Congratulations, you've decided to reproduce. For a person used to living life on his or her own terms, parenthood can be quite the shock. As with any life change, dutiful preparation can make all the difference in the world. Here are 11 easy steps you can take to prepare:
Step 1 Hire an actor to shadow you throughout your day. This person should remain no more than three inches away from you at all times. Pay them extra to sit in your lap should you attempt to get off of your feet. Bonus points if they trip you with their body when you're walking around your home. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., let them jump on your body.
"Can I close the bathroom door?" No. Hire someone you feel comfortable with, because they will be supervising your waste elimination process.
Every 15 minutes, make this person a snack.
Step 2 Call all of your friends without children. Tell them it's been lovely knowing them, but you're going away. Let them know you'll see them on Facebook.
Step 3 It's important that you get used to completing simple tasks while being a parent. Obtain a pair of handcuffs or a zip tie. Affix one hand behind your back. Go about your day.
Step 4 If you plan on driving while being a parent, borrow three orangutans (ask for strong-willed ones) from your local zoo. Put them in rear-facing car seats. Keep your eyes on the road.
Step 5 Cooking is a big part of raising a family. Buy a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Visit your neighborhood specialty market and acquire the ingredients necessary for her famous beef bourguignon. Spend the next eight hours cooking. When the meal is done, quickly bring it room temperature. Throw the entire pot against a wall. Clean it up.
Step 6 Parenting may slightly affect your sleep patterns. To prepare yourself for this, find the most annoying ringtone on your phone. Ask a stranger on the street to set up 2-3 surprise alarms between midnight and 5 a.m. Live like this for months. If you think you'll be tempted to complain to someone, let them know ahead of time that their only response to you should be, "This is somehow your fault."
Step 7 A huge part of parenting is constant worry. Smart parents-to-be will get themselves used to living life with moderate to severe anxiety. Hire a skywriter to spell out your full name, social security number, home address and blood type over the nearest maximum security prison yard.
Step 8 Start watching children's television programming. You might hear a popping, crackling noise in your head. Don't be alarmed -- that's just the sound of your brain melting.
Step 9 You may be gifted a child who wants to sleep with you. Joy! Practice co-sleeping by having a carpenter craft a special bed for you. Tell him you want it one third of the width of a standard twin bed. Don't use a pillow or sheets. If this is too costly, you can also just sleep curled up in your bathtub.
Step 10 Turning your car into a parent-mobile is easier than you think. All you need are:
- 18 individual non-matching socks
- 6 clean diapers in three sizes
- 2 balled-up pee pee diapers (you can find these in your community dumpster)
- 6 cups of random crumbs
- 1/2 cup of strawberry jam or any sticky substance
- 18 broken toys
- 2 handfuls of confetti
- 2 empty juice boxes
- changes of clothes for 10 children
Mix these items together on your lawn, being careful to get the jam on everything, then throw it all inside your car and mix thoroughly. Drive around in shame.
Step 11 Visit your local thrift store and buy 10 large garbage bags of clothes. Dump them in your living room. Bring in the orangutans and start folding. Enjoy.
You're now ready. Good luck.
Bunmi is the author of The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting. This is a humor book, please calm down.