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Objective Parenting Advice from a Non-Parent

Objective Parenting Advice from a Non-Parent

Having no children, I find myself in a position where I can espouse parenting advice without the biases that come with actually raising children. As a service to my future self and to new parents who still have the chance to mold their children into real people, I am memorializing my thoughts while they are unclouded by things like unconditional love or sleep deprivation.

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Don't use baby talk or diminutives. You aren't doing your kids any favors by making up weird words for body parts - they are just going to learn them anyway from other kids with more sensible parents. It's uncomfortable for the rest of us to hear your kid say things like "pee pee area" and I really don't want to sensor myself when I talk about the vagitation I've had the past couple of days.

Give your kids real food. Chefs don't go to culinary school to melt butter on top of the very specific shape of noodle that little Merlota likes. You need to introduce your kid to the flavors of the world immediately or you'll be making dinner plans based on the availability of Kraft products. If you do it right (via infused breast milk or aged formula - no judgment, assuming both contain truffle oil) your kid should be eating off of a silicone, water-proof and BPA-free charcuterie board after the second tooth comes in. Kids are really adaptable and can get used to anything, like a nap schedule, celebrating two Christmases or habanero sauce. 

Teach kids the value of a dollar. Relax, I'm talking about a middle-class white-man dollar, not the full on protected class dollar that requires real work. Just some light housework will do - unless your kid can code, in which case make her build an app for you that helps you find your car keys. Tell her that when she finishes the app, she can have the car. You never actually have to give it to her, but let her feel like it's within reach. You've got to model an incentive structure after reality, otherwise you are creating one more future "management problem." If you start early enough, by the time she can drive, the car will be so antiquated it will have no value. Another idea - tell your youngest that "big sister" is a title that is earned, not given. Tell her that if she works twice as hard, she will become older one day. It's not a lie.

Teach the real value of holidays. Kids these days don't seem to understand tradition, so start teaching your daughter the meaning of Halloween from a young age. Teach her that Halloween is about celebrating commercialism and things that are scary, not things that are overexposed. By dressing your newborn as Little Bo Peep, you are propagating a lifetime of gender stereotypes. Plus, if you save the costume out of nostalgia and she finds it one day, she will wear it to her sorority party 17 years later and by some definition, it will fit. Instead, pick something truly scary like a zombie, a baby ISIS or almost aborted.

I look forward to our well-reared children recognizing each other at health-oriented retreats.

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