14 Moms Reveal the Parenting 'Rules' They Can't Stop Breaking

Wendy Robinson | Feb 10, 2017 Being a Mom
14 Moms Reveal the Parenting 'Rules' They Can't Stop Breaking
Image: iStock.com/BraunS

No screen time before age 2. Nightly baths are a must. Never bribe your kids with candy. Don't let your kids be picky eaters or sleep in your bed or play with your phone when they're bored. Is it just me, or are there a whole lot more "rules" for parenting than you expected? 

Confession time: There are some parenting rules that I just don't care to follow. My kids only get baths when they're visibly dirty, they both start the morning with screen time, and they don't eat fruits and veggies at every meal -- unless you think ketchup counts as a vegetable.

After almost nine years of parenting, I'm confident enough in my good mom status to just come right out and say it: Some parenting rules are made to be broken.

Luckily for me, I found 14 other moms who've got my back and who were happy to share the parenting rules they break on the regular. Get ready for swearing, bribery, and a whole lot of mom honesty ahead.

  • Limits on Screen Time

    Two young siblings watching television

    "Oh, my kids get SO MUCH screen time, especially on the weekends. My older kid knows how to work the TV and DVR, so we leave cereal bars and juice boxes out on Saturday mornings and he and the 3-year-old watch cartoons and let us sleep until 8:30 a.m. Screen time is 'freedom for sleep time' for me." -- Gina S., Costa Mesa, California 

  • No Food Bribes

    A young boy looking at ice cream containers

    "The rule I break is not bribing with food. I just gave my kid candy to [get him to] put on jeans instead of athletic pants. Ice cream was the main reason he got potty trained." -- Anne B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Watching TV During Dinner

    Two young girls watching television with popcorn

    "My broken rule is about not eating in front of the TV. We've always done it. We didn't even try to sit at the dining room table once our daughter was born. We let her sit at her little table when she was younger." -- Nadine E., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

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  • Clean Up Time

    A young boy riding a toy motorcycle in a playroom

    "[The parenting rule I break is] making the kids pick up after themselves. I know they should do it, and we do it sometimes, but it's so much easier for me to just do it. I don't have the energy to make them clean up one thing before moving onto the next, which is exactly why my house is a disaster 97 percent of the time." -- Mary O., Santa Fe, New Mexico 

  • No Food in the Car

    A toddler eating a popsicle in her car seat

    "I SO swore that I'd never let kids eat in the car. This was before kids, obviously. I was like, 'I'll never have dried up Cheerios or french fries in my car. So gross!' Now? HA! My car floor is a buffet of dried up snacks." -- Susie T., Austin, Texas

  • Morning Brushing

    A toddler girl brushing her teeth

    "I know the rule is to brush teeth at least twice a day, but that doesn't happen here. I'm usually in charge of getting the kids out the door in the morning. The other day my husband was going in late to work and was helping. He told our girl to brush her teeth and she looked at him and said, 'But it is morning? We don't brush in the morning.' Busted!" -- Kelly S., White Bear Lake, Minnesota 

  • Limiting Caffeine

    A busy mom drinking coffee and holding her baby in front of a laptop

    "I swore I was going to follow the 'no caffeine during pregnancy or breastfeeding' rule. NOPE. I'm all about the coffee these days. Having a kid and giving up caffeine at the same time is just a stupid idea." -- Olive G., Farmington, New Mexico

  • Cooking Every Meal

    A little girl with pigtails eating a slice of pizza

    "I thought I'd be the mom to prepare every meal lovingly and from scratch. Turns out I don't like preparing food five times a day. Evelyn has had french fries with three of her last four meals, for example. We have frozen pizza on the regular. Turns out I don't actually want to prepare every meal from scratch. There are so many other things I enjoy more than cooking!" -- Allison L., Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Nightly Baths

    Two toddler boys playing in a bubble bath

    "Our doctor suggested we give the kids a bath EVERY NIGHT as soon as we get home from day care as a way to fight getting a million colds. Yeah, right. I'm lucky if the kids get a bath once a week and I almost never actually wash their hair." -- Janice R., Hudsonville, Michigan

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  • No Bed-Sharing

    A couple sleeping in bed with their infant son

    "I don't follow the 'no co-sleeping' rules. We followed it with our first, and it's been thrown out the window for baby number two. I have no problem with co-sleeping -- it's just one of those 'rules' I always thought I would follow. We only do it from his last wake-up of the night until the morning wake-up. Mommy has her limits (and I like being able to stretch out, which is otherwise not possible in a queen bed)." -- Abby W., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

  • Washing Hands

    Adult hands washing child hands in a sink

    "I'm not good about making them wash their hands before eating. [I] just [make them wash their hands] after using the bathroom. This is one of those things that was so low on my priority list that it fell off the list completely. So, oops?" -- Leslie W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Not Making Empty Threats

    A frustrated mom scolding a young boy

    "Another rule I break is making empty threats or not following through with consequences. I really try to not do these two but sometimes it happens. I've learned that making the consequence of 'no TV' is really a punishment to myself. Sometimes I NEED that break." -- Lilly P., Salt Lake City, Utah

  • No Swearing

    A young woman yelling in frustration

    "I thought I would clean up my potty mouth as a parent. Nope. I still [swear like] a sailor! I think for me, coming of age in the 1990s, swearing was a rite of passage. It was a way to own my experience, and it was a way to be on the same page as the boys. Now, it's still those things, plus m-fing juice boxes and f-ing Octonauts." -- Katie H., Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Stop Yelling

    A frustrated woman glaring at the camera

    "Thou shalt not raise thy voices to children -- WHOOOOPPPSS. But really, is there anyone who can parent and not scream sometimes? If there is, I don't want to be friends with her." -- Denise G., Des Moines, Iowa

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