04/09/2015 03:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Things That Are OK When You're Home With Kids, But Not OK in the Real World

Cara McDonough

As any parent knows, having kids changes you in immeasurable ways. Since becoming a mother and spending countless hours with my three young children, I've adopted and identified habits and behaviors that are just fine when you're in the confines of your home, but aren't really a good idea once you exit the front door. I've outlined some suggestions below.

1. In public, it is not acceptable to start unbuttoning and unzipping your pants as you are approaching the bathroom, even though this is a wise and timesaving technique when you are home with your children. When not at home, you should also close the door when you're in there.

2. You don't have to secretly eat when you're in public with rational adults. This is good news, because sometimes when you're at home with your kids and you want to enjoy a granola bar or, God forbid, a cookie, or anything else you don't want them to have, your only option is to eat fast and hunched over with your back to everybody in the corner of your kitchen like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, thus avoiding their questions about the thing you are consuming and the ensuing domestic unrest.

3. Adding to both points above, when socializing in civil society, you should not unbutton your pants or change into pants with an elasticized waistband. Not even after you've secretly eaten a whole bunch of brownies that you and the children made that afternoon. Especially not after repeating several times that "we can only have one" (whoops).

4. It is not a great idea to ask any adult, whether they are a stranger or a friend, "What do you say?" when they have thoughtlessly forgotten to add "please" to a request. While I'm on the subject, it is pointless and unsatisfying to say this to your dog when she is endlessly rattling her bowl for water at the exact second you sit down on the couch after putting the kids to bed.

5. The term "snack dinner" should be reserved for when you're at home and you didn't get around to planning meals for the week, so are stuck incorporating string cheese and Craisins into a workable meal.
"Tapas" is a thing you eat when you're out with adults, and sounds way classier.

6. When you're in the car with people who are not your children, you shouldn't talk to the reporters on public radio. For example, exclaiming, "What?!" when there is a story on a new food trend you find really enticing. Come to think of it, maybe you save this behavior for when you're totally alone, because those kids are going to be teenagers soon and that is prime fodder for "Mom is crazy" discussions.

7. When you're at home, it is OK to lie on the floor and shut your eyes for a few minutes when life gets a little overwhelming.
When you're not at home it is unadvisable, but I dream of a world where this is acceptable behavior, because it can really take the edge off. Go on, try it.

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