5 Things Every Parent Should Know

Face it, there are A LOT of things we are expected to know as parents, and as you have learned, children don’t come with a manual—but  they do come with a steep learning curve! Through my first 11 years of parenting, I’ve learned some things that all parents should know. While you won’t find a lot of these in parenting books, I’ve found them to be helpful.

  1. Name and Number of Go-To Pal. No parent should ever be without this oh-so-important partner in your parenting journey. You know the person to which I’m referring: the one you call at 3:00 on a school day and scream into the phone “I’vecutmyhandandneedtogotoemergencyroomwatchmykids!” Or the one who comes over at 10:00 to sit with your sleeping kids while you head to the Target parking lot to bring keys to your husband who has locked his in the car.
  2. A Good Cookie Recipe. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, I promise it will. Picture the following scenario with me: 8:00 on a school night. Homework is completed, bags packed and showers taken. You settle down to read for a few minutes when a child remembers, “I told the class we were celebrating my half-birthday tomorrow.” Pull out that recipe and whip up “your” cookies. My cookies are Gooey Butter Cookies. You'll find the recipe below—quick and easy to make at the last minute!
  3. Emergency Kit. Yes, it’s important to have band-aids, wipes, etc. on hand, but that’s not the emergency kit I mean. I’m referring to the one you’ll need when you get to the doctor’s office to see a full waiting room and at least a 30-minute queue in front of you. Or when you show up to dinner at a local joint on a Tuesday at 5:00 (because really, who eats out that early?) only to discover there’s a 45-minute wait. I keep a stash of small items in my purse to help pass the time in these situations. My all-time favorites are Wikki Stix and small containers of Play-Doh. I also keep Mad Libs, word searches and joke books on hand, just in case.
  4. Lyrics to a Popular Song. While I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, I have an uncanny recollection of ’80s song lyrics—I can sing every word to U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” While that makes me cool in some crowds, it doesn’t with my fifth-grade daughter. Truth be told, I can’t stand the “music that kids listen to today.”  But making the effort to find one I can stomach and becoming familiar with it really helps earn some “cool” points in a special tween’s eyes.
  5. Answer to THAT Question. It always seems to come at an inopportune time, and I’ve found it’s just best to be prepared and learn from my mistakes. In these situations, remember two important things. First, less is more. Seriously, I have to say to myself as I babble through an awkward explanation, “Be quiet, Margaret!” Second, ask a question to find out exactly what your child wants to know. Chances are good the information he is seeking is a lot tamer than what is flying through your mind. 

Margaret Sarver writes from her home in Lenexa. While she doesn’t suffer from One Direction infection, she does think some of their tunes are catchy.

Web Exclusive: Gooey Butter Cookie Recipe

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz pkg of cream cheese
  • 1 box butter recipe yellow cake mix
  • Powdered sugar


Beat butter, vanilla, egg and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in dry cake mix. Chill 30 minutes. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls in bowl of powdered sugar; roll into balls. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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