We all know well enough that there is no roadmap to mothering. No guides or directions or even vague stick figure drawings like the ones you get with Ikea furniture. There are parenting books. I’ve got the parenting books. I’ve read the parenting books. The parenting books don’t help when it’s well past bedtime, and you’ve fed, bathed and pajama-ed your cherubs. Your bath and book and glass of wine are in sight… and then this conversation starts.

Them: I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?

Me: That’s what dinner was for.

Them: <pitiful face>

Me: You can have some fruit.

Them: Can I have a granola bar?

Me: No, you can have some fruit.

Them: Can I have pretzels or goldfish? Or pickles or marshmallows or cheese & crackers.

Me: <crazy eyes, crazy face, veins popping out of neck>

I have good friends who have it together enough to wear dangly earrings everyday, and friends who somehow have the time to wear their hair down more often than not. I have friends who meditate and have an oil for everything. And I have friends who have seemingly survived long enough to have teenagers. They tell me these conversations take place in all the homes. During all the bedtimes. All of the nights. So I thought I’d share a trick that has proven effective for me multiple times. By multiple times, I mean multiple times a day, everyday. I don’t have a manual or guide, and I most always sport a ponytail with no earrings, but I do have a trick that seems to work for situations like the one above. It goes like this-

Them: I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?

Me: That’s what dinner was for.

Them: <pitiful face>

Me: You can have some fruit.

Them: Can I have a granola bar?

Me: You asked, I answered. Did you not hear what I said or are you hoping I’ll change my mind if you ask me again?

Them: <pitiful face> I thought you’d change your mind. I’ll get an apple. <pitiful face>

Friends, I hope this helps.  And if you happen to be the person who gave me this gem or pointed me in the direction of the book/article/podcast that I got this one from, you are my hero and please identify yourself so I can bring you flowers.

It takes a village. May the force be with you.