what is your secret?

I am frequently asked this question, about a variety of things in my life.

And I hate to say it, but there is no secret. I think that most of the time we realize this and understand that there is no miracle. Though we wish for a burning bush to magically speak to us and show us the way to clutter free home and a perfect body, without having to do any work of course.

The secret to losing weight? Well moving more and eating less calories. There is no secret pill going to make us all magically fit and trim.

The secret to a flat stomach? Well, never having your stomach stretched out to accommodate a watermelon would be a start. As would be doing sit ups. I strike out on both accounts. I have enough extra skin on my stomach to make a suit of skin for a whole ‘nother person. Remember that serial killer in Silence of the Lambs? He could have just had my stomach and never had to kill anyone, though I suppose that would not have been the point.

The secret to being wrinkle free at 40? Genetics and a life spent living in cave without sunlight.

The secret to a clean house? Uh, cleaning it? Never letting it get to the point where it is too messy to clean up easily.

The same goes for cooking dinner, organizing things, and –the bane of my existence– keeping up with laundry…

But still it doesn’t stop all of us, me included, from searching for that miracle pill, the perfect system that will revolutionize our existence, a panacea that requires no expended effort.

Today I have a real secret to share.

You know how in the winter when you wear a hat you are faced with hair that stands up like you are clutching an electric ball. To prevent this I keep a dryer sheet in my coat pocket. When I take off my hat I rub the dryer sheet surreptitiously on my head.

Yes, I may look like a sweaty old bald man shining his head when I do this, but no fly away hair clinging to my face. And that makes it worth it.

15 Responses to “what is your secret?”

  1. The Lazy Organizer Says:

    True. Hard work seems to be the answer for most things doesn’t it?

    Very great tip with the flying hair. I make it a rule never to go out in the cold but if I ever do get drug out I will be sure to snag a dryer sheet on the way.


  2. Asha Says:

    Chris — I just want to thank you for this, and all your other incredible tips and wisdom. It’s true — there is no secret, unless you count simply getting out of bed each morning and giving it your best shot (whatever “it” is).

  3. CathyC Says:

    I think I will print this out and hang it on my fridge. And also give a copy to my sister. Though at a size 2 I can probably cross out how to lose weight on her copy. Darn sister.

  4. Lori Says:

    traveled over from flickr .. really enjoyed your “silence of the lambs” joke .. that makes my day :^)

    i work with my husband and for years i’ve been hearing “how on earth do you DO that? i could NEVER…”. now i’m homeschooling my two sons and i hear the same thing .. “how do you DO it .. i could NEVER..” a little bit depressing to hear how hard people think it is to spend time with the ones you love most.

  5. Impromptu-Mom Says:

    The dryer sheet is GENIUS! With long, straight, fine “hippie” hair, I could have really used this tip during our deep freeze this year, lol. I hate fighting my hair out of my mouth and eyes every time I take of a hat.

  6. Katy Says:

    Snorted coffee out my nose over the Silence of the Lambs joke. Too funny.

  7. Brigitte Says:

    Noooooo!!! Not hard work! And eating less and moving more? Shudder! I still want my magic pill, please. :-)

  8. Stephanie Says:

    What if one uses liquid fabric softener? Would it work to pour a little on your head? Just asking…

  9. Elizabeth (Ella) Says:

    Totally snotted all over when reading Silence of The Lambs comment. OMG - you slay me - in the best way ;-)

    You are a gem!

  10. Jennifer Says:

    So true, Chris. The other day I was lamenting to my mother about the state of my lawn due to the presence of our female boxer Sally. I was saying “if only I could train her to go in a certain spot, we wouldn’t have these land mines all over the place”. And my mom says “Well Jennifer, a lot of problems are resolved by simply doing the work involved”. So I guess I should head out there with some plastic bags and get working!

  11. Rachel May Says:

    Great post! Thanks for the reminder. Another thing that I’m trying to remember is that, after your hard work, you get to look back on it (or at the clean house, lawn, skinny butt, whatever) and TAKE THE CREDIT for doing it! I know sometimes we moms/wives just wave our hands dismissively when someone congratulates us on a job well done. I do it, too. But I’m working on just smiling sincerely and saying, “Thank you!”

    So… congratulations on being a GREAT mom!

    P.S. Linked to you from Mir!

  12. Elisa Says:

    Hi! Good Site! Keep Doing That!

  13. Mariltn Says:

    The secret to motherhood I discovered in reliquishing all worldly comforts, deferences and ego-pleasing sentiments of motherhood to which we are truely slaves as mothers. When I lost custody of my son to a relentless, vindictive ex-husband and subsequently embarked on the path of looking within myself I found the hidden jewels of a relationship with my almost seven-year-old son.

    His father’s new wife “forces” my son to call her Amymommy through psychological manipultion, she is a counselor for children with a PhD in an elementary school and has threatened to put diapers on my six-year-old son when he would wet the bed.

    My point is we never truely can protect our children from things and people in life. We are not the ALL IMPORTANT SPECIAL, ALL POWERFUL MOMS! When we become small lovers and guides in our childrens’ lives always extremely grateful for their presence in our lives and constantly aware that we do not have ALL THIS CONTROL we are free to savour the precious parental expreience. We are not sure about tomorrow. Good Luck!

  14. Marilyn Says:

    I would like to add that no matter what we do with a lawn, dishes, clothing, or cleanliness, the best ting we can work on is ourselves, our fears, anxieties and insecurities. I was an obsessive exerciser for 13 years. Nothing was ever truely more important than being or staying a size 2. Consequently I married a person for whom that was paramount as as my job security. Once again my point is: I will stay who I am. Change is very difficult and our children will see who we are, what our priorities are. When I had to have only access time with my son I had to ask myself what part did I have in it. Then I realized why I was where I was, why I was suffering. I had to change. I had to see the parenting role for what it really was. A pure blessing from God. An honor, a joy, every minute a gift.
    I also have to ask myself why my ex-husband’s wife having acheived a Doctorate in the counseling of children fights along side of my ex-husband to make sure my time is limited with my son. My son never ceases to express how much he misses me. All I can comprehend from my end is that my ex-husband’s wife “Amymommy” is either not very skilled in her field, and can justify discouraging a small boy’s expression of love for his mother. (My son says he is afraid to tell me “I love you” in their presence.as well as many other signs of this reality) or She is skilled in her field, but like so many people, her fears and insecurities are so deep and debilitating, they prevent her from doing the very best, or the “right thing”. Motherhood is a precious gift to be treasured each moment. We must look at ourselves, inside, how we think, not how we look or how out houses look.

  15. Danielle Says:

    Well writen. I try to pass this message on my children everyday both my biological children and the ones that I get paid to be with.

    There is no replacement for hard work. I’d like one for the weight lose but I know that the reason that I’m fat and getting fatter is because I eat too much and don’t exercise. Damn hard work.

    At least my house is clean, right?