Pssst – all you moms (and dads) out there, this information is for your eyes only.  After 14 years of motherhood, I’ve come up with four top-secret “mom-neuvers” that you can use to outwit your kids and make parenting easier.

Mom-neuver No. 1: “Lost” Toys

For my son’s first birthday, his Nana bought him a toy fire truck that talked, blew its horn and emitted an ear-splitting realistic siren sound. Did you know it could also fly? It flew out the door early one morning after the siren came on by itself at 3 a.m. That truck disappeared the next day. Hmm, wonder what happened to it? I’m not exactly sure, but later that week I thought I heard a muffled “woo,woo,woo” sound coming from the town dump.

One day when my son was about 5, a lot of annoying toys got “lost” when I cleaned his room. When I was done, he came in and looked around in amazement. “Wow, Mommy,” he said, “you did such a good job that I can’t even see where some of the things are!”   

Mom-neuver No. 2: Bathroom Time

I discovered this trick when my son was a very gabby preschooler. The story goes like this: Mommy was home with her little boy all day and after several hours of his continuous talking, she got a little tired of listening. But Mommy didn’t want to hurt her son’s feelings, so she politely let him go on. And on. And on. Until she just couldn’t take it anymore. But instead of yelling at him to be quiet for five minutes PLEASE, she invented Bathroom Time.

“Honey,” she said to her talkative tot, “It’s Bathroom Time for Mommy. Bathroom Time is private time, which means no talking to me when I’m in there.”

Any reason for using the bathroom counts as Bathroom Time. This includes using the toilet, taking a bath, cleaning, experimenting with new hairstyles or just looking out the window. It all counts as long as Mommy is in the bathroom with the door closed.

Mom-neuver No. 3: Sneaking Veggies Into Food

I’ve heard of this mom-neuver, but I haven’t had to actually use it because (bragging here!) my son loves vegetables. So I’ve never tried to hide broccoli in his meat loaf, or grate carrots into his cookies. He eats broccoli and carrots all by themselves. But I would recommend the method to those of you whose kids won’t eat anything that never had wings or isn’t made of at least 10 artificial ingredients.

Mom-neuver No. 4: Stealth Snacking

You’re dying to have some of those greasy potato chips in the cupboard, but after lecturing your child daily about healthy eating habits, you can hardly scarf a handful of chips in front of him, right? So here’s what I do. I wait until my son is busy watching TV or doing his homework. Then I oh-so-sneakily open the cupboard, carefully pinch the potato chip bag between two fingers so as not to make a crinkling sound, lift it off the shelf (I’m holding my breath at this point), and set it on the countertop in front of me. I take a moment to catch my breath, then slowwwwwwwwwly open the bag, so that the only sound I hear is –
“Mom? What are you doing? Oh! Can I have some? Please? Can I, huh?”
And I say, in a slightly irritated voice, “No, honey, these are very bad for us. So I’m throwing them away.”
And I do.
Now that’s stealthy.

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