Have you seen the Bounty commercial with a little boy showing his baby brother how to use a straw to blow bubbles in his chocolate milk? The kid makes a truly epic mess, with thick streams of dark, sugary moo juice flowing out of his cup, over the sides of the dining room table, and onto the floor below.
What’s their mom doing during all this, you might ask?
Oh, just thinking that it’s pretty much the most adorable thing she’s ever seen.
She smiles a knowing, loving, unconditionally accepting smile that only wholesome TV commercial moms ever even try to pull off, then happily muses via voiceover, “When we’re having this much fun, why quit?”
Well, Totally Insane Bounty Mom, we’ve got a few reasons for you right here:
1. Huge messes are NOT delightful
We understand that as a fake mom in an absurdly unrealistic advertisement, you’re somehow able to maintain a completely spotless home despite the fact that you have two small boys running loose in it 24 hours a day. The rest of us here in the real world haven’t quite managed to pull off that particular miracle. But even if we had, we still don’t think we’d ever get to the point where we’d consider a big, sticky, multi-surfaced mess a welcome change of pace. Please have us committed if you ever hear us say, “We’ve just been dying to try out these new paper towels in our otherwise immaculate turn-of-the-century Colonial – so please, children, bring on the bubbles!”
2. Fun today could equal complete and utter failure tomorrow
We get it, lady. You’re the “cool” mom. You let your prepubescent hellions spill their drinks all over the place because they think it’s fun. Now that you’ve set that precedent, we expect that you’ll also be there to hold the carton for them when they egg police cars, you’ll provide booze and condoms at all their middle school birthday parties, and you’ll be behind the wheel of the getaway car the first time they rob a bank.
3. Kids need rules
Research study after research study after research study after research study show that kids thrive when parents provide a good mix of affectionate sensitivity and firm limits. Kids need consistent rules and parents who enforce them with understanding and compassionate explanations of why the rules are important. Kids raised in this kind of household get better grades, have higher self-esteem, and engage in less delinquent behavior than kids who are deprived of either love and affection or firm rules. It’s the hardest way to parent, because you’re constantly giving it your all, but it’s the best thing for you and your little ones. You need to say no sometimes – even when it’s hard.
Speaking of hard, we’ve got a bunch of milk-soaked Rice Krispies to go clean up off our kitchen floor before they turn into concrete.
And you better believe we will not be smiling about it.