13 Stupid Household Rules You Hated as a Kid, but Now Totally Understand


If you’re like me, you will have genuinely felt that your parents were nuts for enforcing such silly rules while you were growing up – but now you understand their logic. Any of these sound familiar?

1. No shoes in the house

Leave Shoes by the Door

Photo credit: gurmit singh

The sheer lunacy of taking off our shoes at the door, when all we’re going to do is dash across the room, grab something, and dash back again to go back outside, was maddening as a child. If you were like me, you’d also protest that your shoes were clean (even when they were clearly caked in mud).

I’ll admit, I sometimes break this rule myself even though I’m now fully grown and in charge of my own house, but I always regret it when I do. Now, I’m the one who is forced to get the vacuum cleaner or mop out when dirt is dragged in from outside, so I finally understand my mum’s fury when I snuck into the house wearing my shoes – sorry, mum.

2. Keep your feet off the sofa

Grosvenor Sofa

Grosvenor sofa from SofaSofa - no muddy feet allowed!

In my ten-year-old brain, the sofa was a piece of furniture to lounge on – heck, isn’t that why the living room is also known as the lounge? And to me, lounging was akin to sprawling, with limbs draped over every part of the sofa, until one of my parents would spot me and tell me off.

Then, I felt hard done by. I needed to relax after a long day at school, for heaven’s sake! Now that I have a gorgeous sofa of my own, though, I understand why my mum and dad didn’t want my feet all over theirs.

And woe betides you if you put your feet on my sofa when you’ve got shoes on. I may well never speak to you again.

3. Put your toys away

Toys on Floor

Photo credit: Wilbert de Groot

My logic as a child went a little like this: I will want to play with these toys tomorrow. Putting them into that toy box is a waste of time - I’ll only have to get them back out again. I am a time saving genius, and my parents are fools.

However, having stepped on several pieces of Lego as an adult (is there any pain in the world that’s worse?) and tripped over my fair share of toy cars – on one occasion ending up in A&E – I fully empathise with my parents.

If you’re having trouble getting your kids to play ball – or, rather, put the ball away – then Jane Thomas at Room to Grow has some tips. As Jane says:

“If you’re in a constant battle with the kids about the amount of toys hanging round the house, you’ll probably never relax.”

4. Don’t drink from the milk bottle

Drink from Milk Bottle

This one also applies to the carton of orange juice and the bottle of soft drink. As a kid, I would argue that I was just saving on washing up – cutting out the middle man of a beaker and going straight to the source. I was doing everyone a favour!

However, knowing what I know now about how easily germs can be passed around in a family, I am keen to do everything possible to prevent disease spreading like wildfire. As a parent, there’s nothing worse than watching a sickness bug pick off your family one by one, and knowing that it’s coming for you. It’s like a form of torture.

And apart from that, drinking from the bottle is really gross.

5. Pairing socks

Pairing Socks

Image credit: Steven Lilley

When I was a kid, this used to be used as a punishment – when I was naughty, I’d have to pair not only my own socks, but everyone else’s in the house too. It took ages. I often wondered why we couldn’t just wear mismatching socks and pretend it was a fashion statement.

I now see the method in the madness. Not matching your socks when you live alone is one thing, but when there are five people living under one roof, socks seem to develop a mind of their own, and wilfully crawl into nooks and crannies to hide for years on end. Unless you want to buy new socks on a weekly basis, you’ll need to keep track of them.

6. Eat breakfast


Image credit: musicfanatic29

As I entered my teens, this was a rule that I increasingly hated. The ritual of making and eating breakfast cost me precious minutes in bed, when I could easily just eat a packet of crisps on the bus. Carbohydrates are good for energy, right?

Now I’m an adult, I appreciate the training that my parents put me through with regards to the most important meal of the day. Not only does eating a healthy breakfast give us more energy when we need it first thing in the morning, but having to get up and make it as a teenager taught me a valuable lesson about willpower.

If you’re struggling to get your kids interested in breakfast, these recipes from Toby Amidor at Food Network that are ‘kid-friendly’ may help. Peach pie smoothie, or cherry vanilla oatmeal, anyone?

7. Keep to the cleaning rota

Household Chores List

Image credit: Mary-Frances Main

As a child, being told that you have to mop the bathroom floor – on a weekly basis, no less – inspires a sense of utter dread and fear, as well as resentment. The floor looks perfectly clean, so why do we need to mop it?

Though I still resent mopping my own bathroom floor, I now understand what my parents were doing. As well as easing their own workload of chores, they were teaching me how to take care of my own house when I grew up, so that I didn’t meet an early death due to ingesting some weird form of mould. Or maybe, as I suspected, they did really just hate me.

8. Wash the dishes after every meal


Image credit: lori05871

I used to pretend that I was deeply concerned for the environment in order to try to avoid having to do the dishes so regularly. And though saving the dishes up seems like a good idea in principle, you’ll still need to refill the sink just as many times to make sure that they come out clean, instead of covered in grease from dirty water.

Apart from that, a kitchen filled with leaning towers of dirty dishes is just asking for trouble – either they’ll come crashing down, or the bacteria on them will grow into an army.

9. Don’t put empty boxes back into the cupboard

Cereal Boxes

Image credit: Tom Ray

I know some adults who still do this, and it drives me crackers. Yes, folding up the cardboard of the cereal box and putting it into the recycling is annoying, but do you know what is more annoying? Being deprived of breakfast before work because you thought you had cereal in the cupboard.

10. Make your bed

Unmade Bed

Image credit: Ste Elmore

I can still see the kids’ point of view on this one – you’re only going to mess the bedcovers up again when you get into it at night time, so why bother making it in the first place? It seems like a futile job.

However, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation in the US, making the bed can help us to get a better night’s sleep. And now I understand that my parents were encouraging me to take pride in my living space, too.

11. Mow the lawn every week

Mow the Lawn

Image credit: woodleywonderworks

Something funny happens to time as you get older. When I was a kid, I would have sworn that mowing the lawn took on average three hours. Now I know that it takes no longer than a sixth of that.

Because it seemed like such a long and boring task, I would argue that mowing the lawn once a month would surely be sufficient. I learned the hard way when I had my own garden to manage – leave the lawn to grow for that long, and it will take about three hours to sort out. Keep on top of it on a weekly basis, and it’s much easier. If only I’d listened to my parents…

12. Keep your room tidy

Messy Room

Image credit: Eric Lumsden

Recognise these words? “But it’s MY room! You don’t have to look at it! I didn’t ask to be born!”

Yes, I was also guilty of shouting phrases like this at my parents during my teen years. What I failed to realise was that a) it technically wasn’t my room – I didn’t pay rent while I was at school; and b) my mum and dad were simply trying to instil good habits into my routine that would help me to keep my own house in check when I grew up.

13. Put dirty clothes into the washing basket

Laundry Basket

Image credit: ~Pawsitive~Candie_N

For many kids – myself included – making the journey to the washing basket seemed like a huge effort. If I managed this mammoth task, then I should be congratulated, not nagged at because only half of the clothes made it into the actual basket. The patch of floor next to the basket is just as good, right?

Now that I have a house of my own, I feel the same levels of frustration that my parents’ must have experienced, when I see piles of dirty clothes dotted around. This rule, I feel, boils down to respect. If you want your clothes to be washed by me, please do the decent thing and place all of them – yes, even that sock in the corner – into the basket. Thank you…

To sum up, we should be grateful to our parents for teaching us valuable life lessons and skills during our childhoods, though their rules may have made no sense at the time. However, the cycle begins anew with our own children – and we can’t blame our parents for laughing…

Posted in Interior Design, Uncategorized on 2nd Mar 2015


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