1. Though it might be hard to tell from your Facebook page these days, other people still exist. It’s not cute when your toddler waddles his way through a door that a stranger is holding open and a midway sippy-cup drop is unforgivable. Grab the damn door and let the strangers get on to their decaf nonfat lattes.
2. Do not say things like, “You are just the sweetest little baby on earth,” to descendants when you are in earshot of anyone other than blood relations.
3. Remember how before you had kids when people asked, "How are you?" the answer you invariably gave was "Good. How are you?"? Why is it that now you actually answer that question with jaw-breaking detail about sleep schedules and hiding broccoli in fruit smoothies and calling squirrels "doggies--Isn't that cute?" No, it's not. Go back to saying "Good", flash a vacant smile and continue on your way.
4. Spend less time doing PR for your offspring and more time actually playing with them. Even if no one is looking.
5. No matter how cute and strange and creative a name you come up with for your progeny, it will never fill up your endless need for attention.
6. Don’t assume people remember details about your childrens’ lives even if you’ve told them at least a dozen times that Cooper goes to preschool in the afternoons now on Tuesdays and Thursdays but he’s having trouble with potty training and Ms. Parker has started asking that you pack fewer Big Bird juice boxes from now on but you keep forgetting because, you know, "mommy brain".
7. Limit the number of photos you email out to non-grandparents; send no more of your kids than you would send of anything else (trip to Cape May, tomato plants in the backyard).
8. Kids don’t need playdates; they need to play. They can go outside and play. Or meet at the park to play. Or go to the playground and play. Or see if anyone is around who wants to play. Or walk over with bare feet and knock on another kid's door to play. Or come over to my house and play. But they do not need playdates. Just get rid of the whole thing, the word and everything that goes along with it. No child should ever be heard telling another that she’s “penciling him in”.
9. If you don’t want to get dirty, you can’t have kids. If you don’t want your kids to get dirty, you can’t have kids. If you don’t want your house to get dirty…you get the idea.
10. Rather than read extensive and pretentious volumes on child-rearing for the modern age, think of dog training: use positive reinforcement, ignore unwanted behavior, allow for plenty of exercise daily, (the dog/kid doesn’t care that it’s raining), don’t worry about fancy toys—give your time, and remember, muddy footprints on the clean bedspread call for a gentle reprimand, nothing more.