8 horrible parenting tips you should not follow

We are way beyond the baby stage at our house, and thank God. Karis graduated preschool this week, and as I sat there sobbing about my last baby growing up (don’t judge me), I thought about all the advice we used to get about parenting babies and how much that has tapered off. I think part of that is because most parents of older children realize that none of us know what we are doing. We’re no longer the helpless parents of infants looking for a flow-chart. We realize by now that no handbook can solve all of our problems. But man, in the baby stage. . . that unsolicited advice is frequent. Because if parents are good at one thing, it’s telling other parents what to do. And a lot of the baby parenting advice I received? It sucked.

Over at Babble I’ve rounded up some of the worst…


What NOT to give mom on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a wonderful day in praise of moms everywhere, in which
hard-working mothers are commended for their selfless dedication, admired for
their steadfast love, and given a day in which they have absolutely no
responsibilities at all. Right?

Except that it doesn’t always work that way. Children still behave like children. And sometimes their idea of a “gift” for me involves reading me the entire catalog of our Dr. Suess books. Aloud. HELP ME.

And as long as we’re being honest about things, here’s a list of gifts children
(or husbands) should never—under any circumstances—give a mother for Mother’s

1. Any How to Be a Better Mom book.

2. Another dog. Because you know what’s missing from my life? Another mouth
to feed. Another needy creature to clean up after. More poop.

3. A workout DVD. “I love you, Mom, but you’ve gotten squishier the last few
times we hugged.”

4. A pink kitchen appliance or tool. Actually, I don’t care what color it is.
If it implies work, then I don’t want it.

5. Money. Chances are I gave my child that money in the first place.

6. A trophy. You know where I would like to display that store-bought “Best
Mom” or “#1 Mom” trophy? In the trash. (Unless you made it yourself, in which
case I will display it on a shelf in the back of my closet.)

7. A tattoo on any part of your body that references how much you love me.
Dear God, no.

8. Any cleaning product, no matter how fancy it is. If it implies, “Go clean
something, Mom,” then keep it for yourself.

9. An e-card. Nothing says “I care about you” like something you didn’t pay
for or take the time to mail. (But a hand-written thank you note or lovingly
written email? Those would be wonderful.)

10. A trampoline. Well done, Dad. You have become an expert manipulator of
your children.

11. A video game. Well done, kids. You have become expert manipulators of
your father.

12. Spanx. See #3.

13. Spa products. These I’ll allow, with one condition: The assortment may
NOT include wrinkle serum or cellulite cream.

14. Breakfast in bed. Unless you also clean up the kitchen and do the dishes.

15. Socks. Go away.

16. A tin of popcorn. Just because you forgot to get something and the Boy
Scouts happened to come to the door doesn’t mean this is a gift I want.

17. A coupon book if you are over 12. Look, it’s cute that I can trade a
coupon for a hug, but there are only so many times I’ll make a transaction for
your affection.

18. A whole day of hanging with the kids without any donwtime. DO YOU NOT

13 April Fools' Ideas for Slacker Parents

13-april-fools-jokes-to-play-on-kids I’m not one of those parents who lives for April Fools’ Day. Or even acknowledges to my children that it exists in the first place. But my kids are in on the day, and they have expectations.I’ve got to find some pranks that are easy to implement, and that don’t require a visit to the craft store. Or baking So I’ve rounded up a few ideas for simple pranks I can pull with things we’ve already got. You can see the full list over at Babble.

15 stupid threats that parents should stop using

One day not long ago, I was at home with the kids. Mark was somewhere else, the boys were being noisy, the girls were fighting, Karis was crying, and I’d had it up to my eyebrows with household drama. No one in my house but me seemed to care that I had work to do. Important work! For money! So I said something: a sentence my parents used to say to me and that I swore I’d never speak to my own kids, because it’s just so, so ridiculous. “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” We’ve all said dumb things as parents. Threats and warnings and laughable statements that we have no business saying. Not because they’re needlessly violent or graphic or mean, but because they are stupid. And completely untrue. And in violation of all of our parenting values. 15-stupid-threats-from-parents Over at Babble I’ve of the stupid parenting threats I hear…or have said . . . or had said to me as a child. What are yours? You can read all 15 ridiculous parenting threats here.

Have a kid obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Here’s what to read next.

If your kids are like mine, discovering Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books opened up a whole new world to them. The funny stories (read: lots of farting), creative illustrations, and short chapters have been ideal for getting young readers hooked on “chapter books”—providing a welcome transition from simple children’s books to slightly more complex stories for kids
.So your child finished all the Wimpy Kid books - what's next?

Which leads us to this question: What next? Once your kids have devoured all 70-bazillion books in theWimpy Kid saga, what series should they turn to next? I started researching fun, kid-friendly stories that contain enough illustrations humor to lock down their admittedly short attention spans.
What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? The Strange Case of Origami Yoda A great series by Tom Angleberger. It’s got origami, talking finger puppets, and a Star Wars tie-in. What’s not to like? What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life From the prolific mind of thriller specialist James Patterson, who apparently writes a dozen books a month. What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Bone Bone is a 9-volume series of graphic novels by Jeff Smith, now available in a single volume. What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja Seriously, who wants to read about wimpy kids when you can read about ninjas? What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Secret Agent 6th Grader Another great book from Marcus Emerson. What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Big Nate: In a Class by Himself Jeff Kinney himself endorsed this book, by saying “Big Nate is funny, big-time.” What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? The Notebook of Doom I’d read this one, by Troy Cummings, just from the title alone. (It’s also the first book in a series.) What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Nate The Great This one’s a classic, but it fits right up there within the hooking-boys-on-reading genre. What's Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life And I realize that not all readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid are boys. Here’s a full series with a similar feel, by author and illustrator Rachel Renée Russell, that’s written more for girls. My girls aren’t tweens yet (thank goodness), but this series brings humor to the “hard, hard life” of ages 9-13.