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23 Exceedingly Helpful Tips For Maintaining Your Sanity While Living With Children

Oct12

by

Recently I had the mother of one of my son’s friends ask if I ever get mad or yell.  You seem so calm and peaceful all the time, she had said. I laughed.  My children laughed even harder. It was a great illustration of how we all think everyone else has it more together than we do.  I yell.  We are a loud family.  We talk loudly.  We make grand gestures with our hands, occasionally smacking someone by mistake, which results in more yelling.  My kids run and bounce through the house like balls in a pinball machine.  Yet somehow, I have managed not to run screaming from the house dressed only in my birthday suit.  At least, not yet.

Here are my tips:

1. Lower your standards for cleanliness and order.
2. Did that? Lower them even more.
3. Your house will never look like a magazine spread, period. Embrace that.
4. No matter how many baskets you buy to contain toys, they will always be visible.  Embrace the Toys ‘R Us/ frat house-chic decor.
5. You can never have too many popsicles in the freezer. How many bad moods have been fixed by a simple popsicle?
6. If you can’t change them, change your perspective. For example I read recently– probably on Satan’s website Pinterest– that toothpaste is great for cleaning things like faucets. So now when I go into the bathroom every day and see toothpaste splatter all over the bathroom faucet I think about how my children have done half the chore of cleaning for me. How considerate of them! Then I wipe it off while cursing.
7. Those chores that no one ever wants to do. Decide if you would rather do it yourself, badger your child to it, or let it go. If you are confused about what to do, see Number 1 on this list.
8. No one cares what is stuffed under your child’s bed, why should you. Unless it is old food.  In that case, you should get a dog.
9. If you have boys, your bathroom will always faintly stink like pee.  Invest in some Febreeze and count down the days until they move out and you can go visit them and pee on their bathroom floor.

Don't Buy White Furniture. 23 Tips on How to Stay Sane When Raising Children.

10. Don’t buy white furniture. Unless you enjoy screaming at your children every time they go near it.
11. However bad a situation might seem, one day it will be funny. I have a few for which I am eagerly awaiting for the funny to kick in. Any time now….
12. When your child is a young teen there will be nothing more embarrassing than your very existence. Use this to your advantage. Start planning early.
13. Do not paint any walls in your house with flat paint.
14. Be okay with letting your kids stumble sometimes. Whether that is turning in an assignment late because they didn’t do it or wearing an outfit so hideous you have trouble looking at them without laughing.
15. Noise cancelling headphones are great for blocking out whining, bickering and the endless episodes of Sponge Bob.

Crazy Sock Day is Infinitely Better than Crazy Mom Day. 23 Tips on How to Stay Sane When Raising Children.

16. Socks do not have to match. Every day is Crazy Sock Day at my house, which is infinitely better than Crazy Mom Day.
17. The crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather then save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer. In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do.
18. Your children will not die from eating the occasional hot dog or frozen pizza. And by occasional I mean more than you are really willing to admit.
19. If your children are driving you crazy arguing with each other, start an argument with them. Then your children will bond over their mutual hatred of you and be quiet.
20. Children do not appreciate top sheets or high thread counts. Buy neither.
21. Homework time is the worst time of the day.  Help your kids and yourself by having a designated time and a quiet place to do homework. Preferably in a neighbor’s home.
22. Just say No to ironing.
23. Last, but not least, a glass of wine and some really bad TV makes everything seem a little better.

What tips do you have for staying sane while raising children?

 

Photo source: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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107 Responses to “23 Exceedingly Helpful Tips For Maintaining Your Sanity While Living With Children”

  1. Brittany Oct 12 at 4:18 pm Reply Reply

    Love it.  You are so wise!

  2. Jackie Oct 12 at 4:35 pm Reply Reply

    I loved this.  Thanks for writing it!

  3. viv Oct 12 at 7:29 pm Reply Reply

    Funniest post ever. Had me spitting out coffee. I would wipe my monitor down but am going to refer to number one on your list.

  4. jill Oct 12 at 7:40 pm Reply Reply

    Brilliant! I have four children and I agree with all of the above. I would add: Have a hobby that makes you happy and pursue it in the midst of / in spite of the chaos.

  5. Maggie Oct 12 at 9:15 pm Reply Reply

    You’re the best, Chris. Wait until the boys return back home after college and re-stink up your house. 

  6. Wendy Oct 13 at 8:22 am Reply Reply

    Before you start your family, write down a list of your favorite things and hobbies, places to go and do with hubby. You will need this when the kids finally go off on their own, because you will have totally forgotten what you enjoyed when there was just you and him.

    • sixteen Apr 14 at 10:57 pm Reply Reply

      OMG. too true

  7. bri @ in love and words Oct 14 at 10:18 pm Reply Reply

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore this post!

  8. Jenn Oct 15 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    So funny (and true). I heard your words in my head this weekend and left the top sheet folded in the closet — you are so right, as always.

    • brandi Jun 12 at 3:46 am Reply Reply

      they make great forts on the dining room table…..if you can find your table? lol

  9. Andrew Frenette Oct 17 at 9:21 am Reply Reply

    I have a different approach. I actually enjoy my kids company. We watch the same shows. They’ve never fought amongst themselves, and never rebelled. They’re young adults now, and don’t drink or smoke. Our house is still a mess though. :)

    • JJ Jun 07 at 10:57 pm Reply Reply

      I know my response is late, but I’m new to the sight. I don’t believe that Chris EVER said that she didn’t enjoy her kids company. The post is simply dealing with the challenges that moms face in spite of loving their kids and enjoying their company. 

      Also, did you REALLY say that your kids have ‘never fought amongst themselves’? Really? If that is the case, do you have a blog? I think most of us could learn something from you. I have never in my live met children who don’t fight with their siblings at some point.

      • Marie Jun 09 at 12:19 am Reply Reply

        Ditto JJ!  Especially to the kids not fighting each that I don’t believe.  I think Andrew was making a funny.

    • Annie Jun 20 at 2:30 pm Reply Reply

      Andrew doesn’t have kids. He has cyborgs.

  10. Kathy Oct 17 at 11:07 am Reply Reply

    Love this; especially number 7. We have a list of chores at our house with an associated “payment” for each chore. If they kids take care of the chore they get paid. If I do it, it gets done when I have time and I just don’t worry about it any more. That has brought a lot of peace to our house.

  11. Michael Oct 17 at 7:54 pm Reply Reply

    I’d like to add one that has served me well…. “Pick your battles” you’re only going to win one in fifty, so make it one that counts.

  12. Monica Oct 18 at 7:58 am Reply Reply

    Loved this post….perfect timing, too! Struggling to try to keep calm with 5 kids while even-tempered, fun and helpful husband is away. I like your attitude!

  13. Nana Ann Oct 18 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    Love the 23 rules!

  14. Amy Oct 18 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply

    I LOVE this post. Laughed out loud at the “get a dog” comment. We regularly use the phrase, “Oscar on clean up!”… Poor hound has gained 10 pounds since our twins are eating real food. And could not agree more with #1 and 2.

  15. Suzanne Oct 18 at 1:40 pm Reply Reply

    Are you hiding somewhere in my house?!?  I feel like this was right out of my head!  Awesome.

  16. Patricia Oct 19 at 11:14 pm Reply Reply

    Love this blog! It’s a little late for me as I’m on my 4th, with my 3 boys out the door – the bathroom comment is “bang on”! I would echo with Michael in saying “pick your battles”! I would also advise, don’t ever put cleaning your house ahead of listening to your child or attending a sports event, it all goes by too fast!

  17. Megan Oct 22 at 4:47 pm Reply Reply

    About #9: when I moved to Germany I was shocked to find out that the men sit to pee….not just when they’re recovering from leg injuries but all the time, from childhood on. You stand to pee when you’re peeing in a bush after Oktoberfest or if you’re in a sketchy club at 4 am, but otherwise you sit. 

    There’s no pee smell in the bathroom until the clueless stand-to-pee Americans show up to visit (and then get to have an embarrassing talk with the totally-converted American ex-pat).

    The pee smell can be cured…and the boys can grow up with even more reading time on the toilet. Win-win.

    • Kelly Jun 10 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

      YES!!!  I was just wanting to comment about the fact that if a man SITS to pee, then you don’t have that urine smell problem.  We live right here in America and my husband and his 2 brothers were taught to pee sitting down on the toilet.  It is uncommon here in America, but oh so much better.  Additionally, in 11 years of marriage, we have NEVER had to deal with the “seat up/seat down” issue.   

      • lolsuz Jun 11 at 3:39 pm Reply Reply

        So thankful someone else brought this up! My fellah says it best: “Urinals are for standing; toilets are for sitting.” I think he gets even more aggravated than I do when our guy friends pee standing up in our bathroom. It’s everything we can do to not say anything to them. Standing to use a toilet is an utterly FILTHY, unsanitary habit and I can’t imagine how anyone could teach their sons that it’s acceptable… and encouraging people to use Febreeze to mask the smell? Of URINE all over your toilet, floor, and any surface within a two-foot radius of the toilet? Seriously???? Having toys strewn around the living room is one thing… having human urine splattered around your bathroom is entirely another.

        Don’t roll your eyes at me; go get a measuring cup of water with a couple of drops of food dye in it and pour it from crotch height directly into your toilet and see for yourself where it ends up. And then walk off and don’t clean it up. It’s cleaner than pee, after all, right?

        Teach your sons to sit to use a toilet. Your future daughters-in-law will sing your praises all the days of their lives.

        • Jana Jun 14 at 3:30 pm Reply Reply

          Urine is sterile. You can drink it if you’re in dire circumstances. It truly isn’t a filthy habit. A stinky habit, yes. Filthy… No.

        • ruby2shoes Jun 18 at 2:28 am Reply Reply

          some friends of mine have a very lovely sign by the toilet that reads “Ladies and Gentlemen, Please sit down.”

    • Joyce Jun 14 at 1:07 am Reply Reply

      I think all the guys should pee sitting down. Makes the “put the seat down” fight end too!!! When your kids leave home then your husband’s aim will get bad (he either thinks it’s longer than it is or his eyesight is poor or he can’t see past his larger belly) so if they all pee sitting down – it’s a good thing!!!

      • PrettyLuckyx3 Jun 17 at 2:11 pm Reply Reply

        Where are your sources that “urine is sterile”? This is from wikipedia: “Healthy urine is not toxic.[6] However, it contains compounds eliminated by the body as undesirable, and can be irritating to skin and eyes. After suitable processing it is possible to extract potable water from urine.” As well as: “Urine is sterile until it reaches the urethra, where epithelial cells lining the urethra are colonized by facultatively anaerobic Gram negative rods and cocci.[4] Subsequent to elimination from the body, urine can acquire strong odors due to bacterial action,[citation needed] and in particular the release of ammonia from the breakdown of urea.”

    • jess Jun 18 at 11:31 am Reply Reply

      when your little man is three, sometimes even sitting down to pee results in disaster. we’ve had many an instance of accidentally peeing through the crack between the toilet and the seat … or accidentally peeing over the front of the seat and into his pants … or random streams shooting off to the side and hitting the wall. even sitting down, little penises don’t always aim correctly …

  18. Erica Reinhart Oct 29 at 2:41 pm Reply Reply

    Perfect post~ thanks for helping

  19. mark miletich May 07 at 11:42 pm Reply Reply

    love your list, suggest an addendum to #16 (socks) everyone has white socks. every two is a pair, sharing will be a problem, some may “borrow” from others.

  20. Lauren Jun 06 at 11:14 am Reply Reply

    So funny!! One request though, please don’t let your kids know you dread homework time. If your attitude about it is bad, so will your child’s. Make it a time for kids to show off what they know and if all else fails, get those Popsicles out again :)

  21. SouthernBelle Jun 06 at 12:35 pm Reply Reply

    LOVE This!  I would add giving up the image of the “perfectly dressed/matched” family/children and it’s ok to let yourself off the hook for not being perfect.  Before I had my son, I dreamed of neat hair, pressed polos and dress sandals.  I quickly learned that dressed is dressed.  Sometimes his hair is sticking straight up and he’s in a wrinkled t-shirt and mesh shorts – but at least he’s dressed.  It’s all about picking battles and I’d rather bend on some things in order to have an enjoyable day making memories!  Bravo for posting some honest truths that many parents struggle with!

  22. Jen Jun 07 at 10:35 am Reply Reply

    I would add that dirty kids equals successful parenting. Shows they are having fun (and since youdon’t have white furniture it’s no big deal). And that they are outside while you are watching bad TV.

    • sally Jun 24 at 10:12 pm Reply Reply

      actually you should be outside keeping an eye on them unless they are older! A huge problem in todays society is the electronic devices that take away attention from our children… I was at the park the other day and this little boy kept yelling to his mom to “watch this mom” and not once did she look up from her phone or ipad or whatever it was she was playing with until it was time to leave and after him yelling to his mom so many times to be denied her attention he looked really upset; soon enough your kids will grow up and not want you to watch this every ten seconds and you will be sorry you missed it!

  23. Jenna Jun 07 at 6:38 pm Reply Reply

    I’m assuming this list was a joke and that no one would be dumb enough to take any of this ridiculous advice. Having a clean house is a good thing. Helping your children with their homework is a good thing and letting your child turn in work late is just laziness on your part. Be a parent and that means being responsible. No one else is going to teach them.

    • Opal Jun 08 at 4:43 pm Reply Reply

      Jenna, I think what she is trying to say is that if you have to choose between spending quality time with your kids and cleaning your house…..kids win all the time. Also, letting your children turn in late homework helps them learn responsibility for getting it done and on time. I am always available for homework questions (since the house isn’t immaculate and I am not constantly cleaning it) but, at the end of the day, it is the child’s responsibility to turn in homework assignments and as far as the “No one else is going to teach them” comment, I hope that was for what being a parent should look like to your kids because I would want my children to grow up calmly asserting their role as parents and not “losing their cool” over what will one day very soon be the “little things”.

      • Marrie Jun 09 at 12:34 am Reply Reply

        Jenna of course it was a joke.  Think the majority of us got that. Humor mixed with truth.  Life is to short not to laugh and find humor in the mundane.  I agree with her my life,purpose is not to have a spotless how. I rather keep a descent happy home where my kids and guest feel loved and welcome over a model home.  Like her advice about the socks, yes it would be nice to have matching socks but hey no ones going to see them who cares.  We are doing go if we make it out the door close to the time were supposed have left.  Of course she doesn’t want u to start arguments with your kids.  Laugh a little don’t take everything so serious.

    • Leigh Jun 15 at 7:50 am Reply Reply

      I have a 4th grader, and the teachers this year actually encouraged us to phase out the homework overseeing. The teachers emphasized that we have to let the kids develop this responsibility on their own at some point.  Sure, there are going to be some times where they forget, or don’t turn it in, but that is really not the end of the world.  If you are constantly the homework nazi they are never going to internalize the idea that homework is THEIR responsibility, not YOURS.  Of course, all kids are different, and some might need some help with organizing and time management techniques, but they really do have to get the idea, at some point, that they are responsible.

       I know that it can be hard to let go.  I really struggled with the damn reading log.  Dd loves to read, but couldn’t turn in her that stupid reading log to save her life.  I nagged and hounded, and finally I just said forget it…  You don’t turn it in, you can deal with the consequences.  She got consequences from the teacher and it was a way better lesson that she’d ever get by me nagging and making sure it was completed every Monday.

  24. Auntie J Jun 07 at 8:31 pm Reply Reply

    I have three basic rules (yoinked from friends with 7 kids):

    1. Sometimes it’s better not to watch.

    2. Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to.

    3. Everything washes. (Corollary: what can’t be washed can usually be pitched and bought again.)

  25. Kate-Hedgehog Jun 07 at 9:42 pm Reply Reply

    The face will never stay clean. To best avoid mental breakdown > Clean it when you must. Like in the bath. Or before the in-laws come over. Combining the two is ideal.

  26. Rita Jun 07 at 10:36 pm Reply Reply

    Love these! For me one of the things that keeps me sane is using paper plates. We don’t use them all the time, but there are days when the sink is full of dishes and being able to throw out the plates from breakfast feels like an enormous gift. 

  27. Tammy Jun 08 at 2:53 pm Reply Reply

    Love. Every. Word.

  28. Karen Jun 09 at 12:15 pm Reply Reply

    As a mom of two boys who have now moved out, I kinda miss the pee smell in their bathroom. No, now that I think of it, I don’t. Or that the toilet seat was always up. In all the bathrooms. But I do miss them. #12 made me laugh out loud – it actually WAS fun to embarrass them. They laugh about it now too. Parenting is the ultimate adventure!

  29. hayley Jun 09 at 2:53 pm Reply Reply

    this was a great read – esp with number one arriving soon. *gulp!*

  30. Shari Donohue Smith Jun 09 at 10:37 pm Reply Reply

    I’d add to that list; Xanax vs wine-you choose, how bad WAS your day, grand parents are a god send-use them for the occasional sleep overs, and no vacation is too small-enjoy it. Even if its going grocery shopping, ALONE!

  31. Amy Jun 09 at 11:22 pm Reply Reply

     Jenna – It was a tongue in cheek post.  But, if you don’t have children yet, when you do I think you will see the humor more readily.

  32. desert green goddess Jun 10 at 4:03 am Reply Reply

    Yep.  We’ve definitely had the mis-matched socks, the wearing of the sibling’s (clean) underwear, the late assignments and the low expectations on the picture-perfect home.  Rock on, sister.

  33. Julie Kelton Jun 10 at 10:42 am Reply Reply

    Jenna, if you can’t see the truth in what is obvious humor, I have to wonder how many kids you have or have been around. The list doesn’t say “don’t ever clean anything” or “encourage your kids to be total slackers”. It’s about establishing priorities, loosening up, remembering that we should be making memories with our kids rather than micro-managing them (especially in the details that just don’t matter). By the way, allowing your child to stumble is a parenting tip that is very difficult for me, yet crucial to helping kids learn to take responsibility for themselves. I “saved” them a several times in their younger years, but I have let my teenagers get “0′s” rather than, say, rush up to their schools lately -not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t want THEM to be. Nobody will be there to take up the slack for them when they go off to college.

  34. Lori Jun 10 at 10:47 am Reply Reply

    Too funny and very true! And Jenna – we can talk to our children until the cows come home but cause and effect is the best teacher. And homework is the kid’s job and responsibility. Set up a time and space for homework and limit how much help you give. Kids are smart and will ask us questions until we have done all of their homework for them. It is their turn to go to school and do the work – you have had your turn.

  35. Joy Jun 10 at 1:45 pm Reply Reply

    I taught my kids to do their homework at the after-school program, “so you’ll have more time to play when you get home”. My oldest started doing that in 3rd grade and the youngest in 6th. (The youngest is now a senior in high school).

  36. Mary Themom Jun 10 at 2:36 pm Reply Reply

    Totally hilarious!  Now you have to run out and update your blog so I can continue to laugh!  We live near each other so I will be constantly wondering if that crazy lady with all the kids in Home Depot is you.  Thanks!
    Mary

  37. KateB Jun 10 at 10:12 pm Reply Reply

    I think you just demonstrated the value of the #1 Uber Tip:  Have A Sense Of Humor!  Brilliant – you have me laughing through the occasion bursts of pain.  Yay you!

  38. Laura Jun 11 at 8:16 am Reply Reply

    This fit along with the socks in #16. Buy only matching socks. Each kid in my family has only one type of sock. Boy – grey toe ankle socks, Girl #1 – blue toe ankle socks, Girl #2 – purple toe ankle socks, and baby is the only exception with a mix of crazy mismatched socks. It makes it easy to sort by size, but no match required. And then when they start to wear or get too stained I toss them, and when they need more I toss what is left and start over.

    • Jennifer Jun 11 at 5:41 pm Reply Reply

       Love your sock solution! I also love the teach boys to pee sitting down. Here are some of my suggestions to make things easier for parents and help raise healthier kids.

      1. I hate arts and crafts too messy instead to address numbers 1-4,6-8 and 13, 17, 18 and 20 I recommend less stuff and a 1940′s mothering approach of children as mother’s helper. Children learn useful housekeeping skills under the guise of play. Working along with your children singing and chatting gets your house clean, teaches your children useful skills and creates good bonding. It’s amazing how much children will talk to you when their hands are busy doing a routine chore. It’s a good way to learn what your child or teenager is thinking.  Far too many young men and women arrive to college with none of these skills. 

      Children starting at age 2.5 can handle a dustpan and brush, sweep, swiffer and wipe their tabletop with you working alongside you. They can help with dusting. To make it a game you could hide M&Ms that they could find while dusting an area making it a game for them and you. You can check over their work and you can eat the M&M’s if they didn’t find them. This will motivate them to dust more thoroughly and possibly motivate you to get rid of things you really don’t need or like anymore. 

      Children can help by putting in the laundry soap, folding towels, matching socks. They can also help with yard work . Real child size brooms, brush, dust pans, hoes, shovels, rakes and swiffers are available.  By age 5 they can be taught to make their own beds, do their own laundry, put their toys away and dust their room. How hard is it to pour soap in, turn on the machine and throw clothing in?

      To avoid the Toys R Us look limit toys to one basket per child, if it doesn’t fit inside the basket, something has to go. One stuffed animal per child, 12 books per child, do an annual purge. Sign out books from the library then you don’t have to dust, store or move them in the future. Kids will be just as happy with less stuff.

      Leather furniture with a tight back and round arms. It always looks neat with its tight back, spills wipe up easily and pet hair wipes up with a damp microfiber cloth. A comforter and comforter cover makes bed making a snap for kids and eliminates the top sheet. Ikea has some great ones for a reasonable price.

  39. Leah Rampadora Jun 11 at 9:58 am Reply Reply

     I have 2 boys, i was crying over lunch discussing with my hubby  how stress I am  coz of so much ( I thought) disorder and dealing household chores  everyday. Then I stumble in Here and Bingo!

    I thought i was the only person whose struggling to keep my sanity.  And honestly I was back in real life with a smile :)

    I have to agree the no. 3 !

  40. Gabi Barrick Jun 11 at 2:27 pm Reply Reply

    I thought I was the only Mom in the world whose kids’ beds didn’t have top sheets. Glad to know I’m not alone! :)

  41. Mom07 Jun 11 at 3:24 pm Reply Reply

    2 items were neglected:
    Mom’s hidden chocolate stash (or is that not to be made public knowledge ?)
    Buy a Kitchenaide mixer–1 beater to lick….arguing over who gets it is solved by mom indulging ;)

    • Stacie Jun 22 at 10:08 am Reply Reply

      Oh man, I totally have a secret stash of sweets that are only eaten during nap time!

  42. MrsThatch Jun 11 at 5:17 pm Reply Reply

    “pop-sa-sock” is how our toddler says “Popsicle”. It’s pretty adorable and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. The cure-all, the popsasock. :)

  43. AmyJ Jun 11 at 5:29 pm Reply Reply

    Too funny in the sitting to pee issue. My grandparents were German and immigrated and taught my dad (and uncles I am sure) to pee sitting down as my parents dd my brother. I tried teaching my son and I get a 50/50 success rate on it happening since he started school where all of his friends do it standing up. I use an auto febreeze sprayer now that squirts a bit of scent in the air anytime someone uses the boys bathroom. Helps cover the smell immensely!

  44. Carol Megan Jr. Jun 11 at 11:31 pm Reply Reply

    Two great ways to embarrass young teens:

    Drive with the windshield wipers on when it is not raining; blow kisses at them when you drop them off at school.

  45. Carrie Jun 12 at 1:19 am Reply Reply

    Really? I have permission to waste crayons? Perfectly good pieces that I have been saving for some dumb craft for the last six years? I needed to hear that. A burden has been lifted. 

  46. Kristi Jun 12 at 1:55 am Reply Reply

    Oh my gosh you used every piece of advice I would give! Are you secretly filming me?! (And my 12 toy baskets?) I was sure I was the only mom who doesn’t match socks. Well, the older kids insist. I have often wished every day was Crazy Sock Day! I never thought of picking a fight with two fighting kids to unite them . . . I see I have more to learn?

  47. Victoria Jun 12 at 10:22 am Reply Reply

    Oh, my dear friends… you poor things.  So much stress and capitulating could be avoided by having just one child.  I have one child – a daughter – who is now 17.  I have never had a need for any of the writer’s tips.  Well, maybe #22, that has nothing to do with children.  :)

  48. Pat Fenner Jun 12 at 11:39 am Reply Reply

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!  I laughed at each and everyone and marveled at the wisdom!!  After/while parenting 5 kiddos, I STILL need to remember to laugh at stuff…and I feel SO much better everytime I DO remember ;-)

    Loved the peeing idea (I have 2 boys still at home – one of them won’t even use the same bathroom his brother does!! LOL), the permission for discarding crayons (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!), socks…gah – ALL of them!!

    You are brilliant…and many of the other readers are, too!

    laugh, laugh, laugh – often and loudly (besides being healthy for you,  that would be another way to embarrass the kids, too!!
    :-)

  49. Jacque Hubbard Jun 12 at 11:49 am Reply Reply

    *laughing out loud*  
    *nodding in agreement at ALL of these*

    *I LOVE YOU. You GET me, you really do!!*

  50. Kristen Jun 12 at 2:37 pm Reply Reply

    1. We have a dog for the “clean up” of spilled food, but she likes to sleep in my daughters bed. 2. We use the top sheet as a first layer of bedding, and when it gets dog furry we peel down to the second sheet!

  51. Amy O'Brien Jun 12 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    I love this!!!! Sooooo ridiculously true

  52. Rebecca Stein Jun 12 at 3:45 pm Reply Reply

    So glad I took the time to read this! Loved it and laughed all the way through! TOO TRUE!

  53. M. Rodríguez Jun 12 at 11:58 pm Reply Reply

    I LOVE THIS!!! This is exactly how I go about at home too!!! Otherwise I’d be gone by now!!!

  54. Nicole Jun 13 at 11:58 am Reply Reply

    Here is my tip and it also helps for sotage this works for babies right on up through potty training and I have used it during stomach flu season. Layer the beds with a mattress protector, then a sheet… another mattress protector another sheet. For babies I did three layers… regular kids beds two. This way if the kid wets the bed/ ababy spits up or soaks through a diaper in the middle of the night you have a clean dry set underneath. you dont have to remake the bed or even rush to get sheets washed immediatly It also worked when we had an awful sotmach flu at the house and had to change sheets that had been puked on. you just strip the bed and a new clean layer is right there. I put baby socks in a garment bag so I didnt loose them sometimes clipped together. Crazy sock day is everyday now that the kids are older.

  55. Sarah Jun 14 at 1:55 am Reply Reply

    Hilarious!  Can’t wait to try #19 one day.

  56. Christi Anna Jun 14 at 7:49 am Reply Reply

    Wonderful!  Here are my top 10!!

    http://coatsquotes.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/10-parenting-tips-i-didnt-read-in-a-book/

  57. Robin Jun 14 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    My trick for socks is to buy a whole bunch of pairs that are exactly the same in exactly the same color. Okay, Younger Child, all your socks are grey. Pick any two grey socks out of the sock drawer and you’re good to go. Elder Child, your socks are black, same deal. The bonus is that no matter how many individual socks they lose, there’s never a useless non-matching sock that has to be thrown away for lack of a mate.

    When the kid grows up to the next size of sock, take all of their current-color socks out of the drawer and either set aside for a younger kid or donate. Then change the sock color (“okay, now you have white socks”) for the new size, which makes it easy to recognize (and remove from circulation) all the older too-small socks still hiding in various places that will turn up eventually.

  58. Jen N Jun 14 at 10:57 pm Reply Reply

    This is the best article that’s ever existed in the history of articles. Good Sir I’d like to shake your hand

  59. amanda Jun 15 at 11:03 am Reply Reply

    i have never read your blog–just came across it through a post on facebook.  but i am officially in love with you! 

  60. Desiree Eaglin Jun 15 at 9:29 pm Reply Reply

    Yes. To all 23.

  61. Amy Jun 19 at 9:10 am Reply Reply

    My best tip for younger kids is to give them their bath at night, and then put them in clean CLOTHES at night! Then they wake up clean and already dressed. My girls wore leggings and cotton dresses for years to bed. Made mornings so much easier and way faster to get out the door!

  62. annnie Jun 20 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t mate socks but my hubby likes mated sock for work so he safety pins them when he is done wearing them.  Don’t have to waste time finding the mate.

  63. Pam Jun 20 at 5:10 pm Reply Reply

    Brilliant list!  I have 2 boys, 15 and 11.  Yup, there is a pee odor in their bathroom and a distinctive boy odor in the eldest’s bedroom which arrived at puberty and has never left.  I gave up and put a fan in the window. 

    My crowning achievement of the week is the soap dispensers in their bathroom are empty.  They are USING soap!!!  Woo-hoo!!  Of course, they are incapable of refilling the dispensers or telling me that they are empty.  Baby steps…  :)

  64. Denise Hamilton Jun 21 at 8:53 pm Reply Reply

    Limit homework time to something reasonable (5 mins per grade level), then write the teacher a note for assigning too much.

  65. Marie B Jun 22 at 1:57 am Reply Reply

    I love this post!  I have 4 grown children, 6 grandchildren and half of them are grown!  None of them remember I always made sure their socks matched!  In fact, the youngest who is 27 never matches her socks now!  Drives me crazy, but she is such a warm, loving, caring, person who loves her mom and laughs when I cringe at her socks!  So what if her socks don’t match…..I wouldn’t trade her for all the ‘matched sock prissys’ in the world!  She is a preK4 teacher who loves those kids like they are her own and her love doesn’t depend on ……toys all in a row, floors you can eat off or matched socks!  That is a job of mothering well done!  

    Also, turning in a late assignment once in a while is NOT laziness on the part of the parent….it is laziness on the part of the child!  Children need to learn to accomplish their own work and parents are the cheerleaders and helpers when needed!  Teach good homework habits when young and as they graduate from grade to grade, give them more responsibility.  We are not going to be able to hold their hand forever, just their heart!  Never do for a child what he can do for him or herself!  God bless!

  66. Cat T Jun 22 at 3:50 am Reply Reply

    I have only gone through the first four years and a second child, two years younger, but I definitely have already felt the above and so much more. I think my hair hasn’t stopped falling out from the mental institution that circles in my head every time I feel like I can’t hold it together. But in the end, I love them and will go bald if I have to. Iguess that’s life telling us we once were just as clueless on how the world works and what is good or bad and how we can teach right and wrong. Its not all sugar and cakes when it comes to raising kids even though I wish there was some way to just make it that way. I always jusy seem to want to make sure my kids will have a better life. Thats the parent inside that says ‘keep it to yourself and maybe it will just go away’. But kids make mistakes. Do wrong to figure out the right. Speak ill just because they heard it once before and didn’t know what it meant. And although my years with children have only just begun, there’s a sense that I should be learning from them as much as they learn from me. We’re growing together and this word “patience” is something to thrive to get to. I always want to be that perfect mom, that one that can do it all and then some. But I know its not true and mostly a facade for the audience. Thank you for sharing this. Makes me feel like I’m not so insane :)

  67. Ann Jun 22 at 9:22 pm Reply Reply

    You all bought into the advertising myth that marriage and children was the best path to take for a happy, meaningful life. Having more obligations because you created a new life does not make your life more meaningful, and I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now. Admitting it does not mean you don’t love your kids or are a bad parent, but it may help a young person make a wiser decision. Why keep projecting the image that deciding to have children was a wise and noble choice? So you figured out how to survive 18 years without going insane? Wow what an accomplishment. Not. Yes I’m a parent and I love my boys with all my heart and soul. But if there’s a next life, I’m taking a different path. Stop reinforcing the lie portrayed by the media , and admit the reality of parenting for all to see. If people understood that parenting is equivalent to an unpaid full time job with no peace at home, do you think they’d buy into it?

  68. Samantha Jun 23 at 1:56 pm Reply Reply

    I LOVE this validation of my mothering approach! Socks are meant to be an expression of ones creative spirit… Purple and orange compliment each other nicely. Given the choice between programming a robot with my boys or mopping my floor, the robot wins. Our house is clean “enough”. I hated homework time SO much I decided to homeschool everyone… No more school until 10 at night anymore!

  69. Melissa Jun 23 at 4:34 pm Reply Reply

    Hahahaha! I love this!!

  70. Diane Jun 23 at 5:54 pm Reply Reply

    Exactly. Possibly instead of referring to #1 on list you should more often go with #3…depending on the situation :) Good luck – I personally have done my time so I get to sit back and watch while my kid figures it out; making every effort to “help” with – Gma gets to…cuz that’s what Gma’s are for -[insert evil laughter here] ~

  71. Diane Jun 23 at 6:29 pm Reply Reply

    I was referring to 7 when I said to go with #3 more often…let it go :) rather than doing it all yourself. I really like the idea of making a game of chores with them because it is more quality fun time that is most essential. Plus it teaches them… and lessens your load. Genius! Boys/Men peeing sitting down? Would be great if everyone was on board!

  72. Nancy Jun 24 at 7:38 am Reply Reply

    Only buy white socks. With four boys and a girl, the bonus was they loved multi-colored socks as gifts… when they were older and out of the house. Also, different color bath towels for each, sports closet and shoe closet by front door and a fabulous sense of humor!

  73. Beth Jun 24 at 7:32 pm Reply Reply

    Love it !  the no matching sock plan is already hard at work at my house.  My 3 year old refuses to wear matching ones.  I love 19.  Wish I had some ideas.  I tend to think things will work out.  I try to not go running when the kids argue, or even when my little girl cries.  She’ll come if she needs me.  Now if I can figure out how to get them not to talk to me while I am typing or on the phone.

  74. Daniela Jun 25 at 12:18 am Reply Reply

    Very funny indeed and so much truth in it too. Well written:) 
    My tip would be: 
    Only by leather couches spills and stomach bugs are VERY frequent visitors at my house. 

    Don’t even attempt to get all the laundry done because it is a never ending process ! 

    Daniela 

  75. IngridK Jun 25 at 7:37 am Reply Reply

    Only one I don’t agree with. Children do appreciate high thread counts. My mom put cheap-arse sheets on my bed from time to time. Itchy. Just be prepared for sheets not to stay perfect! 

  76. mama bear2 Jul 02 at 1:27 pm Reply Reply

    I love this we follow most of these rules

  77. Margot Jul 02 at 4:17 pm Reply Reply

    Very funny and well written!…and of course very true!

  78. Deb Jul 02 at 7:10 pm Reply Reply

    Are you sure you’re not me?  Thanks for this.

  79. Madeleine Jul 06 at 9:02 am Reply Reply

    Oooh, I feel proud that, even with a measly 2 children, I’ve discovered a number of these all by myself! Notably the Popsicles and white furniture and inevitability of toy clutter.

  80. Lura Jul 07 at 5:28 pm Reply Reply

    This is genius. I have 4 little boys, and this is spot on. Thank you.

  81. Tricia Jul 07 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

    Amazing! These are awesome! Made me feel better just reading this. I have 3 kids and every one one these rules just felt like it was aimed at me lol. Except the white furniture :) Thank you for writing these <3

  82. Tzippy Jul 12 at 3:13 am Reply Reply

    I have five kids, and now the youngest is thirteen. It is so true that little children, little problems, bigger children, bigger problems. The house stays clean now, but the worrying over every aspect of their lives is so much greater. Enjoy these early years, and be sure to teach your kids to talk to you. Be open to hearing them. When they are facing hard decisions in the teen years, let it be you that they want to turn to for advice, Create that dynamic now, when they are still little. The greatest gift you can give your children is to really listen to them without judgement.

  83. Michelle Jul 16 at 8:24 am Reply Reply

    Funny! I might add: Teenage boys smell like sweaty feet. Buy cologne, breathe freely.

  84. jan Jul 19 at 11:38 pm Reply Reply

    I laughed out loud several times. I am now Nana to three girls, each with a different personality. Papa and I may move leaving no forwarding address during the high estrogen years of the Teens Laughter makes parenting easier.keep up the awareness that some things will pass, with or without the Mother’s intervention. Sometimes ee take ourselves too seriously.

  85. Kari Jul 20 at 1:28 am Reply Reply

    Amazing…just thot it was my kids with the sheets!  This post is SOOOOO funny!

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