Things I Wish I Taught My Kids


My kids’ toothpaste tube.

My son returned to college and my daughter’s back at high school. I realized over the summer that I failed to teach them a lot of things. Here’s a partial list:

  • When a sack of your good clothing is missing for two months, ask the friend who you went away with if he’s seen it. When he finds it in his trunk and brings it over on the day you’re leaving, don’t leave the smelly towels in the hamper.
  • If you ignore my pleas to do your summer reading, I’ll ignore yours to set up the appointment for your learner’s permit test at the DMV.
  • Always wear a shirt when cooking chicken cutlets in oil. Actually, always wear a shirt when cooking.
  • You can’t eat two McDonald’s chicken sandwiches at 5 p.m. and expect to be hungry for dinner.
  • Make your own hair appointments. I have no idea if your hair stylist is on vacation.
  • Put the milk back in the refrigerator and top back on the jelly.
  • Clean the sink after shaving.
  • Squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom.
  • Close dog food bag after feeding the dog.
  • “Cleaning the kitchen” includes wiping down the stove and counters.
  • Garbage cans and the recycling bin can’t sit in the driveway for four days before being returned to the garage.
  • Clean the ping pong table after an unauthorized night of beer pong.
  • Don’t let your friends sleep in our bed. No matter how much I like them, some things are sacred.
  • Turn down the car radio before you drive into the neighborhood. I can hear you from a mile away.
  • Don’t get mad at me when I correctly name a Drake song “Passionfruit” and insist it’s “Passionate.” Are we seriously arguing over this?
  • Don’t fight over whether tennis or running is harder. They’re both challenging in their own way.
  • You can wear clothes more than once before throwing them in the hamper.
  • Use the hamper.
  • Your (actually my) jeans are always tight after laundering. That’s why there are deep knee bends.
  • The left lane of the highway is the passing lane. Return to the right lane after passing cars so they don’t cut us off. It’s not the car’s fault it has only 4 cylinders.
  • It’s not polite to tell your mother she has a lousy singing voice.
  • It’s not a good idea to have conversations with girls in the car next to you while you’re driving on the highway. That’s not a good excuse for missing your exit.
  • Don’t wait until you’re on 1 percent to charge your phone. And please, don’t unplug my phone because yours is dead.
  • I have no idea where your charger is.
  • You can’t always rely on GPS. You need a general idea where you’re going and how to get home.
  • Keep track of your wallet. I have no clue where your credit card is.
  • Don’t let clothes sit in laundry baskets for six weeks.
  • Don’t douse a DuraFlame with water after a bonfire and expect it not to reignite all night.
  • Cleaning your room doesn’t mean putting all the junk in another room.
  • You can’t do all your laundry for college in one day. You can’t bring wet clothes to school and dry them there.
  • I have first dibs on Dad’s loose change for Coinstar. It’s OK if you’re taking it this time to buy my birthday present.
  • Don’t call or text Dad every day without throwing me an occasional bone.
  • Don’t stare at me blankly when I mention stationery. It’s for writing letters.
  • Don’t call me from camp and tell me your head hurts so much you can’t go to the infirmary. I will be tempted to either drive two hours to pick you up or send an ambulance.
  • When I say dinner is at 8, it’s not OK to begin a workout at 7:50.
  • Setting the table means napkins too.
  • Yes, hamburgers are supposed to emit red juice when you’re cooking them.
  • Don’t come home from working as a camp counselor and complain that you’re exhausted from the kids. Welcome to my world.















10 thoughts on “Things I Wish I Taught My Kids

  1. Actually, you can leave with wet clothes…if you arrange them right in the car and there aren’t too many and you drive with all the windows open, they’ll be dry by the time you get there! Love the one about dinner and work out–so true.


    • Hi Kale: I’ve dried clothes in the car before, but this was ridiculous. When Matt was in Little League, I once drove to a baseball field about 45 minutes away with his wet shirt hanging out the window. It worked!


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