In the next few weeks, I will be quietly celebrating, and I mean very quietly, a milestone birthday.

I don't dwell on growing older but with this particular approaching day I have realized something: Unless Willard Scott announces my 100th birthday on the Today show in the year 2061, I am closer to dead than birth. Comforting, I know.

And if the saying is true, that wisdom increases as people grow older, then let me share with you what I have learned in the past, uh … well in the past several years:

No one is impressed or envious with the young mother who proudly proclaims that her child has never eaten a McDonald's Happy Meal.

Sauve shampoos and conditioners work just as well as the more expensive brands.

Your children will always need to be reminded when trash pick-up-night is.

The saying, 'You are only as happy as your saddest child' is very, very, very true.

You will always be looking for a lost sock.

Family mealtimes around a table are necessary, important and remembered.

When the gas light goes on in your car, you really, really only have about 30 miles left. Trust me.

The school year goes by incredibly fast. August goes by incredibly slow.

Be wary of the person who has his or her Christmas shopping done, wrapped and mailed by Dec. 1.

Cry when you feel like crying. Laugh when you feel like crying. Know the difference.

If wrinkle reducing creams really worked, they would be on the front page of the New York Times.

It always rains when you plan an outdoor party. Have a back-up plan.

Life is not fair. That's why the Kardashians are famous and teen moms from reality shows are on the covers of tabloids.

Cereal for dinner is absolutely fine.

Tuck your children into bed every night. But if it's the finale of American Idol, they'll get over it.

Go for long bicycle rides. They are cheaper than convertibles and better for your thighs.

A house full of good smells is a happy home.

Procrastination is never good, but sometimes necessary. Laundry can wait. A glass of wine with a friend shouldn't.

Always pack your medicine cabinet when you go on vacation. It is guaranteed at least one child will throw up.

Start exercising early and make it a way of life.

Never, ever trust your child when he or she tells you 'but EVERYONE flunked the test.'

You will always run into your old boyfriend and his wife when you look your absolute worst.

Remind your children that you love them. And that you are the boss. And that's just the way it is.

Julie McGuire is a busy Lake Oswego mother of three children and a monthly columnist for the Lake Oswego Review, who occasionally appears in the Tidings. When she's not playing chauffeur she writes a blog, 'From the Mudroom.'

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