Applying the contents of most parenting books to the raising of your kids is like applying a tiny cartoon Band-Aid to an axe wound on your belly: it means well, but it’s not going to keep your guts from spilling out all over the place. They cover the easiest of the basics, which you probably could have figured out on your own or learned by watching friends and family keep their own progeny alive.
New parents need the down and dirty, big and ugly, full-coverage tome of helpful information. The gross, the weird, the scary and the uncomfortable. And permission to laugh at the insanity of it all. Here are just a few things that should be added to each parenting book to make it a true asset to terrified mums-and-dads-to be.
1. That most parenting books are full of BS tied up in rainbows.
3. How EXACTLY to find mum friends near you that don’t suck.
4. A colour chart of all the various shades of brown (and yellow and green and okay sometimes purply-red) poo can be, so you know when you’re dealing with it in a place it should not be.
5. A gentle reminder that you will overreact more than an offended shellacked blonde on Housewives of Melbourne to everything that happens in your or your kid’s life for a good 3-6 months. Possibly longer. The best way to fix this is to immediately have another kid.
6. To prepare to be covered in strange bruises and unexplained cuts from the first moment you hold your beautiful new child to around the time the last one moves out.
7. A pie chart for each month that explains where all your money is going to disappear to, depending on the child’s exact age. Because it will disappear. ALL OF IT.
8. To be prepared to genuinely want to tell your kid to shut up and stop being an asshole. Even if he’s only six months old. Definitely if he’s three years old. Let’s not even talk about how much they deserve this when they’re going through puberty.
9. How absolutely anything—no matter how soft or gentle it may be—can be an unintentionally deadly weapon in the hands of a toddler.
10. How to respond to someone’s unsolicited parenting advice with a reply and smile that makes them unsure as to whether you just thanked them or told them to go jump off a bridge.
More mum truths: