Parents don’t have a lot of time. They often don’t have a lot of money, and they very, very rarely get enough sleep.
However, they get plenty of one thing: advice. And most of that advice is absolutely terrible. It’s the type of stuff that seems brilliant when it’s distilled down to a single image on social media, but when you actually look closely, you realize that it’s utterly impractical at every level.
We’re talking about stuff like this.
1. “Use a box to make them a cardboard slide.”
We’ll admit that this has the potential to be a ton of fun.
But that’s clearly the first time they tried their “slide.” Cardboard’s not great at supporting a 45-pound kid, which is why it’s not used in very many children’s toys. After they slide down it once, the slide’s basically going to be a glorified “fall down the stairs” ride.
Here’s a better idea: Take the kids to the park, or get them an actual slide.
2. “Fill a glove with beans, pat the kid with it a few times, and then slip away into the night.”
Tired parents would like nothing more than to get their kids to sleep through the night. We get it. But we can think of a few things that could go wrong here.
The best case scenario is that the kid grows up with an unhealthy obsession with hands. Worst case, she thinks that her mom’s hand fell off in the crib.
Plus, that’s all assuming that this works. We’re not scientists, but something tells us that a warm human hand feels different from a glove full of beans.
3. “Put temporary tattoos on your kids to keep them from getting lost.”
What are you, an airbrush artist?
Sure, you could mark your children every day as if you’re a cattle rancher, but a much, much more practical option is to sew their address into their clothes.
4. “Get a stroller–scooter hybrid.”
Parents often end up eating junk food simply because they’re running low on time, and failing to eat eventually results in death (and crankiness).
Because of this, they need to look for creative ways to exercise. The ideal parent exercise keeps your kid right in front of you at all times, and that’s where this monstrosity comes in.
Looks fun, doesn’t it? It’s actually a really good idea on the surface: The fun of scootering nicely counteracts the stress of constant parental responsibility.
But look a little more closely at that thing, and picture the stares you’d get rolling through a supermarket. Where would you keep the diapers? Why does the baby look like they’re about to go flying off the stroller? Furthermore, if it’s actually a safe idea, why did they use a doll instead of a real baby?
Maybe that’s why the ditched the doll entirely for this shot.
Now that’s a woman who looks perfectly comfortable. Granted, her kid is somewhere out of frame—and maybe that’s why she’s so at peace.
5. “Use a vacuum to make a perfect ponytail.”
You know what really, really isn’t difficult? Making a ponytail. You don’t need power tools to do it correctly.
This hack seems to really depend on weak suction from the vacuum cleaner; grab a decent shop vac and you’re going to end up with a sore head. Also, we really, really hope that that’s a brand-new hose. Enough said.
6. “Get your infant to clean your house with this mop suit.”
If you’re actually considering this, you are the laziest parent alive…but don’t worry, we considered it, too.
The biggest issue here is that if it works, it’ll make you feel like a horrible parent. Sure, your floor’s spotless, but you made your infant crawl around for hours (and you didn’t even pay him). If it doesn’t work, it’s not quite as bad, since you just look like a horrible parent.
Plus, where are you supposed to put the Lysol?
7. “Keep that toilet seat covered—with sweat socks.”
We don’t even know why this is classified as a “parenting hack,” but we found it in a list of them, so we’ll address it.
Our issues with this idea can be summed up in one word: eww. If you really want some insulation between your kid’s rear and the cold, hard toilet seat, you can get a padded one for about $20.
If not…well, there’s not enough bleach on the planet to make these socks suitable for anything else again, and you’ll need to use multiple pairs to get through the winter. Your kid can take it. A cold butt makes you stronger.
8. “Use this jacket to build character.”
There are thousands of variations of this picture. This one’s our favorite, because it’s so utterly pointless.
First of all, we’d argue that yes, this picture does make us think that short shorts are pretty cute. Secondly, he couldn’t even commit to his cheesy joke—he’s wearing tights under the cutoffs. All this picture proves is that some people write on their jackets before they go to Walmart.
If you want to talk to your boys or girls about dressing modestly, go ahead and do it. No need to shame them in the process.
9. “Use stitched-together mittens to avoid losing your kid.”
These are certainly quite cute. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want a pair.
But if you need to literally stitch your kid to your hand to keep him or her from rushing off into traffic, we doubt that this is the answer. It also seems like it’d be impractical if you had to do something with your hands, like, oh, say, anything at all. You’d end up wearing these once for about five seconds.
With that said, we still want a pair. So cute.
10. “Recycle old shirts.”
This is cute, but unless you’re a talented seamstress/seamster, you’re not going to get this result. It looks simple, but some serious work went into this masterpiece.
If you want to try it, by all means, have at it, but you won’t save time or money. We’d recommend taking that perfectly good shirt to a thrift store and donating it (and grabbing some kids’ clothes while you’re down there).
11. “Use glitter to make tooth fairy money.”
Look, your kid already believes that a magical fairy is giving them cash for their teeth. A little bit of glitter isn’t going to make the illusion any more magical, and it’s going to mean getting glitter all over their sheets.
Oh, and is that a $5 bill we’re seeing? This mom or dad is clearly throwing the curve for the rest of us. Parents need to form a union and standardize tooth fairy payouts at no more than $1 per tooth. $2 for a molar, maybe.
12. “Before handing your kid your iPad, put it in kid mode.”
Don’t hand your kids your iPad. Get them a cheap tablet that they can spill juice on without annihilating your vacation pics.
If you do give your kids a nice tablet, by all means, put it in kid mode, but remember that 4-year-olds are basically hackers these days. Turn your back for a second, and your savings account will be converted into Farmyard Tokens (an e-currency that we just made up, but we’re sure someone’s already patenting it).
13. “Put a popsicle in a muffin cup to save the drips.”
Of course, the popsicle stick will have created a hole at the bottom of the muffin cup…which is exactly where all of the liquid will run.
This is a great parenting hack if you want to concentrate all of the mess into a single area, but if you thought it’d save your carpets and give you a chance to relax with a cup of coffee, think again.
14. “Use baby toys to hold cabinets closed.”
Putting baby toys on something is a really great way to make a baby want to play with it. It’s really not rocket science.
You can buy really inexpensive, secure cabinet clasps that attach to the back of the doors, preventing your little one from getting under the sink—without making your house look like a bizarre prison run by an infant warden. We’d recommend trying those before you start repurposing baby toys as construction materials.