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How the Rules From "Zombieland" Can Help With Parenting

Rule #3 - Beware of bathrooms

By Jill (Conquering Cognitions)Published about a year ago 5 min read
How the Rules From "Zombieland" Can Help With Parenting
Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

I'm a huge fan of movies.

Over the years, I have learned how to knock out a painful tooth with an ice skate, grow potatoes on Mars, and kill an aggressive alien with a hearing aid.

The best films are entertaining, thought-provoking, and often share some useful life advice. The Zombieland franchise fits this description well.

This two-film series can prepare us for a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and/or help us become better parents by following a few simple rules.

Rule #1 — Cardio

Endurance is key to outrunning a zombie. They aren’t fast, so if you can run longer than they shuffle, you will likely survive.

Endurance is also essential for parenting — it is a marathon, not a sprint. Exercise gives us strength, both physically and mentally, to put forth our best effort every day.

If you can’t exercise alone, let your kids join in on the fun. Bench pressing a wiggling toddler or curling an occupied car seat is gratifying if done safely. Taking walks or going on bike rides together is a fun form of cardio, and it is good for everyone.

Plus, tired kids take longer naps.

Rule #3 — Beware of Bathrooms

As Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) warns us in Zombieland, “Don’t let them catch you with your pants down.”

Anyone responsible for a young child knows that they always seem to need something the minute you step into the bathroom.

Like an elephant that can hear sounds from almost a mile away, our kids’ ears are perfectly primed to recognize the sound of a closing bathroom door, no matter how softly we do it.

The second the door latches, fights break out among siblings, a cup of red juice grows legs and walks from the kitchen to the new couch, and the TV volume gets louder.

Chaos ensues when a parent uses the bathroom, so try to do it before the kids wake up or after they go to bed.

Rule #18 — Limber Up

Before entering any situation where you might encounter a zombie, you need to stretch and prepare yourself for action.

The same is true for parenting.

It is not easy to carry a heavy infant seat, chase after toddlers, keep up with energetic school-aged kids, and word wrestle with teenagers. You have to limber up in the morning to prepare your body and mind for anything and everything.

Take a few minutes near sunrise to prepare for the inevitable challenges of the day by doing some light stretching or yoga poses.

While you hold the stretch, prepare your mind by meditating or establishing daily intentions (I will embrace the day, I will nurture my child’s gifts, I will not spend the day watching movies).

The first few minutes of the day can set the tone for the rest of it, so allow some time to limber up. This may require setting your alarm ten minutes earlier or including your children in a joint mindfulness exercise.

It is worth the effort.

Rule #22 — When in Doubt, Know Your Way Out

If you live in a world inhabited by zombies, you always need to have an exit strategy — a door that you can run through to escape the hungry hordes.

Parents need exit strategies too. We need a place to briefly escape the tantruming toddler, a whiny preschooler, or a defiant teenager.

Occasionally, we must relocate our bodies to preserve our minds.

As has already been established, avoid the bathroom. However, you may find peace in your closet, the kitchen pantry, or the laundry room.

Step inside and shut the door, then take some deep, calming breaths. I find it helpful to have a package of Oreos stowed in my break spot.

Every exit strategy should have some snacks just in case.

Rule #31 — Check the Back Seat

Zombies sometimes hide in the backseat.

Things also like to hide in the backseat of a parent’s car.

Infants are quickly lulled to sleep in a moving car and you might forget they are there. A good idea for all sleep-deprived parents is to look in the backseat before exiting the car just in case there is a sleeping infant.

When our kids are toddlers, it’s beneficial to check the back seat for half-eaten food and sippy cups with milk that may start to smell if left in a hot car.

School-aged children are known for leaving backpacks, overdue library books, class projects, and birthday gifts in the backseat as they leap out for their day. These forgotten items cost you precious time as you drive back to drop them off.

Always check the backseat!

Rule #32 — Enjoy the Little Things

It is hard to live in a world with zombies. They are constantly trying to eat your brain, and this makes for a stress-filled day. As a result, when you find something that sparks joy, such as Twinkies for Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), you have to stop and enjoy it!

Similarly, we thrive as parents when we notice and appreciate the little things. A hug from our child, a sweet hand-drawn picture, or an unexpected text from our grown kids is a little thing that means a lot.

When you are exhausted, unhappy, or sick, it may be hard to notice the little things, but challenge yourself to pay attention to what your kids are doing right.

When you see them quietly coloring a picture, picking up their room, doing homework, or interacting well with their siblings, praise them.

There are little things every day that spark parenting joy if we take a moment to notice them.

Rule #52 — Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you are outnumbered while fighting off zombies, ask for help. There is protection in a group.

When you are struggling as a parent, ask for help from a family member, trusted friend, or health care professional. Pushing strollers in a pack is often better than going solo. Parenting is hard, and you do not need to do it alone.

Final Thoughts

The Zombieland franchise has a great cast and two hilarious scripts, as well as some clever parenting tips.

It was a fun surprise to learn that the rules for surviving a zombie apocalypse also apply to healthy parenting. Hollywood never ceases to amaze me.

For those parenting days when you are feeling overwhelmed, remember the Zombieland rules, and you will move from barely surviving to actually thriving!

First published on Medium.


About the Creator

Jill (Conquering Cognitions)

Outdoor Enthusiast | Animal Lover | Mom to Five | Psychologist Turned Writer

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