The #1 Parenting Lesson of All Time


If there’s one single thing I’ve learned through 16 years of parenting, houseworking,  and adulting; it’s that 98% of parenting articles and household tips, tricks and (gag) hacks are utterly worthless.


I’m not exaggerating with that 98% number.  Out of every 100 tips I see, only about 2 of them even have the potential to be semi-useful.  The rest are either common sense you already know (every parenting article ever); oversimplified, unrealistic or unnecessarily complicated (Pinterest in general), or promise solutions to your toughest parenting conundrums but really just babble endlessly, brainstorming all the possible underlying causes of said problem and never actually give any helpful (or even non-helpful) advice at all (the New York Times: who knew?).

Here are just a few of my faves:

The “This is Not Going to End Well”


OK, but how did you get the mix into the bottle? A funnel, I guess, but my pancake batter is too thick and lumpy and would just end up spilling all over the place.  A ladle works great, thankyouverymuch.

The “Yes, You ARE Missing Something Here”

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But seriously, am I missing something here? This one included a photo of a pen spring wrapped around the cord of an old iPhone charger with the wide end. How did they even get it on there???

The “Wait, What?”

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Aside from the fact that this is not likely to be effective, who wants walnuts all over the house?  And if you don’t have the walnuts covering every square inch of your house, won’t the spiders just find some nice, walnut-free zone to take up permanent residence? Really though, if this worked, couldn’t they just bottle the “toxic chemical” and we could spray it everywhere?

The “It Looks Nice BUT…”

**Photo of neatly stacked pillowcases with sheets folded up in them**

Ummm…yes, it looks very very nice, but my way is much easier: just toss them in the closet and grab them when you need them.

You’re welcome.

The “If you’re Naive Enough it Won’t Happen to You”

“Put your money in a sanitary napkin package before putting it in your purse-no one will steal it!”

Because thieves never just grab the whole purse and run.

But perhaps the most disappointing are the ones that seem pseudo-scientific:


Just fold it. Done. Plus, who can find a paperclip when they need one anyway?

This tip for getting rid of an ant infestation: “Line suspected entryways with deterrent substances. Salt, chalk, baby powder and talc can be spread under doors, near windows and walls.”

Even worse than walnuts rolling all over the house is baby powder sprinkled on every windowsill and worse, on the floor of every doorway. And no one website can agree on why this is supposedly helpful.  I’ve seen “They don’t like the taste,” “It kills them,” “They lose their scent and get lost,” and my personal favorite, “it’s too slippery and they’ll trip and not be able to walk past the powder.”

“Drink tons of apple juice before you go to bed. A chemical compound in the juice will help you to have vivid awesome dreams.”

Wow, “tons”? that’s a lot. A ton is like, what, 2,000 pounds?  And what chemical compound is it exactly? Eh, who cares, because: science! Wait, but vivid awesome dreams?  Like an acid trip? Do I want that?

Having said all that, I have found a couple of tips that were truly genius.  And I often get good advice from friends and reputable books, etc. But most of life is hard work that a Facebook meme isn’t going to be able to eliminate for you.  And legitimate advice (at least on the big stuff) can’t be condensed into a one-page article.  Except maybe this:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2 thoughts on “The #1 Parenting Lesson of All Time

  1. Ugh, I did the baby powder thing. Stupid piece of crap idea! I also tried spraying a vinegar /water solution. Just made annoying little streaks down the wall. Those clear gel poison packs seem to work the best. But you know that already. P.S. I love putting my sheets in the matching pillow case. The one thing I’m actually good at, organizationally anyway. 😉

    1. Oh man, that sucks! yeah, I was wondering if I’d offend people who swear by the pillowcase thing, but I had to throw it in there. I really do like my method better. 😉 We all do what we can! I’ve been known to try my share of tips here and there (a couple did work).


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