My House Rules
In my house I have a set of those beautiful house rules printed on metal, which presume familial harmony exists and will continue. "Laugh often, say I love you, try your best" etc. etc. While these are undoubtedly good life lessons, the rules I find myself voicing are a bit different. I'm talking about the ones you repeat daily, like a broken record in the hope that some day, someone will absorb them. Though inspired by those pre-printed rules, mine are solely for my children, not for display in the downstairs loo. (My version probably wouldn’t sell anyway.)
1. It's not morning until 6am
Fact. It is actually nighttime until those 5's become 6's.
We've tried various methods of keeping the children in their beds. The Gro Clock came highly recommended from many friends who tell me they're great and work a treat! Frustratingly and without fail, my two continue to rise with the birds.
2. Please don't shout, use an indoor voice
Apparently when you're 6 and 4 only max decibels will do even if one little face is 3 inches from the other. Rule #2 is also known as "just stop shouting!"
3. Don't give up
This one is the root of my own undoing. I'm determined by nature. My kids are also determined. I want them never to give up in the face of true adversity but sometimes, when the adversity is them persistently whining, I’m all for giving up and moving on.
4. Sofa cushions are for sitting on
I'm right, right? See photo above. I may have entered an alternate reality where sofa cushions are solely for building towers, gymnastic courses, castles and tunnels. I don't mind really but all the time, multiple times a day, really? Take me back to the old world.
5. Say please and thank you - always
"Because it's the law" - yes I do tell them that. Good manners are free and essential to being a decent human being. I know a few adults who could do with remembering this one too. An oldie but a goodie.
6. Don't be mean
Thankfully this is a rarely mentioned rule but I can't and won't stand meanness.
7. Listen (to me, please)
Simple. There's no doubt they hear me but getting them to actually listen is sometimes too great a request.
I often imagine they hear but ignore me on purpose. I think (hope) in reality there are far more interesting things going on in their world. I'd probably ignore me repeating, ad infinitum, all the rules above so I guess I can't blame them.
8.Yes you can, in 5 minutes
When all rules are being ignored and whining is at max decibel level from amidst a cushion fort - I enlist rule number 8: Whatever it is, "yes you can, in 5 minutes". What will I do when they actually hold me to this minuscule amount of time, which has been known to last 30 or 40 minutes? My delay game is currently strong but for how long? Not so much a rule, more a well loved tactic to give us all some space.
9. Love each other
My last rule and probably the most treasured. I remind them because it's special and so important. You can’t pick your family but you can choose how you treat them - that is the important part. As for the picture, it's genuinely not staged; I caught them chatting like this - they really do love each other.
Sometimes my rules are announced in a "for goodness sake, how many times!" style. Other times I'm calm and need only remind them once. I’m an advocate for creating a happy family with respect for one another and an understanding of what it is to be a kind human being. These rules (except the one about sofa cushions) help me achieve that.
I know there will be a few people who won’t like my rules (or that I have house rules at all) but this is my family, not theirs. I won’t judge you and yours so please don’t judge mine. If I get it wrong, it’s my fault and I will deal with the consequences. For now, it feels right. As with most things, there’s room for development and refinement and hopefully some elimination (I want my sofa back!). I’m sharing because it says a lot about me and because being honest is therapeutic.
Now to draw them up beautifully for a frame on the wall.
Let me know…what are your house rules?