Nothing makes advice fly faster and in more unsolicited ways than telling people you are about to become a parent. A sliver of this advice may prove useful down the road, but most of it will fall into the real life spam category, and can be dutifully ignored.

You’ll hear about everything form the best ways to deal with a temper tantrum, to the best new strategies for potty training. You’re probably more interested in how to end the conversation, how to get through the day and what time is socially acceptable to begin drinking.

No matter people’s good intentions, there is an array of parenting lessons that you’ll just need to learn on your own:

1. Feeling the cartoon wrath

If it’s not animated, it’s not on. At least that is how it is most of the time around these parts. If I want to watch Sunday football, playoff baseball, or even just a few minutes of the news, I have to tune out “I WANNA WATCH A MOVIEEEE!!!!” in the background. Someone needs to hurry up and invent an app that animates live television. It’s the only way everyone will get what they want.

2. You will not negotiate with terrorists

I don’t care how cute your kid is, he is a little terrorist bent on destroying your latest set of plans. He will tell you “No” in a thousand different ways. He will throw a temper tantrum when he doesn’t want to do what you want him to do. The best thing is to just move on and take it in stride.

3. How to clean spaghetti off the walls

It’s really not any different from cleaning it off the table, or hand washing it off a dirty dish. A little soap and water can do the trick. I bet you never thought you’d have to clean it off the wall that is five feet from your dining room table, however. In retrospect, dark red seems like a great colour to paint the room you eat in.

4. You cannot have things

A dog owner cannot have nice things. A parent cannot have nice things. If you are in the middle of that Venn diagram you cannot have things. Case closed.

5. Cleaning

I’ve never particularly enjoyed this task to begin with, but it becomes a lot more challenging with a three-foot tornado behind you bent on destroying any progress that you’ve made. Cleaning with a toddler present becomes an art form.

6. Stickers, crayons and anything else destructive should be hidden

There is no concept with a toddler on the right place, or wrong place to colour. Stickers look just as good on the floor or on a piece of furniture, as they do on a piece of paper, or on a shirt. Instruments of destruction are everywhere. It’s your job to limit their availability.  

7. Sleep

Actually, anything you’ve probably heard in this category is true. A solid eight hours of sleep on any given night is a thing of the past.