pooped in the potty? Lil’ Miss got all A’s? Sweet siblings built a birdhouse? Everyone will want to know. Actually, you may just want to start a new social media account right now to keep everyone updated.

Rule #9: There will be approximately 8,710 new forms of social media by the time your kid graduates. Just go with it.

Speaking of social media, it’s practically a guarantee that from the time you consider having a kid, accidentally conceive a kid, or make plans to welcome a new member of your family up until the time said small or large miracle enters your home, the rules of social media will have changed. #justgowithit and don’t be afraid to hit up your kids for advice. They will think you’re so hip!

Rule #10: Stake your claim in your bed.

If you think it will be acceptable to roll with the punches when it comes to the territory formerly known as “your bed,” you would be wrong. It’s your duty as a parent to figure out which camp you belong in: co-sleeping or not. Because it would just be plain silly to assume that there may be times that sometimes co-sleeping works for you and sometimes it doesn’t. Parenting just doesn’t work that way, and you will have to choose one method now and remain firm and unyielding with that method for the next 18+ years.

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I hope you have found these rules helpful. Now you may proceed to click out of this article and forget everything I have told you.

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