Creatures of habit

“STOP BEING SILLY”. It’s the words my neighbours hear far too frequently being hollered through the walls of our adjoining homes, or out on the front driveway, as I’m trying to coerce one of the kids out of an irrational meltdown over one of their ‘things’.

By ‘things’ I mean those strange little habits they’ve formed that seem so incredibly important to them, but totally crazy to anyone else (particularly Mum who is trying her hardest to get everyone out of the door).

My eldest daughter totally freaks out if I don’t wait for her on the bottom step of the stairs – God forbid I should walk on into the kitchen without her. Or, another favourite; being the first one to get into the car. Cue major devastation should I happen to have thrown the mouse into her car seat first.

And then, there is cup-gate. The obsession over whose is whose cup, plate. bowl, spoon is quite frankly embarrassing when we have guests over for tea.

So what is the right way to deal with these stand offs? Should we as parents be standing our ground over these ridiculous preferences, or as a wise boss once told me ‘pick your battles’. With a sly under breath FFS and comply to the demands of the smalls.

It definitely feels like these moments are sent to try us as parents, having to line up the whole set of bedtime teddies on the bed (having just had to do a sweep of the house to find the one missing paddington bear).

It’s not just my kids I’m sure – I’ve seen it on the school run… Kids that have to stop at a certain point to carry out a morning ritual, like walk across a wall or run up a hill. You can see the parents counting to ten in their head. And Hell knows no fury like the wrath of a kid whose Mum forgot their scooter.

Having been mulling this over, over a brew, something occurred to me. That is, that I feel a genuine sense of disappointment if my tea is made in a mug other than my favourite. And, when my new favourite mug I was bought for Christmas fell off the side and smashed I actually could have cried.

Woman in Gray Cardigan With Girl in Grey Sweater Both Holding White Paper Cup With White Concrete Column and Trees in the Background during Daytime

There are definitely certain meals that taste better when served in my beautiful M&S pasta bowls, and there’s nothing worse than a crisp cold wine served in a really rubbish glass.

I have been known to freak out when the hubby uses the ‘baking wooden spoon’ to stir spag bol, or pop a ‘swimming towel’ over the bathroom towel rail.

I have a total ‘thing’ about cupboard doors being shut properly, and most things in our house have ‘their place’ which kinda freaks me out should said item become misplaced. Including my bum on the sofa, which feels totally wrong if not in it’s usual place on the left hand side, under the lamp.

So, maybe I should cut the girls some slack. Maybe these somewhat alien tendencies are the beginnings of their own little personality traits.

Maybe, we are all just creatures of habit.


So come on – what things send your kids (and you) over the edge? Let’s hear it!


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55 thoughts on “Creatures of habit

  1. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    Well I cant comment about kids but I definately have my things make me happy. I have my sofa and Mr A has his sofa. I have a set of Dr Who mugs, all of which are awesome, but the Cyberman and Dalek ones are MINE. If Mr A makes himself a drink in MY cups I get a little upset……

  2. franbackwithabump Reply

    This made me smile as I have certain ways of doing things too and Mr Jones laughs at me for some of my peculiarities mostly picked up from my own mum! Thanks for linking up for #marvmondays x

  3. Coombe Mill Reply

    I’d say pick your battles, somethings need to just be accepted and other times it is easier to put the juice in the right colour cup. #MarvMondays

  4. Tubbs Reply

    Everyone has their “funny little ways” and we sometimes expect children to be accommodating in a way that we wouldn’t now we’re adults. I agree with the other commentators who say pick your battles. Children have to learn that everything doesn’t always go their way and to play nicely with others. But sometimes it’s easier just to go with it.

  5. Angela Watling Reply

    I am definitely a creature of habit so I really do try and cut my daughter some slack. I think I’ve probably given her more of her compulsive behaviours than she’s developed herself yet (she’s only just turned 2). Right now we’re going through the independent phase. So Mummy and Daddy aren’t allowed to start climbing the stairs right behind her (I give her a count to 10 and then chase her so I’m not waiting for ages!) and she she pushes me out the bathroom when she wants to go on the potty / get her toilet roll / use the soap / wash her hands. I guess they like to feel a sense of control in a world moving around them at 100mph! #MarvMondays

    1. Angela Watling Reply

      As an FYI, I really enjoyed this so have shared as my #blogcrush on Lucy at Home and Naptime Natter’s linky today x

  6. Becki Parsons Reply

    I’m not sure we have much in the way of habits, oddly. I’d never really thought about it. Sure, X has his favourite toy to go to sleep with, along with his blankie, but otherwise he’s pretty chilled out. I used to swap my bedtime toy when I was little all the time – my brother had a Louie duck from DuckTales that was always by his side – but mine would change whenever I felt like it. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like routine… who knows lol!! #dreamteam

  7. franklyvickyblog Reply

    It breaks my heart when their little world collapses over where they stand at the sink to brush their teeth….even though it doesn’t bloody matter!! #DreamTeam

  8. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    I really need to work on my patience as my tolerance for “foibles” is starting to wear particularly thin, especially around school run times. My littlest one’s foibles tend to revolve around the specific way in which he climbs into his car seat. Yesterday I watched him dance about around the seat like some kind of ritual for around 5 minutes before eventually picking him up and wrestling him into place (as we were now late). This resulted in a 10 minute screaming fit the whole way there in the car. Upon arrival he could only be consoled by being taken out of the car seat and then being allowed to climb back in again of his own free will. Many many FFSs were uttered! This really made me smile and want to high five you – as all of your posts do! Thanks for linking up with us lovely xx #DreamTeam

  9. Nicole Reply

    Oh I so love this post… I’ve never looked at my 3 year old’s idiosyncracies in this light. Maybe now I will cut him some slack…
    I’m so with you on the coffee mug/ tea cup thing…

  10. Mom Of Two Little Girls Reply

    I love this. I was thinking about this very thing the other day. I have about 5 different wine glasses, but I only like the one. I also hate it when the swimming & bathing towels get used for the wrong thing!
    My eldest has MANY of these and it caused a huge issues with us but now with my youngest I realise I was far too hard on my eldest and I was actually the reason we had such a rocky relationship. My youngest has now started to develop these little things and I’ve decided to let some of them be. Her fury is never as great as when I grab a clean bowl off the driptray or out of the dishwasher that is still slightly damp and then proceed to put her food in it. She goes ballistic! lol Great post.

  11. A Mum Called Lucy Reply

    #coolmumclub Sooo many things irritate me!
    – When my kids move around my sofa cushions and they aren’t perfectly placed
    – When Mr. S finishes washing up and leaves the bowl full of water
    – Being followed up the stairs, freaks me out!
    – If I’m on a train, I only like facing forward, if there is only a seat available which is facing backwards, I would rather stand.

    Loved this post. Made me realise I need to cut my two some slack. I’m a weirdo too
    Thank you for hosting!

  12. Amanda Blackburn Reply

    My 6 year old has on obsession with labels on his clothes and I have to un-pick them out of all his clothes. He convinces himself that they itch, and to be fair to him when I leave them in he always get a rash or the area near the label is red.
    He also wants to stop every morning on the school run to get stones out his shoes, (which are never in his shoes!) This is not an easy task when I have got 2 three year olds bags and I’m holding hands too, and trying to help my son balance on one leg. Sometimes I even have to take his sock off.
    Great post!

  13. beautybabyandme Reply

    I totally get this! Did you see this week my post about Josh being obsessed with anything blue – blue stacking cups, blue stacking rings – he takes them everywhere (including stealing the nurserys)! And I’m the same – although through the day I’ll use any old mug for my million cups of tea, it has to be in a certain mug for the first cup of the day! xx #coolmumclub

  14. Reply

    I love this, and totally relate. Husband and I have our ‘spots’ on the sofa, much like Sheldon in Big Bang Theory, even our eldest knows when we are approaching to sit that he has to shuffle to the middle or there will be a problem haha. He is also a cup-gate kid at the moment! #coolmumclub

  15. justsayingmum Reply

    ha ha ha I’m so with you – all those little rituals that the children have but when you look at yourself too there’s even more! I’m guilty. Favourite mug for coffee in the morning but would never put tea in it. White dinner plates not the blue ones. Certain teaspoon over another teaspoon – oh I’m officially crazy!! #CoolMumClub

  16. KYLIE ABREU Reply

    Oh my lorrdddd. I have a one year old and I already hear myself telling him to stop being silly about a million times a day. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when he can choose what cutlery he wants. I will take note and try to keep calm and pick my battles.

  17. Mummy Rules Reply

    Ha! So true. My eldest likes to get out of the car by herself, which is fine most of the time – it’s great! Except the other day we were late for school and I quickly helped her out of the car. Cue total MELTDOWN with tears and snot and almost mine. The issue was resolved by putting her back in her car seat then waiting (with all the patience I could muster) whilst she slowly lowered herself out of the car. Arrrrrhhh! I will never be helping her out again. #coolmumclub

  18. and Jacob makes three Reply

    I have a mug that is mine. It has my initial on it, so it’s clearly mine. Why would someone want to drink out of a mug with someone else’s initial on it?! It irritates me no end 🙂 #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      😉 At work someone offered to look after my mug while I was on maternity leave…I used to see it on her desk all the time and my blood would boil! Needles to say it came home with me!!

  19. Donna Reply

    We don’t really have this! I see other children that will only eat from their bowl and feel very lucky!!


  20. bridiebythesea Reply

    Oh this made me smile as I know for sure I always eat my Crunchie by eating all the chocolate first and then the honeycomb…my other half can’t understand why I do it! Fab post lovely and thank you for hosting #coolmumclub Lovely to be back xx

  21. Laura Beresford Reply

    I have a breakfast cup and a mid morning cup: when my mother in law stayed she used them! I was not a happy bunny #coolmumclub

  22. nowmynameismummy Reply

    I can see some of these habits developing at 14 months. He’s becoming very frustrated at the moment when I don’t immediately grasp what he’s pointing to, or if he’s pointing to something he’s not allowed! Such a great post! #coolmumclub

  23. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    It’s so good to read this hon! Sometimes I wonder what kind of OCD freak we have created but then I read this and know we are not alone – phew! #coolmumclub loving xoxo

  24. Aleena Brown Reply

    I absolutely love this, and when the kids are being strange about things I always try to remind myself that they are humans with feelings, thoughts, and preferences. I kept telling Amelia this week that I knew she liked rice because she had eaten it plenty of times, even though she was adamant that she didn’t. It wasn’t until yesterday that she said “I don’t like the way it sticks in my mouth” that I realised her preferences are based on feelings that she genuinely has. So I try to lose it when she insists “that bowl is William’s!” #CoolMumClub

  25. Mum in Brum Reply

    You are so right, we’re all such creatures of habit. Taylor has to be the one to close the gate behind us at nursery – a little embarrassing if someones just coming up on the other side. She also has to put her socks and shoes on herself which can definitely test my patience when we’re in a rush to get out of the door! But yes I am so the same – I have certain cutlery that I never use, I have to get the lighting ‘just right’ and like you I have a thing about cupboard doors being shut! Now I see where they get it from xx #coolmumclub

  26. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    Now you’ve got me thinking! It’s so true! Like you, I have my favourite cup for tea and favourite place to sit. So maybe we should give the kids a bit of a break even if their favourite things and favourite routines are far weirder than ours!! Thanks for hosting #CoolMumClub x

  27. tinmccarthy Reply

    Oh yeah. Pink cup only for one, blue sparkle shoes for the other. One has to sleep this way, another that way. Dont you DARE take that banana out of it’s peel…but peel it for me.


  28. Rainbows are too beautiful Reply

    We all have our comforts, and that’s part of being comforted which is just fine. Whatever it is, special mug, comfy jumper. Plus sometimes do taste better out of specific receptacles. No doubt about that! #coolmumclub

  29. mummygummie Reply

    This is so true! My little one is 14 months and starting to get attached to certain things like having his Thomas backpack! But like you said I’m not any different I’m quite particular about a lot of things too including my cup.

  30. mummygummie Reply

    Oops forgot to put #coolmumclub

  31. Reply

    Great post! I began by thinking that my F is too young at 6 months to have any of these ‘things’ yet but the more I think about they’ve already started – for example I can’t walk out the living room to the kitchen and not be playing peekaboo between the doors – and this is obviously only going to get worse lol! Can I blame him when I absolutely MUST eat within 3 seconds of waking up, followed by having to check I’ve locked the doors, turned the iron off and put the toilet seat down 300 times before leaving home? #CoolMumClub

  32. Susie / S.H.I.T. Reply

    I definitely have control freak tendences with things that have to be just so – toilet roll put on the right way for good luck (am I a weirdo?), favourite coffee mug, shoes must be put together neatly. Maybe you’re right, our kids are just starting to form their own little idiosyncracies but I, too, find myself muttering FFS under my breath when they do! #coolmumclub

  33. barriebismark Reply

    I am definitely a creature of habit. I think I may have passed on my neurotic tendencies to my children!

  34. Janine Reply

    This post has really got me thinking because it’s all so true. My son insists on having the same colour cup and utensils as the plate or bowl he’s using and I use to sigh in exasperation but then I realised that I’m exactly the same. He probably picked that little habit up from me in the first place. Funny things us humans are sometimes eh?


  35. five little doves Reply

    I love this, and we deal with this on a daily basis! Megan will only eat meals with the spoon with the orange handle, regardless of whether it should be eaten with a knife and fork. If said spoon is in the dishwasher, all hell breaks loose, and god help me if I serve it to her on the wrong blue plate! I’m the same in some ways though and as frustrating as it is at times, I try to be mindful of the fact that really, it’s all about choosing your battles. #coolmumclub

  36. Nicola Reply

    I read somewhere that all kids have OCD and it is normal. We grow out of some of it as we get older but there are always things/habits we do that we hold on to. I remember having to sit at the bottom of the stairs and wait for my son to throw his milk cup down the stairs every night. I certainly have some weird habits too though…I can only sit in a certain chair at the table otherwise my dinner just doesn’t taste the same (WHAT??!) #coolmumclub

  37. Erica Reply

    I have a mug I like for tea and another I like for coffee. I am also a dishwasher rearranger. I’m not a creature of habit, I have issues

  38. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    My daughter’s latest ritual is to ask for the toilet just after getting into bed, she will then go to the bathroom but decide she doesn’t need it after all and go back to bed. She will then need a drink. And then a wipe, because this girl is wipe obsessed. I used to fight against it and it would add another 30 minutes into bedtime. Now I factor in the walk to the bathroom and back and take a drink and wipe into her room with me to save time and arguments and it works better for everyone. As for me, my daily habit is getting up early so I can get showered and then enjoy my breakfast and a hot cup of tea in peace while reading a few blogs before everyone else gets up. Lately my son has started getting up earlier and it completely throws me off for the rest of the morning. So much so I’m considering getting up at 5am just so I can get my ‘me’ time! In fact I am writing this to the soundtrack of ‘Stampy’, if you don’t know who Stampy is just count your blessings, if you do know, you have my sympathy. His voice is like nails on a chalkboard!

  39. Winnettes Reply

    I’m so pleased this isn’t just my children! But then thinking about it you are right. I have my own idiosyncrasies that are a result of habit so perhaps it isn’t so much their fault.

  40. RaisieBay Reply

    Reading this and the replies has made me realise something….we are all normal! yay, celebrate the creatures of habit. #blogcrush

  41. madmotherintheattic Reply

    This is so true. My children like their particular colours of plates and bowls, but come to think of it, I have a soup bowl that I have had since about age 15 which has a picture of a roast chicken on the front – and I ALWAYS have my soup out of it. If anyone else has my bowl, I am fuming. Hmmm. #coolmumclub

  42. thealohamummy Reply

    Ha! I’m right there with you, I too am so habitual, what is it about our mugs?! I have my one for breakfast, a lunch mug and of course the very important bedtime tea mug!! All should be used at the correct time of day and not any other!! What am I like?! Also, if I do break a handle that mug then becomes a great pen pot!! Good grief!! #coolmumclub

  43. Helena Reply

    It recently frustrated me that hubby re-arranged the kitchen utensils after I had tried to make the girls things more accessible. #coolmumclub

  44. Jo (Mother of Teenagers) Reply

    I am completely obsessive about so many things – according to my family! I do have my own must haves like my morning latte in my large mug that says Foxy Lady on it !! Like you I also have things that send me over the edge about my family like my husband ignoring the bread board for his toast in the morning and using the “vegetable” chopping board. He just doesn’t understand at all! The list is long…..#coolmumclub

  45. yvonne Reply

    When you put it like that, you are right. I also have things that I prefer, like a certain glass I like to drink out of. Never compared it before x #coolmumclub

  46. Lucy At Home Reply

    Fab post! It is funny (frustrating! Haha) what things become so important to them.

    My eldest has a low wall that she insists on sitting on when we are walking home because (she claims) she needs a rest and a drink. My youngest MUST be on the right hand side of the staircase when we’re walking down them together.

    But, like you say, we all have our little foibles! Hehe


  47. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I have many routines that have to be done in a certain way – and I moan terribly to hubby if he decides to screw it up! I’ve often said everyone has a little OCD in them but them quirks are what makes someone them! I’m so intruiged to see what Ben develops as he gets older! #coolmumclub

  48. crummymummy1 Reply

    I’m totally with you on the wine in a crap glass – I can’t think of much worse than that! #coolmumclub

  49. absolutely prabulous Reply

    Funnily enough I constantly tell my hubby how bloody lucky we are to have never gone through anything more than a couple of weeks of tantrum phase with our kids. (So why am I such an impatient shouty mum then?!) The more blog posts I read, the more I wonder if my kids are just really well behaved or just incredibly dull! They don’t really get to indulge in habits cos I just pull out the ‘do you know how lucky you are’ card. Poor sods. #coolmumclub

  50. New Mummy Blog Reply

    I’ve said the exact same before, I like certain things, wear a certain top all the time, don’t like certain mugs, do things in a certain order, and dislike hubby’s order of certain things So why are our kids any different? H has to have her shoes off in the car. It drives me mad if we’re only driving 2 minutes to the playgroup or shop. I do NEED to get that habit out of her! (PS I’m with you on the cupboard doors, also room doors and wardrobes and chairs must be pushed in) #coolmumclub

  51. Lucy At Home Reply

    Congratulations on having this linked up to #blogcrush again! I think it’s a really lovely way to look at the (otherwise frustrating) little rituals that our kids have. They ARE just mini people, after all, and they like things “just so”, just like we do! #blogcrush

  52. susielhawes Reply

    Ah! Yes to the wine not in the right glass and the baking spoon being used for savour!! I feel we’d get on well hahaha. My daughter is in a phase of having a meltdown if I dare to walk out of the room – she demands I sit down right next to her all the time. Hoping this too shall pass as they say!! #BlogCrush x

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