Hey Kids,

Feel free to leave your stuff wherever you want this summer. Half drunk smoothies in the family room? No problem. I got it. Socks in the hall. I’m on it. Dishes in the sink? Keep ’em coming. Legos? Everywhere? Love it. Oh, and feel free to drag your blankets all over the house and abandon them the moment you no longer want them. I’ll fold them lovingly for you and return them to your rooms.

And doors? Shutting them is optional. I’m right behind you, so, seriously, don’t worry about it. I love when the wasps get in and the air conditioning gets out. Who are we to be sequestered in our climate controlled house? Open door policy in this house. We have endless money.

And it’s totally fine to leave your wet bathing suits and towels on any surface from the floor to the banister. I love heaps, but be creative! Oh, and putting them on painted wood surfaces is the best. I’ll grab them so they don’t warp the wood. You’re busy. Stop. Get back to your Netflix. Friends is not going to binge watch itself.

And let me know when you are hungry. Don’t be encumbered by normal meal times. And please don’t coordinate with each other. The kitchen is open 24/7 and I’m happy to whip up anything you need, whenever you need it. I majored in short order cooking.

And if you make something yourself, just leave every single item exactly where you last needed it. Milk, too. If it goes bad…I’ll just buy more. Money? Please. I’ll just work more. And I got the clean-up. I will walk in your footsteps and put things away. It’s fun for me to live vicariously through your cooking. Like, wow, how did they get so much shredded cheese on the counter? Impressive.

And every time you are thirsty…get a new glass. We have tons. And a dishwasher I love to load and unload. And, as far as I know, endless electricity and water. The world is our oyster.


And if something comes up with your friends? I’m in. I’ll drive you there or back, or hell, both. I mean, I have a car and a license. I should put it to good use. And please, no need to give me any advance notice. I can easily stop whatever I’m doing, even work, to take you. I know how valuable your time is. Need some money for the movies? You got it, kiddo.

And to the little one, when you feel like it, I’ll take you to the pool. Before we go, you can complain and squirm while I put on your sunscreen. Don’t hold back. Just be you. Express how you’re feeling. It is cold, isn’t it? I love the challenge of when you inch away slowly as I’m applying it. Good stretch for my arms and back. Kind of you to think of me.

And just one thing on goggles. I’m on it. Don’t bother to keep track of yours. I’ve made it my summer mission to know where your goggles are at all times (in the car…left side…wedged in between the seats). At night, I’m sleeping with them under my pillow. We can’t be too careful. How will you swim without them?

Just a few last minute housekeeping items: Eye rolling? Yes! I love the immediate feedback of my thoughts and ideas. How else can I gauge if I’m pleasing you or not? Showering? Optional. You know what’s best. I defer to you. Wearing a hat? No way. The more sun the better. Chores? Just tell me when it’s a good time for you. The weeds and messes aren’t going anywhere.

One last thing…please always wear your headphones so that you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. Communication is totally overrated. Little known fact about me? I love yelling things at the top of my lungs three or four times with no response. It’s very cathartic. Look it up.

Well, call me crazy, but if you guys follow all of these guidelines, I think this summer is going to be a win for all of us.

Or if you don’t understand sarcasm, you won’t make it until July. Either way…

Love you guys.

The Default Parent
Meredith Trotta

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  1. TRUTH.
    This all applies to the “Older Other Child” /OOC, AKA: the husband, as well!! Laughed and snorted my way through this one.

  2. Absolutely hilarious!!! Thanks for the laughs and happy summer! I will look forward to reading about how you survived! I know you will because you are one amazing mom. Lucky kids.

    1. I’m not sure they will appreciate all these blogs throwing them under the bus when they are older, but screw it, they had it coming! 😉 Good luck this summer!

  3. Do you live in my house?! Thanks for the laugh as I head into the bittersweetness of summer. Love being home with them; hate the ton of extra work. My fave part: “Eye rolling? Yes! I love the immediate feedback of my thoughts and ideas. How else can I gauge if I’m pleasing you or not?”

  4. I think I almost cried as I was reading it… Not because of the obvious amazing humor, but sadly because I feel like you read my mind!! I have a few to add for ya…. while were on a roll….

    To children…..

    Feel free to eat pretty much wherever you want in the house and just leave your dishes wherever. In fact I love it when you play hide and seek with you milk filled cereal bowl under your bed. Brings to mind the song.. “Ooooo That Smell…..” Good times!!

    And I’d hate to think of all of the yard toys in the garage going to waste, so feel free to pull out every single toy, bike, scooter, Frisbee, jump rope, ball, etc from the garage and leave it in the middle of the yard/street!! I’ll pick it all up while you are chillin’ out at the end of the day with your 50th popsicle!! Oh yes…. popsicles…. just leave the wrappers wherever you may happen to be when you done eating it – I’ll pick that up too.

    Flip flops…. if ya loose one – not to worry…. we’ve got a million pairs – so feel free to leave them at the neighbors, lose one at the pool, etc. I understand it is way to0 much to expect you to keep track of them with all you have going on. When we run out – we’ll buy more!!!

    Oh goodness – you’ve unleashed the beast…. I could go on!!!!!! Thanks for the very welcomed sarcasm.

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for the great additions. I can see the garage throwing up the toys and you picking them up. The glamorous side of parenting!! Too funny!

  5. A great read…thanks for your humor. It does mask some of life’s frustrating phases. The saving grace is that the kids grow up and we manage to survive the process. Slow sometimes but worth every mile (well almost) of the journey. The highlight of parenting is looking back and being able to toss out some of the ugly, since we have already lived through that, and enjoy the goodness our kids bring into our lives.
    One more thought. Could we possibly be getting our just rewards, known as `pay back` from our own childhood. Nah!!
    I am reminded, frequently, to thank my mom (now 94) for her ongoing love that touches so many. Though we celebrate Mother’s Day only once a year, it is a full time job. Thank you mom’s everywhere.

  6. Absolutely got me in tears at the inching away slowly while applying sunscreen- I think it applys to hair brushing, helping with socks and so many more. …I wonder why my back aches then I realize the cortionist I became since being a parent. Love your work.

  7. I can honestly say you made me the happiest Mom in the world right now. I have a special needs child and I always feel like we live on th edge of the real world since we don’t have a lot of contact with other families. I am always so concious of how different my child and our family dynamic is and yet with this one essay yoou have shown me that WE ARE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! My kid is more normal than not. This is my house too. I just didn’t know it was everyone else’s house as well. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel so normal right now I could cry. And I would add the following: By all means leave the hose on in the yard for hours and not tell me you didn’t know how to shut it off. There’s nothing more I enjoy than walking through the newly created mud bath in the back yard in my new white shoes and white pants!

    1. We are all the same! So glad I could make you feel it. The hose! Yes! I forgot about that. My son left if on for hours the other day. Brilliant!

  8. I honestly have not laughed this hard in a long time!! Being a mother of four and on our first ‘day of summer’ I feel like you just wrote a chapter from my life!!
    Thanks for making me laugh:)

  9. First of all, cried while laughing reading this. “Friends won’t binge-watch itself.” Who knew our kids would be obsessed with that show?

    Thank you for writing this, so I don’t have to. Just printing it out now and taping it to my 3 teen and tween boys’ bedrooms for them to read. Cue the eyerolling.

  10. Meredith I am convinced we share a brain, only you got the working part of it! This is my life exactly. I can’t wait to go to work at the office so I can escape it all even for a little while! Cocktails anyone!?!

  11. My teenage daughter waits for me to go out so she can bake or make smoothies. Wonderful I hear you say! Yes the aroma is amazing, the twenty pots, pans and various utensils, not so much.
    Guess what I’ll be doing all summer long!
    Fab blog as always xx

  12. Meredith, so well done!

    I am experiencing two extremes of kid involvement and it’s driving me nuts.

    Mr. Entitled 14 year old sees the occasional absence of Manchego and Luques olives in the house as a personal failing on my part and contemptuously rips off the headphones only when he sees that I’m about to have a Vesuvian blow-out if I have to repeat myself one more time. Think Jack Nicholson in The Shining but up the contempt and add in the funk of wild goat.

    On the flip side, my 10 year old wants to try a new craft daily with an insatiability that borders on madness. Yesterday’s embroidery bores her, time to go back to bracelot making… or was it decoupage? fashion drawing? cake pops?

    (For the amount of money I’ve dropped at Joann’s and Michael’s, I should have just enrolled her at La Varenne).

    She too is in the midst of her own Friends blow-out but instead of relishing the plot lines of Monica and gang privately she is waterboarding me with plot line descriptions and “what ifs” … “what do you think would happen if Ross…”

    I don’t know, sweetie… maybe he’d gobble Xanax like Skittles? Knowingly eat bad potato salad so as to earn some time away from the herd? Maybe tie up Rachel in bed and leave her there while he goes out for some brewskies with his peeps?

    Summer always looks so great in my anticipatory thoughts, but often such a drag when the reality of 20,000 hours togetherness hits you.

    Thank heavens for a well-stocked liquor cabinet, re-runs and having kids old enough that I don’t have to join them in the pool (if I see one more Barbie rocking the bikini in the shallow end of the neighborhood pool I might just blow another Varicose vein).

    Thanks for the great post, can’t wait to read more from your blog.


  13. OH MY WORD!!!!! I SO identify with you, every single thing you said!!! I have 7 kids, 4 of them are teenage girls and I think I’m going to go CRAZY every day of my life! I feel like you are reading my thoughts!! So right on!! Hang in there, mom, we are AWESOME!!!

  14. I loved reading this.
    They do grow up. I am a mother of two young men. I am thankful to look back on those times and see that we did survive and hopefully the kids will have their own children “just like themselves” someday. After seeing our sons graduate college with jobs and apartments, my husband and I have become empty nesters. Now we only have to clean up our own messes.
    We look forward to their visits and are confident that they are doing well on their own.
    Thank you for sharing your well written words and bringing back fun and exhausting memories.

    1. Last night was fun around our house. When my husband came home from work (at 7:30, he always misses all the fun) I sat outside drinking wine, in tears, telling him about the day at home with our kids. Reading M.Blazoned’s work makes me realize I am not alone…

      Here was our fun summer evening… I grounded all three of my children last night (Max for smashing Maya’s clay Minion that she made at art camp this week, Jack for verbally abusing Maya about every move she makes and Maya just for keeping the chaos burning and screaming) and gave them two minutes to eat a bowl of cereal before sending them to their rooms for the night, at 6:30 PM (nice mom).

      A little while later, Mango our dog was going crazy outside and barking and whining and looking at our roof. I went outside to see what was the matter and there was my hormone crazed teenager, blackheads and all. Jack was walking around on our roof like a silver backed gorilla. He snuck out of his room and thought it would be fun to open a window and climb on our roof. His lack of good judgment baffles me… How many days until school starts?

      It doesn’t really matter as long as I can keep reading, laughing, crying and relating to moms around the globe through M. Blazoned and her darling family. Keep writing. You are amazing.

      1. Oh Marci…if we didn’t laugh we’d cry. Sometimes we do both. I always try to remember that teenager’s brains aren’t fully formed…thus the silver backed gorilla on the roof (great image…I died laughing!) You are in good company. Summer makes me appreciate teachers all the more. Thanks for the nice comments. More blogs to come!

  15. My husband started reading this out loud to me and I could have sworn he’d written it about our kids–down to the binge-watching Friends and the incessant search for goggles!

  16. Fantastic! As a mom of two boys, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve yelled “Whose CUP is on the kitchen counter??” And, I’m not referring to the cup they were drinking out of! Your summer sound exactly like ours, and I have a feeling you’re laughing your way through it like I am!

    1. For some reason the cups make me mental. I need a dishwasher that has 90% cup space! I’m laughing through it in good company. Thanks for leaving the comment. So appreciate it.

  17. Thank you! I thought it was just me. I thought I was going crazy. The blankets everywhere……honestly I thought it was just here. Four boys. Please keep blogging!

    1. Seriously…what’s up the blankets? It’s like all our kids are Linus from Peanuts. XO I’ll keep blogging if you keep reading and sharing! Thanks.

  18. M., you nailed it! Sheer brilliance.

    I have a few additions of my own, for those of us with younger kids:

    A word on Otter Pops. Eat as many as you want. When you cut one open, be sure not to wipe off the scissors. Stuck shut scissors provide such a fun challenge for the next person needing to use them. And the small plastic wrapper you snipped off? No need to throw it away. Leave it on the desk, in the kitchen drawer, or in any mysterious nook and cranny you can find. It’s an entertaining scavenger hunt I can look forward to each day. Oh, and when your little brother throws his half-eaten Otter Pop on the floor, please make sure to walk right through the spilled colored juice. Then walk through as many rooms as possible. The stickiness throughout the house will be a constant reminder to the whole family of the joy of summertime.

    When you’re annoyed with your siblings, please don’t keep your feelings bottled up. Let them out. Go ahead, yell, scream, call names, whatever. Our neighbors won’t mind the noise. Patience is a virtue, and you can tell that mine needs to be strengthened. So, thank you for providing me with that opportunity. Every day. All day.

    And when it comes to bedtime, feel free to stay up as late as you’d like. I mean, the sun doesn’t go to bed till nearly 10 pm, so why should you? When you can’t wind down from the day’s activities, go ahead and come downstairs as often as you want. I live to serve. After all, down time for moms is highly overrated. I will lovingly drop whatever I am doing–again–to go tuck you in bed for the umpteenth time. As I come down the stairs, I will thank you for the extra exercise and will once again sing the praises of good ole’ Benjamin Franklin for his brilliant idea of giving us all an extra hour of daylight. Thanks, Ben. I owe you one.

    And when I kneel down exhausted at the end of the day, (and this part’s for real), I will thank God for the four little blessings who call me Mom. And for the chance to do it all again tomorrow.

    Happy summer, everyone.

    1. Love this comment! Especially the last paragraph. 🙂
      They make us lose our minds but they truly are a gift from God, aren’t they? (And mine know it and take full advantage too 😉 )

  19. This is my world…..I think moms should be sent to Aruba for two weeks every summer for Mommy Summer Camp.

    1. Did our Mothers put up with this all summer? or all year? mmmmm maybe what’s the new norm today should. not.be. Mother knows best–OUR mothers

      1. LOL. I’m sure they did. We all put up with plenty. But the letter was a gentle warning to my kids to cut the BS because I’m NOT doing this all summer. Good news? It’s working. Have a great summer and don’t take any crap from those kids!!!

  20. I just love great mom-bloggers who can make us laugh at our own crazy lives…thanks M, I’ll be following from now on!
    Because of those insane little plastic sticky corners of cut off milk bags *we live in Israel – where milk comes in bags – aargh, end up forever in the drawer with the sticky clamped scissors. has me screaming to no one in particular, ‘WHYYYYYY?” Because the extra 2 steps to the garbage is just.too.much.

  21. Thank you M. for reminding me that I need to go over to my mom’s and thank her for all I put her thru!!! Even though my two girls are 14 and 17 (almost 18) I am still trying to figure out while making scrambled eggs in the morning, how it takes my oldest 3 pans and when making a smoothie it takes 2 glasses, several utinsels and multiple straws. Did I have more children I didn’t know about that she is sharing with? How is it that I always find 5 or more half-full bottles of shampoo and conditioner in their shower? Do they use one kind for each day of the week? What happened to all their combs and brushes? Did they eat them? Mine are now constantly in their bathroom, of course without any “may I please” coming out of anyone’s mouth. Also, do they not realize that after 15 years of me telling them that they have a Costco size bottle of hand soap underneath their bathroom sink so they can fill up their hand soap container that is sitting on top of the counter, that I really didn’t lie, there is always one there and so they don’t have to use every single last drop and then fill up the one sitting on the countertop with water thinking that will magically clean their hands? Aye yie yie!! Though I love them to death, I hope they both have girls when they have children!!

  22. I lived through all of these situations (all the while working at a full-time job) and survived, and I am now hearing my daughter-in-law and daughter say all of these things. May I add, “By all means, feel free to let your friends use your goggles and leave them laying in the grass, or better yet, break them! No worries, the store has more.” Then there is, “No, I LOVE having your friends AND their little sisters come over. I’ll even wave with all my fingers as their Mom and Dad drive out of the sub without telling me where they’re going or how long they’ll be gone. I’m so glad someone around here gets to go shopping alone.”

  23. Iced coffee out my nose & my stomach muscles are sore now – I laughed so hard reading this (and the comments too!) Thank for this post, M!!! Thank you for making me realize that maybe it’s not just perimenopause making me hormonal and crazy! Hope you’ll write about teenage girls soon because I seriously think I’m on the brink of insanity and could really use some comic relief. You are brilliant. I’m definitely a new fan. Can’t wait for more!

  24. note on Otter Pops….have them cut them in half. It still gets the scissors sticky but it’s a lot easier to find half of an otter pop wrapper than those little ends.

  25. Thanks for this. After a day washing out the kitchen garbage bins (twice!) that were full of yoghurt and what looks like spat out chocolate… why put it in the plastic bag.. aim for the sides so it smears the bag, and lands in a mound at the bottom of the bin.. brilliant!
    And, finding broken biscuits (cookies) , lolly (candy) wrappers, and dirty socks (oh and the pants that had an accident in them!) from various corners of the house.. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that I am not alone. I haven’t quite lost my voice yet, but it is hoarse!
    One addition – I missed the daily requests for splatoon, an apple watch, an iPad oh and that game we just saw on the tv… of course it was no no and no! Get back to coloring in and swinging on that swing outside my dear!
    Lovin the holidays

    1. “spat out chocolate” too funny. I’d think you were exaggerating, but I know you aren’t. I’ve seen crazy things spat out on the edge of the garbage can. Serenity now!! Enjoy the holidays (haha!)

  26. Let me pick all of your friends up, take you wherever you want me to and then bring them home because there parents are busy.

  27. I almost peed my pants when I read about the goggles under the pillow – seriously, all of my kids are OCD about their goggles’ location! Must. Know. At. All. Times. I’m continuously trying to convince them it’s their job to keep track of their own stuff, but no luck so far. I hope I wasn’t this bad (but fear I was).

    1. On the goggles….I have 2 grown beach boys who rarely come home from college anymore. We live in a beach town, have a pool & even vacation at the beach so I have an always ready beach bag that hangs in the laundry room. Every day, all year long, just add towel and reading material to what’s already inside…sunscreen, football, first aid kit, binoculars, ziplocks for waterproofing iPhones, and Koosies (they are, after all, over 21) My boys more often go to the beach without me. They’ve been known to say, “the waves were bad, I wish I had my goggles since we were just messing around in the water.” To that I say, “Should’ve invited me to come with!! Those goggles are in the outside pocket of my beach bag always waiting for when you just might need them!!”

      1. Ps….Stay strong all you moms of un-grown children, it does pay off!
        My sons about their untidy roommate in a house with no dishwasher….”Really?? I don’t get why he has to get a new cup every time he gets something to drink?? Doesn’t he know, use 1 cup and just leave it in your regular spot!! Seriously, how hard is that??!!” YESSS! My work here is done! Great blog! Wish they had blogs when mine were young. Keep up the comical, loving work!

      2. This totally cracked me up! I love moms with older kids that still get it and haven’t gotten amnesia and are only selectively remembering themselves as tough on the kids. You rock!

  28. Oh and don’t forget about water balloons. Who can live through the summer without that new awesome invention that blows up 40 balloons at one time? Soo much fun,you can make 120 water balloons in under a minute. Don’t bother picking them up when your done, that’s my job. Let’s wait a few days until they are melted to the patio and it takes four hours of pressure washing to peel them off of the concrete. But I get it, your 7 and your knees hurt when you have to bend down.

    1. I love that water balloon thing! I want one, even though I know I’ll be like you, picking up the bits!! Hang in there!

    2. Yeah- we spent about $60 on those water balloons! The kids lived them. 300 plus balloons lasted about 4 minutes I think…

  29. You missed my 2 personal favorite subjects: Laundry and sleepovers!

    Laundry – I’ll find it, just leave it where it lands. Don’t worry about that fancy Crate & Barrel laundry basket that you just HAD to have to make your room complete. Also, please change clothes as many times a day as necessary: according to your mood OR your “need” to wear what your bestie, a million miles away, is wearing in her picture on Insta so you can be “twinning.” I’ll also do my best to read your mind as to what you want to wear next and have it hanging on your door.
    Sleepovers – Bring. It. On! Every night, every day the same friend or 10 different. Heck, we are going on vacation, why not invite the BFF to join us! I SO don’t want to be the person to drag you away from the comfort of a friend or force you to hang with me (in the laundry room).
    One last thought on The Pool – GO to the pool?! You need me to take you TO THE Pool?! What the heck is that huge hole in the ground retaining thousands of gallons of water that I pay someone to keep meticulously clean and chemically leveled, in the BACK YARD!!!! When you GO to THE Pool, you whine and cry to stay ALL DAY, but when you do fall into that hole in our back yard, you are out in 3 minutes, traipsing through the house, dripping wet, leaving the *&^% wet towels somewhere I won’t find until they leave a lovely aroma.

    Happy Summer Y’all!!

    1. LOL! I love that you have a pool but take them to the other pool. Too good. Enjoy your summer and thanks for adding more funny insights into this conversation. xo

  30. THANKYOU! I was beginning to feel like a bad mom with what I was expecting of my kids over the summer (which is NOT much…..) and like maybe I never really taught them anything before this. Maybe they really WERE raised in a barn! And then I read this (and all the additional comments). Sometimes it is just good to not be alone. Thanks for being bold and open so the rest of us could recognize our own ‘normalicy’.

    Blessings on a great summer. Keep loving your kids and remember to take mama time too 🙂

    1. Thank YOU for your nice comment. Love how many of us out there get the craziness of parenting and can laugh about it. I’m sharing a cyber mani-pedi with you right now!! Enjoy the kiddos.

  31. Great article! I am a stay at home dad with 3 girls 14, 12 and 11 right now and I am going to forward this to my wife so that she may feel sorry for me some because you have hit the nail right on the head! I’m actually very blessed to have her working now and also to have 3 beautiful girls. I’m sure, sooner than later, I’ll be missing all those glasses in the dishwasher. Thanks for the article!

    1. I know. I think that about Legos. I’ll miss them all over the place. I really, really will. Crazy how fast they get big. I might just fold their blankets for them!! Thanks for writing in. Always nice to have men and stay at home dads on the blog!

  32. Even though our youngest is 15 and my oldest is 22 (and living at home), a mother’s work is never done. It is always amazing to me that my children and husband expect me to know where everything is located, especially their stuff. When they can’t find something it is a crisis and I need to help look. When I can’t find something, they look at me and ask if I checked my purse.

    Don’t even get me started on the child who moved back home last year to save money while finishing college. When she lived on her own she did her own dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc. Now that she is living at home, she thinks she is a guest. Clean the bathroom or vacuum? “Oh, my gosh. I have better things to do.” Like go out and tan or drive around with friends. She can’t wash dishes or unload the dishwasher because she has to do that every day at work….and why should she have to do anything when I don’t even have a job! I happen to be off in the summer and taking care of my family isn’t work! Arrgghh!

    I now understand what my mom meant when she used to tell me to “Just wait until you have kids.” She has mentioned several times over the years that I was never as bad as our kids. Thanks for letting me know that there are many other mothers who are going through the same things!

    1. If my husband or son asks me to help them find something, I make them sing the ‘Mom is better than Google’ song. Also, the vacuum cleaner is great for cleaning up legos (bagless). Just use the hose, the kids will actually want to participate! Then you can dump the legos out of the canister into the storage box.

      1. I need a recording of this song! You are full of great ideas. I love it. Check out my blog The Default Parent. I think you will appreciate it! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  33. Seriously folks! If your kids are doing these things, they are a SPOILED. You are teaching them to be inconsiderate of others. I hope you don’t seriously do these things. Stop enabling them to be inconsiderate. If they don’t do it themselves, it doesn’t get done. Period! End of story!

    1. Hey Mary. So glad you posted this. There seems to be a bit of confusion on the sarcasm in the blog. The entire letter is meant to point out exactly what I will NOT do. It’s funny to me that some (not many) parents miss that and talk about how the author (me!) and the parents relating (everyone!) are somehow lousy parents and letting out kids walk all over us.

      Well, since you seem legitimately concerned about our kids being spoiled, let me address it. Our kids are just kids. They don’t naturally come out of the womb as middle aged humans. They have to grow and mature and learn stuff. They push boundaries partly because they are lazy, partly because they don’t have any real responsibility yet, and partly because their brains aren’t fully formed. So, we reign them in, on the daily, in hopes that someday they can close a door or shut out a light without a reminder from a parent. There are several ways to do this…

      1.) Without Sarcasm: Kids, please shut the door when you go in or out so that we don’t waste electricity and the air conditioning stays inside keeping us cool and the wasps don’t get in and sting us because both those things are not preferable.

      2.) With Sarcasm: “And doors? Shutting them is optional. I’m right behind you, so, seriously, don’t worry about it. I love when the wasps get in and the air conditioning gets out. Who are we to be sequestered in our climate controlled house? Open door policy in this house. We have endless money.” (direct quote from the blog)

      3.) Reverse Psychology: Please don’t EVER shut the door. Don’t shut the door ever.

      Now, of the three tactics, I find sarcasm to be the most effective because I’m sarcastic and my kids understand it. If, say a person does not understand sarcasm, they might think I actually would follow behind them and shut the doors. I assure you, I would not.

      But, and this is where parenting gets tricky, despite all of our efforts, mine, yours, and all of the parents out there, kids don’t fully grasp and/or understand true responsibility until they pay the rent and the a/c bill and get stung by a wasp (true story, I was stung the other day and it hurts like a mother!). Sure they close the door more and more, the more you nag about it. Sure they learn the lesson like my son this morning who can’t find his goggles that he’ll have to swim without them. But, true responsibility happens much later in life. This is why when they get older and keep their house neat and shut doors and know where their goggles are and their kids’ goggles are we know we did our job and helped them learn responsibility (after thinking WTF? Who are these people and what have they done with my kids?). At that point we can do one of two things:

      1.) Smugly think that our kids did these things all along and that we were by far the best, most effective parenting with raising such upstanding citizens. We can say things like, “kids today. harrumph…their parents just let them run amuck.”


      2.) We can search back in our minds to when we had our kids and recognize that despite our best, most loving and well-thought out parenting strategies sometimes our kids were just assholes…and by assholes I mean age appropriate kids…doing age appropriate stuff that makes parents a little bit crazy even though we love them to pieces. And we can celebrate all parents who are frustrated from time to time and write funny blogs about it because despite the sarcasm, they are parenting with the goal of raising responsible, polite, self-reliant children, just like us.

      But, (and I know this is getting long!), regardless of how you parent, I think THE MOST IMPORTANT PART is having a sense of humor about your kids, about parenting and about life in general. Maybe take a reread with these ideas in mind and see the blog for what it is, a funny look at how much your kids think they can get away with, but can’t because you’re not raising spoiled princes and princesses.

      1. Right On!! Took me back 35 yers and thing s haven’t change one bit@ And the people that don’t understand where you were coming from and going to either don’t have KIDS or are the ones that the spoiled BRATS come from! Love it!

      2. Loved your post and love this reply even more. So glad I am not the only one who loves my kids dearly but thinks they act like assholes:) Have a great summer!

        1. I read this comment to my husband and we both got a good laugh. We’ve been secretly calling them assholes (with all the love in the world for them being age-appropriate kids) for years. Now it’s like a thing. I heard Chris Pratt call his kids assholes on a talk show…so we are in good company. Thanks Jen!

      3. Too funny!!! My husband and I call our girls the same. Never to their face just to each other lol. I’m the sarcastic parent too but I also follow through with my threats. My kids know when I get mad and theres no sarcasm they better do whats expected or there will be consequences. Kids are kids and my kids are just that. I never think that my kid would never do something. I always get both sides of the story and figure whos right and whos fibbing. Life is too short and too precious to be a tyrant all the time. Yes there are spoiled kids and parents who rather be friends than parents or parents who just do not want to be bothered and this went on in every generation. I just think we see more with social media and theres more outside influences. Really enjoyed your blog!!

    2. really?! Look up sarcasm…or maybe “tongue in cheek”, the mom was being funny…no criticism needed. What did you think about “…you won’t make it to July…” A real death threat, or what? Sheesh! Chill, we’ve all had those days as moms, but maybe you raised the perfect child …then, maybe you can’t relate!

  34. loved your article! It brings back so many memories. It makes me feel less guilty that I wasn’t able to juggle all the demands. My husband wanted a spotless house, a perfect meal and peace and quiet when he came home every day. And he wanted me to be chipper and energetic after he had stared at the tv from 6-10:30pm. By that time of night I was practically delirious, as I’m sure you can imagine.
    I am a grandma now. My grandson lives a block away. He is all I can handle as I work full time and must get up at four a.m. Six days a week.
    Letting neighbor kids in the house has become out of the question. I never should have allowed it the first time. I can’t control them.
    They jump on the furniture, throw pillows near the china cabinet, raid the refrigerator, climb up in the closets and drag stuff out, torment the cat, spill ice cream on the rug, throw toys, steal small items, and run through the house like wild animals.
    Last week a 9-year-old boy nearly broke my grandson’s neck by dropping him on his head. This same kid ( who I thought was playing nontoxic little games on my iPad), read my texts and wrote mean messages to a Facebook friend. He looked up at least one dirty website. Yesterday evening he woke me from a sound sleep wanting me to get him ice cream and a drink of water. When I refused and went back to bed, he pounded on the door and yelled for about 15 long minutes. Then he turned my electricity off at the outside box.

    1. Thanks, Sabrina. I’d like to have a commune with my blog followers…or at least a once a year party. If I get my book published you are all invited!

    1. This made me LOL in my car today. Too damn funny. We will all be coming over to your house for margaritas! Lock the door!!! xo

  35. Really enjoyed this. Took my preteen and teenage children on vacation last weekend. I was wishing for a vacation from the vacation.

    It was wonderful. I really wanted to tell them please, please do blame me that the comicon we were planning to go to was canceled and hasn’t yet refunded our ticket money. I completely planned for my car to permanently die and my phone to get stolen the week before because I wanted new ones so why not? The traffic jams, I organized those because in 95 degree weather I think they’re a blast. Yep I totally called ahead and asked the metro to go slow and be over crowded when I made reservations at place, because I called for the hell of it not because I intended to keep the reservations. No I totally don’t mind paying $120 or more for each and every meal. I definitely asked the hotel NOT to give us a mini fridge because that cooler of food going bad, I packed that just for fun, not because I actually intended to have us eat any of it. And you’re right I totally should have canceled my dinner plans with my husband the one and only night we planned for ourselves when I found out you couldn’t be in the hotel pool without me even though they had a life guard, the movie tickets I bought for you at the theater right next to the hotel were not a good substitute for me watching you swim because I really don’t need to eat and eventually you’ll graduate so I can have alone time with my husband then. A late dinner with him on vacation when I should be spending time with you was totally unacceptable of me as a parent so I completely deserved for you to trash the hotel room and throw all my things all over the place while I was gone because lets be honest I planned for the slow metro trips that made me be gone longer than your movie. Of course I’m totally okay with paying the hotel damages because it was definitely my fault that you needed to behave that way. And it was definitely my intention to bore you in museums you didn’t end up liking and I conspired with the staff of the places you did want to go to ensure they wouldn’t be open when we made it there. Also I planned the weather, asked for it to be sweltering during our trip, especially when walking between monuments and begged for a random thunder and lightening storm just as we arrived at the capital wheel because honestly it’s way more fun just to look at it than it is to go on it. I really should apologize that we kept getting lost because I should have memorized the entire city layout of a city I haven’t been to since 1999. Obviously nothing in DC has changed between then and now. Every disaster on our trip was completely my fault so it’s okay to blame me and tell me how awful I am at being a Mom. And yes, I’m totally okay with getting right on that laundry the second I walk in the door at midnight after spending the day in a car in more of those awesome traffic jams on I-95. That’s completely cool because who needs sleep after all? I’m a Mom, food and sleep aren’t necessities for me, we’re like the energizer bunnies, we just keep going…

    Okay I kind of feel better now. This is really fun. Great article.

    1. Oh man…I’ve totally felt this way! Let it out sistah. This is a safe place. LOL! I have uttered the word, “How is this my fault” countless times in 15 years! Hahaha. your comment cracked me up. You need to blog!!! Good luck to you this summer and on the next “vacation.”

  36. Laughed till the tears ran down my face, enjoyed the comments too, more laughing.

    I was convinced Lego grew out of the floor! The more I picked up the more there was

  37. Love this!! Reminded of a letter I wrote to my children one day when I had had enough! I can laugh at it now:

    Dear Hannah, Sophie and Sam,

    I am regretfully resigning from my position as your mom. What this means for you:

    No dinner being put on the table and you sitting down to eat and leaving when you’re done.
    No more groceries…don’t worry I’m sure you will make due with what’s here
    No more asking you to do your homework
    No more asking you to do your chores
    No more asking you to clean up your rooms
    No more asking to pick up shoes in the foyer
    No more asking you to put dishes in the dishwasher
    No more asking you to shower
    No more asking you to brush your teeth
    No more telling you to go to bed
    No more asking you to help bring in or put away groceries

    So feel free to spend all your time on Xbox, phones, iPads computer
    Feel free to eat whatever you want whenever you want
    Feel free to go to bed as late as you want
    Feel free to never shower
    Feel free to skip doing your laundry
    Feel free to not brush your teeth
    Feel free to let the dishes pile up in the sink
    Feel free to not recycle anymore or take any trash out
    Feel free to do whatever you want

    Just know that I will not be available to:

    Find things that you aren’t willing to actually look for
    Help fold your clothes
    Get things you may need from walmart for yourself or school
    Hear about things that hurt or don’t feel good
    Download apps
    Make meals
    Keep the fridge and pantry stocked
    Answer questions
    Remind you of things you need to do for good health
    Remind you of things you need to do for good hygiene

    Because I will be doing whatever I want for me.

    You are welcome to clean and be as nice as you want this evening but it will make no difference to me because I know that tomorrow you will be the same kids who take all that’s done for you for granted.

    I’m not saying that I don’t want to do the things I do for you…I love taking care of all three of you. What I don’t want is ungrateful children who don’t take the time to stop and think about ways they could be helping that are right in front of you. Children who are so concerned about themselves that they never consider anyone else. It really makes me sad that I have done my job that poorly so far that you haven’t already learned to be this way.

    All my love,

  38. Very funny and oh so true. Love that it is going viral! Great to find your engaging humor as I do my research and write, humorously also, about raising three boys in the legalized marijuana resort town of Aspen. My hashtag? #shutthisshitdown!

  39. Hi. Thanks for the good read. Sounds like a lot of us in the same boat. My first day of the summer with kids started out bad. This gave me some good ideas and put things into perspective. Thanks. Hard to be a perfect mom isn’t it?
    I’m worried about 1. setting a good example for them as they grow up. ..i don’t feel my response to these things sets me up as a good mom when I get worn down. And 2. I’m worried about my husband and I keeping it together. ..he has a different way of dealing with them. Both of us have been to counseling and are having a really tough time. But would be interested next on how to deal. M. …seriously: be good role models and be good husband and wife and good parents. Divorce doesn’t seem far off most days. ANY TIPS?

    1. Hi Kris…well, I mainly focus on writing blogs to make us laugh at the shared frustrations and challenges of parenting, but do recognize that all of the “funny” things can start to breed resentment and issues in marriage and within ourselves too. I’m 100% unqualified to probably say any more than that, but I will share this: Something that helps me is knowing that I’m not alone. We are ALL experiencing the same daily issues of both loving our kids and wanting to do for them and also wanting to create self-reliant children and responsible adults. Important to remember what is age appropriate. All of the stuff my kids are doing (that makes me bonkers) is completely age appropriate. They push boundaries because that’s their job. I reign them in (with sarcasm) because that’s my job. And there is NOTHING worse than kids who act middle aged. Bleeck! And lastly, having a sense of humor about it all can really help. My husband and I really laugh about most of it because we remember being pains in the asses when we were kids too. There is no such thing as perfect…especially when it comes to parenting. Every day you start over with a clean slate and do your best. Also…Kid-free vacations help marriages more than I can say…and a nightly rum and coke can take the edge off too! Good luck and know you are not alone! xo

  40. As a grandma, I am appalled to be seen in public with the kids. I know I was a perfect parent … my poor struggling daughter tells me over and over how she never misbehaved. I still haven’t scrapped the mystery glob off the ceiling of her room. And when I sent her forcefully off to college, she mentioned that she had to teach everyone living in her dorm how to use the laundry equipment. Isn’t that amazing, I said, too bad their mothers never loved them enough to teach them survival skills. Now she buys new pants for her youngest almost every day because the dogs chew the seats out of the filthy ones left on the floor. What she saves on toilet paper she spends on new clothes.
    I was gonna send her a link to this blog to brighten her summer day as she wields the whip on the slaves weeding the garden, but maybe not, since you don’t allow anonymous comments.

    1. Ha! I’m not technologically advanced enough to have anonymous comments. And you’d be surprised how mean people can be WITH their names given. Ugh! Glad you have a great sense of humor and go easy on your daughter. Parenting is not for the weak!

  41. Yes. Yes. YES.

    I’d have included: “Oh, and if you’re not sure if an item of clothing is clean or not (because you failed to put it away after it was washed, dried, folded, and returned to your room), just throw it back in the laundry basket. I love washing clean clothes. But be sure all the clothes are inside out, because it makes doing the laundry that much longer and more enjoyable for me to turn them all right-side-in again. Same goes for towels: Just use it once and throw it on the floor, so it will become extra-smelly and require another washing. Don’t forget to have all your friends leave their clothes here, too. The only thing more fun than doing my kids’ laundry is doing the neighbors’ kids’ laundry!”

      1. Thought the article hit it on the head hilariously, then I read all the comments here and am cracking up even more! One thing is for sure, we’re all in this together parents

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