largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I have gotten some angry E-mails from you readers about me missing a couple weeks of Bad Mom Advice and I am SORRY! It’s the summer, I swear, my kids are all home and making me rescue baby frogs from the pool and it’s so hot and my AC broke last night and  you guys should really have more sympathy for ME. POOR ME. But anyway, yes, I will be better. Onward!

If you had to pick one item that you bought or purchased when you were pregnant that you couldn’t live without, what would it be? I’m expecting my first baby in September and I also have some baby showers coming up and I need to know what your number 1 “must have” is. 

Babies don’t need nothin’! They need some clothes, less clothes if it is disgustingly hot like it is right now, diapers (cloth or disposable) and breast milk or formula. Like Koa recently illustrated, so many of the things we buy for babies they just don’t need. Fancy strollers are nice, but umbrella strollers are tiny and lightweight and if your baby pukes all over them you can always buy a new one for under 30 bucks. Super fancy crib bedding is nice but as a woman who once spent SO MUCH MONEY on Jacadi bed linens and Dwell Baby Bedding this is really more for the parents who want a cool looking nursery. Your baby don’t care. My babies didn’t even sleep in their cribs until they were about a year old, so until then I had really lovely crib bedding that was never slumbered on. One thing I bought with my second child that totally revolutionized my life was a Stokke Tripp Trapp™ highchair. With my first child, and until I wised up with my second, they were using like typical highchairs you get from any baby store, you know the plastic kind with the padded seats and the plastic removable tray. And I HATED them. For me they were near-impossible to get really clean. I sort of treated them like disposable items and when one got stained or smelled off I would toss it out and get another, wasteful, wasteful, wasteful. When I bought my Stokke it was a lot of money – like to get one totally outfitted with the seat cushion and the baby seat they cost around 350 dollars – yipes!- but by the time my second was old enough to eat people food I had blown about 300 bucks on high chairs anyway. The Stokkes look really cool, have no derpy looking baby animals on them, and you can get them totally spotless and sanitized and you will never find ants under the seat cushion – DO NOT ASK. Plus, when I was done having babies I gave mine to my sister and maybe one day we will have grandbabies using it. It’s the sort of item you can save for future generations.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 7.05.50 AM(Photo: Stokke)

They grow with your kid and are totally height adjustable and I loooooved mine. Yeah, they are pricey, so make a generous grandparent get one or if you wanna buy one as a gift, make a mess of friends go in on one with you. It was probably the one item I bought for my kids that I felt was totally worth it. For shower gifts, I like getting things for the parents. babies are cute and because they are cute they get enough fabulous prizes, Gift certificates, delicious food items, gift baskets filled with a nice bottle of wine and movie tickets for when they finally venture out of the house or a mess of candy or DVD seasons of  TV shows that have nothing to do with babies for those nights when baby just won’t sleep. Booze. Booze. More booze. And candy.

 

It’s finally happened.  Despite my parenting, despite the toys, games, ice-creams, and bedtime stories, my 7 year-old daughter got angry enough to threaten to run away from home.  Unfortunately, I do not have the details on what might have upset her, but I would guess her older brother was involved somehow.

She got as far as the yard across the street, glaring back at my front door with her face knotted in the cutest, angriest pout and her hands folded across her chest.  This lasted for an eternity of a whopping thirty-two seconds.

I knew from that it was a hollow threat, but her older brother didn’t see it so clearly.  He actually went across the street genuinely concerned for her.

My questions are:  What warning signs might there be if there’s a next time?  When does the threat become more-serious?

You obviously suck as a parent. My kids have never run away. I suggest you just give up and send your kids to me. Please include lots of money for their future college educations. And booze.

I have NO idea why your daughter ran away. Did she actually pack stuff? Because I’m dying to know what she packed and if she included Froot Roll Ups. I think you can technically blame TV on this because those wacky family fun TV shows are always showing some punkass kid running away from home and then it has a happy ending where the stupid parent is all “YOU CANNOT LEAVE I LOVE YOU AND LET’S GET ICE CREAM.” Did you take her for ice cream after? Did her and her brother make up?

Because she didn’t go far and she was in your view the entire time, I would not be giving you the same advice as if she was a small town girl living in a small world and she took the midnight train going anywhere. I probably would have sat her down and told her that you love her very much and if she ran away from home everyone would be very sad, and also she is not allowed to leave the house like that. If she needs to run away from home she can run away to the backyard. Explain she is not allowed to leave the yard. Then when she does “run away” to the back yard I would say “OK, you can have you alone time, come in when you are ready.” Siblings fight, it is normal. Maybe she just needed space from her brother. If she continues running away there may be more DEEP PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES that need to be addressed but how the hell should I know? I’m not a doctor. And my stupid AC is broken. Maybe it’s like that shit you see on motivational posters in actual doctor’s offices that say like “If you love someone set them free and if they come back they are yours to keep and you can make them clean out the garage for being an asshole and leaving” and shows a picture of a butterfly.

Need some Bad Mom Advice? I do, how long do I have to wait before I can call the AC repair dude again to see when the hell he will get here? Of course you need Bad Mom Advice! Leave me a comment, ask me on twitter, Email me!