Them’s the Rules: Part I (7 Quick Takes)

by | Sep 11, 2015 | 7 Quick Takes, Printables, Them's the Rules | 21 comments

Remember way back when I wrote that post on Living the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Home (with Frankie)? Well, it just happens to mention one of our Family Rules: Don’t take your pants off without a plan. In the comments of that post, Annie asked if I would make it into a printable. Maybe . . . PROBABLY, she was joking. But I was thirty-nine weeks pregnant, so . . . I spent the entire next day making that rule and ALL of our house rules into printables. My nesting is kinda graphic design-y, I guess.

And I kind of really, really love them.

But I keep not being able to figure out what to do with them, blog-wise.

That ends today. Today, I’m just going to throw seven of them up here, and call it my quick takes.

And there are more where these came from. Many more. You’ll just never know when I’m gonna drop ’em on ya.

1. What are YOU doing to help our family?

So, some of them aren’t “rules” so much as “things I say all day long.” Take this one for example. You’re probably going to hear this if you are, say, standing leaning against the counter while other folks are doing the dishes, or laying on the couch staring at the ceiling for no particular reason.

2. No whinin,’ no cryin,’ no beggin,’ for food, and you carry your own coat.

This is the rule that begat ALL the rules. My mother-in-law said this to her kids. And she says it to mine. And I say it to them too, if they ever have coats, which is almost never.

3. Cryin’ Babies Go to Bed

You guys already know this one. It has a whole blog post.

4. Whistling is an Outside Activity

This one isn’t the end of the world. But, we just find that the comfort of our home and the productivity of its occupants is increased by there not being ANY whistling inside the house. They can go outside and whistle all they please. I think it’s okay to insist upon a certain level of volume inside.

5. Don’t Rush Off to do a Job I Gave to Someone Else

Kids don’t love getting assigned chores, right? Right. But, somehow, they DO love to rush off to do something I asked someone ELSE to do. Why? WHY? I don’t know. But having this rule keeps my kids from pushing, tripping, and elbowing past one another in their rush to do someone else’s job. They’re such weirdos.

6. Sit in a Seat That Someone Isn’t Sitting In

Another one that seems like it shouldn’t be necessary, yes? But it really, really is. There are enough seats on our couch for everyone to sit and watch a movie. There are enough chairs at our table for everyone to sit and eat dinner. But nothing looks better than a seat momentarily vacated by a sibling going to grab a drink. And maybe you’ve been bickering with that particular sibling all day, but NOW if you don’t get to sit next to him by squeezing into a spot that means you’re mostly sitting on top of your sister, you’ll JUST DIE. But then . . . so much unhappiness. So we have this rule.

7. Don’t Take Your Pants Off Without a Plan

And here it is . . . the rule that launched a couple dozen printables.

I think it’s good advice for kids and grownups alike, ya know?

We were getting a lot of: 1. Take pants off. 2. Realize you don’t have any pajamas in your drawer. 3. Kinda pull shirt down, come out to the living room where we have company over to alert mom to the pajama situation.

But NOW, we have a rule.

Acceptable plans around here include: “1. Take off pants. 2. Get in bathtub,” “1. Take off pants. 2. Put on pajamas (that are RIGHT THERE),” and “1. Take off pants. 2. Use as floatation device.” But that last one only works if you happen to be wearing sailor pants.

The rest of the rules can be found in this post.

And, by popular demand, the Tierney Family Rules are now available in the Catholic All Year Digital Shop, as . . .

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Two 8.5×11 inch Collages of All 22 Rules

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One 8.5×11 Collage of 20 Rules

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AND . . . the winner of the back to school giveaway of a copy of

Gifts From Our Father is . . . The Nem’s. Please email me at to claim your prize by Monday. Congratulations!

For more quick takes, head over to Kelly’s. 

For even MORE Tierney House Rules, check out the second installment . . . here.


  1. Rachel Neal

    Yep, kids are weirdos. Your kids, my kids, all kids! Most adults, too. We just know how to hide it better. Sometimes.

  2. Emily E.

    Number 2 is definitely going up in my house! I might have you make a "Be Nice. Always."

  3. Staci

    These made me laugh so hard, because they're all things we say, or ought to say. We just had the pants issue last night while my husband's bible study group was over. Oy. I'm seriously considering where to hang all of these around our house that would be visible to the kids, but maybe not in plain sight to company… Good stuff!

  4. Vanessa Schweihs

    I think a good one is "Don't retaliate!" For some reason I say that often…could be the 3 boys ages 7, 5, 3…!

  5. mel

    haha! Number 5! We have this issue *all the time* around here. Nothing like a brother and sister coming to blows to see who gets to shut the back door!

  6. Julie Hoover

    I love that you're going to do custom printables!!! I have tried to do them but yours ALWASY look better. I am going to become a frequent shopper…and am starting with an order for 3!

    The pants without a plan though…that cracks me up…but really so applicable to everyone.

  7. Alyssa Jura

    I need a rule about not climbing on things without a plan on how to get down. My daughter (almost 2years old) is always finding something to climb or perch on then can't figure out how to get down. then it's "mama help. Mama up please" because she doesn't know how to say "down" yet…

  8. Amelia Bentrup

    The no pants one is hilarious. We solve that problem in our house by not wearing pajamas. I mean…my kid DO wear clothing to bed, but they just wear regular, comfortable clothes (leggings, sweat pants, t-shirts) which they have aplenty, so they don't have to look for anything in particular and have no problems getting dressed.

  9. Amanda

    Why are the jobs you weren't assigned so much better?? Also I love the wording of "what are you doing to help this family?" I'm stealing it. My similar command has been garbled.

  10. AnneMarie

    Haha! The pants one is great 🙂 But all of these are fairly spectacular!

  11. Amanda

    I think you need to print and frame the "Don't take your pants off without a plan." one for their college dorm rooms…just saying 😉 Haha!

    We have odd family rules we end up saying too. Such as "If your brother is in any way, or for any reason, on any roof you must tell Mom." and "Toddlers don't make the decisions."

    I like your MIL's "No Whinin, No Cryin, No Begging for Food, and You Can Carry Your Own Coat" rule…I am totally stealing that one for when we go out. I'd add "and your own blankie and water bottle" to the list of things they need to carry themselves. 🙂

  12. Ali

    I love love love these! Especially your comments for each quote. I have two kids and a little bit of large family envy – it all looks so lovely and friendly from afar. It is nice to know that we are all putting out the same little fires.

  13. Unknown

    Hmm I might just print #7 off and hang it in my office. Or maybe my coworker's office. Love these.

  14. Unknown

    Hmm I might just print #7 off and hang it in my office. Or maybe my coworker's office. Love these.

  15. Anonymous

    Those were hilarious! Especially the no pants plan one…. I am in the kitchen schnarfing down the rest of some butter pecan ice cream on the sly, and I was caught by my laughter…! Someone above mentioned "don't retaliate" , which is good, but in our house it's "Don't Initiate, and Don't Retaliate!" because sometimes the initiator needs a reminder too!

  16. The Nem's!!

    Thanks again for the giveaway! I'm so excited I won!! It is a great book…for little AND big people! 🙂

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

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