All Parenting Books Are Missing Some Chapters

 

I’ve written five books as of this post, but I am always being told by people on my social media accounts that I need to write one on parenting. I don’t know why people say this unless they want to thumb through 200 pages of someone complaining.

Parenting is exhausting.

I have four kids (two biological, two step-children) who age in range from thirteen to 21. They are evenly split — two boys and two girls — with my oldest two both in college. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of money each year on migraine medication.

I haven’t slept since September of the year 2000. My retirement fund consists of a swear jar in my kitchen that is filled daily and then emptied just as quickly because I need to keep my liquor cabinet stocked at all times.

I’ve seen it all, or at least most of it. I’ve taught three kids how to drive. I’ve coached kids soccer even though I had no idea there was a “no hands” rule when I started. I am in the midst of my fourth child entering her pubescent phase and surrounded by all the hormones and horrors that come with it. I’ve heard more stories about Minecraft, Fortnite, and YouTube videos than I care to admit.

If you’re planning on becoming a parent, there are some things that the parenting books and manuals just don’t tell you. I’m not saying What to Expect When You’re Expecting isn’t a great book, I’m just saying it should have at least one chapter with cocktail recipes.

So, put it down, grab a seat and a six-pack, and let’s go over a few things you should know.

  • You will be excited when your child learns to talk and then wish you had never taught them this skill when they are screaming at you someday about wearing a coat.
  • Sometimes, parenting means asking tough questions, like “Why are there rocks in the freezer?”
  • Parenting is a lot like talking to an automated phone attendant. You’re hopeful at first, but then just end up repeating yourself and yelling.
  • If you’ve always wanted to be a servant or butler, parenting will give you some valuable work experience.
  • You will no longer have time for the gym, but you can improvise workouts by doing things like lunging for discarded juice-box straws or squatting to pick up empty water bottles around the house.
  • Your Google search history will look like this:
  • It will take you three weeks to get through a one-hour Netflix show because you need to pause it every three minutes so you can listen to a child talk about why purple is her favorite color.
  • A good way to prepare for most conversations with your child is to talk to rocks because they have the same listening habits.
  • If your child has siblings, you will need to referee arguments about charging cables, crayons, and who has to shower first.
  • Speaking of showering, you will spend an inordinate amount of time telling a child to take a shower, and then the same amount of time telling them to get out.
  • You will never enter the bathroom and find a full roll of toilet paper on the holder ever again.
  • A big part of parenting is teaching your kids how to do things on their own, and then redoing them the correct way as soon as they aren’t around.
  • Start liking cold coffee.
  • Until your kids move out, every box of cereal or bag of chips will either be empty or look like this:
  • One of your main jobs each day will now be flushing someone else’s poo.
  • If you want your children to go to college and college is not free where you live, then you should have started saving for their tuition when you were about 8 years old.
  • You may have a Master’s Degree in Quantum Physics, but at some point, your second-grader will ask for help doing her math homework and you will struggle to understand the new way they teach simple addition.
  • Your parents will always attempt to give you parenting advice, but ignore it because you are proof-positive that they have no idea what they are talking about.
  • If you normally lease your vehicles, always opt for the highest-mileage option because you will spend 98% of the time in your car driving your kids back and forth to different sports or activities.
  • Encourage your kids to make close friends, but not so close that they get invited to birthday parties requiring you to buy presents.
  • You will spend hundreds of dollars buying scented candles, popcorn, and wrapping paper just to try to get your child into first place in the school fundraiser.
  • Be firm on curfews, no matter how much pushback you get from your teens. Remember what you were doing at their age and how amazed that you are still alive and not a great-grandparent already.
  • Practice Lamaze relaxation techniques and meditation. These are great for both childbirth and also teaching a teen how to drive.
  • When all else fails, “Because I said so,” can be a perfectly valid response.
  • When punishment is required, resist the urge to take away a child’s electronic devices and television, because that means you are now their only means of entertainment.
  • The average parent will gain 2.7 pounds while “safety-checking” their kid’s Halloween candy.
  • If you have more than one child, a large part of your holiday shopping and planning will be to make sure each one has the same number of gifts.
  • Beach days or vacations are now stressful affairs where you spend the entire time searching for your child, building things with sand, or continuously reapplying sunscreen.
  • Encouraging your child to participate in recreational or school-sponsored sports, dance, or music means you will spend a small fortune on things that you will be selling for $5 in the Spring at your yard sale.
  • Every game night with the kids will end up with someone yelling, “THIS IS WHY NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY WITH YOU.”
  • When having “the talk” with your child, bring a notebook and pencil just in case they have any good pointers for you.
  • Introduce your child to the music you like at an early age. This way, you will never need to suffer through a Cardi B song, and you get to take them to Iron Maiden shows.
  • Change your “Swear Jar” into one where the kids put in $1 every time they argue with you. I once did this and raised almost $3 Billion in one week.

In all seriousness, parenting is awesome. It is tiring and frustrating and exhausting, but when you do it right, it’s pretty awesome. I hope my list helps you prepare a little for what may lie ahead in your adventure but, if not, at least you won’t be surprised by all the poo left in the toilet.

Hm.

Maybe I will write a book.

Previously Published on medium


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