There are very few things you can rely on when raising kids. There are no rules, no advice articles or books that absolutely pertain to your child. But after nearly four years of extensive research and observation, I have found the following list of 15 things to be true:

“Mastitis comes on Fridays at 10pm, colds on Tuesdays as everyone is hustling out the door for work, and weekend stomach bugs attack.”

1. You will master the sideways glare. You know the look you give when simultaneously thinking, Are you kidding me? Someone tell me this is not really happening right now. It’s something you rarely used before children and yet now you find yourself pulling it out regularly and directing it toward kids pushing your child, mothers ignoring their pushy kids, women dressed to the nines who are rolling their eyes at your disheveled and crying baby, any person who utters the words “if you aren’t busy right now…,” and even the sweet woman who just wants to “touch those cute little cheeks” moments after coughing wetly into her hands. This is not to be confused with the look given to your kids when you find toys in the toilet, food under the bed, or coins and buttons placed in the hands of a baby by a loving sibling.

2. Illness strikes at specific times. Mastitis comes on Fridays at 10pm, colds on Tuesdays at 7:40am as everyone is hustling out the door for work, and just when you think you have navigated the week smoothly and are looking forward to a fun family weekend stomach bugs attack…on Thursdays between 1:25am and 4:50am. Welcome to middle-of-the-night cleanup, a mom rite-of-passage.

3. There is a direct correlation between the amount of healthy food on your toddler’s plate and the amount of nutritionally deficient food on your own. Carrots, cucumbers, hummus, strawberries? That must mean that mama is eating cracker halves, old toast from the morning, or other items scavenged from the previously discarded toddler snack. Mommy meals are either 100% carbs or are 100% drinkable.

4. Everyone poops together. Have you noticed this yet? Mom excuses herself for a few minutes of privacy and suddenly the baby erupts and toddlers everywhere are yelling moooommy, I’m dooooone!signaling the need for a wipe. I refer to this aspopcorn prayer pooping. Someone starts it off, everyone else joins in as comfortable, and then once everyone has taken their respective turn there is a grand simultaneous finish. Amen.


Photo courtesy of Naagtag.com

5. Public spaces trigger the part of a child’s brain called the monster lobe. You may not have learned this in 10th grade Biology class, but it is a part of the prefrontal cortex impacting judgment and mood, and also plays a significant role in the pons Varolii that send signals to the bladder and bowels. It basically just covers all areas of the brain, making your children incapable of functioning normally. Grocery store? Diaper blowout. Children’s Museum? A tantrum that tops all tantrums. Interestingly, in-law visits also trigger this part of the brain.6. WebMD was created by sadists. With baby #1 I thought that this valuable resource was launched to help mothers. After diagnosing my children with numerous ailments at 2am, and researching 3-D printing options of new body parts on this site, I have come to find that this is simply not true.

7. Piling toys on top of your infant or toddler in an attempt to distract them from what you are doing causes them to be even more interested in you. They know something is up. Even as I write this with my 4 month old wobbling in the bumbo seat, barely visible under the stack of teething toys I have place on her lap, she is lunging for my laptop.

8. There is a very real thing called Mommy Language. We communicate in looks, gestures, spoken half-thoughts, and sometimes even in monotonous chanting in order to remember what we were doing (groceries in trunk, groceries in trunk, groceries in trunk). It works, so let’s agree to treat it as a normal mode of communication.

“”Helping” adds on 10 minutes of struggling, 7 minutes of tantrums and 12 minutes of tantrum recovery.”

9. The doorbell rings at the worst time. The mailman, UPS driver, Tommy from the t-ball team, and girl scouts everywhere time theirdoorbell ringing visits to directly coincide with naptime.

10. “Sometimes,” “Maybe,” and “Later” have a different translation for toddlersYes, we will do that thing you are begging to do immediately as long as you keep repeating what you want. Wipe these terrible words from your vocabulary. And also, loosely related to this, toddlers can remember things that you whispered five days ago if it pertains to parties, camping, “Sandy” the electric horse at the grocery store, the playground, or shoes, but will instantaneously forget any requests you make that involve words like “clean,” “pick-up,” or “help.” I would suggest combining your requests with whisper words for best results: “Judah, I need you to help pick-up your toys so that we can put on your new shoes and go to a party at the playground.”

11. It only seems faster to assist your toddler in strapping on shoes, climbing into the car seat, or putting on a backpack. Do not be fooled. Helping adds on 10 minutes of struggling, 7 minutes of tantrum, and 12 minutes of tantrum recovery to any given task.

12. Babies have an innate strength and tenacity that can bring adults to their knees. They can yank out clumps of hair and mash flesh into something unrecognizable with their tiger claw kung-fu grip. My daughter can twist my skin a full 360 degrees as I scream silently while bobbing her to sleep. She also has the ability to knock the wind out of me with a well-aimed kick. Beware the cute chubby fingers and ooey-gooey thighs.

13. Red lights, newly paved roads, and “smooth ride” suspension systems are to be avoided at all costs. Infants who miraculously choose to sleep in the car will be jolted awake at anything that resembles slow speed or a glassy ride. Choose a route devoid of stoplights, pick the road with the most potholes, and select the car with the most turbulent suspension. These things will lull your babe to sleep. And also, if you have an older child riding as well, ensure that they make as much noise as possible. Once they go silent, the baby will shriek.


Grandmothers and other helpers are saints.

14. The person who offers to watch your kids, clean your house, or run errands for youwithout being asked is in line for sainthood.This is true for working moms, stay-at-home moms, and work-from-home moms alike.  It may appear that moms in the professional workplace have time to run errands over lunch, or that stay-at-home moms spend their days wondering what to do with their extra time, or that work-from-home moms sit at their home office desks, fully showered, while their children nap simultaneously. This is a lie.

15. Mom guilt is real. We feel guilty for working, we feel guilty for not working. We feel guilty leaving our kids for a weekend getaway, we feel guilty staying when we know we would be better moms if we got a little me-time. We wonder if we’re giving enough time and attention to our partners, we wonder if we are giving enough time and attention to our children. We never wonder if we are giving enough time and attention to ourselves.

What other things do you know to be true?