Seven tricks you too can try at home!

October 27, 2015 | | Blogs | Community | Leisure | Two Blue Boots

I admit it. I wasn’t the best mother in the world when Ryan and Codey were growing up. I was dishonest, sneaky, and conniving. I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill tricks all parents play on their kids – sneaking vegetables into their meals and skipping pages in that never-ending bedtime story – no, my evil deeds were much, much worse.

However, looking back, my deceitful ways were actually my saving grace. My ploys and deceptions helped me to survive Motherhood and allow me to carve out some much needed “Me” time. And so, I’d like to share some of my top-secret tricks of the trade with the young mothers of today.

Seven Secrets (Shhhhh!)

1. Allow your family members to believe that grocery shopping takes a FULL day. Venture out on Saturday mornings. Give your husband and children a gloomy good-bye wave as you depart with your list in hand. Your family will not ask to join you because they don’t want to tag along for a full day of this exhausting chore.

The first stop is usually a quaint coffee shop. Enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps a little baked treat. Next, hit a few garage sales, the market, and your favourite boutiques. The afternoon often consists of a lovely lunch (perhaps meet up with a friend who is also out “grocery shopping”). Next on the schedule is a mani-pedi, possibly a massage or a haircut and style.

As it nears late afternoon, pop into the grocery store, grab a rotisserie chicken, a can of corn, a jumbo box of Froot Loops, and some toilet paper. Head for home. Arrive home looking exhausted. The Froot Loops will provide a diversion for the kids, giving you time to remove the chicken from its plastic dome and create a semblance of a real dinner.

2. If you have a decadent treat that you would like to savour, and you don’t want to share it with your children, tell them that your coveted indulgence unfortunately contains nuts/mushrooms/onions (substitute your child’s least favourite food). They will make a “yuck face” and walk away, leaving you alone to enjoy your solitary indulgence.

If they insist they need a snack too, direct them to the spot on the shelf where you store the cheap cookies with the past-due expiry date. Of course the kids will never accidently stumble onto your hidden stash of goodies because you are very clever. Store the ice cream inside a large bag of frozen green beans and stow your Lindt chocolate bar inside a box of All Bran cereal.

3. If you need to run a few errands and you’d like to get them done without your beloved kids in tow, you need to make your chore list sound very unappealing. Make sure to announce your tasks in a loud voice. An ideal (fake) task is “Underwear Shopping.” Even better is the “Bra Shopping” ruse. The child that is halfway in the car will back out and frantically run for the door to the house.

4. Are you sick of those neighborhood kids constantly showing up at your house to play? Discreetly place a small yellow SAD FACE sign in the window of your front door. If you have curtains on that window, the sign will be concealed from the interior of the house.

Secretly explain to the wannabe playmates that if the sign is in the window, it is a “No Play” day. This little tactic will allow you to have control over your personal time and space, and your own children won’t be any wiser. Hee-hee.

5. Insist that your kids have at least an hour of “Quiet Time” every afternoon. They don’t have to nap but they have to stay in their rooms, doing quiet activities. Take a kitchen timer and and place it on a shelf in the hallway, just beyond the view of their bedroom doors. Set the timer for an hour. Explain that when the timer “dings” they are allowed to come out of their rooms.

Here’s where the deceitful part comes into play. As the hour draws to a close, sneak to the hallway, carefully pick up the timer, and ever-so-gently turn the dial so that it’s reset for another hour. Once you get really good at this, you can do this a second and possibly a third time. Works like magic!

6. If your kids insist that they be allowed to invite a friend over for a play date, and you just don’t feel up to having additional young folks creating havoc under your roof, here is a plan that works. Pretend to call the house of the intended visitor and then regretfully inform your child that nobody answered the phone.

Another idea – however, this requires a fair amount of practice – is to fake the entire conversation with Billy’s/Johnny’s/Susie’s parent. End the phony call and regretfully inform your child that the friend is unable to come over due to the fact that they have other plans.

A third deceitful (yet highly effective) plan is to pretend the intended playmate has moved away to another town (or country). This trick, however, has limitations because when your child sees this friend at school the next day, he will report the news back to you and you will have to act very confused and astounded. Don’t attempt this on a regular basis unless you have exemplary acting skills.

7. If you are exhausted and don’t feel like cooking dinner, announce a special event called “Make Your Own.” The kids will be thrilled to be able to choose their favourite foods and assemble a meal by themselves. Due to their ages and limited cooking skills, they will only be able to master toast with peanut butter, microwaved hot dogs, processed cheese slices, and large bowls of sugar coated cereal – but anything goes on “Make Your Own” night.

As you gain confidence, you will be able to announce “Make Your Own” nights on a fairly regular basis. You will feel less guilty and more liberated with each passing meal. The “Make Your Own” philosophy can eventually be applied to breakfast and lunch.

Despite all of my trickery and deceit, I somehow managed to successfully raise two young boys. They have grown into fine young men and I am extremely proud of them both. In March, Codey and Avalon will become parents. Our entire family is very excited by this news. I’m eager to observe Codey and Avalon in their parenting roles over the coming the years, and I won’t be surprised if they come up with a few tricks of their own.

As for myself, I’m excited about Grandmotherhood. I’m looking forward to trying out some of my secret tricks on my future grandchild… and perhaps creating some new ones.

Stay tuned for a future blog post called I AM A BAD GRANDMA.

About the Author More by Laurie May

Laurie teaches Grade 4 at Island Lake Public School in Orangeville and writes in her spare time. She lives in Mono and looks for the humour in everyday country life. Check out her blog “Two Blue Boots”.



  1. Love your blogs Laurie! I think I will forward this one to my daughter. She is always saying how “bad” she is so at least she will know it is a universal problem! Being a Grandma is so much more enjoyable! You mostly only get the “good” stuff to deal with and find yourself looking forward to every stolen moment. Congratulations on becoming a Grandma and I have no doubt you will be a great one!

    Gail Smith on Oct 30, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Reply

    • Hi Gail: Thanks for sending the post to your daughter. I think “bad” Moms have more fun. I live by the mantra: Perfection is the thief of Joy. Darrel and I can’t wait to be Grandparents and we’re looking forward to all the “good” stuff in the years to come.

      Laurie May on Oct 31, 2015 at 11:09 am | Reply

  2. Very, very, interesting, You probably learned some of those tricks from your MOm???

    norma Jane from Collingwood On Canada on Oct 30, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Reply

    • Of course I did!!! 🙂

      Laurie May on Oct 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Reply

  3. Laurie, I LOVE your blog posts and await each one with anticipation of the adventure your about to share…this one made me giggle now knowing I’m not the only “bad mom” out there. Children are a blessing but there are days its nice to escape and have me time. You summed up the funniest and most well planned day away… I can’t wait to read about the fun and new adventures you will have being a 1st time Grandma!!!

    Chrysty from Ayr on Oct 30, 2015 at 12:04 am | Reply

    • Hi Chrysty: Thanks for the kudos. Young Moms are actually pretty lucky today. Back in my day I didn’t have internet friends or Mommy Blogs to follow. It was all trial and error. Thanks so much for always taking the time to read, share, and comment on my posts. I am very grateful. 🙂

      Laurie May from Mono on Oct 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks Ann:

    I just couldn’t keep up to some of the other Moms in the neighbourhood. One Mom would make the kids amazing dinners and when the boys slept over she would make them crepes for breakfast. Ryan and Codey asked me why I didn’t make crepes. I told them it was because I needed to have a fancy crepe maker and that crepe makers were no longer for sale. 🙂

    Laurie May on Oct 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Reply

  5. Oh Laurie, haven’t we all pulled some, or all of those tricks? (well okay, the sad face sign was a new one to me!). And the fun part is recalling them now with our grown kids! The key to family life is humour – so there you go – you would have been the best Mom! And you will be the best Grandma too ’cause you still see the humour in life.

    Ann from Collingwood on Oct 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Reply

  6. Thank you Laurie! Loved this, and even more when I realized we work in the same school board! Thank you for the chuckles, and the reminder that I am not alone, and that I can do this! Looking forward to the grandma post!

    Sarah on Oct 28, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Reply

    • Hi Sarah: Thanks so much for reading the post and taking the time to comment. I love to get feedback. I think a lot of young Moms were able to relate to this one. I’m so glad I was able to give you a few chuckles. Hang in there! Yeah–UGDSB!

      Laurie May from Mono on Oct 29, 2015 at 11:08 am | Reply

  7. Laurie, very funny as usual. Our new future grand baby will be very lucky indeed to have such great humour in their life.

    Kassie on Oct 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Kassie. What a luck baby to have you and me for Grandmas. Between the two of us, this baby will never have a dull moment. 🙂

      Laurie May on Oct 29, 2015 at 12:08 am | Reply

  8. You still have Froot Loops in the house? I’ll be having some of those next weekend! Maybe dinner can be “Make your own”

    Codey from Toronto on Oct 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Reply

    • Codey, I bought the jumbo-sized box of Froot Loops for the photo. I knew I would be seeing you soon – so they are all yours – unless you’d rather have the All Bran.

      Laurie May on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Reply

  9. Loved this story I still remember the Walters kids face when they saw the sad face on the door!!

    darrel from 2 blue boot on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:22 am | Reply

    • Ah yes….the Walters Family boys. There were four of them. They were great kids but sometimes I just needed to set some boundaries. They would go home and say, “We can’t play at the May’s house – the sad face is in the door!”

      Laurie May from Mono on Oct 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Reply

  10. Woody, these were your Mother’s tricks……….I guess she didn’t fool you at all! She still pulls tricks 2, 3 and 7 on me, but I don’t mind. Dad

    Larry Gee on Oct 28, 2015 at 10:00 am | Reply

    • Yes, Dad. I believe you are right. I guess I had good mentor. 🙂

      Laurie May on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:22 am | Reply

  11. Thanks for the laugh! I’ll have to remember these for when my boys get a bit older!

    Danielle on Oct 28, 2015 at 7:20 am | Reply

    • Yes, Danielle. I guarantee you’ll borrow a few of my ideas. And–I’ll bet you’ll come up with some more.

      Laurie May on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:16 am | Reply

  12. I love the shopping day trick. Why did I never think of that?

    Joy Gaskin on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:19 am | Reply

    • Hi Joy: The Shopping trick was my favourite trick of all……although as the boys got older, I’m sure they eventually caught on.
      Do you think Darrel has figured it out yet?

      Laurie May from Mono on Oct 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Reply

  13. Oh too funny! My current bad mother tricks consist of setting out bowls and spoons and cereal and leaving cups of milk in the fridge so the kids can make their own breakfast and I can sleep in. I tell them I don’t get up until eight zero zero. When they say mom it’s seven five nine I will say that’s not eight zero zero and after they leave turn back the clock as needed. Sometimes they complain that they don’t want cereal for breakfast and I have to pull out the ‘some kids don’t have enough food to eat so you should be happy you have cereal’ card. Then the next day I’ll leave out muffins. I’ve also been known to say… Tonight you are the Mommy and I am the kid and they have to tuck me into bed first!!! I haven’t mastered the play date conundrum. Last time I sent them to bed at their regular ‘bedtime’. They looked out their windows and asked why there were still kids playing outside, and they are in Kindergarten!! Thanks for keeping life real.

    Amanda from Orangeville on Oct 27, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Reply

    • Oh my, Amanda! It sounds like you have a few tricks of your own. Perhaps we have enough material to co-write a book.

      Laurie May from Mono Township on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:14 am | Reply

  14. Laurie – your recollections of using bad mother tricks of the trade are no doubt deeply exaggerated… while your great sense of humour is highlighted! Thanks for making me chuckle.. Codey & Ryan are lucky boys, as will be their new arrival 🙂

    Denise on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Reply

    • Denise, I wish I could say that I exaggerated my Bad Mother tendencies. The truth is – I actually down-played them.
      I was pretty bad.

      Laurie May on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Reply

  15. Great tips Laurie. I’ll keep this page bookmarked for when I inevitably need some “me time” in the near future. I might have to skip the “I am a bad grandma” post though 🙂

    Avalon on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Reply

    • Avalon…you will be the World’s Best Mom!! You likely won’t even need to refer to my tips. And yes – What happens at Grandma’s house – stays at Grandma’s house!

      Laurie May on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Reply

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