Do You Follow the “Mom Code?”
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Do You Follow the “Mom Code?”

I think we’ve all seen enough bromance movies by now to know that men follow a “Guy Code.”  As in, they don’t talk about what happens at bachelor parties, they don’t date their best friend’s exes, and they don’t eat each others’ fries.  

But whether you know it or not, there’s also a “Mom Code” that we all need to live by.  The rules are pretty simple, and you’re probably already following them out of courtesy, but just in case, here they are: 

  • You don’t poach another mom’s nanny. 
  • You don’t flirt with another mom’s husband. 
  • If you are driving your child and someone else’s child and you only have one booster seat, you give it to the other kid. 
  • And finally, you don’t give living things to other people’s children as birthday party favors.


This last one was added to the Mom Code just this past weekend, after my son attended a birthday party and came home with a goldfish in a plastic bag.  The party was on a Friday evening (hey, there’s another one; don’t have birthday parties on Friday nights that require pickup at 7:30 pm), and since my husband and I had dinner plans, my son got a ride home from the party with another mom.  (That’s one more: if a party is at an inconvenient time and you are willing to be inconvenienced, offer to drive home as many other kids as will fit in your car).  Not five minutes after he was dropped off, my phone rang.  It was my daughter.

(Daughter) – Okay, you’re going to be really, really mad, but the party favor was a goldfish.

(Me) – Why would I be mad that they gave him Goldfish?  I mean, they do have a lot of sodium, but is that really worth calling me during dinner?

(Daughter, rolling her eyes through the phone) –  Not Goldfish, mom.  A goldfish.  That swims.  It’s in a plastic bag.

(Me) – @$&#!  Sorry, honey, pretend you didn’t hear that.  Seriously?  They gave him a goldfish?

(Daughter) – I knew you’d be mad.  Anyway, it’s in a plastic bag and we don’t know what to do with it.

(Me) – Umm, flush it down the toilet?

(Daughter) – Are you serious?

(Me) – Would that upset you?

(Daughter, calling to son) – Would you be upset if we flushed it down the toilet? (Son sobbing in the background) Yeah, I think he’d be upset.

(Me) – @$&#!  I mean, shoot.

So, now we have a goldfish.  Named Swimmy.  Because, you know, with two kids and a husband and a dog, I don’t have enough things to feed and take care of.  The last time we had a goldfish, my daughter got it from her preschool teacher as a graduation present.  She named it Seashell.  I thought Seashell would last five minutes, but she lived for over three years.  That’s three years of feeding her, changing her dirty goldfish water, and driving her – in her bowl, between my legs, water sloshing all over my lap – to a friend’s house every time we went out of town.  And now I get to do it all again, all because a fellow mom didn’t think to follow the mom code. 

And so, if you ever find yourself even thinking about breaking the mom code, I’ll leave you with three little words: So. Not. Cool.

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