How to Succeed (…or just not to suck) at Parenthood

So, you find yourself in a situation where you have a new baby and no experience at parenthood?  You haven’t even read the Dr. Spock books or anything?  And maybe, it’s not even your kid, or not even a little baby…maybe someone dropped a 4 year old off on your front lawn last night, and you took all night to decide that, yeah, she’s cute…you’ll keep her.  Maybe you just married a cute young babe, and when you returned from your honeymoon, cute young babe’s mother drops a screaming 18 month old at your new pad.  Kid?  You’ve got a kid?  WTF??  However it happened, here you are, thrust into parenthood and no experience to draw upon.  Don’t worry, Dear Reader, I’m here to help.  I’ve not only been raising kids (a whole slew of ’em) for the past 17 years, but I’ve also had numerous friends doing the same thing.  I have immersed myself in every parenting magazine, e-article, and child-rearing tv shows (ever heard of Super Nanny?) available to me.  I’ll outline the most important points based on your newfound kid’s age level to guide you.  If you find that it works for you, kudos.  If you find that it doesn’t, then you are doing it wrong.  Read it again and start over.


No. 1:   Don’t swing them around or they WILL throw up on you.  Actually, they are going to throw up on you anyway, so go ahead and swing them around if you like. 

No. 2:   Keep an ice bucket next to your bed with at least 4 prepared bottles in it.  People will try to make you believe that you have to warm their formula a little before you feed them.  That’s a bunch of BS.  All four of my babies drank cold milk, and they LIKED IT.  I would just sort of wake up, grab an ice cold one from the side of the bed, and stick it in their mouths.  Easy. 

No. 3:  Take naps during the day to fight the fatigue of waking every 3 hours to stick an ice cold bottle in your baby’s mouth.  Wherever you can.  Red lights count.

No. 4:  Purchase every available wash cloth and towel available at Wal-Mart each time you go.  When you clean up a mess that makes you gag, just throw away the towel or wash cloth you had to use. 

Oh my Gravy that's a cute kid.


Crawlers & Toddlers: 

No. 1: Keep all small objects out of reach of the baby who is crawling.  If there is a cord on the floor, pick it up.  They gravitate to these things and will pull any and everything down on their heads. 

No. 2:  Bumps on the baby’s head are a big deal.  Get ready for the questioning.  (What HAPPENED?)  Try not to take it personally.  Things happen. 

No. 3:  Don’t worry if your kid doesn’t want to eat.  Don’t force it.  When he is hungry, he will eat.  He will not starve to death, I assure you.  When in doubt, give him cold milk.  It’s his “old standby” by this time.

No. 4:  The only rule that your toddler will live by is:  If I’m holding it, it’s mine.  If you are holding it, it’s mine.  Think like the toddler.  BE the toddler.

Don't forget to take TONS of photos of your cute toddler. I'll explain why later.

Preschool / Kindergarten:

No. 1:  No, your child ISN’T the worst kid his teacher has every encountered before, despite all of the ugly notes you have by now received.  Don’t sweat it. 

No. 2:  Enforce a strict ban of all markers, colors, finger paints, play doh, glue, glitter, and sprinkles.  Especially if you own furniture.  Or your house has walls. 

No. 3:  If you live near a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, NEVER EVER take your child there.  This only applies to people who must pass this restaurant every time they leave their home.  You should be aware that you will experience a tantrum on every outgoing and incoming trip if they associate that big rat face with the fun that awaits them inside.  I lie and tell my children that, “Oh, no, baby, Chuck E. Cheese is closed on (insert current day of the week here).”  They still buy it.  Every time.  And even if they don’t, and you give in…worse things could happen.  They sell beer there.

I wondered where he got all that energy from.

Grade Schoolers:

No. 1:  Keep plenty of sharpened pencils, paper, posterboards, scissors, and glue sticks around for dumb homework assignments that you only learn about at the last minute.   If you have both a grade schooler AND a pre-k / Kindergartener in your house, keep all of these supplies in the trunk of your car.  Who says your kid can’t do his homework on the front lawn?   

No. 2:  Buy the CHEAPEST clothing you can get your hands on.  It will only fit your child for approximately three days.   

These pants totally fit him yesterday.

Junior High kids:

No. 1:  If this child was just given to you at this age, (now this is very important, so pay attention)…Give.  It.  Back.  

No. 2:  If you’ve already become attached to this kid, and you have to keep it, then just lock it in a closet until it’s 16.  If it’s a girl, keep her in there until she’s 18.

No. 3:  If she escapes, then just try hard to ignore her mood swings and newly found skill of slamming doors.  At this point, you should pull out all the old cute pictures from her toddlerhood, to help you focus all your energy on not killing her. 

High school kids: 

No. 1:  As soon as it is legal, make this kid get a job.  Your car insurance just went up $200 per month.  I’m not even kidding.

No. 2:  Don’t allow your high school boy to date.  Especially if he was born with both testicles.  Likewise, don’t allow your high school girl to date, under any circumstances.  In fact, just lie and tell your children you are Amish.  Tell them if they find another Amish kid they can date them.  Whoever tells you that you shouldn’t lie to your children is crazy.  Don’t trust them.  Lying is a highly recognized (and under utilized) parenting tool.  It’s more important now than EVER that you be good at lying to them, because they are getting smarter now.  Just do whatever you have to get them through school age years unscathed. 

Once they graduate high school, you can work it all out therapy.

I hope this helps. 



About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
This entry was posted in bad kids, Bad mother, Blogging., crazy kids, Parenthood, School, The Joys of Parenthood and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to How to Succeed (…or just not to suck) at Parenthood

  1. YaYa says:

    When Little J was born, after I finished nursing him and he was on formula, Yahubby would want to heat up the formula & I remembered you giving it to your kids cold and I told him, don’t you dare heat that milk up unless your going to get up during the night and take care of feedings.

    • zohrbak says:

      Here’s another PLUS to the cold mild regimen: That which goes IN to the kid, must come OUT. Warm milk curdles on the belly much quicker, and so all throw up is most noxious. Cold milk is just like cold milk when it comes back up. 🙂

  2. Aimee says:

    Yes yes yes! I second all of that. Except I didn’t purposely serve cold milk. It did happen though. I did however microwave the milk, which is now a parenting sin.

    Also, the Amish bit works for most people. However, if you live in the midwest like I do, it doesn’t. There are actually a bunch of Amish & Mennonite people here. The Amish teenagers are given a temporary reprieve from religion during their teens and they are WAY wilder than normal teens…since they only have a couple of years to be stupid and still not get kicked out of their society. So, this is something I cannot support based on regional trends.

    I like the closet idea. Going to attempt that when I get home. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. dorquemada says:

    You sold me. I’m totally sticking to my celibate bachelor lifestyle forthwith.

  4. Zohrmom says:

    Well said. I agree 100% except that, in some cases, the age limits should be increased.
    I remember thinking you were crazy to give your kids cold milk. Then they spent the night at my house…

  5. This is quite possibly my favorite post of yours. I started it smiling and nodding knowingly… and now I’m afraid I might have nightmares of slamming doors and puberty-ridden teenagers tonight. Thanks a lot, Zohr. 😉

    And I completely agree with the whole cold milk thing. Gabe only drank cold milk & it didn’t kill him. Thrown up milk has the foulest smelling odor. EVER.

  6. This is incredibly wonderful advice. All of it. I’m at the high school age with my son who has been applying all over town for his first summer job. He is not yet allowed to date (although he has a lot of “friends”) and I lie to him at least once a day. I don’t even think twice about it. It comes naturally. I have to do what I have to do.
    Great post!

  7. Maternity wards are hazardous to your health! Never, ever visit a new mom in the hospital. One view of all those adorable newborns in their little pink or blue blankies and you will want to go home and make (another) one of your own. Pleading temporary insanity will not get you out of this one. There goes another 18 years of your life. Yippee.
    From ages 11 to 18, girls have permanent PMS. Sometime around 21 you may actually like them again.
    Boys, on the other hand, are just gross. Teen boys are even more gross (and you didn’t think that was possible!). Testosterone should be a controlled substance.
    I survived parenthood and so can you.
    I think there’s an app for that.

  8. Michell says:

    If only “Give. Them. Back” were an option. Thanks for the wisdom.

  9. Joy says:

    You know my father in law used the ice cold bottles of milk by the bed approach to get through the night with a couple of the grandkids. How funny! Here’s another great parenting resource (though not as entertaining) called the Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth ( So many formulas have sugar in them nowadays and with tooth decay being the most common illness among kids, thought I’d pass it on for tips. Either that or make them pay for their own braces! 🙂 Like you said, help them get a job as soon as legally possible…

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