Oh the month of May. That time of year that we celebrate motherhood.  I'm 18 years into it and at this point I definitely feel like I've tightened up my skill set and have developed some ingenious ideas to keep one step ahead of the game especially with teenagers. 

For instance I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a little stash of food that I hoard just for me in my nightstand. If I buy myself a four dollar bag of popcorn, the fancy low-calorie salt and pepper kind, I know my children will devour it in less than five minutes. If it's in the cupboard it's fair game and even if I hide it behind some cans of low salt mushroom soup, they will seek it out and they will find it.
  I had to shake my head as I splurged on a pricey pint of ice cream that’s low sugar/low calorie and buried it carefully under a mound of frozen food. Mason finds this and is following me around the house saying “birthday cake! Birthday cake! Which was the flavor, and I’m thinking he is a child of few words yet he can clearly pronounce the name of my contraband ice cream.

My husband however, was totally impressed when he saw my nightstand stash. One afternoon when we were in downtown Savannah we stopped by this shop that sells pricey but delicious macaroons. We looked at each other and I knew that after 25 years of marriage our brains were totally in sync. "These are going in the drawer right?" My husband asks. I just love this guy. 

Another thing I've learned is that I never work out when they’re home. Even though they’re teens, they still have this primal instinct to need something from me the second my foot makes contact with the treadmill.  It's like they have a little anti-mom angel sitting on their shoulder saying "Aren't you hungry? Don't you need a ride someplace? Your moms' working out, there's no more perfect time than right now!"  That applies to phone calls too. If you have toddlers or school-age children don't be fooled. This practice of saying "mom" 50 times in 10 seconds when you're in the middle of a phone conversation has only reached its peak of perfection by the time you have a teenager.

And if you think your toddler can be cranky, flash forward 15 years to a teenager. I'm loathe the admission, but I started carrying protein bars in my purse for the medium sized monsters. Instead of a diaper bag my purse doubles as a "griper" bag. Trust me, no level of crankiness can match that of the teenage species. They're fascinating actually because they don't seem to thrive in human form as morning people, yet, after school they're just as scary. So I've learned to have a little an energy snack at the ready.  Seriously people, it’s called survival.

One thing that never changes is the value of the sleeping child.  A huge plus of teenage life is that unlike toddlers, they like to sleep. Coincidentally, much like toddlers, their parents love when they're sleeping. Never wake a sleeping baby and also never wake a sleeping teenager. This rule applies continually until you’re kids move out. Word to the wise, young moms: you never stop tiptoeing around the house when your kids are sleeping.  Suppress a sneeze, close doors gently, pounce on a ringing phone, these concepts never expire.

So there you have it. Some of my seasoned mom tips and tricks. No matter what stage of mothering you're in the basic theme remains: survival. Pick your battles, learn from your mistakes, forge ahead with confidence. We’re all winging it, from infancy to college, so rest assured, you are not alone in the trenches. Maybe this Mother's Day I'll just lock myself in my room with a box full of macaroons and hope my kids sleep in for awhile! Here's wishing all moms their own version of success on your special day.