The 10 Unofficial Rules of Living with Small Children

It’s no joke that your life gets flipped-turned upside down once kids enter the picture. Not only do you shift your level of what is considered gross, but several other aspects of your everyday adjust as well. Don’t have kids yet? Take this list and tuck it somewhere for later. Have a kid or two or five (you crazy Duggar, you), let's scare the bejesus out of the kid-free people.

1. The hours between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. are sacred. This is known as “After Bedtime.” It’s also the time of day when my husband and I will cram as much of our adult lives into this incredibly small window before we must go to sleep. We watch what we want, we eat what we want, and we recuperate from the day.

2. Unless it stinks or is visibly stained, it’s clean. Having a kid automatically increases the amount of laundry at your home by 100 percent. Thus, we learn to wear things a little longer. I will visibly cringe (and sometimes curse) when I spill something on myself because dammit, I'm gonna have to wash that.

3. The good candy must be eaten silently and while hidden. That is, unless you're prepared to share bites until it is gone, put away or cleaned up. In fact, this goes for all food that you’re eating. It doesn’t matter if it’s something your kid doesn't even like. They like it the minute you have it and they don’t.

4. Dinner shall be eaten before 6 p.m. Kids go to bed early. If you want to have time to eat, clean up, bathe them, put them in pajamas and avoid meltdowns, you HAVE to start early. And now we're ruined by this. When our friends without kids plan a social dinner after 7 p.m., we panic a little bit. BUT WE WILL BE STARVING BY THEN! Who eats that late? (See, we're ridiculous.)

5. Finding the mate to shoes and socks is a daily athletic event. I don't know what happens or why, but children seem to be experts at losing one of their shoes or one of their socks. Without fail, we are looking under the couch, digging through the toy box or searching the car for someone’s footwear before we leave the house. Every. Single. Day.

6. Poop is a regular topic of conversation. And you won't even be talking about your own. You will talk about your kid's poop without even flinching or realizing that it’s not acceptable dinner conversation when out with friends. You'll tell your husband about it, your mother, and whoever brings up anything remotely related. (Wait. Maybe this is just me?)

7. Businesses with drive-thrus are your new favorite. Pharmacy drive-thrus, liquor store drive-thrus, coffee shop drive-thrus and every other kind will make you so gleefully happy. You will wish that other establishments put one in. Sometimes just the mere thought of loading up your kids, taking them out, putting their coats on, carting them to the back of the store, grabbing one gallon of milk and then repeating the whole process to get home is utterly exhausting.

8. Most meals will be eaten one-handed and/or as quickly as possible. The minute you sit your toddler down for a meal, it’s like setting a timer. They eat quickly, if at all, and will need something or be ready to get down and destroy something in a matter of minutes. It’s especially bad at potluck type dinner events. You usually can’t balance two plates and keep them in line so therefore, you make them a plate and just give up on the thought of eating yourself. The leftover “yucky” stuff from your kid’s plate will hold you over until bedtime.

9. Your phone will be loaded with adorable photos you forgot you took. You will take a photo of every adorable thing they do and then you’ll so quickly move on to the next thing or place or part of your day that you’ll usually completely forget about that photo until you use up the memory on your phone or go to get a new one.

10. You will never complete a task without being interrupted every five minutes. Have a Pinterest project you want to try? Don’t even start it until the kids are in bed AND ASLEEP. You will not get through five minutes without someone needing a diaper change, a drink, help with a toy, or someone is screaming because they were pushed/hit/slapped. The same goes for cleaning your house. You might as well just accept that you'll live in filth until they go to school (Moms, please tell me it gets better then?).

For you veterans out there, did I miss any “rules”?

Tagged: parenting


Charlie Sabotage 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't think you missed a rule! Lots of little things can be rolled into the ones you have! My beautiful children were born with the gift of sight but it just so happens that when they are asked to find shoes, a remote, anything really they suffer from temporary yet immediate blindness. It's a sad ordeal. Since they are both at school now for the afternoon, I'm going to take my super preggo butt and eat all this leftover fun size candy I just found in the closet from valentine's day. My day just got so much better!

Christina Hoffman 4 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, I have two in school and its the same every morning: where's your backpack? Shoes? Coat? Why are your gloves/hat not in your backpack they were there yesterday when we got home?? Did you comb your hair? Brush your teeth? Oh oh then if you have girls you got attitude and the fashion they choose will always be a hot topic! Another everyday question, really are you going to go out like that?? (My girls are still young so usually it missed matched crazy outfits not the too short, inappropriate ones). We too cringe every time our non kid friends suggest dinner. We get a small snack to tide us over :). With our youngest potty training, poop will hopefully be a forgotten dinner time conversation.
I swear my girls have ears that only hear wrappers!! They can be upstairs in their room watching tv( which I can hear downstairs over my tv) I break out a bag of chips, silently I might add. You know the pull really slow at the top look up, did I make too much noise, nope good pull, a little more, look up pull more, opened yes!! Pull one chip out silently and bam right as it gets to your mouth here comes stomping feet!! "Did we hear chips? What are you eating?" Someone with older then 9 kids does it get better??? We don't even want to think about teenage years!! We will at one time have girls 10,13 and 16!!! I am going to need lots of margaritas!

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 3 months ago

Huge rule: Generally small children and pets don't mix well. It's hard on both. It's not the animal's fault if they respond to the pack hierarchy with pack behavior. So don't create a situation by adding a pet for whatever reason to the soup. If they are there, accommodate both.

Jason Johnson 4 years, 2 months ago

Both of my dogs took the subordinate role as soon as we brought our kids home. They just kind of knew. My big dog lets the toddlers crawl all over her, but she's never growled/snapped, not once. If she gets mad she just gets up and goes somewhere else. Our smaller dog just hangs out on the bed when the toddlers get ornery.

Both dogs will assume any food being handed towards them is theirs (learned from me giving treats), but otherwise I've been blessed that both dogs have been so nice. :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.