Monday, January 25, 2010

A Few of of Tricks of the Trade

You can’t be a mother very long without learning some tricks of the trade. Some things I wish had been more clearly stated in the owner’s manual (You’ve been doing things without an owner’s manual?!?) while others I’d rather I didn’t know so well. Here are just a few:

If I ever feeling a bit lonely and neglected (Ha!) all I need do is go to the bathroom or make an important phone call. All kids come standard with built in Mom-would-rather-not-be-interrupted-at-the-moment detectors. I will instantly become so popular that my children can’t wait another second before demanding my immediate attention. If those two things don't cross the threshold of detection, I can pull out the big guns by sneaking a treat from the pantry or sitting to read a book. Interrupting guilty pleasures, after all, is the Holy Grail of children's interruptions. If, however, I'm desperate for time alone, I just tell the kiddos it’s time for chores, bed, or homework.

I am an expert at getting rid of my kids' precious life works (aka busy work they bring home by the tree load daily).  I like to hide my children’s priceless treasures under the junk mail in the garbage can. For good measure I sometimes add any moldy contents I find in the fridge (although if discovered afterwards this is a huge backfire resulting in extra nastiness sitting on my counter until I can resneak it into the garbage). I find a practiced “You found that in the garbage? That’s horrible!” soothes the hurt feelings while still being truthful.

Breathing deeply through my mouth while chanting “it is only a natural bodily function” has gotten me through many a nasty situation. So have plastic gloves and the ability to clean while staring at the ceiling.

Some things are always in short supply and I’ve learned stock up when I find them on sale: crayons, chocolate, socks, patience, toilet paper, chocolate, computer paper, light bulbs and chocolate. This list is obviously noninclusive.  I didn't list, for instance, ice cream or sanity.

After fighting the battle to get the kids to clean their own rooms, I only check under beds and in closets if I am willing to fight the entire battle again. Or I’m missing a library book.
And that, my friends, is why I earn the big bucks when it comes to parenting.


This post is in response to being awarded an authentic mom award from my sister, whose post was absolutely hilarious.  Click on the link to read it.  She was kind enough to write about me, “She has 6 kids.....enough said. But if I had to go on, I would mention that she does more traditions with her kids than anyone I know and is willing to give up things that she wants in order to make her kids happy“.

You can’t get any more authentic than sneaking garbage, cleaning up unspeakably disgusting messes, and pretending you don’t know how kids clean bedrooms, right?

The rules were that I had to state 5 things that made me an authentic mother and then pass it on to 5 other authentic moms. I am truly terrible at passing these things along, so I guess I will open it up to anyone wanting to explore what makes them an real life mother.  Feel free to contribute.


  1. it is truly amazing how universal these truths are, I bet they even break cultural barriers.

  2. It made me laugh. Why does motherhood seem so funny after the kids are in bed?

  3. Thank you for the laugh! I'm not sure who Emma Jo is, but I also agree that motherhood is a lot funnier after bedtime.

  4. I think you deserve the "Mother of the Year" award. If you can give me directions on how to nominate you...

    I was just thinking how it would be wonderful to have a bathroom break or shower without pandemonium breaking through.

  5. Charlotte, we must have the same kids. Their absolute radar for following me into the bathroom (does a 14-year-old boy actually think it's okay to follow his mother into a bathroom?) is uncanny!

    Tonight I was trying to read a book and got interrupted so many times I realized I had memorized the paragraph I was trying to read. Finally I started skimming the book.

  6. Man, truckloads is right. I can't keep up with everything kids bring home.

  7. I've often told Ken during the "my job is harder than your job" debate that at least he can go to the bathroom whenever he wants and in privacy!! Great post.

  8. Charlotte - I think you need to stock up on more chocolate!!! I love this and know it is so true. Also, wonderful pic of you and the kids.

  9. Well said...there needs to be a book out there of motherhood truisms. I mean reality bites, and people should know just how bad. I'm kidding of course, because if we couldn't joke amongst ourselves we'd be in big trouble. Great post!

    P.S. I do the exact same thing with all the lovely artwork...especially because I think it's the caregiver who really does most of it, LOL

  10. I just love the phrase "bodily function" to me all Bodily functions were alot of fun. Sounds like you have everything under control. You really do a great job.

  11. Ha ha!! I've discovered the first one, however have yet to experience or do the rest!! I'm working on it though!! =0)

  12. I love this list of universal truths. And what is it about kids and their interest in following us into the bathroom - all the while pitching a fit at the suggestion of a diaper change?

    Wishing you a day of sanity, chocolate, happiness, chocolate, peace, and chocolate.

  13. Amen.

    I have a year's supply of chocolate chips stocked for this very reason (well, okay, some make it into cookies)! 100 lbs fit nicely into 3 five gallon buckets. Our bathroom comes equipped with a ventilation fan so when the kids come knocking 10 seconds after I shut the door I can truthfully yell, "Can't hear you right now! Wait until I'm done!" And then take as long as I dare. I may or may not be known to take my laptop with me.

  14. April I can just see some great great grandmother grumbling as she tries for a moment of peace in the outhouse!

    Emma Jo & Claudia You are so right! Wise, wise women. Motherhood will be funny again in about 10 minutes...

    Ambrosia- I think they would laugh that nomination out of the room.

    Linda- I'm checking my husband's behavior more closely the next time we go to visit the in-laws. Surely it is a trait they grow out of by adulthood!

  15. Kazzy- On Fridays they bring home enough work to bury me. Then they like to slip the important stuff in with the busy work so that I miss important announcements or homework mysteriously disappears with the rest of the "treasures"

    Kim- It is a debate winning point (most of the time anyway).

    Nicki- Thanks! Today is shopping day so I'm for the chocolate for a couple days anyway.

    Christine- If they knew how bad beforehand there might not be any more new mothers ;o) I heard someone claim they kept all their kids artwork. Seriously? Because just at home we average a ream a week.

  16. Mom- I usually try to edit that part out just for your sake. Your family does make bodily functions grand!

    Em- You will soon enough, I promise.

    Kristen- Thanks for the lovely wish. I'm not sure if I want the sanity or chocolate more! I've never thought before about their obsession with bathrooms and dislike of diaper changes. Truly a mystery.

    Chocolate on my Cranium- I store all my other staples in those buckets, why not chocolate chips? Brilliant! Although if I had them, they wouldn't exactly last a year. I've been known to sneak stuff into the bathroom, too. My husband thinks it quite humorous.

  17. I love reading your blog. You are so great about making everyday life sound fun, and funny.

  18. Wait! You got a manual to follow?

    Sooo glad to know that I am not the only Mom to trash the artwork under the junk mail in the garbage can.


  19. My kids always seem to come looking for me when I'm trying to sneak a piece of the hidden chocolate...forcing me to fib and tell them, "I don't have anything in my mouth....what are you talking about?!"

    Do you think pioneer children went looking for their ma's in the outhouse?

  20. Hilarious-I love the first one-that sounds like my house. It's pitiful that you get excited over something as simple as going to the bathroom by yourself. I've tried to explain it to Ryan but he just doesn't understand.

  21. Mom at Our House- Thanks! I usually have the choice of finding the humor or loosing my mind. I choose humor at least 10% of the time. ;-)

    Parker Mama- You didn't get the Manual to Perfect Parenting in the hospital? (Although I bet if there was a manual it would be written in jibberish or something.)

    From time to time I feel guilty about throwing away there stuff, but if I didn't our house would be so full of papers by in a matter of weeks we'd look like those hoarders you hear about.

    Andrea- I usually go for the sneaky- hide it under my tongue and ask them if they see anything in my mouth. I was just caught again yesterday, though, so I'm not very good.

    Heather- I still don't think Peter gets it. An entire uninterrupted bathroom break is a rare treat.

  22. Hey, am new to your blog, and LOVE it! Mom of 6, huh? WOW. I mean, WOW!!! I'm a mom of two boys and I can hardly keep up! As for sneaking off to the bathroom for a phone call - can you share your tips on just how exactly I can GET to that bathroom without my children following me in? ;)