My Corner Online


Life with Men - House Rules


*First posted May 22, 2008
I got fed up one day about 5 years ago and decided to try posting written house rules about the house. I found that if I talk to my men, no one listens. However, if I write it down and post it up with tape, it gets read and understood. Why is that? Do they really tune me out that much? I call my husband and 3 sons "my men."

The first house rules were put up all at one time and were up for a few weeks or more. They then went in a collection on the side of the refrigerator where punishment was recorded. Occasionally, they went back into place as a reminder.

Remember as you read them that my poor hubby had to follow along to make them effective. I don't think the boys appreciated it when he failed.

After the first set of house rules, over the years, when I am at my whits end, I will type up my frustrations and post them in the appropriate area, requesting that all men sign it declaring it was read before I will take it down. It's a much more peaceful way to communicate and a lot less stress on me.

Of course, if anyone wants to have a friend over, it's great encouragement to push the others to get it executed so it can come down before a guest might see the document. A little encouragement never hurts.

Do tell me you are enjoying these and do not think I'm silly or stupid.

Here is House Rule #1 as follows.

This was posted on the door of 2 bedrooms.


If Mom finds an article of clothing or anything else on the floor in this room, AND if the tops of any surface are not neatly organized, AND if she finds anything at all on the top of your desk lid, then the inhabitants of this room will loose their television privileges for one week.

Optional: Dusting and vacuuming once a week would be nice. Making the bed would be nice too. You may want to practice these because once Rule #1 is satisfactorily completed, more rules may follow.

Record Enforcement here:
This was posted on the door of the 3rd bedroom


Mom and Dad will attempt to keep their bed made. No one is to watch television in this room, thereby messing up their bed and ruining their quilt without the permission of said adult.

Record Enforcement here:



How many of you have this problem? Probably not many. We have an awesome city that picks up recyclables at the end of the street as a substitution for one trash day. However, they have to be bagged and sorted correctly. My men often refuse to work with the system -- even the oldest one. He recently declared to me he wasn't "doing it that way any more," indicating that he was doing it right now. Oh, great! The leader of the pack has finally changed his ways! Do you think the others may, just may, finally follow suit now? Sigh.


All recyclables must be put in the appropriate bin after being cleaned. NO ITEMS ARE TO BE PLACED ON TOP OF THE BIN OR ON THE FLOOR OR COUNTER OR TABLE OR ANYWHERE ELSE. If an item does not fit in a bin, then put it with other items of the same material in a plastic bag and throw it on the carport.

a. All caps must be removed (except bleach, detergent, and oil bottles that make leak harmful stuff).

b. Absolutely no restaurant carry-in pizza boxes are recyclable….they must go in the trash.

This rule is subject to additional rules.

Record Enforcement here:


Here's the one you all have been waiting for! Yep! If this one doesn't make you laugh, well, your laugh meter may need adjustment.


If Mom finds pee anywhere on the toilet or the area around the toilet, all male inhabitants of this household will loose their computer privileges for one week. 

a. When you miss and hit the back area of the toilet where the lid connects to the toilet, it leaks down through the screw and onto the bottom of the toilet and floor. There is no way to clean the screw except to remove it, therefore, this disgusting stuff stays on the screw making the bathroom stink AND the lid cover soaks up the pee and stinks requiring it to be washed.

b. When you miss and it runs down the side of the toilet, it gets on the rug requiring it to be washed more often or it provides an unpleasant feeling when one steps on it AND it runs onto the floor and seeps in between the cracks of the floor and onto the wood under flooring which is impossible to clean unless you replace the whole bathroom floor therefore making the bathroom a continual stink.

c. When you miss and hit the magazine basket, well, I still can’t figure out how you are doing this and may need to find a new basket as this one always stinks now. (Update: we now have a plastic magazine rack and, although it doesn't stink, it always has dried droplets visible on it. ick!)

Optional: Cleaning the toilet once a week would be nice. You may want to practice this because once Rule #3 is satisfactorily completed, more rules may follow. You may want to set up your own cleaning duty roster/rotation.

Record Enforcement here:


First posted May 25, 2008
Thanks for all the comments on these rules! So, others have problems with men and toilets too? [giggle] Please remember that these house rules were something I opted for as the boys got older. I am sure there are methods of use that I used when they were younger that were more effective, but this has been the best way to communicate with them as teens.

This one was hung over the trash can. I am thinking I need to print it out and post it again as a reminder. Sigh.


If Mom sees you putting something in a full trash can and then walking away from it without emptying it (or if she sees your item was the last one thrown into the can), then you will be grounded for one day to your room.

Optional: This rule could be put into a duty roster by the male participants in this house.

Record Enforcement here:


This one actually worked for a while. Now we have a different system whereby they take turns and the sink must be empty before they go to bed or we will yank them out of bed from their deep sleep. The only problem is that we forget to enforce the rule.


If Mom finds you watching t.v. or playing on the computer at the same time as there are dirty dishes in the sink or clean dishes needing to be put away, then, naturally, this will result in a loss of t.v. privileges for one week.

P.S. This rule now applies to males of all ages. Everyone needs to learn how to wash dishes. You are all old enough.

Record Enforcement here:


First published 5/24/2008

So, after posting House Rule #1 onto my blog, I was motivated to revisit the issue.

Oh my wonder I don't go into their bedrooms! I try to avoid looking at all costs. What costs? My sanity!

Yes, what was once a problem fixed years ago is still a problem. Am I a bad mom for looking the other way? Am I a bad mom for choosing my battles? I feel like a bad mom.

So, I retyped up a new version of House Rule #1 and dutifully posted it yesterday morning.

It reads as this:


Absolutely no clothes shall be retained on the floor, bed, or desk of this room. Please put the clothes away in an appropriate place, such as the closet, wardrobe, or dresser drawer.

Any clothes found by the female inhabitant of this household in an unacceptable location will be swooped up immediately and placed in holding for a period of three weeks.



P.S. – Making the bed would be nice too.

his was the signature I got. Cute, huh?

It's a penguin exclaiming and a, well, whatever it is I could not understand him (but it's not a dinosaur), saying "rawr."

However, the good news is that the mess was cleaned up and I did not have to say a word. Now, to follow up with the punishment.

I understand the comments heard were "I'll just go naked" and "I'll wear the same clothes every day."

Sigh. What's a mom to do?


First published 5/28/2008

Sigh. Isn't it something to shake your head at when a mom has to explain the reasoning and the whys of the rules over and over. I would love to teach them just once and they stick.

My men can eat cereal and milk faster than candy. It can be disheartening to continually find little balls of sweet stuff rolling about the counter-tops. Of course, no one admits they missed the bowl and did not pick up after themselves.

Does anyone else ever have this problem? I get outnumbered and just give up. Wiping it up is much easier than yelling for the responsible person to clean it up with no response.


If Mom finds cereal on the kitchen counter (which eventually rolls under the stove and could attract varmints), or any surface in the kitchen not wiped down after use (and the wash cloth rinsed and placed back in its location), then a whole house interrogation will occur until the culprit is found and appropriately punished.

Record Enforcement here:



If Mom puts clean articles of clothing on your bed, they must be immediately put away in the appropriate place. If there is a basket of clean clothes at the end of the hallway, you must immediately find your clothes and put them away in the appropriate place. If this task is left incomplete, then an administering of one day of grounding to your room will occur.

Record Enforcement here:


This one actually worked! Anyone else have a problem with this?


If Mom finds the remote control anywhere but on the coffee table, then the all male inhabitants of this house will loose t.v. privileges for one week.

Record Enforcement here:


This was an impromptu one some years back. I was SO frustrated, that I just typed it up and posted it. It benefited all as they did not have to listen to me explode and rant and I got my point across.

The male inhabitants of this home are about ready to cause me another “yell down.” Please take note!

It is very irritating to me when my bathroom magazines become unorganized. First, I can’t find what I want. Second, I have a purpose to my mad organization. You see, the bottom compartment of magazines always gets peed on. Since I cannot seem to get you all to stop this (which I wish you would), I keep in the bottom compartment the magazines that get thrown away after reading. So, the only magazines that go in the bottom rack are the Missouri Conservationist (take out the February one and look at the front cover…look closely…see the pee!). In the second rack I put the boy scout magazines, Lutheran witnesses, and any others (since most of them get thrown away too). On the top rack is where I keep the Kids Discover magazines because we do save these. Please do continue to read (I want you to read), but please put things back where they belong when done.

Next, I have about had it with the tub faucet always dripping. I have had to fix it every time I go into the bathroom and this is getting very annoying! You MUST turn the knobs fairly strongly to keep it from dripping (including turning off the middle one…uggg..that gets to me too!)

Please sign this note (anywhere on it) so that I know you have read it. When I see four signatures on it, I will pitch it.

Thank you! Love, the female inhabitant of this home.



This is the last of the house rules--that is--until I feel a new to create a new one! I hope you have enjoyed them.


No bathroom towels shall be left in a ball on the bedroom floors. First, the wet towels soak into the wood floor, thereby ruining the floor. Second, a towel in a ball on the floor cannot get enough air to effectively dry and, therefore, it begins to mold. Moldy towels stink. Moldy towels cause germs (and some people may have allergies to mold, who knows). Towels need to be hung on the shower door in order to dry out.

Therefore, I should always see five towels hanging in the bathroom. The yellow ones are mom’s. The blue ones are dad’s. All other towels are for the sons. However, do not use the beach towels for bathroom towels. Mom doesn't want to use a towel that you've wiped your penis with and you don’t want to use a towel she’s wiped her boobs with….let’s face it, everyone wants their own towel. (If I need to buy more towels, one color for each person, I will). When you have used your towel for several days, put it in the hamper and get out a new towel. I should never see more than five towels out at one time and I should always see five towels hanging in the bathroom, no more, nor less. I do not have the time to wash one load of towels a day. This is the way it’s been for the past umpteen years and I have no idea why you all have suddenly gotten a brain freeze.

If the rules are not followed, then the person disobeying will loose t.v. for one week (or at least have to listen to the wrath of mom which I know you all hate).

Record Enforcement here:




Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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