When we become parents, we become many different people to our children: servants, maids, chefs, nurses, referees, chauffeurs, and yes, even liars. Come on, we all do it. I’ve got no shame and neither should you.
Instead of feeling guilty about our lying ways, let’s embrace all the great things we are able to accomplish. We couldn’t be, or do, half the things we do for our children without a few lies up our sleeves. And hey, if they aren’t hurting my kids and momma’s able to get a few things done (sometimes self-indulgent), sign me up. Because let’s face it, this won’t last forever. They’ll soon figure us out, and we’ll be back to scrambling for authority before we know it.
With that, here are five barefaced lies I’ve been telling my children for years:
1. “Santa Claus is watching.”
I’d like to introduce the big, fat lie that is Santa Claus. Not for the obvious reasons you may be thinking of. I’m talking about Santa’s ability to see everyone, hear everything, and be everywhere year-round. When your whiny, disobedient child is accompanying you on one of your many Target runs to overspend on crap you don’t need, never fear, Santa’s here.
“No, we aren’t buying you another Nerf gun. How many times do I have to tell you? Santa told me he wants to get that for you for Christmas!”
“Ok, you’re not getting anything for Christmas with that attitude. Santa is watching you right now, and he doesn’t like what he sees!”
“How is he watching, you ask? How? Look up! Do you see those black balls in the ceiling? Those are cameras to Santa’s workshop. So, I’d get off the floor and get back in the cart if I were you.”
Go ahead now; continue shopping.
2. “It’s broken.”
I don’t know what your story is, but I’ve got two boys. And that means I’ve lost my mind and am hardly in control. All I hear all day long is,“MOM, can you do THIS for ME?” and, “MOM, can you do THAT for ME?”
Like I said before, I’m obviously a servant in my children’s eyes. So, when momma doesn’t feel like getting up to turn the portable DVD player on for my two year old just so he can turn it off again, it’s broken! And when my six year old is screaming for me to troubleshoot his iPod because his game won’t download, it’s broken!
When all else fails, “IT’S BROKEN!”
The sobs will stop eventually, and the kids will end up defaulting to an old-school wrestling match in the other room (hopefully). But if that means I get to catch the last 15 minutes of my trashy, reality show, so be it. I’m a better (maybe a little hypocritical) mother by getting them off of the electronics while I get lost in mine.
Let’s call this what it is, a win!
3. “It’s closed.”
How many of you deliberately take specific routes to run errands with your kids? The intention is to keep all toy stores, Chuck E. Cheese’s and fast food restaurants out of site in fear of the dreaded, “MOM, CAN WE GO THERE? I WANT TO GET A TOY!” or, “I’M HUNGRY; LET’S EAT THERE!”
Well hey, as perfect as I am, this chauffeur messes up too. And as hard as I try to point my finger in the other direction and shout, “LOOK, WHAT’S THAT?” they always seem to spot the bright colors of the toy store and the golden arches of their favorite restaurant. It’s like they’ve got hawk-eye vision. Is that even a thing, or did I just make that up?
So yes, at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon when they ask to go to Toys R Us, I just say what any parent would say, “It’s closed!” My six year old is on to me since he’s older, but my two year old just repeats what I say, and then I respond with, “Yeah what a bummer, huh?”
Works every time.
Except when my oldest thinks he’s outsmarted me — I just tell him it’s under construction. And when that works, I immediately give myself props for being such a genius.
4. “You’ll get sick.”
I remember taking my kids to see their pediatrician last year during the winter. I commented about the weather and how I didn’t want my kids to get sick. He looked at me like I was a moron and said, “The cold weather doesn’t make people sick. It’s the weather change that makes people sick.” As he spoke, all I could think was, How the hell can I get this guy to shut up? One of the only ways I can get my kids to wear sweaters or jackets is to tell them they’ll get sick if they don’t. Well, that and handful of other exaggerated truths.
“No, you can’t have this kind of candy; it will make you sick.” (But really, it’s mom’s favorite and I intend to eat it later.)
“No more milk. If you have one more glass, you’ll get sick and throw up.” (But really, I don’t want to deal with your midnight potty runs.)
“If you don’t go to sleep right now, your body can’t rest and you’ll get sick.” (I.e., go to bed so I can have some time to myself.)
“No, I’m not buying you that violent video game app. It’s not good for your brain. It will actually make your brain sick, and then you’ll physically get sick.” (I’d rather you not grow up to be a violent sociopath, so I’m going to hit you hard with a little white lie.)
No one really wants his or her kids to get sick. Sometimes, it can be harder on the parents (nurses) than the child. But a little fib to keep everyone happy doesn’t hurt every once in a while either.
5. “I’m calling your teacher.”
I know I don’t look like the big bad wolf, but most days I am just that in the eyes of my children. Occasionally, I’m just not scary enough, and when Daddy isn’t home, what is a momma to do?
You guessed it; make pseudo phone calls to people who my children see as bigger and scarier threats.
“So you’re refusing to do your homework? Ok, I have no choice but to call your teacher and make sure she’s ok with you not turning it in tomorrow.”
“I am not going to ask you again to brush your teeth No? Ok, I’ll now be forced to call the tooth fairy and tell her to put a freeze on your Teeth-for-Cash account since all of the ones from here on out will be rotten.”
I mean, how many times do they scream for you to put the phone down and happily give in to your request of measly cooperation?
It’s amazing how terrifying a child’s teacher, or the tooth fairy, can be.
Related post: 10 Lies Mothers Tell to Excuse Their Child’s Behavior