The Formal Living Room


formal living room idea

When I was growing up I remember some of my friends having a living room in their house that no one was allowed to go in. The “formal living room”. I never understood it. Why have a room that no one is allowed to go in? The couches certainly didn’t look very comfortable. There was nothing out of place anywhere in the whole room. All surfaces were free of dust and debris. It was just a cold sterile room that was off limits. The entire house could have been falling down in mad shambles all around us, but this room remained pristine. I vowed that I would never have a room like that when I grew up because it made no sense. And then I had kids and it was like a lightbulb appeared over my head. Suddenly the ugly sterile formal living room was genius. It was the one room in the whole house that would actually stay neat and orderly no matter what. Sure the concept seems sound even before you have  kids, but its not until you actually have a house full of crazy children that you really “get” it.

Here are my top 10 things that really only make sense after you have kids.

1. Mad O’clock – Mad O’clock is a real time. It is the time shortly after the kids are supposed to be in bed but aren’t. The time when you are supposed to be able to sit down and unwind but you can’t. Its the time of night when a simple innocent question of “Mom, what is it like on the moon?” can send you into a murderous rage. Thankfully Mad O’clock doesn’t last forever. It conveniently ends just as the clock strikes Wine O’clock.

2. A Valid, Yet Seemingly Disgusting, Lunch – It’s totally normal to eat the leftover crust from four different sandwiches and call it lunch. Before you had kids this would have seemed gross and sort of mental. Now that you have kids you basically ARE gross and sort of mental… so this lunch choice fits right in with your new glamorous life.

3. Horizontal Parenting – Pre-kids, anything with the word “horizontal” in it made you all like “hubba hubba.” Now…just…well, no. Horizontal Parenting is when one parent tries to do all parenting from a position of comfortably lying down on the couch. There cannot be two parents in the same household attempting Horizontal Parenting at the same time. You have to take turns. Hint: it will almost never be your turn.

4. Back-to-Back Trips Thru the Drive-Thru -Without fail it always seem to happen that everyone in the car will get the same glorious prize in their Happy Meal…except for one of the them. One of them will get the crappy prize that was left over from the last round of prizes. And it is never the kid who can go with the flow who will get the rogue toy. Nope. It is the kid who is going to go absolutely ballistic for an hour about the injustice of it all. And so, even though the drive-thru option was supposed to be the faster option, its going to take twice as long because you have to turn around and go back, wait in line, get to the front, and explain to the 17-year-old working the drive-thru that they gave you four good prizes and one shitty prize.

5. Hiding While You Eat candy – Once you have kids you understand that hoarding and hiding candy is a normal thing to do. You really have no other choice. If the candy is anywhere accessible to the young-ins they will eat it all because they are crazy animals with no self-control. Unlike yourself. You are perfectly normal and in complete control of yourself. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to wait until they were all engrossed in a tv show to sneak off and hide in the mudroom closet while you quickly down a mini Snicker bar. See? Complete control.

6. Costco/BJs – Shopping at Costco or BJs or one of those other big warehouse stores is always a gamble because it requires you to buy things in bulk. Which is sometimes okay, if you’re buying things like toilet paper or paper towels or something. But I should caution you about buying snacks there. Your kids may appear to love Nutrigrain bars, and buying a bazllion-count box of them SEEMS like a good idea. But as soon as you have completed the transaction and money has exchanged hands and you’ve opened the huge box thereby rendering it unreturnable they will all decide that they hate Nutrigrain bars. Hate them. And you will be left trying to sneak them into their lunch bags for school hoping that they will be so hungry they will eat them out of desperation.

7. Talking About Sleep – This is a biggie so pay attention. You probably imagined that having a baby who is a good sleeper would be fantastic, right? Well you were correct, it is. You may have also believed that mentioning to someone that your baby is a good sleeper would be okay…but trust me it is NOT. Don’t do it. The minute you foolishly utter the words, “Oh, little Malaki is such a good sleeper! He’s been sleeping through the night since the day I took him home from the hospital.” little Malaki will never sleep through the night again. Like ever.

8. Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom Can Suck – Sometime before you had kids you and your significant other most likely had a talk about who would watch the children during the day. Would they go to daycare? Would you get a nanny? Would one of you stay home with the little cherubs? Maybe you two decided that for your family it would make the most sense that you would be a stay-at-home-mom. Joy! You couldn’t help but feel a little bad that you got to stay home (How exciting! You’ll get so much done around the house!) and he had to go to work. So there you are, popping out kids left and right when all of a sudden it dawns on you what you have actually agreed to: he GETS to go to work all day with other adults, and you HAVE to stay home with the kids. Cue the “whose life is harder” fights.

9. The TV as Babysitter – Now, of course I’m not talking about actually leaving your child home alone with just the TV and a package of raw cookie dough. I’m referring to the TV as more of a mother’s helper. For example, Sesame Street is awesome. You put it on and it’s like having a captivating babysitter who sings and teaches valuable social skills, and brings along its famous friends. And it gives you time to take a shower. Spongebob is a riot, and each episode lasts approx 15 minutes. Enough time to fold a load of laundry. Doc McStuffins is entertaining AND makes kids not afraid of the doctor. Which will come in handy when you take them all to get their flu shots later. TV is our friend. Our good friend. Sometimes our best friend.

10. Swearing In Front of the Kids – Yes, I know that before you had kids you were an expert in child development and you were all judgy like, “I’m never going to curse in front of my kids!”  And even when you had your first tiny sweet little baby, swearing in front of that little angel never even crossed your mind. Soon enough your loveable little nugget will turn 3, and you will be saying things like “Gosh darn it!” and “oh fudge!” But trust me, that doesn’t last for long…before you know it they will be old enough to drive you crazy and you’ll be swearing like a sailor. And I’m not talking just the “s” word or the “h” word. No…I’m talking about the mother of all swears: the “f” word. That’s right. You’ll be dropping the f-bomb like it’s going out of style. You won’t even care either. You thought you would care. Maybe you should care. But you just really won’t. Not one f’ing bit.


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