When my first baby was about three years old, I told him that sesame seeds were actually “muscles dots”. I can clearly remember him unwrapping his cheeseburger from Burger King, and gasping, “What are those?? I can’t eat this!” That’s when, like a gift from above, it came to me: “Oh, Those! Those are special. They are muscle dots. If you eat them, you will grow gigantic muscles! I’m surprised they even gave them to a kid! You are so lucky. Now, eat it and see what happens!” It was brilliant. One of my finer parenting moments, and it stuck- twelve years later, we still call them muscle dots.
It got me thinking about all of the Mom Hacks (some of which may be teeny, tiny white lies) that I’ve discovered over the years that have made my life as a mom slightly easier. Here are ten of my personal faves:
- “You won’t believe this! Your Halloween candy all melted into a giant clump on top of the refrigerator! I couldn’t believe it either! I’m so sorry. I had to throw the whole thing into the garbage.” (Garbage=The second drawer of the dresser in my bedroom.)
- “Your brain will turn to mush if you play any more video games. Come here! (Place hands on sides of child’s head.) Oh, my gosh!! It’s already happening!! Yep… right here- things are getting squishy. You need to stop immediately and let things heal. You’re actually really lucky it’s not worse. Now go outside and play.”
- If you have a teenager, you may relate to this next one. It drives me crazy when they steal my soda. I have tried to hide it in the way back of the fridge or in the trunk of my car, but, inevitably, the soda bloodhounds always seem to sniff it out. I find empty cans hidden in the couches and under the beds, and, when I do, I turn into the girl version of The Incredible Hulk. One day, I finally had it with the little crooks! The solution: La Croix Sparking Water. Kids hate the stuff! It’s amazing! Target also has a brand- Simply Balanced, that is quite refreshing, if I don’t say so myself. Here’s another tip: If you want to sweeten your sparkling water up a little, add a few drops of MiO Liquid Water Enhancer flavor (or whatever other brand you like.)
- My most recent little fib: “Don’t eat that! It’s the old grease from last night’s ground beef!” When, in reality, it was butterscotch pudding that I saved all for myself.
- GFS makes pre-cut frozen sugar cookies, appropriate for every season. This makes me, and everyone else around here, extremely happy all year round. I just love that Gordon. He helps me out a lot. #GordanForPresident
- To avoid the endless fights with the big kids over who gets “shotgun” in the minivan, we have a monthly rotation for the front seat. It’s kind of fun to look over on the first of the month, and say, “Hey. Welcome back.” The only time we compromise on the rotation is for birthdays. When it’s your birthday, we gonna party like it’s yo birthday, and you automatically get the front.
- Ok, so this one isn’t so much of a hack, but rather, a piece of advice that I wanted to share with all the first timers out there: Do NOT buy harmonicas. I know they seem like great souvenirs when you’re at the airport gift shop, desperately searching for something to bring back for the kids. Sometimes the harmonicas even come with cute little “how to” instruction books. You may even start to daydream about your kid walking around the house, expertly busting out Tom Petty songs. But, trust me on this one, about two minutes after you give them the harmonica, you will have wished you went with the pen that can change back an forth between four different ink colors.
- Scarves. They are a great disguise. If you throw on a scarf, a jacket, and a pair of sunglasses, no one will ever know if you are dropping your kid off in the morning barefoot and in a bathrobe.
- Ring Pops. If you have a bunch of kids, the little ones are most likely dragged to many of their older sibling’s sporting events. Ring Pops can last up to an entire first half of a basketball game, and can easily be stored in the bottom of a purse. Don’t ever leave home without them.
- Last, but not least, when all of your “hacks” majorly fail, and your children beat you at your own game (like the gremlins sneaking into my office right now, thinking I don’t notice them stealing handfuls out of my “secret” stash of candy under the desk), just smile and know they learned from the best. Just as you did.