50 Lessons in Parenting Young Kids


1. Super glue has no place in a house with young children.

2. Neither do Sharpies.

3. There is no such thing as allowing your kid to play with your phone “just once.”

4. Don’t use Google to diagnose illnesses. Ever.

5. Dollar store toys cost far more than a dollar in frustration, anguish and regret.

6. The terrible twos are bullshit. The terribleness lasts through at least age four. Or, forever.

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7. Always carry wipes, long after diaper wearing has ended.

8. Resist purchasing character Bandaids, unless you’re prepared to buy a box a week.

9. You can never have too many Goldfish. The crackers, not the live ones.

10. Don’t buy bunk beds, unless you have absolutely no choice.

11. Keep track of who gave what at birthday parties.

12. Never stock batteries in your house, or you will be forced to make obnoxiously loud toys work once again.

13. Buy Mr. Clean Erasers in bulk.

14. Backup all photos. Better yet, print them.

15. Look in the oven before you turn it on.

16. There is no point in making beds.

17. Accept the fact that you will turn into your mother.

18. Always check pockets before washing clothes.

19. There is no such thing as “running” into Target with children.

20. Take more video.

21. Daily baths are overrated.

22. Find young babysitters and groom them. The less attractive, the better.

23. Always have ample one dollar bills on hand for lost teeth and bribery.

24. Carry plenty of emergency snacks in the car.

25. Keep expensive cosmetics out of arm’s reach. Arm’s reach, on a stool and tippy toes.

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26. The four-year-old check-up is brutal.

27. Look before you sit down to pee.

28. Train your children to clean up all Lego’s before bed, knowing that nothing is more painful than stepping on a Lego with a bare foot at midnight.

29. Save “no” for when it really matters.

30. Over-apply sunscreen.

31. Practice caution when approaching that stray raisin on the floor. It’s probably not a raisin.

32. Never pay full price for kids’ clothes. They always go on sale and the expensive ones inevitably get ruined first.

33. There’s a reason why people surprise their kids with trips to Disney: Their anticipation may kill you.

34. Don’t take their word for it when children say they don’t need to pee before leaving the house.

35. Lock your bedroom door.

36. And, your bathroom one.

37. Never open a can of soda handed to you by a child.

38. Walk away from temper tantrums. Or, record them for future enjoyment.

39. Upset as you may be, hair grows back.

40. But, not on Barbie dolls, so hide the scissors.

41. Never buy more than two pairs of shoes at once. Their feet will inevitably grow once you do.

42. No matter how hard they promise, kids will never walk that puppy as much as you hoped.

43. Give away the books you can’t stand reading.

44. No child went to college with a pacifier.

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45. Don’t buy any toy that is meant to come apart, unless they can put it back together themselves.

46. Keep a well-hidden stock of lollipops.

47. Don’t allow Play-Doh on carpets. Or, indoors, for that matter.

48. TV won’t really turn their brains to mush.

49. A bathroom in a house with boys will never smell clean.

50. It doesn’t get easier.

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

From Around the Web


hbombmom 1 year ago

#50, that is all. :-).

Beki 1 year ago

I can vouch for the bunk beds, don’t get them. My 4 year old jumped off it and purposely head butted the back of my 8 year old’s head. After the trip to the ER to find out neither one had a concussion they told me they were practicing wrestling, like those guys on tv.

Only the most brave hearted people should have kids.

Aaliyah 2 years ago

It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, but you seem
like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Dorothy Inman 2 years ago

I have several in mine and pants too. I have no shame.

Lisa Bunnage 2 years ago

My favourite was “ignore tantrums, or record them for future amusement” … great blog :)

Lisa, Parenting Coach, BratBusters.com

Lizzie 2 years ago

I was a pediatric medical assistant for 2 yrs and the four year checkups are rough because we checked vision and hearing and most four year olds have the attention span of 0.3 seconds! We also did all vital signs during which all movements are closely scrutinized and questions galore before we can move on to the next action. Then its time for shots (usually after the Dr visit for which you might have waited a long time) and they get MMR and varicella which HURT as if shots don’t hurt enough. So a trip for an ice cream cone afterward is always a nice treat!

Tracy 2 years ago

What is the deal with the 4 year old checkup?
Schoolage immunizations? I suppose I am in for a shocker. My daughter will be 5 this week and I was asked to bring her in for the schoolage immunizations (generally given between 4 and 5 years) when she reached her 5th birthday. She puts her brave face on for the flu shot and then says that it didn’t hurt one bit after it’s done. So, if it’s the immunizations, I think she will be fine.

Jamie Bartley 2 years ago

I loved this article and it is all so true. I have a 14 year old a 13 year old and a 3 year old. Parenting is never easy no matter the age of the child.

rose 2 years ago

hahaha so true! Every single one of those i experienced and wished id known before…except the bunk beds! THanks for the heads up!

tj 2 years ago

Neither attachment parenting or free-range parenting condone a kid getting whatever they want, whenever they want. Free range parenting is about letting your child explore boundaries further (ie. expect scrapes and bruises) – doesn’t mean there aren’t boundaries, just that they are further out. Atachment parenting is based on the attachment theory of development which means that kids need one or two primary adults who look after their needs and pay them mindful attention in a manner that facilitates their communication in order to develop a secure and loving base from which to explore the world. Again, doesn’t condone kid doing whatever whenever. AP parents are either (1) not actually interpreting AP’ing properly or (2) getting a bad rap because of (1)

momma22boys 2 years ago

These are all so true! Red sharpie does come off painted walls but not off wood doors (with the help of a Mr. Clean magic erarser). Bunk beds are a horrible idea when you have two boys…we had them for less than a year, just took them down last weekend…sick of watching them climb to the top bunk and jump down onto the bed below…I never pay full price for clothes, if you join store clubs, like The Children’s Place, you can get awesome deals. If you have two kids of the same sex, it doesn’t hurt to buy expensive stuff…especially when you know it will get handed down in decent condition. I regularly spend $50 -$100 on winter coats (at our local ski wear shop) during their summer sidewalk sale because i know how well they are made and that I will get not one kid’s wear out of them but two.

Courtney Mungovan 2 years ago

Why is it brutal? We have ours in a week.

Amy Contakes 2 years ago

Becky Hedlund, yes they are so lovely when they are asleep~and it is so very worth it!

Becky Hedlund 2 years ago

#50 is definitely true, but thankfully (most days) it still all feels worth it…especially at the end of the day when they are finally asleep and adorable again. 😉

Amy Contakes 2 years ago

I'm with you Bethany. And the one about locking the bathroom doors. I tried that and then when they come running and screaming for you and find that the door is locked. They just stand outside the door screaming and banging for you. So I just leave the door unlocked.

Bethany Vitaro 2 years ago

If it doesn't get any easier, I'm not sure we'll all survive.

Amy Contakes 2 years ago

Number 50 is my favorite

Candice 2 years ago

My SIL gave my 3 yr old playdough, She’s only allowed to play with it at there house! I only got interactive books afterwards. lol

Joyce Atherton 2 years ago

Been there done that now raising Grandchildren doesn't get easier but you are a lot smarter…….

Ashley 2 years ago

I learned this the hard way! I went to preheat the oven and after 2 min black smoke was coming out. I guess my son thought it would be funny to dump a whole bag of marshmellows in the bottom of the oven. Took me a week to scrub all that mellow off :(

Alicia King 2 years ago

We just had the 4 year old check up…and it was brutual :/

Jenni 2 years ago

My daughter shaved the bottom corner of her lip off. I was sure the ER was gonna turn me into child services that day.

Natalie Birdsall Wayman 2 years ago

haha these are some GOOD tips!!

Geoff Kinsey 2 years ago

No matter how strategically planned it is, your shower will be shortened by the insanity producing need of your child. And even a locked door can't defeat banging on a door!

Jennifer 2 years ago

I would caution that free-range parenting and attachment parenting are not really the same thing. Most (because there are always exceptions) who follow the attachment model still have rules/guidelines and disciple for their children.

Manicmom 2 years ago

That’s karma, she’s a witch but sometimes it’s ok

Marilyn 2 years ago

My son in law had the nerve to say I wasn’t doing a very good job babysitting grand kids that were 1 and 4 at the time. Completely tickled when a week later I stopped by their house when he was in charge of the little ones and the one year old greeted me at the patio door with the remains of powdered sugar doughnuts all over him as well as one clenched in each little fist. In addition to this, his 4 yr old sister had written her entire name up one side of his face, across his forehead, and down the other cheek, and YES it was with a sharpie. Oh what fun it was to call their daddy away from the computer!!

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Mari Praisewater 2 years ago

49. A bathroom in a house with boys will never smell clean.

Boys at ANY age…..

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christie 2 years ago

I should have listned to #8. Every single one of Sweets’ fingers and toes had microscopic boo-boo’s that absolutely were bleeding and needed princess bandaids.

Amy89 2 years ago

This reminds me of something I read on another website….”I woke up to find my 4 year old son covering my mouth with his hand, saying Sssshhhh, you need to die now”

Fran 2 years ago

Thanks, I needed to laugh and remember. I think you covered all the bases and as a Grandmother and soon to be again. You forgot one. Silly putty,play dough’s sister. Oh, and keep it all away from one year old lab a shep’s. They will eat anything.

Sam 3 years ago

I cannot agree more on basically this entire list. I really wish more parents thought like you and lightened up a bit on their parenting skills.

Amanda 3 years ago

Dear Lord don’t leave out the feather pillows. Don’t care how soft they are, when the kids find out there are feathers in it, they will also find a way to make them come out so they can make “feather Angels” Im still haunted by feather a year later. Found one stuck in my shirt that I’m sure has been washed 1000 times sense. I have a 6,5 and 4 year old.

Nacer @ Gas Engineer 3 years ago

Must have taken you a while to put this list together but you have been on the money with all points – great stuff!

Prof_hyperion 3 years ago

I have heard this style of parenting referred to as some form of attachment parenting, which involves giving the children maximum exposure to parents. I disagree with this because neurosis should not be a basis for bonding. Both my wife and I work quite a bit, and are triathletes – so being ever-present, and 100% compliant with the whims of a child is not possible. I have found that, for some of our friends, moderation is paramount. These individuals have lifestyles similar to ours, and have happy children who are already demonstrating a capacity for self-discipline (we’re talking 1 1/2 to 5 years of age). The other friends I mentioned do nothing but sit at home and/or take the kids everywhere, and most of the time it seems they are barely hanging on to sanity. To me, this is a contradiction of our potential as dynamic adults. Ultimately, I see this so-called “attachment parenting” as an excuse for laziness.

Erin B 3 years ago

I’m not sure how long ago this was posted, but I read something about “free-range” parenting the other day. Your question reminded me of that article. I whole-heartedly disagree with it but even with the best intentions *sometimes* you have to pick your battles with stubborn headed two years olds. I know I do. I would never let her disrespect someone like your friends child though.

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Kat 3 years ago

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shama-mama 3 years ago

Raising a child requires discipline from the parent. And some parents just don’t have it. Leaving the child to run about as they please is the “Lazy Style” of parenting. Rather than exert some effort to discipline the child, they just give in to the child and end up creating a monster, who will later suffer in life. These parents have convinced themselves there is nothing wrong with thier child and all problems lie with you instead. “How dare you not show my precious child your phone! Now you got him upset! (That might require me as a parent to do something)”

Prof_hyperion 3 years ago

As an expectant father, I find your list to be nothing earth-shattering, but still very frightening. I stumbled upon this site trying to gain some level-headed insight into parenting (all I hear from many is how much it sucks, how much life will suck, and really anything else that would make it seem like Person X is trying to make me feel regretful). Thus far, my research (both online and in the analog world) has yielded the most accurate and uplifting results from moms. As an educator and endurance athlete, I value difficult challenges – they yield the best rewards. Raising a well-adjusted, adaptive, intelligent, kind adult should be difficult. I have no delusions about that, and keep an open mind and open heart. One question I have, though: I have friends who have a completely out-of-control two-year-old who spends the day (this is not an exaggeration) doing whatever he pleases, and does not seem to have any discipline. He seems to comprehend quite a bit of language, but conveniently dons the infant routine to get his way. This may be an apocalyptic tantrum, a smashing expensive electronics rampage, or both. The other day, he punched my pregnant wife in the stomach – the parents said nothing. However, when the kid started grabbing at my phone and attempting to order me what to put on it (game, video) and attempting to climb over my body/arm to grab at it, the dad said “he wants to see your phone.” Ha! I simply replied, “no.” To which the lad responded with a tantrum and ran into the kitchen demanding a snack, which he received. What kind of parenting style is this?

kristina 3 years ago

OMG! So true! My son is 12 and still scares the crap out of me in the middle of the night! LOL

Kenya G. Johnson 3 years ago

LOL! I am going to have to come back and check out those links. #27, even you your son isn’t home. Really? #49 – phooey.

april liewer 3 years ago

I can confirm with the no sharpies. I got what looks like a picture of an iguana in our bathroom.

Trish Sammer Johnston 3 years ago

This was genius. I’m going to share on my FB page, despite the fact that I’m now having a massive anxiety attack that I haven’t backed up any photos — and probably never will. Zoinks!

Allyson 3 years ago

Love it! Don’t forget to check the bottom of socks for gum before placing in the dryer. I decided to stick the sock back on the melted gum so I could continue doing the laundry.

Lisa 3 years ago

Thank you!
/Mother of a 19 month old boy

Chris 3 years ago

While you should never use Google to diagnose illnesses, it is the very best tool for figuring out how to undo what your child has just done. Sharpie on wood? Make a paste of rubbing alcohol and baking soda, rub into marking until it magically vanishes. Nail polish on carpet? Put the polish remover away and get out the Windex.

No matter how much we want/need to be unique in all the world, the Internet proves to me daily, that there is almost no problem someone else hasn’t already had, figured out how to fix and posted the solution to online.

And we LOVED this list!

Ginny 3 years ago

This 50 Things is a real gas, Meg. thasnks for some chuckles

Georgen 3 years ago

No way on #11.

Debra 3 years ago

This is a great list. I agree with everything especially the Lego. And I’ll add another – never buy a shag pile rug. Vomit, wee and spilled milk will NEVER come out!

Lynn 3 years ago

NO SILLY PUTTY! Ruined a favorite skirt when I sat in a glob someone left on my rocking chair. (It also stained the rocking chair pad.) I have also banned stickers from the house. Occasionally, a few will sneak by, and then I’m quickly reminded to be more vigilant as they become stuck to my hardwood floors or furniture.

My husband doesn’t see the problem of bunk beds. I, however, freak out about them. When my stepkids were younger, they had bunk beds, and promptly fell out of them (or rather, were pushed). No thank you, don’t need more opportunities for head trauma in this house!

Mom Off Meth 3 years ago

Such a GREAT list. I love the pacifier thing. I never stressed about that. Only one of my four kids used one. It was the BEST. Also, I have three boys. My bathroom is nasty, almost always. We don’t make beds, and I don’t stress about it.

Chrissy 3 years ago

Another one: Make sure glue traps are up when spending the night at grandmas house… Couldn’t find my youngest son after bedtime. Turns out he crawled into the closet and fell asleep… with a glue trap stuck to his arm. From there the glue ended up all over his face and legs. Lesson learned. Best way to get it off? LOTION!

Rachael 3 years ago

Totally love your blog! I loved it when I was pregnant and now I get it! I love it more now that my little one is finally here. She’s only 3 and a half months, but I already know you speak the truth! I will be printing this and carrying it with me always! 😛

kalosa82 3 years ago

It’s so refreshing to know there’s other moms out there that see parenthood the way I do….and use “bad” word.

Katy McCaffrey 3 years ago

Extra children’s underwear in your purse may make you feel like a perv but will one day be the most useful thing you have in there.

Nicole Martel 3 years ago

These are great, some made me laugh out loud. :) Oh and I’m half way through your book and loving it… Can you believe, I was gonna skim through the book while watching Sex in the city for the second time and ended up turning the tv off… I wanted to hear what you had to say instead :) hehe.

kim 3 years ago

#17 fer sure…

Robyn 3 years ago

I had to laugh at it because it’s true! I had to replace my oven after it caught on fire because my daughter had put plastic stuff in it!

Theatre Virgin 3 years ago

Brilliant, spot on list! Loved it! :)

Ola 3 years ago

number 17 so true 😉

girlfriend 3 years ago

Shots make it brutal. They have to do shots, and may have to give a drop or two of blood for lead screening if it’s required by your state. Have the post-visit bribes ready and you’ll do fine.

girlfriend 3 years ago

Love this and laughed all the way through it.

(Except where you make Sharpies and Legos plural with an apostrophe. The OCD in me says “teach your kids how to use apostrophes!!”)

P Reis 3 years ago

Ha! I learned the olive oil trick the hard way too!

KraftyKwai 3 years ago

Oh My Gosh, Yes. Code word is brilliant. We have a similar problem in our household. My daughter loves being outside also. Thanks for the tip.

I have to break the husband of mentioning dessert before and during dinner because she said “Nun” (done) the second he mentions it and won’t eat her dinner because all she wants is the junk.

Pamela D Hart 3 years ago

Great list! And oh so true!

Except #17, I did NOT turn into my mother…thank goodness!
I am like my father though! Which I can live with.

#47, I knew buying my puppies that I would be taking care of them…even when they EAT my HOUSE.

Scroogy 3 years ago

Wait… Why is the 4 yr old check up brutal? We’re going for the twins’ next week!!! I’m scared.

rookiemum 3 years ago

I hear you! Sharpies, bunk beds AND unknown mystery raisin like substances all happened in my house since MONDAY! And 4 yr olds are little a@#Holes. simple as that. Your blog keeps me sane. :)

Nuts about food 3 years ago


Cassie 3 years ago

What about, “Never mention the word ‘outside’ unless you plan to go outside.” My husband and I had to come up with a code word because my son loves being outside so much, that he will cry at the door at the mention of it.

Sarah 3 years ago

OH Hooray about the pacifier! My son is 20 months, and I’m trying to get him to give it up. He does great at his dad’s house, however, not so much with me! If he DOES NOT have it it in the car, Major, major meltdown, from him and from mommy. “But baby love, it’s only a two minute drive to daycare, you don’t need your binky.” If he could talk, “but I do. I do. I do need my binky! It’s a matter of life or death!” The screams! The cries! (And that’s just from me!) lol..

Shirley@motivatedmommyoftwo 3 years ago

This was HILARIOUS I love it Thanks for sharing

Good Enough 3 years ago

So true! But damn it, sometimes I need a sharpie. And, yes, I pay the price.

rina 3 years ago

Lol! 100% true! Love this 😀

Chris @ CleverFather 3 years ago

One lesson that I couldn’t find on the list: When kids are alone and quiet, it usually means they are doing something their not supposed to…. such as, spilling the soap, emptying the baby wipe container, or dumping their freshly folded clothes…

And I apologize if it is on the list… my tired eyes must have failed me.

Mamma bear Alicia 3 years ago

Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the laugh! I haven’t laugh this hard in a while!!!

cindafuckingrella 3 years ago

That is lovely. Bright, funny and just lovely. Thanks!

Christine Balch 3 years ago

Nice list. I will remember some of these 50 parenting lessons. I enjoy reading all the 50 lists.

Elizabeth Newlin 3 years ago

I so agree with 49. I recently discovered they have a ‘pee bucket’. You know, next to the toilet just for fun. This might be contributing to the reason for the odor.

Mandee P. 3 years ago

Wait…why is the 4 year old check up brutal?!

Mary Nelligan 3 years ago

Fabulous! And amen to character band-aids (Costco doesn’t carry enough of them to satisfy my daughter’s lust) and Barbie hair (daughter washed it and blow dried it – FYI-not a good look on Barbie or anyone else)! I didn’t know about/remember the 4 year old check-up – I have one next week. What am I in for?

Mary Nelligan 3 years ago

I’d like to string up the inventors of Moon Sand by they’re little piggy toes … still finding Moon Sand treats in my rug two years later!

vanillasugarblog 3 years ago

oh my god
i google every freaking thing and then get convinced i have a rare flesh eating fucking disease that cannot be cured.

gurya 3 years ago

there is not a single one i disagree with

Amber 3 years ago

So true, love it!

gurya 3 years ago

I ve personally experienced the consequences of not following the third one when i found my cell phone drowned in laundry room wash tub as a result of my 2 yr old’s experiment…lol

Marta 3 years ago

My co-worker and I may have super glued our fingers together today at work. So I found #1 to be extra amusing. Because we are adults and there were no children present, but both of us have crusty super glue fingers right now and are having trouble removing them.

I will never bring super glue into my house.

J 3 years ago

This is a great list! I love it!

Alinka @ Baby Web 3 years ago

“Look in the oven before you turn it on” – love it! What’s your take on letting babies cry?

Kerrie McLoughlin 3 years ago

OMG, I love the bunk beds one! We have 5 kids and a 3-bedroom home, so not a lot of choice there … they are so dang dangerous! No broken bones yet :-)

Kerrie McLoughlin 3 years ago

OMG, I love the bunk beds one! We have 5 kids and a 3-bedroom home, so not a lot of choice there … they are so dang dangerous! No broken bones yet :-)

Johanna 3 years ago

I’m uncomfortable with what this says about me but I misread item #7 to say “whips” instead of “wipes”!

Shannon 3 years ago

All of these are SO TRUE! Of course I inevitably rush to pee occasionally and kick myself for fogetting to look first. I so know better!

Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom 3 years ago

OMG…so Scary Mommy has prophesied, so it has been done. Why didn’t I listen to the Sharpie advice? Why?? *hides Sharpie and super glue in mad frenzy* Oh – and sadly, it’s too late for me in terms of the loft bed. But save yourselves!!

Anita 3 years ago

#15 is the best! When I was a kid, I put a cat in the oven! Why I can’t say, but thank god my mom heard it meowing before she decided to cook anything!

I have a two year old girl, so this list is gonna come in handy! :)

shama-mama 3 years ago

at the rate we were going, i thought about investing some money in band-aids…they’ll never go broke!!

Suzy 3 years ago

Yeah the “terrible twos” turn into the “horrible threes” and the “frustrating fours”. My daughter didn’t sort herself out til she was 5 lol

And if I had a dime for the number of Spongebob/Princess/Dora bandaids we went thru when she was a toddler, I’d be rich.

And the fracking Wiggles musical toys ALMOST drove me to drink. If I hear “Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy” one more time, I might go all the way crazy

Gayletrini 3 years ago

OMG OMG this is spot on!!
I attest to the toy with parts and I include Happy Nappers in this. Gave my girls one each for their birthday and I spent a good few hours everyday since putting the unicorn and lady bug into their houses then 2 minutes later having to unzip it and pull them out again.
Playdoh, shaking my head, is at one time a Godsent and the scourge of the earth!
I don’t want to be my mother WUAHHHH!!! Already seeing signs of #17 though.
Great one

Sara Thompson 3 years ago

When I had my son, my mom gave me two pieces of great advice that I have passed on to many new moms. 1. It doesn’t get better, it just gets different. 2. Never wish away a moment because they go so fast.

Megan (Best of Fates) 3 years ago

I’m sorry – did you mean never purchase character bandaids for your children? ‘Cause I could get on board with that. But for yourself??

Did you know they make Muppet bandaids?!

And you could buy and wear them.

And be happy.

Truly happy.

70% guaranteed.

Unless you hate the Muppets.

And then, well, I can’t help you.

Brittany {Mommy Words} 3 years ago

As usual, spot on Jill. I totally keep millions of pens and pencils and paints and sharpies in our house but I do have to say that the kids are really good about keeping it in the kitchen so they don’t lose their projects.


Alexandra 3 years ago

Love this, Jill.

And it doesn’t get easier:it just gets different.


Ladygoogoogaga 3 years ago

At the end of the day the most important lesson is #50….and also I just read your bunk bed post, thanks for the tip!!!!

Judy 3 years ago

I’d like to add to number six…Was always told it’s the terrible twos, trying threes & fucking fours!

Nana Moore 3 years ago

Love it! I am sending this to my daughter and young friend both are new young mothers. Amazing the stress they have from bad advise! This is just so great!

Kate@zMOMbie 3 years ago

They should hand this out at the hospital!

anna see 3 years ago

these are great! and i just bought a new pack of wipes for the car yesterday…

Missy 3 years ago

I agree with every single one of these.

KRB89 3 years ago

This was so funny and true. I loved every last item and ALL of the comments.

Shannon 3 years ago

My SIL once gave Play-Doh to my girls as a Christmas present… the next month, I was sure to return the favor for my nephew’s birthday gift! 😉

Mercy 3 years ago

Hahah, these make so much sense and are completely true.

Jennifer 3 years ago

I’m scared of #49. I almost prefer the diaper stage as opposed to the pee-all-over-the-bathrooming that will no doubt occur once Baby Boy is potty-trained.

Tracy Larson 3 years ago

Too funny! Always take a roll call of the kids if the duct tape is missing…

You’re great Jill!

Kelly 3 years ago

EXACTLY! No book could possibly prepare you for your precious children turning into demons from hell.

Rebeccah 3 years ago

This really may be the best post you’ve ever written. Brilliant. Loved every single one. Damn those legos.

chrissy 3 years ago

My 2 year old son did this to me the other night. He went to bed around 830, around 915 I went to the bathroom and my leg hit something. I turned on the light and it was him staring at me. I had a heart attack.

This entire list is so so true. I love it!
#51. Baby powder…to be kept up in the attic. Its baby crack, I swear. One moment out of the room and it looks like a lab exploded all over the room.

zumpie 3 years ago

Agree about the lollipops (or at least until around age 6, when the magical effect is no longer), definitely agree about making beds (ours generally get made “for company”). Beyond that, eh:

Truth be told, I was the one all excited about our WDW trip—even my then 6 year old daughter was begging me to stop babbling. And I’ve only gotten worse with successive visits.

Clothes are our “thing” and it’s American Girl city here and their sales are generally very infrequent and minimal. But everything else is super bargain time, plus AG clothes last forever.

When my daughter was 9 I finally found a set of bunkbeds that matched the rest of her vintage French Provincial furniture. She loves them and I love them. We both like them for sleepovers, but I also love how the not used bunk holds all her stuffed animals, etc, organizng her little room effectively.

Oh and turning into my mother would make me a pothead with multiple marriages. Though we do like similar vintage decorating ideas, books and hold similar political views. And we do clean and bargain shop in much the same manner.

Heidi Bryan 3 years ago

Brilliant…I couldn’t have said it better myself :) So true, and sadly, I have learned so many of those the hard way.

Jessica 3 years ago

Sooo true. I was nodding the whole time!

Gigi 3 years ago

Oh my hell! This list is true – every last one of them! Where was this list when mine was born lo these many years ago?

Kim at notmymomsblog 3 years ago

Spot on! I would add:

Never expect him to be healthy when you go on vacation.
Never expect him to believe the words, “Don’t touch the pan, it’s hot.”
The one time you don’t have a juice box on you, he’ll be dying of thirst.

Carmen DeSousa 3 years ago

ROTFLMBO! Because it’s true! And mine are 15 & 20—BOYS!

shama-mama 3 years ago

“don’t get freaked out when you wake up in the middle of the night and find your child staring down at you silently”

OMG how true and weird!

shama-mama 3 years ago

I regifted the moonsand i got to the nosey lady who always told me how to raise my kids!

KraftyKwai 3 years ago

That’s hilarious. I knew I was in for it when she popped me on the mouth for telling her no and pointed her finger and said, “No, no, Mama”. I’m sure she would have sent me to my “chair” (timeout chair). She was sitting in her chair and I knelt down to explain to her what she had done wrong when she took advantage. All I could do was walk away because I couldn’t contain my laughing (of course, I held it long enough to be out of her sight). So just so you know us moms need to stick together. We are not alone in this journey for sure.

Corey Feldman 3 years ago

Too funny and true. I am a safety nut and bunk beds scare me, but they are so fun when you are a kid

Evin Cooper 3 years ago

After 3 kids – I just mastered this one – don’t give the baby/toddler in the high chair a BOWL of food. That makes flinging easier. Dump it directly on the tray so they have to grab handfuls to throw – they’ll still throw, but they throw less.

Practical Parenting 3 years ago

Use the DVR unless you want your kids to find out about more crappy toys that will fall apart in five minutes and cost a small fortune!

Yes on the wipes…those things are for life!

Great post, as usual :)

Jodi 3 years ago

Just so everyone knows, rubbing alcohol will take Sharpie off skin. You might have to fight with them to get them to sit still long enough depending on how bad the Sharpie incident is but you can get it off.

Rebecca 3 years ago

Obviously the kids hid them. 😉

Jack@TheJackB 3 years ago

Legos are the best toys to play with and the most painful to step on- damn straight.

Shaunmarie 3 years ago

As a SINGLE mother raising 5 kids…my favorite rule is the Saving “NO” till it really matters! Life is much better when your sharing in others ideas. Let them be childish as long as possible. I agree, especially after losing my son 8 months ago. If I would have said no to most everything he thought was a good idea I wouldn’t have such wonderfully funny memories!

Jennifer 3 years ago

I have to admit. I was having a bad (No going crazy and can feel the grays growing) Morning, until I read this! It’s so true and funny .Made me realize that no matter how many times I bleach the bathroom, I have a BOY, and your right it will never smell freshly clean!

Annmarie 3 years ago

Thank goodness I am not the only one with a 2 yo daughter with the attitude of a teenager. The other day after a time out, I asked her “why did mommy put you on time out” and her response was “I was just jumping on the couch” (eyes roll) “whatever”… I didnt even know she knew how to roll her eyes like that! Not to mention that she has taken up the role of mommy when I am not around. She has tried to put her older brother (4yo) on time out…

Ali 3 years ago

You had me at Sharpie. And bunk beds…

Annmarie 3 years ago

This is awsome! For me, I would have to add dont allow your child to pick out his/her own clothes. It can be 100 degrees out side and my son (4yo) will still insist on wearing his long sleve Mickey Mouse sweater, cargo pants and snow boots… I finally had to hide the boots in the basement. Any my daughter (2yo) will take HOURS decideing between three outfits she picked out… If I dont get them dressed while destracted by Little Einstines, then we dont leave the house on time.

MangoChutney 3 years ago

I totally agree with this list! I am my mother, after the last child is born, you’re usually too tired to follow through with everything. Sure, I had expectations but I rather let her sit in front o the tv for hours… And you know she’s pretty smart. Thx Dora the Explorer and thxBubble Guppies

monica 3 years ago

Amen on 5. Oops too late on 10. As usual, full of wisdom.

Valerie 3 years ago

Been there, done that too many times to count. Should be in the top 10! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself!!

Jill – Enjoyed meeting you at BBC in Philly! Your book is next in the pile.

Tiffany 3 years ago

Oh jeez so true! I remember giving mine blue dawn baths,

Tiffany 3 years ago

Yes please do! My girls are gross!!

Tiffany 3 years ago

I would SO win this! lol Please do it!

Meghan 3 years ago

I love that #1 is about superglue, and #2 is sharpies…I have three small boys, need I say more! Also, I am the one that has, as a child, accidently superglued her mouth shut at age 3, not kidding. I am very careful where I put the superglue. And the sharpies stay hidden because when our oldest was almost 3 on the Thurs. before Easter Sun. he decided to “tattoo” his face like the Maoris we’d seen on tv the day before, while I foolishly thought it would be fine if I didn’t put up the baby gate on the kitchen door and left him to watch tv while I nursed his brother in the bedroom down the hall!!! I scrubbed and scrubbed and only got it partway off, and then it was red too! As a side note, there is nothing about putting your microwave where little hands can’t reach it-very important!
You would be surprised at the amount of damage that can be done in a short time by a microwave and little children!

KraftyKwai 3 years ago

Thank you for this post. As usual you hit all the right points and use just the right words. I am hitting age 2 with my Little One and one on the way. My daughter thinks she runs the house right now, and I don’t know where it is coming from. I’m sorry…no, I do, but I don’t actually want to admit it. She is me in a little person. Defiance is her word of the month, and she has managed to push all my buttons in ways I didn’t expect until puberty.

Wendy 3 years ago

Oh, the vaseline. Lock it in your bathroom with all the other stuff that’s out of reach. Or you’ll have a slicked up 2 year old right before you have to get in the car to go somewhere. DO NOT put the slicked up kid in the tub! Use that stash of wipes and enjoy their sweet, soft skin for a few days. :)

Joni 3 years ago

Did you know that a pool of ketchup in the carpet has the same “feel” to a boy as standing at the batters box and pawing at the ground like the pros do?? Which is what he told me as he stood there with his imaginary bat in his hand.

Mel 3 years ago

This is an amazing list and I can absolutely relate to and agree with every point about things I have already encountered. Only now I am dreading that 4 year old check up.

Rhana @ Dumb {Squared} 3 years ago

Words to definitely live by!

I’d also add:

– examine you bed closely before sleeping in it

– don’t get freaked out when you wake up in the middle of the night and find your child staring down at you silently

– kids give you grey hair

– drinking in moderation does wonders

Shannon 3 years ago

I would add glitter and Moon Sand to the things that do not belong in a house with small children. Pretty sure Moon Sand was invented by the Devil, himself.

Gina 3 years ago

I have never laughed so hard in my life I have learned all of these plus more being the mother of 4 children two of them being 18 month old twins this is great

Kristen Mae 3 years ago

Yes. Yes. Yes. Fifty times, YES. Love it!

Lucy Ball 3 years ago

Whoa! You NAILED it! I’m printing your list to refer to daily – sort like my daily devotional.

Kristin 3 years ago

Great list!! LOVE IT!! But what happened to 41 – 48????? LOL…

Arnebya 3 years ago

Oh, the Sharpies. Hell, pens in general! PlayDoh was banned from indoors in ’05. Still cussing about the bunk beds b/c I needed to know this absolute bullshit back in ’04 when we got them. And #21: overrated for them AND me.

Marybel Rodriguez 3 years ago

I love them all especially number 27. Unfortunately i learned that the hard way one very early morning lol but i should of known better with three boys :)

Tara 3 years ago

Oh my DD got into the vaseline….no matter how many times i washed her hair it was greasy for over a week. This list is awesome. My best friend is about to have her first and I think she could learn from this list. She’s always saying to me ” Oh i would never let him act that way” or ” he would never get away with that”….she’s in for a surprise.

Original_Kupkake 3 years ago

No one mentioned anything about vaseline… BEWARE THE VASELINE!! LOL

Kelley 3 years ago

Nooooo, Don’t do the loft bed. Its impossible to make the bed or change the sheets easily. We got my daugheter one. It also ends the crawling into bed with her to snuggle and read a story.
I was never so happy as the day I gave it away.

Lenore Barron 3 years ago

Yup! That one too my youngest shaved a bald spot on top of his head the day before we were to leave on vac.. Thank goodness hes a boy so can you say buzz cut…lol

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) 3 years ago

Love it. Is #51: When you’re tired of listening to whining, do your own wine-ing?

Lenore Barron 3 years ago

Lol with my boys it was check the oven, toaster, microwave, washer , dryer well hell ckeck everything … lol

Lenore Barron 3 years ago

How very true each statement is! Love It!! It doesnt get any easier but I enjoy every moment.. Thanks for the read

wakathango 3 years ago

now am encouraged by 1-49 discouraged by #50, it never gets easier?

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 3 years ago

Oh yes, all of those are so true.
51. Always have a plastic bag in the car for when your child gets sick.
Better make that two plastic bags, one to put the clothes in and one to give to the child as a barf bag.

Kim 3 years ago

You nailed it!!!!!!

Jennifer 3 years ago

Always keep wipes, BUT do NOT store them in the back seat pocket where your kids sit for your YOUR ease of use. That also means they can reach them and you will open the door to get them out of the car to find a wipes explosion.

Nicole 3 years ago

Love this! Wish I always remembered to check their pockets before washing…. I will always have blue crayon in my dryer….

Loukia 3 years ago

Ahh… thank you for this! SO SO TRUE. The perfect list!

Scary Mommy 3 years ago

LOL. Hiding. They’re there now. :)

Jessica 3 years ago

I have learned so many of these the hard way, permanent markers, make up, Barbie hair and oh the smell of the bathroom with boys. Ugh.

Samantha 3 years ago

Awesome idea — I’m in!

Life with Kaishon 3 years ago

You had me at super glue ; )
Love this list!

Carolyn West 3 years ago

Can I please add that a bathroom with a house full of girls doesn’t smell any better? Or get any cleaner?

RachRiot 3 years ago

Great list. I was thinking of starting a website where parents can upload the video their child’s meltdowns and we can all vote on the best one. Epic Meltdown Of The Day will win a prize– maybe a spa day. Runner-up will get earplugs and Advil. Genius, right??

Beth Keenan 3 years ago

Yep to every one. You nailed it. Thanks :)

Jennifer 3 years ago

I hate to ask this, but where are 41 – 48?

Motherhood on the Rocks 3 years ago

Yes, yes, yes! All so very true!

Cindy 3 years ago

Great list! I burst out laughing at “check the oven”. Haven’t had that yet.

Carolyn 3 years ago

I nodded my head at EVERY SINGLE ONE! :)
I’d also add, don’t mention a playdate/surprise/treat for after nap because there will be no nap.

Momma*MK 3 years ago

Next, post the 50 rules that come with school-age kids, like homework/teacher/classmate drama that happens EVERY DAY. This only carries us through year 5 or so, provided we survive.

CJ 3 years ago

Hahahaha, these are great and sooooo true! My kids are 7, 6, 4 and 1 and I know many of these all too well.

ChristyJ 3 years ago

I really needed the Sharpie one many years ago, glad to know I had a lot of it right though. They did forget to put away the razors, kids want to shave too.

Alison@Mama Wants This 3 years ago


I’d like to add – don’t buy the toy your child LOVES so much at the store, he just had to walk around with it. As soon as he gets home with it, he’ll abandon it.

Kimberly 3 years ago

This list contains far more valuable information than anything I got out of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting/The First Year/The Toddler Years.

And why don’t they have a What to Expect: The Teenage Years from Hell?

Athena 3 years ago

Love-love-love-love-LOVE! (Thanks for the bunk bed advice, I guess the same would go for a loft bed, which we were considering.)

tracy@sellabitmum 3 years ago

Less attractive babysitters…check. Love this Jill. xoxo

Shell 3 years ago

I have learned many of these the hard way!

Especially the super glue one. I still have nightmare flashbacks of two of my boys superglue-ing themselves so they had a second skin of glue… and getting it all over our brand new couch.

Super glue removal tip: olive oil. 😉


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