Breaking 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.


Mag in Paris

Totally agree! Even worse is when grand parents give the kids a goldfish. Just three words... RETURN. TO. SENDER. The current goldfish is now living happily ever after in my inlaws' living room...!


I don't know about The Mom Code. If I had only one child seat, and two little ones, we wouldn't be going anywhere. I don't flirt with anyone, I'm married. Flirt with Rusty...your problem. Get a little pushy, you might be seriously embarrassed in front of all the least. And I would never give anything live as favors at a birthday party. Anything. Period.
Not a critter, because there are too many people who WOULD flush a goldfish, and that makes me a little queasy. They aren't that hard to care for...even with a "busy" schedule. And not a plant, either. Plants die, unless they're outside. I can't keep a plant alive to save myself. I talk to them, water them, nurture them, and they whither and turn into remains.
Other things not to give at birthday parties (assuming you even throw these orgies of conspicuous consumption and greed...I held one for each of my sons...and the astounding haul was Just. Too. Much.): sticky candy: some of us care about the kiddos' teeth. Anything religious. 'Nuff said. Balloons made of latex. Please, please, PLEASE. Latex allergies are not funny.
And wow, really, buying gifts according to feelings toward a given family. My younger son was invited to the birthday parties of several youngsters who had moms I was at least dubious about. I bought for the kids...not because I thought the moms might be a few bricks shy, or were their own evil twin.
I don't play all of the Mom Games, or follow the Mom Rules, or Codes, or whatever. To me, it's all part of the Mom in "Competition", and I'm not competing with anyone.


Love the story! Just a note, my meany side will purchase really noisy gifts for the kids! I will rate them according to how annoying the noise is and will buy according to my feelings towards the family at the time!