Rules I Never Knew I’d Need (before I Became a Mom)


Rules I Never Knew I'd Need (before I Became a Mom)

I am a teacher, so I know that rules are necessary for safety, stability, and structure in the classroom. I knew heading into motherhood that I would have certain rules in place for my kids, but what I didn’t know is that certain situations would come up and I would have to enforce brand new rules that never existed in my brain before. For some reason, my sisters (who were not mothers yet) saw the most humor in these quite necessary rules. They would laugh as I would begin my warning with, “Remember the rule…” and they would look at me in awe asking if that was really a rule.

They were.

They are.

Here are some examples:

Do not hit yourself in the head.

This is probably the rule that I have to repeat the most often. Why do my boys (one in particular) feel the need to bonk themselves repeatedly in the head with various objects? It disturbs me that I haven’t gotten through to them about the importance of this rule.

Do not ram your head into other people.

Related to the first rule, my kids have gone through phases where they have apparently believed that ramming into a loved one with your head is the highest form of showing affection. I had to explain this is not the case.

You cannot go outside in only your underwear.

My boys have no shame. No shirt, no pants, no problem!

Elliott Naked

You must wear a shirt to the dinner table.

(What’s up with the lack of clothing?)
To be clear, it would save me quite a bit of laundry if I didn’t enforce this rule, but just so they get into the habit of covering up their bare chests, thus avoiding awkward social interactions in the future, I am enforcing this one now.

Climb on playground equipment ONLY.

This rule came to be after my youngest fell off a window sill and knocked out his SECOND tooth at the ripe old age of three. Later, this rule evolved to “Climb on the intended areas of the playground ONLY” because the boys had discovered the thrill of climbing on the roofs and the outsides of play structures at the park.

Don’t eat icicles that you took off the underside of the car.

Gross, just gross. Also a rule I have repeated WAY too many times.

Rules I Never Knew I'd Need (before I Became a Mom)

Do not crawl on the floor in a restaurant.

Yeah. Gross, gross, gross! (My boys are good at the gross stuff.) I just used this rule yesterday, sadly.

No peeing or pooping in public places.

Um, yeah. Let’s just say my kids have dropped their pants to pee in streets, amusement parks, you name it. But the most mortifying event of all occurred when another mother at my oldest’s baseball game came running over to inform me that my little one had dropped his pants while playing with her son by the garbage can and proceeded to poop right in front of everyone at the ballpark. Underwear were thrown away as a result of this event.

You cannot be in the bathroom at the same time as your brother… alone.

Nothing good ever comes when my two boys are in the bathroom at the same time without supervision….

Do not lick railings.

When my oldest was almost four we were at the zoo looking at the lions. All of the sudden he stuck out his tongue and licked the railing! I screamed and shouted in a shrill voice that I didn’t recognize as my own, “Don’t lick that railing!!!” I remember getting a few strange looks and stares. I was mortified, but when I got my wits about me again, I got down to his level and told him about all the germs that were on the railing and that he would probably be getting sick tomorrow from doing that. Sure enough, he got a nasty cold the following day. But, he remembered the rule and never licked one (or anything else like that) again. Fast forward a few years and I had to repeat the whole senario over again with my youngest. Nasty. However, this child has still not quite figured this rule out. He is now five and he is still questioning the validity of this rule. Ugh.

Please tell me I am not the only one who has rules like these. What are some of the most ridiculous rules you have had to enforce?

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Jennifer is a single mom of two boys. She does her best to get to places on time, despite being a chronically late person and the fact that neither she or her boys are morning people. She recently went back into the classroom after staying home for nine years to raise her kids, and she credits her sanity and success at this endeavor to the fact that she has incredibly supportive parents, family, and friends. She also has a network of single moms that truly “get it” and who encourage her on a daily basis. When she’s not hanging out with her kiddos, Jennifer enjoys writing at a coffee shop, trying new restaurants, or catching up with friends.


  1. Our youngest seems to follow the “clothes optional” very closely. Shirts are hardly worn unless he’s cold and pants usually come off about 7PM! I don’t get it either!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I relate to ALL of them!!!!!! 🙂 love you my friend!!!!!! My ridiculous rule, which caused an argument last night (I pick and choose my battles and this one I was battling and gonna win) you must wear pj, or something, other then the clothing you wore all day to bed.

  3. “No danving on the table” our 3yo loves to shake her toosh in front of a mirror and our china cabinet seems to be her favorite, standing on the dining room table gives her the best view lol i worry about this child….

  4. When my daughter was 18 months old and her brother was 7 years old, we instituted a rule that you have to wear a diaper (this later transitioned to underwear) when you go in your brother’s room. This was accompanied by the rule that you cannot sit your bare bottom on your brother’s pillow. No matter how funny it is when he screams like a howler monkey.

    • Soooo…we have a pillow in our house appropriately nicknamed “the private pillow”. Yep. Yep, we do.

  5. no hulking out at the table

    Clothes must be worn (including underwear) while people are over or when we go anywhere.

    No poking your brother with sorwds. (I had to make that one yesterday in the car)

    Do not lick people. No one likes that.

    Don’t drink the bath water.

    I could go on… 4 year old boys hate so gross! Ha!!


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