1. Babies scream, children shout and teenagers refuse to talk at all. All of these stages will make you grit your teeth and long for a lengthy refuge in a dark room.
2. All mealtimes will resemble the Battle of the Somme: messy, lengthy, often futile and generally chaotic. Success will only ever be achieved via the application of careful strategy, detailed planning, exhaustive bombardment and dogged determination.
3. Even the simplest task, such as leaving the house, will take a minimum of twenty minutes (on a good day) when a small child is involved.
4. Give up on being houseproud if you want to stay sane. The following are unavoidable: grimy handprints on the sofa and crumbs under the cushions, felt-tip scribbles on the walls, a trail of toys wherever the child chooses to roam, DVDs posted in the trash and stickers stuck on every available surface (including your bum).
5. Embrace insomnia - it's the only way to survive the early years. Take confort in the fact that as soon as the teenage hormones kick in you won't be able to get them out from under the duvet for love nor money.
6. What seems strange to you is seen as jolly good fun by a small child. You may not consider a pair of Spiderman pyjamas or a neon pink tutu to be proper attire for a trip to the supermarket but your child will. Choose your battles wisely and stop caring what other people think
7. Children are inherently lazy and don't see the point of tidying up - that mess on their bedroom floor is actually a complex game you have no hope of understanding. Prepare to shout, cajole and wheedle for the next ten to twenty years. Bribery is a useful tool when all else fails.
8. Children have no respect for the fact that you on the loo, in the shower, asleep, ill, hungover or speaking to your boss on the phone. In their opinion, if they want something you have no choice but to comply - immediately, without hesitation and preferably with a smile on your face. Or else.
9. Every single hellish moment you experience with your child is payback for what you put your own parents through
10. Finally, it is a strange fact of life that however contrary, badly behaved, loud, messy, rude, grumpy, snotty-nosed and plain bad-tempered your child is, you will love them wholeheartedly and without reservation. You will be blind to all their faults and think they are far nicer, sweeter and more brilliant than anyone else's child. All this is entirely untrue but essential to ensure the continued survival of the human race