Rule #1 of Parenting (and Other Rules)

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his non-white, non-dad wife), and their daughter Viva, who is already better at math than her father.

No matter how much you think you know about raising children, as soon as that baby arrives, you’re out to sea. An enormous industry has sprung up around parenting advice, and just navigating the advice can be as confusing as taking care of the baby! Luckily, I am here to help you cut through the waters of cash grabbing advice manuals and get straight to the real truth.

Rule #1 of Parenting: THERE ARE NO RULES.

Rule #2 of Parenting: Keep Your Kid’s Blood Sugar Up

Rule #3 of Parenting: Wait. Rule #2 Kind of Contradicts, Rule #1, Doesn’t It?

Rule #4 of Parenting: Come To Think of It, Rule #1 Pretty Much Contradicts Itself.

Rule #5 of Parenting: Rule #4 Wasn’t Really a Rule, More of an Observation. Sorry.

Rule #6 of Parenting: That’s Also True for Rule #5, and Rule #6. (This One.)

Rule #7 of Parenting: They Usually Don’t Let You Send Treats To School On Your Kid’s Birthday Anymore. Something About Allergies. So If You’re Thinking About It, Call the School First.

Rule #8 of Parenting: And If the Treats Aren’t Individually Wrapped or They Contain Peanuts, You Can Pretty Much Forget It.

Rule #9 of Parenting: I’m Regretting Rule #1 a Little Bit Now. I Just Wanted to Start Forcefully. Forget Rule #1.

Rule #10 of Parenting: It’s True, Though. There are Exceptions to Almost Every Rule.

Rule #11 of Parenting: Except the Thing About Blood Sugar. Nobody Realizes What a Big Deal That Is.

Rule #12 of Parenting: If Your Kid is Acting Especially Irrationally, You Need to Ask Yourself, Are They Being Naughty or Do They Just Need a Snack?

Rule #13 of Parenting: Because Kids Are Basically Nice If They’re Rested and Fed.

Rule #14 of Parenting: So Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep, Too.

Rule #15 of Parenting: And You Won’t Believe How Much Sleep They Need. It’s Worse Than a Cat.

Rule #16 of Parenting: Some Kids are Just Jerks, I Suppose, But Most of Them Just Need Sleep and a Snack.

Rule #17 of Parenting: And Good Quality Sleep, Too, So Make Sure the Room Is Dark and You Aren’t, Like, Vacuuming or Dropping Noisy Things on the Floor.

Rule #18 of Parenting: You Might Even Have to Take Your Shoes Off When You Walk Around.

Rule #19 of Parenting: And Not Just Any Snacks – Healthy Stuff With Sugars That Metabolize Slowly.

Rule #20 of Parenting: Maybe Get One of Those Sleep Machines That Makes Wave Sounds and Heartbeats and Stuff.

Rule #21 of Parenting: Come to Think Of It, I Might Get One of Those For Myself.

Rule #22 of Parenting: They Say Parents REALLY Don’t Get Enough Sleep.

Rule #23 of Parenting: I’d Probably Put It On the Wave Sounds Or Rain, Because My Wife Thinks the Heartbeat Sounds Creepy.

Rule #24 of Parenting: Like in an Edgar Allen Poe Kind of Way, You Know?

Rule #25 of Parenting: My Wife Carries Around a Granola Bar in Her Purse For When I Start Getting Spacey Or Acting Like a Jerk. You Should Do That, Too.

Rule #26 of Parenting: Of Course, the Rain and Wave Sounds Might Make You Have to Pee All Night, So Choose Wisely.

Rule #27 of Parenting: Or Earplugs. That’s Probably Easiest.

Rule #28 of Parenting: Wait, Then You Can’t Hear if The Baby Wakes Up. Do NOT Wear Earplugs.

Rule #29 of Parenting: Repeat, Do NOT Wear Earplugs.

Rule #30 of Parenting: Try the Granola Bar Thing, Though. It Totally Helps.

Rule #31 of Parenting: Thirty-One Is a Weird Number to End On.

Rule #32 of Parenting: So, In Closing, Again, Please Forget Rule #1 and #27.

Rule #33 of Parenting: Parenting is Very Complicated

Viva Rocco (Age 2), #1,2013, Installation: Foam Letter on Shower Tile

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe to the WDP podcast for free on iTunes! You can also listen (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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You don’t have to be white and you don’t have to be a dad to be entertained by their failings as father.

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