The Very Real Dangers of a Secret Chocolate Stash: A Parenting and Imperfection Post by Sarah Kooiman


Good News: Greg, my dad and I had a fabulous time paddling the Imperial Wildlife Refuge section of the Colorado River this weekend and not even one of us was kicked to death by donkeys, which was more of a miracle than I thought it would be, considering that we camped every night in veritable heaps of wild burro dung. <– True story. 

Bad News: I can run away from children and the internet and cell coverage and wander into the middle of the desert, but no matter where I go on this beautiful earth, I cannot escape enormous piles of poop. Ah, well. This is, I am coming to discover, my lot, and so I shall embrace my continuing mission to accept the crap and the giant, adorable asses from which it comes. 🙂 

I will be back with you tomorrow or Friday with a new post of my own. For now, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite email buddies, Sarah Kooiman, stasher of chocolate, briber of children, and writer behind the Arena Five blog. Oh, friends; you will LIKE Sarah because you will UNDERSTAND her. Cross my heart. I’m just thrilled to end this stellar 3-writer Parenting and Imperfection block (see Mary Beth’s beautiful post here and Stephanie’s poignant post here) with Sarah’s hilarious post: The Very Real and Necessary Dangers of a Secret Chocolate Stash.

Enjoy! And sneak a few M&M’s for me. 





The Very Real and Necessary Dangers of a Secret Chocolate Stash
by Sarah Kooiman

We all have weak moments in the parenting battle, don’t we? Those times when we are just so DONE with the whining, the stomping, and the tantrum-throwing in the middle of Target that we abandon all principles and opt instead for desperation.

Defeated, you blurt out the “T-word.” You know the one.


That’s right you darling child whom I seem to remember loving so dearly this morning as he kissed me good morning and then wiped his snot on my pajamas who now is about two seconds away from being traded to the nearest shopper in exchange for their Starbucks gift card….if you can stop acting like a lunatic so we can finish shopping for our toilet paper and votive candles in relative peace and quiet, I will give you a treat when we get home. And not like a “look it’s a carrot stick!” kind of treat, but a very real and very sugary kid-crack kind of treat.

candyIn a blink, your child who was so recently perfecting his audition for the upcoming remake of The Exorcist is suddenly trotting along next to that cart like a well-trained monkey. Feeling smug, you grab some throw pillows from the clearance end-cap and even take a pass through the shoe section for good measure, smiling ever so slightly at the woman using her “mom voice” with the little lady demanding the purple glitter flip flops.

I think we all know how this little story ends. Like all bribes, payment must be made. If you’re like me, you open up the cupboard above the stove that holds all the odds and ends you never really use – outgrown baby bottles, shattered Christmas candy canes, sugar free hot chocolate mix – and grab the Ziploc bag that contains all the leftover candy from Halloween/Valentine’s Day/Easter/Christmas or whatever candy-laced holiday passed most recently. It’s that same bag that you’ve been pilfering from when the coffee runs low, when the hormones run high, or when the day ends in –y.

What could be dangerous about handing over that mini-Snickers so you can unload your Target Treasures in peace? A precedent, my friends. A precedent has been set. Your kid is not stupid and you have inadvertently taught them that behaving like a crazy person in Target gets them a Snickers.

Well, crap. May as well skip the middle man and keep a few hidden in your purse, just in case. I can think of many days when I have behaved like a crazy person for one reason or another and found myself inexplicably drawn to the frozen balls of cookie dough shoved in the back of the freezer or perhaps to the pile of scarves in the closet under which is buried a very valuable treasure. (Note to self: Move candy stash before Husband reads this blog post.)


Then comes the awkward moment when your kid walks in unexpectedly and catches you standing in your closet wearing naught but your bra and undies with your arm wrist-deep in a party-sized bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms. Now you’re faced with a terrible conflict – do you share a couple morsels from your precious trove or do you maintain the integrity of your “secret” stash and try to argue your case by launching into some bull-crap speech about how this is “Mommy’s special candy that helps her get through the hard days.”

Great. Now I feel like a psycho AND a fat-ass.

Who are we kidding? All that’s left to do at this point is to cough up a few M&Ms, put on some yoga pants, and move the bag to a new location lest the meddling little stinkers come back looking for more.

Yes, keeping secrets is dangerous. But it’s also necessary. Don’t get careless and actually trust your family to leave your sweets alone. That’s a rookie move that will only lead to disaster. Next thing you know, you’ll see an Instagram photo from the night you left your husband in charge of things for the evening proudly displaying the incredible dinner he made for the kids using only ingredients found conveniently tucked away in the pantry:


Keep it secret. Keep it safe.


SarahKooimanSarah used to be an English teacher and a waitress and now she’s a mom who hopes to still go back to teaching someday, but in the meantime is still also a waitress most nights and weekends. She pretends to be a writer, but mostly is just tired and sarcastic, especially when the coffee runs out or someone poops their pants. Guilty of trying to cram too much stuff into every day, sometimes she recommends just blowing everything off in favor of a glass of wine and a good book….or Downton Abbey or The Walking Dead depending on the kind of day it’s been. Sarah can be found on The Huffington Post from time to time, but mostly she blogs at Arena Five about the battle she wages every day to raise her children not to be serial killers.


You can see all of the Parenting and Imperfection series posts here.

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18 responses to “The Very Real Dangers of a Secret Chocolate Stash: A Parenting and Imperfection Post by Sarah Kooiman”

  1. I keep the candy stashes where everyone can get it. Although, I do admit I’m the one who eats most of it. In all fairness though, my two year old son was more excited about the pretzels he got trick or treating than his candy….so I guess plenty of candy for all has been a good strategy.

  2. My husband and I eat ice cream out of oversized coffee mugs; it only took a couple of years for the kids to realize that coffee mugs = ice cream, LOL!

    The chocolate stash becomes a whole lot trickier when that first daughter hits puberty… But I am managing! ;-D

  3. Oh Beth was right. The photo in this post makes me feel a little less like an unstable compulsive food hoarder. I have a little habit of eating a treat after my kids are in bed for the night. Of course if I actually have a halfway enjoyable unhealthy food item to eat at that point, that will be the night my 5 year old continues to wander into the living room despite my threats of purging half of her stuffed animal collection. Nothing makes me crankier than getting caught after bedtime with junkfoood in my hand by a little person who believes all of my food should always be her food. I never share after bedtime though. Never. I suppose I could eat it in the closet etc., but darn it I should get to eat crap in the common areas of my house every once in awhile!

  4. You hide in your room to eat ice cream? Is there any other place to eat ice cream? For the record I have a stash of Walker shortbread in my dresser drawer. I don’t think I really have to HIDE anything though, since the other members of my household were born sans uterus, and can not find anything without my help.

  5. LOL. Esp loved the LOTR reference at the end! Yep, I bought the M&Ms to supposedly bribe my 3-yr-old to use the potty. Then I ate them all myself. Why not? I use the potty all the time. I’m a big girl who wears big girl pants. Or such is my reasoning.

  6. We buy chocolate chips in 5 lb. bags now and it’s ridiculous how quickly it disappears. It’s just that I do a good job so much of the time and I need to reinforce my good parenting.

    I loved this! Thanks for sharing.


  7. My son always (ALWAYS!) found my stashes (I had several). Sometimes I wouldn’t realize he found them until there were only a few bits of whatever left in the bag. He would leave my industrial sized bags of M&Ms, cookies, chocolate caramel clusters or whatever else I craved puffed up to their almost original size as he emptied them! I would proudly go for days into weeks thinking I had willpower AND a meltdown (my own obviously) covered…until it was too late! in trying to be “good” and not pig out I was beaten at my own game – or was I? It’s hard to say suffered more due to a lack of peanut M&Ms in the house. 😉

  8. It is precious to me…

    But really, as each of my girls has reached her “first time” – 3 so far, one more to go – to have a little fun in order to offset the “you’ve got to be kidding me” part, I have actually taught them to have their own chocolate stash too!

  9. I totally hide candy from my husband (no kids, yet). I buy bags on clearance after big candy holidays (xmas, easter, halloween) and hide them in the back of the pantry, my closet, the entry closet under a pile of coats, etc. I have to rotate hiding places once they’re discovered.

  10. I read my husband just the paragraph about the cabinet over the stove. He asked “Did you write that?”. So everyone’s over the stove cabinet contains these exact things? Because ours contains these EXACT things. My stash is hidden inside other boxes, fyi. Sweet n low has the caramel kisses for example. Cornstarch is where you will find M&Ms. I buy the small sized treats because obviously, then I will eat fewer of them. Fewer of them 100 times a day.

  11. A (male) coworker once said, “If you go grocery shopping on your own, buy a bag of cookies at the store and it eat on the way home, nobody has to know.” My mouth dropped open–I thought I was the only one who did that!

  12. I have a secret stash … one day I opened up to it only to find a ransom note. My teenage daughter had found it and “chocolate napped” it. LOL

  13. Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post, Beth! I regret to inform you and your readers that I am now officially out of my Peanut Butter M&Ms because of this stupid idea I had to try to eat healthier this year. The only logical thing I could do was binge myself on the remaining 1/3 of the bag and then try to fend of the chocolate withdrawal symptoms with that stupid sugar free hot cocoa mix from the cupboard above the stove. It didn’t work, but I did find more mini-Snickers, so all is well.

  14. I remember coming home one day and the kids telling me they had sandwiches for lunch. Then the oldest let it slip that they had ice cream sandwiches…well played dad…well played…

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