My Ultimate Mom Hack: The Beauty of Made Up House Rules


Hi fellow mom… I’m just stopping by to give you a reminder in case you forgot (like I did.) You are the mom, and guess what that means? You get to make all the rules. Yes, you- with that cup of coffee or maybe a glass of wine in your hand, depending on the time of day. You, my friend, get to employ my favorite mom hack of creating made up house rules.

I know. I’m probably telling you something you know. I did too, but then I totally forgot until two of my favorite podcasters, Meagan Francis and Sarah Powers from The Mom Hour reminded me. Take a moment and think back to those kinds of made up house rules that you had as a kid that you just followed because, well, they were the rules. For me, the cardinal house rule was you had to be back in the house by the time the street lights came on. Yea, those kinds of made up house rules, only now you’re Mom, and you get to make them up now.

judge, gavel

Now, before you get too excited, I want to set some disclaimers about house rules.

These rules should not push your kids outside of what they are cognitively, socially, or emotionally prepared for. For example, you should not be making an arbitrary rule that your child can no longer sleep with their favorite stuffed animal because they are five. Five year-olds still need their stuffed animals to feel safe and secure. House rules are meant to enhance your day-to-day life, and not cause any undue harm to your child.

Now that my children are four and eight, it is the perfect time to start to implement my own made up house rules. Here are few that I have adopted from my childhood and a couple others that I have picked up along the way.

House rule #1: Whoever cuts, the other chooses.

This rule originated from my husband’s family, however, I think it is just perfect so I am sharing it with you. If your kids are going to split a treat, assign one kid to be the cutter and the other kid to be the chooser. You will end up with the most even split you have ever seen, and you will no longer hear the dreaded, “That’s not fair, he or she got the biggest piece” whine.

House rule # 2: Whoever wins the game, puts it away.

This rule was totally stolen from my girls over at the Mom Hour. But, can you blame me? The kiddo who won the game is in the best mood and is the most willing to comply with this request. As an added bonus, it takes a little of the sting away from the kid who lost.

sorry, board game, game

House rule #3: Always leave a room better than you found it.

This is both a rule and philosophy. First, it keeps the million toys my kids have played with during the day put away and it is also a good habit for all of us to get into. Every time before we leave a room as a family, I will ask, “Is this space better than we found it?” If the answer is no, then we will pick something up. The thing I like the most about this rule is that you don’t have to pick everything up, it just has to be better. Some days, even just one fewer sock on the floor is a total win.

House rule #4: If kids are awake before parents, kids have to make parents coffee.

While my kids aren’t old enough for this rule quite yet, this was totally a rule in my household growing up. My parents taught all three of us how to make coffee, and on the weekends, if we woke up before they did, we would have to make them coffee and bring it to them in bed. I would recommend that your children be at least ten years old before you make this a rule in your household.

Vivid Coffee being poured by little girl

House rule #5: The dishwasher rule

Each night growing up, my brother, sister, and I had a nightly chore. It rotated during the week, and we were expected to do one of three tasks: feed the dog, clear the dining room table, or load the dishwasher. My parents quickly ran into a problem, that the child in charge of loading the dishwasher was dependent on the child who was in charge of clearing the table. The dishes would be unloaded, however, there would be no dishes to place into the washer. My parents would hear us bicker that someone wasn’t doing their job of clearing the dishes which was holding the dish loader up. Due to this problem, my parents created a house rule. The rule was that if the dishwasher was unloaded before all the dishes were cleared from the table, then the person who was in charge or clearing the dishes had to load the dishes from the table. This created an incentive for the clearer to get the dishes off the table as fast as possible and also jump-started the dish loader because, man, was it awesome if you stuck your sibling with both clearing the table and loading the dishwasher.

There you go, my five made up house rules (ssshhhh…. don’t tell my kids) that help make our home run just a little bit smoother. Do you have any house rules that you use in your family? Let me know in the comments below.



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