Now That I’m an Adult, I Actually Understand My Mom’s Most Unfair Rule — Kitchn


When I was growing up, I wanted nothing more than to bring a big bowl of buttery popcorn and glass of chocolate milk upstairs to my room. But there was just no way that would ever fly with my mom. She had no real issue with what I wanted to eat — it was where I wanted to eat it.

A major house rule was no food upstairs. Or really, anywhere that wasn’t the breakfast room or the TV room. And the list of food that was allowed in the TV room was a short one. (I could eat popcorn and chug chocolate milk in there at least!)

My best friend lived around the corner and was allowed to eat anywhere she wanted. So after school, we’d go to her house to pig out on whatever we could carry upstairs. We’d sprawl out at the foot of her bed with our school books, cookies, candy, and soda — and the whole time, I’d just think about how cool it was that we were eating upstairs!

Back at my house, I’d try to sneak things all the time. I almost always got caught on my way up the stairs. If I wasn’t busted then, I’d inevitably run into trouble when I’d try to get the empty packaging or dishes back down.

I didn’t see the big deal: I always used a napkin, I (basically) never spilled, and I promised I wouldn’t let the dishes pile up on my dresser! My mom was so strict and uncool, I’d tell her. But now, as a 30-something adult, I have the exact same rule. Food is for the kitchen and around the table (a coffee table will suffice) — and that’s it!

I blame one of my college suitemates, who I love dearly, but man was she bad at eating potato chips, Goldfish crackers, and other snacks. She used to sit at her desk in her bedroom and munch away. Between handfuls, she’d dust her fingers off into the air and I’d watch salt and crumbs fly everywhere. (This is her bedroom! Where she sleeps! And now her carpet is sprinkled with salt!) Never mind those insanely messy suites on our floor that were littered with pizza boxes, empty soda cans, and dirty dishes. (Girls can be so messy!)

It was my first time away from home and I could finally do all the fun things my mom wouldn’t let me do! I could eat all the pizza in bed — I just didn’t want to anymore.

Food belongs in the kitchen or at a table. I firmly believe that now. Dirty dishes, empty bags of nuts, and glasses of half-finished orange juice simply do not have a place in the bedroom.

I’ll make an exception for water and a glass of white wine — although I’m not sure if my mom would allow that either!

What are your rules for eating in rooms throughout the house?

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