10/29/2013 06:22 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Real Family Rules

If you've spent five minutes on Etsy or Pinterest or even Amazon, you've seen the now-infamous subway art Family Rules. They are lovely and precious and available in 92 varieties and every color and font imaginable. We have the vinyl version over our piano. In black.


But if your family is anything like mine, these aren't the real rules in our home, and they aren't always true.

Because I don't always laugh out loud or hug often and I for one am glad there isn't a rule making me do so. People in my house don't always share or love one another. Sometimes, we yell at each other on the way to church and when I ask them to help, they hide in the bathroom. And sometimes, when we try something new, we really hate it and cry in the middle of the lake.


That's our reality.

I think the grass-is-greener mentality is an age-old problem, but with instant access to technology, someone else's grass is filtered to look much greener on our screens, in our feeds and tempts us to change our status to match.

It's dangerous business, altering a picture to perfection before we snap it. The bottom line is that technology has made it easier to give us a prettier reality, but the truth is, it's never as perfect as it seems. Or real.

I'd like see Pinterest boards filled with disastrous recipes gone wrong, outfits from the clearance rack that don't perfectly coordinate, real hair tutorials that involve dry shampoo or a dirty ponytail and pictures of first day of school breakfast feasts that involve eggs on a paper plate.

While I'm interested in pretty pins on a screen, when I try replicate them in my real life, it's more of a Pintermess.

Live your messy life and don't apologize for it. Don't scrub the ink off your toddler's arms before you Instagram it or move the dirty pile of laundry in the background. Because your real life moments are a beautiful mess. And they are more encouraging to your friends than you know when they show up on their screens and feeds.

Here's what the real family rules in our house are:

  • If your sister pushes you, do not lick her arm in retribution.
  • When you whine, you make your mother twitch and (bonus), you get to go to bed early.
  • Always do your best, but if your best is a 64 average in math, you're going to tutoring.
  • Be kind with your words. Talking back is a bad idea.
  • Apologize when you've done wrong, but please don't yell "I'M SORRY!" across the house in an angry tone.
  • Share stuff (except don't remind me of this rule when I won't let you drink out of my sweet tea glass).
  • Have fun. But if you have too much fun, you might have to mop it up.
  • Be happy. And remember it has nothing to do with getting your way.
  • Try new things, unless it's mom's razor on your tongue. That will hurt.
  • Be grateful. Ingratitude will be a red flag to momma that you need a chore or two.
  • Hands are for hugging or giving wedgies, wet willies, what have you.
  • Follow your dreams, unless they include a lot of facial piercings.

How about you?

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