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Parenting Prep 101

So you’re thinking about having children but aren’t sure if you’re ready? Just take this little test and you’ll get a good idea whether or not you are.

First, attach yourself to some type of device that gives you a severe electrical shock if you are unable to complete a complex algebraic equation in two minutes or less. This machine represents your life as it is now, with all of the normal stress and challenges. Then hire a couple of monkeys to hit you with sticks while you work. The monkeys, of course, represent your future kids. In real life they would be adorable little people that you would give your life for, but that’s about the only real difference.

Ready? Okay, go take the test and then come back and finish reading this.Parenting Prep 101 Article by Charles Marshall

All done? Let’s see how you did.

• Result #1: If you destroyed the machine and lost your voice screaming at the monkeys, congratulations, you’re pretty much like everyone else and you’re ready for parenting. You might want to look into some anger management courses, but I’ll tell you right now, they probably won’t do you any good. That’s experience talking.

• Result #2: If you are reading this from the bed of a psychiatric hospital and the words are blurring because you are so heavily medicated, then you still qualify for having children. And don’t feel bad about being institutionalized. Any parent would welcome the opportunity to trade places with you, if only to get out of the house for a while.

• Result #3: If you tricked your spouse into babysitting the monkeys while you escaped to the mall, then wow, are you going to ace this parenting thing! As an aside, I’d be interested in reading your parenting book, if you ever decide to publish.

Of course, if both of the monkeys died a brutal death at your hands, you don’t even need to think about becoming a parent. I’d suggest getting a pet, but in light of your test results, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, either.

So what else do you need if you are considering having kids? Well, you’re going to need a lot more time, for one thing. Simple tasks that used to take no time at all will now consume most of your waking hours.

Let me give you a real-world example from when my kids were younger. If I went to the store by myself to buy milk and bread, I’d normally be out of the store and back home in less than 10 minutes. If I took the kids with me, how long would you guess it would take me?

It’s hard to say for sure, but the quick answer is: long enough for the store manager to notice there was a problem on aisle four, but not long enough for the police to arrive.

I should mention that if you have kids, you might need more money. How much? Well, going back to our example, when I was by myself at the store, I’d typically spend around six bucks or so. But when I was out with the kids, I always tried to have enough on me to at least cover damages or to cover my bail, if I wasn’t quick enough. That’s usually about the same amount as, say, the GNP of Uruguay.

As for those who flunked the parenting test, maybe you should just start with a plant and work up from there. As far as I know, there aren’t any laws against strangling a hibiscus. Well, not yet, anyway.

©2021 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his website at or contact him via email at

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