Parenting Parody Books

I read a couple short books that are parodies of parenting advice books. Often these books are given to parents as gag gifts.

Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, and Mary Ann Zoellner

I felt ambivalent about this one. It’s mostly a lot of rants about people who make parenting harder, especially “perfect” moms who make the rest of us look bad and feel guilty and inadequate. The step by step instructions are about how to slack or get away with slacking. And their definition of slacking is my definition of normal. There were a few essays that rubbed me the wrong way, but most were witty and truthful.

How to Traumatize Your Children: 7 Proven Methods to Help You Screw Up Your Kids Deliberately and With Skill

I preferred this book to Sh*tty Mom because it was actually reassuring in a weird way. It provides illustrated step-by-step instructions for ruining a kid’s childhood in several different ways. Chapter titles include “It’s All About You: Parent as Narcissist” and “Validation Is For Parking: Parent as Self-Esteen Killer.” Reading it made me feel better about the small mistakes I’m making as a parent–at least I’m not calling my boys names or literally neglecting them. There are moments in parenting when that perspective is helpful. The tone makes the joke clear: you, reader, are a good parent laughing at truly terrible people who damage their children.The illustrations provide extra humor.

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