Do not accept your grandfather’s old console Wurlitzer piano when your aunt gets sick of it cluttering up her house, going unplayed for many years, even if she offers to pay to have it moved to your house . . . because then, when you are arguing with your wife about how she not infrequently and somewhat passive-aggressively asks, “What are your thoughts on dinner?” instead of doing something simple like pulling a pork loin out of the freezer, your argument will play out with hellish background music provided by your 8-year-old daughter, who, without having had a single lesson, nonetheless gives periodic recitals that sound like Philip Glass on crystal meth.
Do not lie . . . because, for instance, if you tell your children they can grow up to be anything they want to be, then when they grow up to be financial applications specialists, they will hate you.
Do not go on vacation . . . because a vacation with children is the opposite of a vacation.
Do not sign up for an email account, especially if your children attend private schools administrated and taught by individuals who believe in communication . . . because your inbox will eventually bring you nothing but notes from those administrators and teachers communicating about overdue books and PTA meetings and dress code violations and upcoming fundraisers and all manner of useless information that will drown out your Google alerts for “Ebola” and “Cam McDaniel.”
Do not eat out . . . because would you even for one second consider taking a chimpanzee — even a well-behaved chimpanzee — to dinner with you?
Do not buy a car with cloth seats . . . because when your children are young, they will take perverse pleasure in grinding Goldfish, Cheerios and leftover pork loin into the back seat, where the foodstuff will age and fester, making your car smell like you own chimpanzees, and when your children are older, in their teens, they will climb into your car after soccer practice or volleyball practice or whatever practice, and they will rut around in your seats, marking your car with their musk, which, come to think of it, even leather seats absorb, so you should probably buy a pickup and force them to ride in back.
Do not get a parrot for a pet . . . because only weirdos have parrots as pets. (This one has nothing to do with children; it’s just solid advice for everyone.)
Do not ever, under any circumstance, commit to a specific time when something will happen . . . because that’s the game children spend their lives playing, trying to get you to commit to when you will hang that tree swing or take them to Target to buy new soccer cleats, and you can’t lose a game you refuse to play.
Do not attempt to tidy up your bodily hair . . . because when you are caught trying to tidy up your bodily hair, this is not something you want to have to explain to a child, and, anyway, you are in your mid-40s, so who cares about your bodily hair at this point anyway?
Do not submit to Notre Dame Magazine a list of the real things you shouldn’t do after having kids . . . because this is a family publication, and parents can’t handle the truth.
Tim Rogers ’92 is the editor of D Magazine in Dallas.