This is a phrase I hear at least once a day.  If I take the kids out, I hear it more.  From neighbors, people on the internet, strangers passing us by, and even friends – who know that I clearly am on a minute by minute basis with my parenting.

I will say, my kids put on a good show for everyone else.  When they are at friend’s houses, I hear they are never a problem –  sans some minor issues – and we usually have no problems taking them to restaurants, stores, or other outdoor arenas.  I said usually.

So, I thought – just for fun – I would summarize how I “do” it as a guide to other mothers. When you are done reading this, do the opposite, and you will be all set!

Prioritize:  Blood stumps poop.  Poop stumps pee.  Pee stumps snot.  Snot stumps dirt.

Attention is given for good deeds first, artwork second, cleaning third, whining never.

Daily lessons are in the following order of importance:  No hitting.  No bitting. No bodily harm of any kind.  No throwing food.  No peeing, pooping, spitting on my floors, rugs, or feet…  no kidding.

Manners are encouraged: We don’t say shut up – might as well take your nails down the chalk board on that one – we say thank you, please, and your welcome. And we tell our mother daily that she is the best mommy in the world no matter what…  always.  Hey, why have them if they can not fluff my feathers too?!

Those are my priorities.

I have to be somewhat organized.  I am not.  But I should be.

Things that stink get cleaned first.  Things that could potentially stink in 12 hours get the next spot.  Areas other people might actually see stand next in line, while areas that only we see can sit and fester for days.   I consider “being picked up” to be the new clean.  Except for toilets.  Those have to be clean ’cause that is just gross.

Food is prepared and served at will.  Until dinner.  And then it is a one shot deal.  I am perfectly OK with putting kids to bed hungry.  Just call me the Dinner Nazi! I am not a short order cook, stopped waitressing in college, and am not a jack in the box popping up because you turned my crank.

Rest time is required every single day.  Even if it is just for 15 minutes before one comes bebopping out to tell me their life story…  I need that 15 minutes.  I, on the rare occasion, get an hour.  Those days are my best parenting days.

Other that all of the things I listed – even though I am lying through my teeth because every night I wonder what in the heck I did all day – are important for raising 3 daughters 4 and under.

And so are M&M’s.  And humor.  And prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer!

So that is how I do it.  In my head.  Reality is a whole other ballgame.