I met a new friend a few months ago. Her son was playing mixed doubles tennis with Kid C. Kid C just took up tennis for the first time this winter. She’s playing well, but she just does not have much experience and she is still pretty timid with the ball. Plus, there was something shiny up in the sky that probably distracted her. Her partner was not at all thrilled with her level of play, but fortunately not much fazes Kid C. They lost the match even though it was pretty close. Kid C even commented in the car on the way home, “Today was really a great day, mom!” You’ve got to love that kind of enthusiasm and positivity.
Even though the other kid was John McEnroe competitive, his mom was great. We talked on the bench while the match was going on and I learned that she was living in a house on the corner that I admire every time I pass by. There is a big black lab in the front yard who takes his guard duties very seriously. There are always great seasonal decorations throughout the year. It just looks like a really fun house to live in. But most importantly, there is always a football game going on in their front yard. The boys are in the eight to ten-year old range (I’m guessing) and they are always out there playing. My oldest son (Kid D) is only six and is more of a baseball kid. I always say that I’m just going to send him on down to that house to toughen up and learn to play some real sports.
So when I tell the football house mom this, she proceeds to tell me that she has become somewhat of a tough cookie when it comes to playing at her house. This is obviously not her first rodeo. Here are the rules for playing at her house:
- If you are a cry baby, don’t even show up.
- If they’re playing tackle and somebody gets hurt or maimed, it is an automatic switch to flag.
- This isn’t a restaurant, so don’t expect food or drinks.
- If you have to pee, go outside.
- If you have to poop, go home.
I am guessing that she has had to learn some lessons the hard way. Despite these rules, and her unrelenting enforcement of them, her yard is always full of kids (and oftentimes dads too). They are always running and playing and yelling. It makes me smile every time I pass by. There is something to be said for letting people know your rules.
Try to make a short list of your own house rules. Write them down and display them where everybody can see them. That way there is no question when it comes to your expectations. You can make them about anything. Try starting with things you find yourself saying over a hundred times per day. No hitting. No whining. No jumping on the furniture. Speak kindly to one another. Do your chores without being asked. No cursing before lunchtime. No entertaining guests in your bedroom. And, of course, if you have to poop, go home.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…