Monday, July 22, 2013

The Mommy Will Lose it Advisory System

This was originally published in May 2010:

In the past 24 hours, I have gotten three phone calls from friends of mine and they all started with the exact same sentence:

"I am about to LOSE MY SCHMIDT."

Oh, I understand. I wish I didn't. My children have been a little challenging lately. And they usually know when they're about to push me over the edge. A couple of times I've actually seen them stop and consider whether or not the naughtiness they are about to engage in will be worth the sh*tstorm they'll get.

So I thought that maybe we needed some sort of visual cue to warn them just how bad it will be. To teach them about consequences and the importance of prevention.  By prevention, I mean both bad behavior and mommy melt-downs. So in an effort to combat the illicit activities of a certain group of little terror suspects and to keep mommies everywhere from losing their minds, we are proud to introduce the:

U.S. Department of  HomeMommyLand Security
Mommy May Lose Her Schmidt Advisory System

The whole purpose of this chart is to educate our children. When you're in the green - all is well. Tra la la! Green is awesome. If you do something slightly thoughtless or age-appropriately stupid, you may end up in the Blue. A more serious infraction of Mommy Law will land you in the Yellow. In the yellow, you'd better watch out or you might end up in the Thinking Chair. If you're in the Orange, you're in your room for a while because you've made a bad choice. Once you hit the Red, Mommy has lost her schmidt and you are about to start hating life. You're gonna get yelled at. You might even get a pop on the popper (or a smack on the smacker). You're gonna see that Wii go flying through the window and possibly your Mommy's head flying right after it.

So kids, stay out of the Red. Understand? Red bad. Green good. Need a little more information?

Let's start at the bottom, shall we?

The Green: "You're fine. For Now"
No one is fussing or fighting. People are happy. Kids are saying please and thank you and Mommy is probably smiling. Shoes and toys are put away and coats are hung up, instead of just randomly discarded throughout the house where certain adults may accidentally trip on them in the middle of the night and then say the F-word. Take a moment to enjoy the peace and quiet.  It's nice, isn't it? Sure, it is. Savor the flavor, hotshot because it will not last.

The Blue: "You Better Watch Yourself, Mister."
Maybe you forgot to say please or thank you. Maybe you lolly-gaggled. Or said you brushed your teeth when your breathe still smells like old cheese, so you obviously didn't. Possibly it took you 27 minutes to put on your shoes. Maybe the dreaded phrase: "But Mooooooommm" left your lips. You did something, but it wasn't that big a deal. Just don't do it again.

The Yellow: "You're on Thin Ice."
If you have asked me the same question ten times or "forgotten" to do your chores again or are pretending that you have no idea how the playroom got destroyed or why your brother is crying and holding his testicles - then you're in the Yellow. Just stop. Whatever you're doing - stop it. You may get "the Look" or start to hear "the Tone" creep into your mommy's voice. No one likes the Mean Mommy Voice. Do you want it to go away? Then cease and desist right freaking now and go quietly read a book. You'll be back in the green in no time and you might just get a lollipop.

The Orange: "Time Out!"
You have crossed a line. There has been hitting or kicking or hair-pulling. There have been mean words and I'm not talking about "poopyhead". Maybe you told a lie and got busted. Because really? Don't lie to your mom. We are equipped with special radar. And for some of us there is no greater sin, even if it was only about what happened to the last of the Girl Scout cookies. At this point, there's either total silence or a complete cacophony of screaming, crying and "But he started it".  Mommy may raise her voice. Her face may start to change colors and that might be kind of amusing... for a moment.

But if you value your young life, do not laugh. Maybe Mommy does look like she is about to poop a little, but it's not funny. If possible, start to piteously cry about how sorry you are. Be prepared for some consequences; popping a squat on the step, spending some time in the corner or kickin' it in your room. But a warning: Do Not Get An Attitude. Orange can turn to Red and that's when things start to get crazy.

The Red: "Gaaahhhhh!!!"
All right, folks. It has happened. Mommy has lost her schmidt. It's gone and it may be a while before she gets it back. And guess what, it's all your fault. You see, Mommy does not lose her schmidt unless she is provoked. Or she's had a really bad day. Or has PMS and Daddy just called and said he has to work late. Maybe you hurt somebody littler than you on purpose. Or you got suspended. Or you heard your mom say "don't do that" and you did it anyway. While you may think it is no big deal to be blatantly disobedient and disrespectful, to a mommy it is a BIG DEAL.

You see kids, when you decide that you don't have to listen, that you can do whatever you want, that you can be rude to your parents, that the only thing that matters is what you want - well, that's when the carefully constructed, happy place called MommyLand falls apart.  Because those rules are there for a reason. And, mommies are there for a reason. To protect you. To keep you safe. To show you how to be a good person. Who can have a good life with choices and options and opportunities. Who is not a crackhead or a douchebag or an ex-stripper who once dated Jesse James for twenty unsatisfying minutes or the dead-eyed, creepy, recently paroled dude who works the late shift at the gas station.

Because, in spite of the fact that while in the Red, mommy may scream loud enough that the neighbors may consider dialing Child Protective Services, your mommy loves you more than anything. So when you act like a jackhole, she freaks out. Because it means that she's failing you. And you know what? We mommies really don't need anything more in our lives to feel guilty or inadequate about. That's why we have a mothers-in-law and mirrors.

It's easy, Family. When you're happy and being good - Mommy is happy and being good. So for the LOVE OF GOD, please be good. Or I will be forced to call Dick Cheney.

-------------------------------------- 2013 Update ---------------------------

The original image in this post is currently going viral! WOO HOO! Except that back in 2010, I had no idea that I was supposed to my blog's name on the images I created in Microsoft paint (mostly because I'm an idiot). A couple of months after making this, my brilliant friend Amy (The Pregnant Chicken) made over the graphic for me so it would look awesome. So if you like the image and you want to pin it or share it, would you mind sharing the one that has the blog's name on it? I would be very grateful. 
xoxo, Lydia

-------------------------------------- 2014 Update ---------------------------

His holiness and supreme magnificence George Takei shared this on his amazing Facebook page today and I almost died from how happy it made me. Because he credited us! And he totally didn't have to! THANK YOU, SIR. You are made of equal parts magic and enchantment (and Brad smells like a misty meadow of manly flowers). I am so sincerely grateful.

Also! Welcome, new internet friends! I'm giving you an awkwardly long hug right now because I'm really happy you're here. 

A couple of people have asked to buy stuff with this image on it. Here's a link to our Cafe Press store. But if you just want to right-click on the image below and print it out - that's cool, too. It's the internet!  
xoxo for realsies.

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(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2013


  1. Everything about this is more than true!
    I think I will have my husband read it as well !
    He might learn a thing or two about my life here at home!!!

  2. Amazing how fast a kid can go from green to red, skipping all the colors in between.
    Teenage years = RED! (Dick Cheney...yikes! That IS scary! Have you got his phone number?)

  3. OMG... I would so buy a poster to hang on our wall... my AngelBaby has been asking for a 'list of rules to hang on the wall' and I think this would be just about perfect!!

  4. This is the best! I'm printing it out for my 13-year-old...he still hasn't learned the code yet. My 2-year-old is following in his footsteps, but wants to do everything her older brother does. So, I figure if I "fix" the oldest, the youngest will follow. Good stuff!

  5. I would lOOOVE a poster also! That or I'll just paint the playroom red.

  6. Thank you. I really needed that.

  7. At our house, it's defcon 1-4 (one is the worst)and we live somewhere close to one, waaay to often! Love your system, may have to make some adjustments to mine!

  8. Just brilliant. This should come in the packets of goodies some hospitals give to new mothers. The hardest thing to learn is what to do when the LTSs learn exactly HOW to push your buttons. Mommys have to learn how NOT to respond to some of the triggers. It is HARD. And yet, they survive and so will you. Now lets see if Aunt Mary is really so awesome. Will the young men returning from college next week consider wet towels THEIR laundry? Will they finally find the Dishwasher?? Will they put gas in Uncle Richard's car???

  9. Hilarious! FaceBook shared. :)

  10. Wow, I needed that this morning. I've been in Orange since my baby has been screaming so shrilly that the neighborhood dogs are howling.

  11. I just peed a little. Wait...okay, got it under control.

    I am going to print this out for my daughter, age 11-going-on-whatever-age-she-has-decided-to-act-today. She seems to be constantly in the yellow, with a daily trip into orange and an occasional foray into the red. Glad we now have a rating system, I can use it as justification when I lock her in the basement.

  12. *laughs* Thank you. I may print that out and post it in a prominant location in my house! You are awesome!

  13. Would you guys consider having this made into a fridge magnet??? I would so buy one for myself and for my Mommy friends for gifts!

  14. This is brilliant...and i agree with the fridge magnet idea... You could even patent it!

  15. I hear quail hunting will clear bad behavior right up....

  16. You're gonna put that on a t-shirt right? Pretty,please with beer on top?

  17. It would be nice to pin a glossy poster size of this on the ceiling above my DD bed. You know as a "little" reminder.


  19. My ... name ... is ... not ... BUTTMOM.

  20. Hilarious! My 10 yr old girl stays in yellow 99% of the time. But it is still hilarious because I remember the days she liked to learn the hard way. When she was 7 she asked me "Mama, you notice how I don't get spanked much anymore?" I told her it was because she was smart and learned lessons. LOL

  21. I meant she stays in gree...*I* need to learn the system! so sad...

  22. Vylotte - LOL
    In second grade my daughter had to write sentences using spelling words, on week it was the word 'but'. Here were her sentences
    But Why.
    But Mom.

    I left it so her teacher could appreciate my general crankiness

  23. My schmidt left early this morning without even the slightest look back. I don't think it will be returning. Unfortunate.
    Thanks for the laugh. Except I might have to laugh later, because I'm doing so badly that I couldn't even laugh yet.

  24. I think I'm actuallly going to have my 13yo read this. He won't listen to me but you said so succinctly and he loves to read.....ah-ha! the trick! Get a clue kid,

    thanks for giving me hope of a peaceful existence in mommyland.

  25. Funny how you try so many things to BRIBE your children in to listening. and once you think they've got it down pat. They are already in the I DON'T CARE CATAGORY AGAIN!!! Then you have to try something new. and everywhere that you seem to make the time out place turns into a fun place. I think i'll start using the closet!!

  26. I would send you $ for a poster right now. Especially since I'm the only female in a house of males. Sometimes they look at me like I'm speaking a different language. Colors = simplicity

  27. There are levels below red? I didn't know there where other levels...I don't think my kids know there are any others either! Had a great laugh though!

  28. i am SHOCKED no one has called CPS due to the screaming that emanates from our home. I *may* have told my kids that if they do come,i don't plan on being investigated for nothing!

  29. I. AM. POSTING. THIS. ON. MY. FRIDGE. With a smiley face magnet!

  30. Saw this had made the (almost) front page of Reddit last night - and was even happier to see some good people give you credit in the comments (before I had to!) Way to go!

  31. Is there anyway to download this and print it out? I'm serious. :)

  32. How do I BUY THIS? Honestly. I'd pay real live green (or plastic) money. It can hang next to my Anti-Stress Kit "Bang Head Here" sign. IN the living room.

  33. You definitely have to make some CafePress or Vistaprint posters!

  34. My husband is a SAHD and sympathizes. Any chance you have a "Papa is about to lose his schmidt" version lying around?

  35. The one person not to tick off???

    WHY NOT??? He certainly sounds like the kind of person to want to try and TALK something out with some druggie holding a stolen gun to their child's head while demanding all the money and valuable in their house???

    WHY would you NOT want to tick this person off??? There's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to back up that statement - other than some printed words regarding increased Mommy Threat Levels.

    The Color-Coded Threat Levels weren't designed for KIDS, they were designed for the lowest common denominator to make it EASY TO UNDERSTAND FOR ADULTS, who've grown up in our Public Education/Indoctrination system, who have a very difficult time thinking for themselves unless told by some Government authority.

    The referenced author CERTAINLY does NOT scare me.

    Actually, reading the article leads me to believe the PARENT had NOT done a very good job of actually BEING A PARENT.

    So, they needed to revert to a color chart to establish of what breaking certain rules would mean.

    OKAY - but WHERE IS THE LIST of all those BAD THINGS identified on the color-coded chart - so the kid's know EXACTLY where they stand (no gray colors included).


    If you make a chart, they EXPECT YOU to follow the chart too!!! The FIRST TIME YOU DON'T, they'll know the ENTIRE THING IS BULLSHIT!!!

    Kids are MUCH smarter than parents give them credit for - especially when it comes to manipulating their own parents!!!!

    Don't think so?????

    Wanna' make a BET????

    LIFE is not a bunch of decisions based on choices of colors. LIFE and those choices are based upon YEARS of PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT and DISCIPLINE - YES, KIDS NEED DISCIPLINE. That DOES NOT mean spankings or "Time Outs" (which become useless as kids get older), but REAL parental bonding and RESPECT. You DON'T NEED COLOR-CODED CHARTS to indicate which items create which parental stresses (the kids will look for only those items which create the least amount of color-coded stress and work around them).

    This color-coded chart is RIDICULOUS (just like it was when presented to the USA population). NO ONE respected it, and almost EVERYONE viewed it with distain.

    WHYYYYYYY would you even THINK of pushing so STUPID on your own kids (who are usually MUCH more intelligent than looking at a STUPID color-coded chart, to see where to get around their parent's anger/irritation levels)????

    LIKE is NOT a computer game!!

    UNPLUG all the damned electronics in your house (beside the heating and refrigeration), and actually TALK TO EACH OTHER.

    I challenge ALL OF YOU reading this to do this FOR A MONTH!!!!

    I BET you won't be able to do it (not counting doing so to keep your job and paychecks) - you'll crack within 2 weeks. If you get PAST 2-weeks, there's a good chance you'll make it 'till a month!!

    My ex-wife and I went without cable TV for FOUR YEARS, and when we FINALLY got it, we were APPALLED at the crap everyone was talking about on TV!!!

    Even till this day, anytime my wife mentions shutting off the cable to save money, I tell her - DO IT!!! But she won't, 'cause there's a few shows she doesn't want to do without.


    You'll discover what you're REALLY missing (each other)!!!!

    And that's NO JOKE!!!

    Get your priorities straight: PEOPLE are important, THINGS ARE NOT. LOVE one another!!!!



  36. This is marvelous, and I'm so glad George Takei shared it with us.

  37. Where's the level where you enjoy loving and being with your kids? Or are they only varying degrees of burdensome to you, in which case why did you have kids?

    I'm going through therapy for growing up with shit like this.

  38. This is just fucked up and I'm apallad by all the retards agreeing with it. It's obvious none of you are fit to be parents. I would be ashamed to go public with this idiocy!

  39. Totally love this! It's all fun and games..I don't get the weirdos above!! Therapy!? Lol wow




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