Secret Mom Code (OR “Surreptitious Ciphering of the Maternal Units”)

If you don’t have a MomFriend you vent with chat with on a regular basis, I highly suggest you get one. There’s nothing like commiserating with those who are riding in the same crazy parental boat that you are.

Naturally, when you’re chatting with your MomFriend, you want to share the funny and inane things your offspring have been up to. However, the wee darlings always seem to be within earshot, don’t they? And they also tend to get a little miffed when we openly spill their stories. (Sorry, kids, but if Mommy doesn’t share her stories with SOMEBODY, the cheese is likely to slide off her crackers, and that’s no good for anybody.)

So, over the years, my MomFriend Paula and I have come up with various versions of Secret Mom Code so that we can swap kid stories with one another:

Code 1: Alternate Word Choice + Spelling

When the kids were really young, we used a simple mix of word choice and spelling. For example, “My second-born F-L-U-S-H-E-D his U-N-D-I-E-S down the commode this morning.” We got away with that for a few years before the little buggers got wise. I’m convinced we helped them learn to spell that way. (See what good homeschoolers we are?)

Code 2: Pig Latin

Next we moved on to Pig Latin. “My eldest aughterday is outingpay because eshay an’tcay have a uppypay.” That worked until some punkish older kid taught them how to speak Pig Latin. Dangit! (Actually, it was probably good. Pig Latin tended to be cumbersome.)

Code 3: SAT-level Vocabulary

Finally, and most geniusly, we’ve resorted to using SAT-level vocabulary words to describe everyday things. (Yes, I know “geniusly” isn’t really a word. But making up words also works for the Secret Mom Code. Plus it’s fun.)

With this method, our conversations sound so boring that the moppets don’t even pay attention. For example, we started (lovingly and tongue-in-cheek, of course) referring to the kids as our “tax deductions.” As in, “My tax deductions are particularly maniacal today.” Talking about taxes is a surefire way to bore just about anyone out of a conversation. 

Paula and I each have three kids, so here’s how it breaks down:

Eldest kids = Primary Tax Deductions (or PTDs, for short)

Middle kids = Secondary Tax Deductions (STDs – poor unfortunate middle children get the venereal nickname)

Youngest kids = Tertiary Tax Teductions (TTDs)

And when we talk about ourselves, we and our husbands are Maternal Units (moms) and Paternal Units (dads). Together as parents we are the Parental Units.

Combined with other creative wording (remember geniusly?), this code allows us to talk about literally anything, at any time, in front of anyone. It’s not necessarily efficient, but it is extremely effective.

Some real-life examples:

“While the other homosapiens in the household were consuming their evening foodstuffs, the Tertiary Tax Deduction refused to touch what the Maternal Unit had prepared. Thus, TTD had an enormous conniption when the nocturnal hour arrived, due to the famished nature of her intestinal area.”
(My youngest child refused to eat what I made for dinner, then threw a honking fit at bedtime because she was hungry.)

“My Secondary Tax Deduction almost enveloped our humble abode in flames this a.m. by exploring of the properties of harnessed lightning.”
(My middle child almost burned the house down this morning with his electrical experiments.) True story.

This surreptitious ciphering (that’s “secret code” for those of you who haven’t had your caffeine today) also comes in handy between spouses when you want to keep a secret from the kids:

“The Primary Tax Deduction’s annual celebration of emergence into the world is pending. Perhaps we could host a joyous gathering at a large body of chlorinated H2O.”
(Oldest kid’s birthday’s coming up. Let’s have a pool party.)

“Sweetie, the Tax Deductions are chauffeuring the Maternal Unit on a ride through the nuthouse. Can the Paternal Unit stage a temporary coup?”
(Sweetie, the kids are driving me crazy. Can you take over for a while?)

It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually kind of fun if you’re a word nerd like me. And I figure it won’t last much longer. One of these days they’re going to start deciphering it, at which time I’ll consider it our official vocabulary curriculum. 

Who says homeschooling has to be hard?

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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