bribed pulled rank on my kids without them knowing I pulled rank. I told them if they cleaned their rooms and the bathrooms we could go get an ice cream. It also works like a charm if I am trying to get them to do homework, behave while I drag them around Target, or if I want them to just stop talking in general. I find sugar and devices work best but the occasional lie has been known to get the job done too.
And because every parent I know has mastered the art of becoming a bit deceptive, I bet you do it too. There is no need to be ashamed. For the most part, none of us know what the hell we are doing, we are just trying to make it through the day without getting eaten alive. So being manipulative, deceptive, and a lying liar pants happens to us parents organically. Before I had children, I was under the assumption that telling them what to do, or just saying “no,” would be enough. I was wrong and soon found other ways to work my children.
1. I tell them the toy store is closed.
I can not bring myself to schlep through that hellhole with bloodshot eyes only to emerge back into the light of day and feel shell-shocked. I also don’t have the energy to argue about why we can’t make it today even though I might have said we could. We are just going to call it closed until I feel like abusing myself again.
2. I lie to them about what they are eating.
Kids just don’t like vegetables so blending them into a smoothie, pasta sauce, or their favorite ice cream counts. They never have to know. Who cares if they catch you red-handed or find a piece of spinach stuck in their teeth. Just deny it and try to blend better next time.
3. I tell them Santa is watching.
So is that tattling little elf, so you better pull yourself together. I use this in July just as much as I do during the holiday season. I have also heard parents use it a lot the day after Christmas while their children are suffering from a severe holiday hangover.
4. I lie about eating their holiday treats.
No, it must have been somebody else, because it certainly was not your PMSing mother who ate your bag of candy in the bathroom last night. It was probably a mouse. Also, I think he ate your chocolate party favors you brought home from the birthday party the other day.
5. I use my kids to get out of social engagements.
“Sorry we can’t make it, the kids are sick.” Only they are not sick. Today is just not a good day for me to do stuff, like talk to people and put on pants. Really, we are all better off if I just stay at home.
6. I tell my kids cookie dough is poison.
No cookie dough for you. You might get food poisoning. The truth is that cookie dough is mine. It satisfies me in a way nothing else can. I don’t have to share. I am the boss.
7. I take away screen time, and then give it back because I just CAN’T.
Clearly, I have not thought this one through. It blasts from my angry lips too often. I have no control over it. Taking away screen time hurts all of us. I know the importance of follow through, amd sometimes I am strong and do it. Other times? Well kids, you win. Go lose yourself in MineCraft.
8. I tell other parents I am sick so I don’t have to host playdates.
Some days, a fellow mom calls out of the blue
to let you know she really needs a fucking break and would like to drop her child off with you and says her child really wants to come over to play. Usually, when that happens, I suddenly come down with the plague. Sometimes one extra child can send you over the edge really fast.
9. I lie about money.
“Wow, the price of socks and underwear has like tripled since the last time I had to buy them!” I say as I stuff my new boots in my secret hiding spot. “Yeah, they must be made out of gold now. Wowzers.”
We both know I am not fooling him but maybe I just do it because it is so much more fun than saying, “Honey, look at my new boots!” and getting a blank stare. I mean really, get excited about the boots! They have feelings!
10. I keep a lid on details.
I tell my kids they don’t need to share details about our date to their siblings. They all get time alone with me, which includes taking them out to a restaurant of their choice, getting a huge dessert and a little trinket. But when we walk in the door and they shove it in each others’ faces and proceed to talk about how their date was the best ever and they got way more stuff, it kind of takes the magic out of it.
11. I lie to the doctor about my children in front of my children.
If the pediatrician asks — no, my kids don’t eat a lot of sugar, they certainly hardly ever watch television, and of course they sleep in their own rooms every night. The reality is I am just a lying liar face that tells her kids to let Mama do the talking at the doctor appointments. If they cooperate, we can go stuff our faces at the local burger joint afterward.
I know these moments are not my finest, but I have no problem airing my dirty laundry — simply because I know I am not the only mother who dabbles in child manipulation, lying, trickery, and all around less-than-perfectness. My kids have been the perfect reason to get out of social gatherings I don’t want to attend, and my intention is to use that excuse as long as possible.
Besides, if I told you about all the times I rocked it, did the right thing, and was a model parent, that would be boring.