Admit it: sometimes you look at the stack of parenting books on your shelf, and wonder just how much a book can teach you about raising a child.
Well, maybe it’s time to dig into a book that will be absolutely no help whatsoever, but will be hilarious. Barney Stinson, a fictional character on the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," is here to fill that void with his latest offering - “The Bro Code For Parents” (Touchstone; $14.99).
Stinson, a slick-talking womanizer played by Neil Patrick Harris, seems like an odd choice to author a book about parenting. He shuns commitment, has little experience with dependents (except for a dog named Bro-ver), and professes to have more compassion for his collection of suits than for most humans. There’s also the fact that he’s not real (the book is actually written by Matt Kuhn, who has also authored episodes of the TV series), but that detail doesn’t prevent the book from being enjoyable. The book promises to teach the reader “how to be an awesomommy or legendaddy” - and, in its offbeat way, it succeeds.
Stinson’s guide is divided into four sections: How To Get Pregnant, You’re Pregnant ... Now What?, Early Childhood and Toddlerdom. The early part of the book is backed with useful insights, such as the fact that “you, and not the hospital, get to choose a name for your child.” What follows is a litany of useful advice about everything from how to avoid childbirth interrupting March Madness to retrofitting a stroller into a man-approved “Broller.” There are even handy suggestions about children’s literature, including a nod to Where The Wild Chicks Are, a slightly tweaked update to Maurice Sendak’s classic "Where The Wild Things Are."
Is the Bro Code a tome full of wisdom about the challenges of parenting? No way, bro. But it’s also not supposed to be - it’s a fun respite from the rigors of child-rearing, and it delivers.