There is a lot of parenting advice out there. So much advice. Sometimes it feels like we're drowning in advice.
And the wild part is, we don't really know if any of it works - and especially if it will work for our kids. Because the main goal, I think, for most parents is to raise decent humans. And not only do we not all agree what it means to be a decent human, but we won't know if the way we did it worked until they're adults. By then, even if I tell the next generation every single thing I did to raise decent humans, it'll all be outdated anyway. They'll be all like, "What's screen time? Our kids can access chips in their brain that project Minecraft onto the backs of their eyeballs, so we got our hands full with that, Grandma."
Given the thousands of books on how to raise kids, the sheer amount of advice becomes its own navigational problem. So I've been thinking about ways to cull the herd and trim it back to just the essentials. I think we can get it down to five books that parents really, really want.
5. 100 People Who Grew Up Eating Nothing But Chicken Nuggets and Are Perfectly F**ing Fine Now
We get it, Magical Moms of Pinterest, your kids have never had a processed food in their lives. But I am a child of the '80s and I literally didn't know that pasta was something you could make at home until I was a full-grown adult. Processed food flows through my perfectly f***ing fine blood.
4. They're Probably Fine: A Guide to Assessing Child Injuries for Overly Anxious Parents
You either know them or you are them - parents who go to the doctor for everything. Let's save time and reduce the burden on our nation's beleaguered medical system with the anti-WebMD, a book where you look up common symptoms and learn that your kid is almost certainly fine and the problem is just that weird things happen in the human body.
3. OMG Go to the Hospital: A Guide to Assessing Child Injuries for Overly Laid-Back Parents
And then, on the other end of the spectrum, we all have those friends that tell us stories and it's like, "I'm sorry, their what was hanging out of what? What did you do?" and they're like, "We put some Neosporin on it." For those parents, we have this book, which is like WebMD on steroids, and every page just directs them to call 911.
2. My Kid Would Never
God, this would just be so satisfying. Imagine a book written by that friend whose kid would never drink juice, talk back, have schmutz on their face, throw a tantrum....all of it. And then update it with every single experience they relay now. It would be a global bestseller. Even the judgey friend would buy it, since by this point she would totally get it and now SHE would have a friend whose kid would never...
1. The Passive Aggressive Guide to Telling People You Don't Want Their Advice
Ultimately, even if we reduce the number of parenting books to five, people are going to give you unsolicited advice. And sometimes, that's great. And other days (and from some specific people), you just really, really don't want to hear it. For those moments, this book is your savior. It doesn't even need to have anything inside it, the cover does it all!
And because I cannot resist taking a joke too far (and since it really is just a cover), I made this a real book! It's mostly because I wanted to start giving it out to my friends having babies, but if you want to do the same, you can now buy The Passive Aggressive Guide to Telling People You Don't Want Their Advice. This blank book makes a great gift for your next baby shower, bridal shower, for a friend who's making a career change right before a major holiday - really, any time there's an overlap between entering a new life stage and seeing a bunch of relatives.
In the end, it's the only advice book that I think every parent absolutely needs.