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The Secret Life of Moms

Photograph by Twenty20

As a brand new, first-time parent you want to do everything just right. When it comes to sleep training and introducing new foods and figuring out discipline, you want to make sure you do everything by the book and you scour the internet and pick the brains of other parents for ALL THE ADVICE. But once you've been at it for awhile (and definitely once you have another kid,) you realize that there actually is no book and that you're right there along with the rest of the parents out there who are just winging it and figuring out this parenting thing as they go.

We all have those things we dominate at as parent, but we also have our dirty little parenting secrets. So in case you've ever wondered about the seedy underworld of momming, 30 real moms decided to let us in on what goes on behind the curtain: the good, the bad and the hilarious. Take heart... you've probably done more than a few of these yourself. Parenting solidarity!

1. "The phrase 'Go to Target' is actually code for 'taking a three hour mini vacay'." - Laura

2. "I hide a stash of candy in my bedside table and sneak off to eat it because my kids aren't allowed." - Bri

3. "We tell our kids that batteries are made in China so when the noise-making toys stop making noise we can just tell them that we're sorry the toy isn't working anymore, but we would have to go all the way to China to get more batteries and that's not gonna happen." - Angela

4. "I use my kids as an excuse to not have to go out with people. 'I'm sorry, I can't meet up for a play date, the baby really needs a nap' works every time." - McKay

5. "My mom told me that Lunchables caused cancer so we would stop asking for them. To this day I've never had one." - Leann

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6. "My daughter is a verrrrry early riser and I got into the habit of bringing her into bed to nurse her in the morning so I could stay in bed longer. I ended up nursing her a lot longer than I had originally planned, simply because I didn't want to give up that morning feed! Now that she's weaned, it she gets up before 6 a.m., I let her watch Daniel Tiger in bed while munching on a Lara Bar. Whatever keeps me in bed a little longer!" - Lindsay

7. "Sometimes I hear the toddler ripping books in the backseat and I don't stop him, because he's content and quiet. Plus, it's totally a developmental thing right? I'm just helping him develop his fine motor skills." - Meghan

8. "I regularly tell my kids certain places are closed so we can't go there right now. The playground, McDonald's, the mall, etc. And I always make sure to sound super bummed about it too. 'Oh man, I wish we could go to the park, but it's closed right now. Oh well. Next time'." - Kristel

9. "My kid believes that a ghost throws her old activity sheets from school away, and that the same ghost finishes off the last of the brownies." - Leah

I bribe my kids with Oreo cookies to eat their healthy, usually organic dinner.

10. "I tell my toddler that the cameras at the grocery store are watching her and if she's naughty then they won't let us get a cookie from the bakery." - Kamee

11. "I've convinced my kids that the boogie man collects boogers from their noses in the night so they they can breath better, but if they pick them and eat them, he won't have any to collect and he'll get mad. And you do NOT want the boogie man to be mad at you!" - Lily

12. "Tonight I paid my six-year-old a dollar to play with her little brother." - Rachel

13. "I change the clock so my kids think it's 8:00 p.m.... bed time." - Ashley

14. "I bribe my kids with Oreo cookies to eat their healthy, usually organic dinner. It's all about balance, right?" - Sarah

15. "I didn't want my kids watching Ninja Turtles, so I told my kids it was for teenagers, because it says so in their name." - Wendy

16. "99 percent of the time when I say 'there will be a consequence if you do/don't do such and such' I have absolutely no idea what that consequence is and I'm praying that my empty threat works so I don't have to come up with something on the fly." - Kristin

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17. "When my daughter is teething and needs Motrin, my husband says, 'Want some candy?' She has never had real candy, so when we were at her great-grandparent's last weekend and a cousin said 'Want some candy?' then gave her a sucker, she looked confused and threw it in the trash." - Brittany

18. "When I work overnights, I come home and the kids are usually wide awake and my husband is getting ready to head off to work, so I will lay in bed and play 'Mama's sick'. They pretend I'm sick and bring me play food and 'presents' to make me feel better. I get a few minutes to snooze and they feel like they're playing the most fun game ever." - Steph

19. "I sneak into my son's room and clip his fingernails and toenails while he's sleeping since he won't let me do it while he's awake. I've even cleaned ear wax out of his ears because he won't let me near them either." - Miranda

20. "Sometimes my husband and I run out to the garage to 'talk' just so we can eat cookies." - Jaclyn

21. "On Saturdays at noon, our town has a siren that goes off. I tell my daughter, 'Oh! It's the nap time alarm...everyone has to take a nap now!' and she buys it!" - Olivia

When my girls were little I would rate their back rubs and get them to compete.

22. "Anytime we go to a store, any store, I find a sign and tell my son very dramatically, 'You see this sign... it says no whining or crying in this store or you have to leave.' Sometimes I'll also find other 'signs' while shopping to correct a behavior—like the sign that says to sit in the cart. Pretty much works every time, but I don't know what I'm going to do when he can read!" - Katie

23. "All three of my kids share a tiny room. When they were first adjusting to sleeping together, I told my boys it was a 'super cool game' to see if they could exit their room without waking their little sister in the mornings... and if they did, they would get one penny or one jelly bean. I'd pull the boys into the bathroom the night before, close the door, show them my jelly bean jar and my penny jar, and pump them up to 'win' one! We'd even practice whispering and tiptoeing, because I told them those were the two best secrets to winning the game. Yes, I know candy at 7:30 a.m. is horrible, but one jelly bean for two or more house of sleep for my baby... WIN!" - Rachel

24. "When my first two kids were young (old enough to watch a show and be trusted to stay put, but young enough that we could get away with it), we would give them ice cream, strap them in their high chairs, put a kid show on, and go have some sexy time. We knew we wouldn't survive with the 'mood' past their bedtime, so we had to get creative and it worked every time." - Lauren

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25. "In order to get my kids to nap some days I'll tell them, 'If you nap today I'll take you to Target and you can play with all of the toys!' Nap = Win. Target = Win Win." - Summer

26. "When my girls were little I would rate their back rubs and get them to compete. They even started their first business of 'Big Sister's Back Rubs' and charged their aunts." - Marla

27. "I have a gym membership and sometimes use it as 'free' babysitting so I can go lay by the pool for two hours." - Allie

28. "At least half the time when I'm leaving the house with my kids I'll take them out to the car and strap them in, then come back in so I can finish getting my stuff together in peace. So much easier than chasing them around while trying to get out the door. Car seat containment for the win!" - Rose

29. "I was super hardcore 'fruits and veggies only' when my son was starting solid foods. Like scold Grammy for feeding him graham crackers. Then I found it made it possible to travel/eat out if we gave him French fries. I just didn't tell the babysitters." - Rachel

30. "After 12 years of not drinking wine, my husband and I have decided that two kids will make you wine drinkers and got a subscription to a wine club." Allison

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