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The 10 Unofficial Rules of Living with Small Children

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It’s no joke that your life gets flipped-turned upside down once kids enter the picture. Not only do you shift your level of what is considered gross, but several other aspects of your everyday adjust as well. Don’t have kids yet? Take this list and tuck it somewhere for later. Have a kid or two or five (you crazy Duggar, you), let's scare the bejesus out of the kid-free people.

1. The hours between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. are sacred. This is known as “After Bedtime.” It’s also the time of day when my husband and I will cram as much of our adult lives into this incredibly small window before we must go to sleep. We watch what we want, we eat what we want, and we recuperate from the day.

2. Unless it stinks or is visibly stained, it’s clean. Having a kid automatically increases the amount of laundry at your home by 100 percent. Thus, we learn to wear things a little longer. I will visibly cringe (and sometimes curse) when I spill something on myself because dammit, I'm gonna have to wash that.

3. The good candy must be eaten silently and while hidden. That is, unless you're prepared to share bites until it is gone, put away or cleaned up. In fact, this goes for all food that you’re eating. It doesn’t matter if it’s something your kid doesn't even like. They like it the minute you have it and they don’t.

4. Dinner shall be eaten before 6 p.m. Kids go to bed early. If you want to have time to eat, clean up, bathe them, put them in pajamas and avoid meltdowns, you HAVE to start early. And now we're ruined by this. When our friends without kids plan a social dinner after 7 p.m., we panic a little bit. BUT WE WILL BE STARVING BY THEN! Who eats that late? (See, we're ridiculous.)

5. Finding the mate to shoes and socks is a daily athletic event. I don't know what happens or why, but children seem to be experts at losing one of their shoes or one of their socks. Without fail, we are looking under the couch, digging through the toy box or searching the car for someone’s footwear before we leave the house. Every. Single. Day.

6. Poop is a regular topic of conversation. And you won't even be talking about your own. You will talk about your kid's poop without even flinching or realizing that it’s not acceptable dinner conversation when out with friends. You'll tell your husband about it, your mother, and whoever brings up anything remotely related. (Wait. Maybe this is just me?)

7. Businesses with drive-thrus are your new favorite. Pharmacy drive-thrus, liquor store drive-thrus, coffee shop drive-thrus and every other kind will make you so gleefully happy. You will wish that other establishments put one in. Sometimes just the mere thought of loading up your kids, taking them out, putting their coats on, carting them to the back of the store, grabbing one gallon of milk and then repeating the whole process to get home is utterly exhausting.

8. Most meals will be eaten one-handed and/or as quickly as possible. The minute you sit your toddler down for a meal, it’s like setting a timer. They eat quickly, if at all, and will need something or be ready to get down and destroy something in a matter of minutes. It’s especially bad at potluck type dinner events. You usually can’t balance two plates and keep them in line so therefore, you make them a plate and just give up on the thought of eating yourself. The leftover “yucky” stuff from your kid’s plate will hold you over until bedtime.

9. Your phone will be loaded with adorable photos you forgot you took. You will take a photo of every adorable thing they do and then you’ll so quickly move on to the next thing or place or part of your day that you’ll usually completely forget about that photo until you use up the memory on your phone or go to get a new one.

10. You will never complete a task without being interrupted every five minutes. Have a Pinterest project you want to try? Don’t even start it until the kids are in bed AND ASLEEP. You will not get through five minutes without someone needing a diaper change, a drink, help with a toy, or someone is screaming because they were pushed/hit/slapped. The same goes for cleaning your house. You might as well just accept that you'll live in filth until they go to school (Moms, please tell me it gets better then?).

For you veterans out there, did I miss any “rules”?

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