Parenting advice is everywhere. From the shelves at Barnes & Noble to the grocery store checkout line, it's in your face: don't sleep with your baby, you could squash her; don't give baby a bottle at bed time; give plenty of juice; don't give any juice; don't pick him up when he cries, you'll spoil him; vaccinate; don't vaccinate...
From the moment we found out we were expecting, we found ourselves drowning in both unwanted and much needed parental advice. There are some things, for reasons unknown to me, that are kept top secret to expecting parents - classified information that blissfully ignorant moms and dads-to-be have every right to be warned about. I intend to stop this madness!! Here's my list of parenting tips that I believe every parent-to-be has an inherent right to know about raising an older baby/toddler.
1. Your house will never be clean for increments longer than 30 seconds. No matter how fast you clean, your two-foot tornado can rip leftovers out of the trashcan and throw 150 legos in the toilet that much faster. Here's a few tips from a past post to help keep your house "clean," in spite of parenthood: Supermom's List of Dirty Little Secrets.
2. Speaking of trashcan, trashcan snacks are the perfect toddler snack. Easy to access and just like a fine wine, trashcan snacks only get better with age.
3. A sippy cup is a dangerous weapon.
4. A forehead can also be a very dangerous weapon.
5. You will get shit on your hands on a semi-regular basis. And on your pants, your shirt, and maybe even on your face. So if you don't like to get down and dirty, being a mom or dad may not be the right job for you.
6. You will have to read the same book. Over. And over. And over. And over. So make sure you pick out books that you actually enjoy reading 15 times a day.
7. Make at least three spare sets of keys. And if you find yourself involved in a last-minute game of hide and seek with a pair of keys, look everywhere you wouldn't put them: a cereal box, the bathtub, dog toys, trash can...
8. No matter what gourmet feast you've been slaving over in the kitchen for the past eight hours, it will never be better than a peanut butter and jelly sammich.
9. An empty box is so much more fun that even the most expensive toys.
10. Before you eat that delicious chocolate chip cookie your toddler is waving in front of your face, know that just a moment before, that adorable little hand was digging for gold inside his diaper.
11. Your toddler will plan and scheme to poop exactly when you do, so while you're stuck helplessly on the toilet, she has the perfect opportunity to use her overflowing diaper as a butt coaster to slide across the bathroom floor and color the wall and floor an earthy shade of brown.
12. There will come a day when you can't figure out who pissed on the floor - the kid or the dog.
13. Dogs eat love baby poop.
14. Cotton balls make great confetti.
15. Dangerous things are just more fun!
16. Your mini-me will have a massive shitsplosion or projectile vomit the second you bring her in public and forget the diaper bag. It's just Murphy's Law. See Murphy's Law of Parenthood.
17. Guard your coffee, tea or Red Bull with your life. Turn your back for one second and you'll be chasing a two-and-a-half-foot midget thief off the ceiling for the next three hours.
18. Always keep an extra caffeinated beverage on hand in the event of #17. You'll need it.
19. Silence is a bad omen.
20. Memorize the keys on your keyboard, so when your toddler rips off your F, N and K keys, you'll still be able to Google, "Find a new keyboard."
21. Forget Gangnam Style. I've Been Working on the Railroad is the best jam ever.
22. No matter how you raise your child, whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, co-sleep or crib sleep, attachment parent or parent by wild animals, some childless old hag in the checkout line at Walmart will always know better.
23. Routine will be your lifeline. And the earlier you put your tot to bed, the more time you'll have to polish off that bottle of wine. Just remember: shit happens when you party naked. That's what got you here in the first place!
24. Clorox wipes are GENIUS for cleaning up shit smears in odd places.
25. If you cherish indoor plumbing as much as I do, you'll keep your bathroom door shut at all times. Your mini-scientist will try to flush anything and everything she can down the shitter the second you're not looking.
There aren't enough hours in the day to cover everything, so please, feel free to add a golden piece of advice you wish someone would have given you in the comment section below!
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