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I have spent a lot of my parenting life preparing my children to function in the world we live in. Following societal norms, we have taught them when to say “please” and “thank you” and “bite me,” how to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, and also how to avoid asking large-bellied people if they are pregnant.
As a child, I went wide-eyed into getting punched in the arm for wanting a “Hertz Donut,” and once I was actually fooled into going on a Snipe Hunt. I was naive, and maybe a bit of a ditz.
I thought, just in case my children follow in my footsteps, I should start to compile a list of important life skills:
1. If someone asks you to pull their finger, don’t do it.
2. If you don’t understand the joke, just nod and smile.
3. Don’t collect anything, ever. Unless you want to haul around ugly ceramic turtles for the rest of your life.
4. Believe that you can make anything happen. This will come in handy in parking lots.
5. Don’t do group texts. And if you do, don’t add me to them. Ever.
6. READ STUFF.
7. Learn to like some vegetables. Your butt will thank you for it when you are almost 39.
8. Don’t believe anyone at a bar where you can throw peanuts on the floor.
9. Make sure you have actually hung up the phone before you start talking bad about the person on the other line.
10. Oh, and don’t talk bad about people.
11. If you don’t know how to properly do a Farmer’s Blow — seriously, just don’t.
12. Self-deprecation will get you a lot farther than narcissism.
13. Stay away from crazy people. You will know they are crazy by how much time you spend talking about how crazy they are.
14. If you aren’t completely certain that it’s air coming out of you, hold it in.
15. Don’t ever ever ever try to do a home bikini wax.
16. If you don’t want something read, don’t write it down.
17. Create a happy place for yourself in your own head instead of a place where all you hear is, “Your butt is getting ginormous!”
18. If you find a smear of chocolate in the bathroom, don’t put it in your mouth.
19. Please don’t post pictures of your food. Or your feet.
20. If you go to a questionable party, don’t eat an entire pan of brownies.
Our kids need all the help they can get out there as they try to navigate this crazy planet that we live on. The least we can do is warn them about the dangers of licking the frozen flagpole.
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