The Practical Parent’s Guide To Raising A Perfect Parenting Book

Such a life-saver

Jeremy Hooper
5 min readApr 1, 2021


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


Your mom acquaintance Jenn insisted this book is “such a lifesaver,” and Jenn always dresses for drop-off. Jenn got her precious dears into the best private pre-K. Jenn intimidates indiscriminately.

We’ll get to all that Jenn-sanctioned life-saving momentarily, but let me start with a frank anecdote about my own children. I’ll then follow that with some asides gently witty enough to be likable, though not barbed enough to seem glib. These upfront attempts at relatability will help alleviate the distance between me, the degreed expert with a three-book deal, and you, the mere amateur with two more kids than you can handle. But let’s just remember that I am the expert, ’kay?

Chapter 1

This opening chapter’s statement of basic facts tells you there are enough moms and dads wading in the same parental shit potty as you to necessitate an entire book, and camaraderie is comfort. Your excitement climbs, as you sense from our growing rapport that you’ve found footing outta the hellish tantrum pit your life has become. Or at the very least, you know that peppering your playground small talk with mentions of buying this Jenn-recommended book (“such a lifesaver!”) will provide the smug illusion of attentive caregiving. Either way, I’m just gonna assume you’ll move this book to some high shelf, now that your sails have fresh wind.

Chapter 2

And here we return, seventeen days later. The parenting problem has recurred, but this time with headless dolls and legless tables, so you come crawling back on a desperately dire night. Pouring over this next chapter while overpouring a mid-grade Tempranillo provides some ease. You think you’re probably good to stop here.

Chapter 3

Nope, you weren’t good to stop there. Time to move on to this, the first section to suggest solutions to actual problems. Here you’ll find thought exercises to teach you how to better handle your difficulties, all of which make so much sense on paper.

Chapter 4

Oops, turns out you don’t live on paper. Happily we’ve arrived at the part that finally offers some real world application. Here’s where you’ll open up your Notes app and make a nicely bullet-pointed list of tactics to apply to your own life. Now this — this! — is what you needed, and these notes will become a salve you apply daily.

Try This At Home:

— If Kid A behaves like Scenario B, implement Solution C.

— But if you have less of a Kid A and more of a Kid C, solution B is preferable.

— If you have a Kid B, you’re reading the wrong book (and at the wrong time, as Kid B is nocturnal).

— Regardless, never act like the parent in Scenario D. Never.

Chapter 5

You mixed up your scenarios, didn’t you? Okay. I mean, ugh, you incapable halfwit. But okay.

In this chapter, we’ll fine tune whatever issues have arisen. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and those Roman architects were far more patient, competent, and cut out for the care and keeping of human life than you.

Try This At Home:

— Remind yourself this is very hard and no one has all the answers.

— Beat yourself up when this becomes very hard and you can’t arrive at an answer.

Chapter 6

Here we’ll focus on how talking less will often benefit a child more than long-winded speeches. Just 2,100 more words to go on that…

Chapter 7

Are you remembering to tell other parents that this book is “such a lifesaver?” By now you should be. How do you think Jenn became a Jenn in the first place?

In parenting, praise is more crucial than discipline. You are to be praised for purchasing and recommending this book, regardless of how disciplined you are with its text.

Chapter 8

Though consistent self-questioning is key, so go back and re-read all prior chapters for a refresher on what you’ve done wrong. Or re-read them because you’ve mindlessly skimmed them while mindfully binging Bravo. Either way, catch up and come back here so we can rehash the same basic info with slightly differentiated twists, making you wonder if this is precisely the kind of book for which CliffsNotes were invented.

Chapter 9

Hi. We both know it’s been four months since your last visit. How was that James Paterson novel? Good? Great. Maybe he’ll lend some of his immense royalties to pay for the therapy your children will need since you again abandoned this book.

Try This At Home:

— Ask yourself why you gave up.

— Are you giving up on your child or yourself?

— I mean, glad you came back. But seriously, why are you like this?

Chapter 10

It’s important to remember you’re raising an autonomous being separate from yourself, so do not take a dictatorial approach to their behavior. Instead, I’ll now share the blueprint that I, the non-didactic pro, have determined is the one surefire plan for maintaining a child’s free spirit.

Step 1: Do this.

Step 2: Never that.

Step 3: I know this sounds crazy, but…

Step 4: Remove the patchy hair growth you created because you did Step 2 anyway.

Step 5: Avoid refined sugar.

Chapter 11

As we wind down, let’s now solidify the book’s key lesson. Surprise: It’s the same one you learned in the introduction, if not the book jacket itself. Or, you know, just by pure human instinct. Basically, if you start with some twist on acknowledging your child’s feelings and meeting them where they are, you’re halfway there.

But human instinct can’t be “such a lifesaver!” That’s reserved for parenting books. And Xanax. And Jenns.


By now your child has surely moved on to a new issue, and you’ve forgotten what made you start reading in the first place. You’re welcome! For the beauty of parenting books is that they perfectly mirror the phases of parenting: By the time you learn from one, it’s on to the next. Which, coincidentally, I have also written.

Ask Jenn to send you the independent bookstore link; Jenns don’t do Amazon.

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Jeremy Hooper

Recycled politico who ✍️ hahas for adults (@mcsweeneys, @newyorker @weeklyhumorist, @pointsincase, @frazzledhumor) & future adults (PBs) | Rep UTA