Mum's the Word

Arbitrary rule No. 287

Posted: Mar. 13, 2018 10:57 am Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 11:06 am

I walk into the mud room and witness my daughter holding a bag of Runts in the air, pouring as much into her mouth as possible.

It's 7:45 in the morning.


She had apparently squirreled them away in her cubby and was taking a solitary moment to eat as much candy as possible. Her cheeks were so full she almost couldn't speak.

Our conversation went as follows:

Me: "What are you doing?"

Child with mouth full: "What???"

Me: "Um, it's 7:45 in the morning and you're eating candy. You know we don't eat candy before noon."

Child (staring at my cup of tea): "Uh ... well ... mom ... I'm just a kid and I needed a pick me up. It's not like I can have a cup of caffeine."

Me: "That's right. You're a kid and that means you shouldn't need a pick me up. Especially not one that's gonna make you crash later. Eat some real food. How about that?"

Child: "Ugh. Whatever."

Me: "You're grounded from candy. No more sugar the rest of the day. You abuse, you lose."

And then I took the bag of candy and walked away, hearing some mumbling about fairness.

Clever argument in regard to referencing caffeine, but I'm not having it. I didn't become addicted to caffeine until I had the twins and they didn't sleep through the night until 9 months, so let's wait until life becomes a bit harder before using that argument.

I know I've discussed this before, but I do not allow candy before noon. Show me two relatively healthy meals with real food and then we can discuss the treat situation. The only reason I even allow candy is because I don't want to create a drive in the children to binge eat it in secret. Looks like that's not working out so well.

Anyway, this is just one of the arbitrary rules.

A few others:


All dirty clothes need to be in, on or around the hamper (not the middle of the floor).

Pillows need to be on the couch.

Shoes need to go under cubbies.

No Nerf guns before 9.

These arbitrary or seemingly arbitrary rules help establish some small shred of order. They define the lines of sanity and are the only things separating us from complete chaos.

Therefore, no candy before noon!

Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.