Her advice? "Just don't f*ck them up."
And I've tried with various degrees of success to live by this rule.
Though I'm loath to give advice, I'd like to expand upon this oversimplification, if I may:
1. Your kid's shortcomings aren't as bad as they seem. All those traits that seem so difficult or quirky when they are young will make them very interesting adults. Just ask Bill Gates's mom.
2. Their successes aren't as great as you think, either.
Trust me, you will find this out during the college-application process.
3. Neither of the above matter as long as they are happy and healthy.
4. Unless you want your son marrying a shrew, don't act like one to your partner.
5. If you want your daughter to be an interesting, independent woman go do something you love. Right now.
6. Put out sliced veggies, and nothing else, when they are most hungry.
7. But let them have access to as much candy as they want. There's a reason Adam ate that apple.
9. TV and electronics are not the enemy.
10. TV and electronics are the enemy.
11. They'll remember the time you spent with them the night before their birthday party way more than the elaborate goody bags you were making while ignoring them.
12. Read a book, ride a bike, and respect everyone. You'll be surprised how they'll do the same.
13. As soon as you find out your pregnant, go to therapy.
You can't be a good mother to your unborn child, if your inner child is suffering.
14. Be less like a helicopter mom and more like a drone.
Hover silently in the backdrop, observing their successes and failures with equal indifference,
and swoop in only when really necessary.
15. And if you forget all of the above, simply remember the one golden rule of parenting:
Just don't f*ck them up.