We live in a glorious age of parenting advice. As someone considering having children I cannot tell you how valuable I have found the countless articles, books, podcast debates, and provocative breastfeeding magazine covers that tell me in no uncertain terms how we ought to raise our hypothetical baby.
But what about parents who are not fortunate enough to have time to read the reams and reams of invaluable parenting advice currently being churned out by editors desperate to save their failing companies parenting experts? I have considered this question seriously and I now realize it is my duty — nay, my calling — to distill our era’s parenting wisdom into a single volume. I humbly present my book proposal. At the risk of sounding arrogant I am quite certain it will be a best-seller.
Everyone You Know is a Terrible Parent:
A Guide to Judging Other Peoples’ Children While Maximizing Your Anxiety About Your Own
by Petite Chablis
Selected Chapter Outline
Introduction: Everyone You Know is a Terrible Parent
Do your friends’ kids refuse to eat broccoli, wake up in the middle of the night, fail to toilet-train in less than a week, obnoxiously refuse to put on their shoes when asked, or cry when denied a cookie? Don’t worry — it’s because your friends are all terrible parents. YOUR child will not exhibit these annoying and inexcusable behaviors so long as you follow all of the advice in this book.
And I do mean ALL of it. Failure to do any of the things described in this book voids the warranty of EYKIATP and the author cannot be held responsible for the little sociopath you’ve produced.
Chapter 1: Pregnancy
Pregnancy should be a glorious, stress-free time. This chapter is devoted to a list of the 9,472 (and counting!) food items, activities, types of furniture, and airborn particles that might cost Baby precious points on the SATs in seventeen years.
Chapter 3: Sleep
If you expected to sleep at all before your child goes to college, you are a horrible selfish parent unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to maximize Baby/Toddler/Kindergartner/Elementary-Schooler/Pre-teen/Teenager’s development. That said, of course your child will sleep through the night! Any child who cries during the night does so because s/he believes s/he has been abandoned. This means you have not loved Baby enough to make him/her feel secure.
Chapter 4: Toddlers
By the age of 2 a toddler with good parents no longer throws food, defies his/her parents, or wants to wear plaid pants with a striped shirt. A toddler should also be independent and confident enough to explore his/her world, express what s/he wants, and pick out his/her own clothes.
Chapter 7: Self-Esteem
Everyone knows that the Millennial generation was ruined by all of the participation ribbons and trophies we were given. (Note the passive voice, which helpfully hides the identity of the people who gave out those trophies.) If you suspect your child’s school is engaging in this destructive practice, this chapter explains how to use shame and conditional affection to counter the effects of excessive praise.
Chapter 9: Motherhood and Career
If you fail to follow your dreams and achieve everything you’ve ever wanted outside the home, you are destroying the feminist movement and being a terrible role model for your daughter. But you’re only a good mom if you attend all parent-teacher conferences, dance recitals, sporting events, and dentist appointments. Basically, as we outlined in Chapter 3, a REALLY good mom never sleeps.
What about dads, you ask? Ha ha ha, good one!
Chapter 12: Ever Other Nationality Does Motherhood Better than Yours
Your child will never be as accomplished as the child of a Tiger Mom, as well-behaved as the child of a French mom, or as well-versed in German Lieder as the child of a Bavarian mom. Weep at your cultural inferiority. WEEP, I say!
What about dad’s nationality? Hee hee! That never stops being funny!
Chapter 15: Teenagers
Teenagers should be independent individuals who adhere to their parents’ values at all times. Anything less equals total failure as a parent. Also, applying to college can be a stressful time for teenagers, which is why you should have put their first SAT books on your baby registry.
Conclusion: You Are A Terrible Parent
Face it: You’ve failed something in this book. I hope you saved for therapy. Your kid’s going to need it.