Congratulations! You’re a parent! Because I love you, I have compiled a brief but important list of things NEVER to do as you travel the long and winding road of parenthood.
1. Coexist with Carpet
Don’t put it in, don’t buy a house with it installed, don’t be wooed by its promise of plush warmth underneath your toes. JUST DON’T. You’ll find yourself startling awake some perfectly average Tuesday to a barfing kid who probably ate nothing but macaroni and cheese and Red Dye No. 40 for dinner. Whee! Do you know how much fun it is to pluck vomit from carpet fibers for days? Nope, that’s right, you don’t—and you never will if you heed my warning and just get laminate instead.
2. Read parenting books
Good news: now that you have your own children, you will get all the advice on how to feed, hold, clothe, bathe, discipline, understand, and raise them—all for free, and often from total strangers. So don’t bother reading what the experts have to say—it’s probably better to ask about that suspicious rash in your Facebook mom group anyway, right?
3. Attempt to buy a used outdoor playset
This is a fool’s errand that morphs reasonable adults into rabid dogs with fresh meat in view. I know, those Gorilla swing sets cost more than your mortgage or your first car. But you’re sadly mistaken to think you can enter the Facebook marketplace or Craigslist looking for one of these magical freaking unicorns and actually get one. It cannot be done. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can start saving up for your own brand new one.
4. Buy black furniture
Do you like, née, love dusting? Perfect! Fill your home with black furniture that requires incessant dust removal. Remember the show Pinky and the Brain? I’m pretty sure one of Brain’s plans to take over the world involved a black TV stand that drove a mother slowly insane because it was NEVER free of dust, even seconds after being dusted. And if that furniture is anywhere near carpet? Forget about it.
5. Expect to wake up where you went to sleep
I know, your little cherub slumbers peacefully next to your bed in a sweet little bassinet, or nearby in a lovingly chosen crib. You wrap him into a snug little milk-drunk burrito in his muslin swaddle and climb into your own bed next to your spouse when the day is done. And sure, maybe you’re up for a couple of feedings overnight, but you always return to your own bed. Guess what? THAT DOESN’T LAST. Your baby will grow into a needy little nocturnal nightmare at some point (because thirsty, or monsters, or growing pains) and one or both parents will be summoned. This one’s unavoidable, but if you’re prepared, you can at least stash some extra pillows and blankets near the kids’ (never big enough) beds so you’re not digging in a linen closet at 2am.
6. Watch youTube
Do you know who CookieSwirlC is? Ever watched the Fizzy Toy Show? Gotten sucked into the ridiculous antics of EvanTube? I didn’t think so. But guess what? If you ever type in the url for youTube around a small child with ears and eyes and a pulse, you will. And you will hate yourself for it. There’s nothing more confounding than watching a grown woman open blind bags and mystery eggs filled with tiny toys on camera, or kids eating jelly beans and guessing their flavors…and witnessing your offspring become instantly addicted to it. It makes no sense. It never will. You’re better off blocking the site completely, trust me.
7. Buy nice things
Remember visiting that one relative who had plastic covering her couches and a distrustful eye tracking any moving object under 4 feet tall? She probably had a pack of kids who made her that way. There will be a time in your life again, I’m told, when you can buy breakable things and nice furniture, but it’s not in the next decade.
Is it pretty? Yes. Is it allowed in my house? I’m still vacuuming it out of the grooves of the kitchen tile from that time three years ago a kid dumped an entire tube of it on my floor. I’ll let you reach your own conclusions, but let me just offer you this nugget of wisdom to file away: glitter glue.
You can thank me later.