I read this post by Christine Burke, of Keeper of the Fruit Loops fame, and I gotta say... it made me get the warm fuzzies to know that I'm not the only mom who lies to her children. But, it's not just around the holiday's that I find myself fibbing to the kiddos. And if you're offended by that or want to get all Mommy-Shaming on me, I suggest you go ahead and navigate away. Because what I'm about to admit to is waaayyy too real for you.
I admit it, I never planned on lying to my children. Lying is bad. Lying is something that only weak people who can't stomach the truth do. Lying is evil and leads to nothing good.
And I had no idea that I would come to rely on lying as an effective parenting tool. I had no idea I was capable of something so sinister.
But that was BC... Before Children.
Before we had children, I remember thinking that the only thing I would lie about to them would be the obvious: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny. And maybe leprechauns. Because I'm not convinced the little green men with gold don't exist, mkay? Also, I'm a huge fan of Lucky Charms.
But I digress. Apart from those four things, WHY must we lie to our children? Why can't we simply take the time to give them a straight answer? I am an educated woman. I have a degree in communication. And at one point, I was convinced I could talk to animals. Surely, I can explain to my children that the reason they can't have any more kettlecorn is because it's bad for them and it will make their tummy hurt. I mean, a good mom wouldn't tell her darling angels that the kettlecorn had to go in a timeout because it wasn't being very nice.
The thing about trying to explain anything to the tiny humans is that there is no answer they are satisfied with. "Too much kettlecorn will hurt your tummy" sounds like a reasonable answer. For reasonable human beings. But, if I've learned anything in my four years as The Mommy, it's that The Little Dictators are anything but reasonable. And if I don't lie? If I decide to tell them the truth? Well, that's when we engage in a game I refer to as "20,000 Questions/Excuses/Bargains".
"Why will it hurt my tummy?"
"No, it won't hurt my tummy!"
"Can I just have one more handful of popcorn? Pweeaaassseeee."
"I pwomise it won't hurt my tummy?"
"You never, ever let me have all the popcorn!"
"When can I have more popcorn?"
"I pwomise it won't hurt my tummy."
And my own, personal favorite: "BUT!!! I'M STILL HUUUUUNNNGGGRRRYYYY!"
Of course, if you offer them an apple to appease that hunger, suddenly their hunger pains have a much more specific need.
See, the thing is, they don't understand logic. Duh. But they do understand things like "timeout" and "being mean" and "because I said so". So, to avoid both dry mouth and driving myself crazy answering all of the Questions That Never End, I have taken to lying to my children. Quite often. And often in public to avoid a meltdown... Judgy Judgerson's be damned.
Yes... My dear, sweet, children who get in trouble when they fib, are being lied to on a regular basis. Because a) I'm tired and b) I'm an awesome parent like that. And if you need clarification of what being an awesome parent is in my world, allow me to list the lies I've told my children in the last 24 hours:
1 - If you suck your thumb, your hair won't grow long like Rapunzel's.
2 - Yes, your hair looks like it's getting a little longer, but it would get a lot longer if you stopped sucking your thumb.
3 - Dino (our Elf on the Shelf) just looked over here when he heard you whining. I bet he tells Santa that you're not being nice.
4 - Dino decorated our house for Christmas!!!
5 - We don't have any more pecan pie.
6 - Either get in the car right now, or stay here by yourself. I'll do it. I'll leave you here.
7 - You don't have to get shots this time. (This one was inadvertent because I didn't realize boosters were due.)
8 - I know it doesn't look like a braid, but trust me, it's a braid. Mommy's really good at braids.
9 - I can't carry you because I have an owie.
10 - Only grownups can have croutons.
People without kids can sit back and dream about the ideal way to raise children. Go crazy thinking about the magic of raising children and what a great pinteresty Mommy you will be. But when those children turn 2... those same people will quickly realize that lying is one of the only things that give you an upper hand in this nonsense we call parenting.
Well, that, and control of the kettlecorn.