Liar, liar, Mom Jeans on Fire!Posted: August 15, 2011 Filed under: motherhood, stay at home mom | Tags: humor, Motherhood, Parenting 102 Comments
I’d be lying if I said I always tell my children the truth. And while I’m sure it doesn’t make me a lock for Mother-of-the-Year, (that ship undoubtedly sailed the morning I served fruit rollups for breakfast) I don’t think it makes me unfit either. The truth is that telling a few well-intentioned white lies can actually be a fairly effective parenting strategy. And to be honest, sometimes it just gets me through the day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging inventing vast networks of lies that you need a spreadsheet to keep track of. But our kids don’t need to know everything. Nor can they handle everything. Obviously, you adjust what you choose to share with your kids as they get older and more mature. My kids are 7 and 10, and by this point I’d say 99.9% of the time, I tell my children the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They both know where babies come from. They both know that nobody lives forever. And they both know Mommy’s hair doesn’t necessarily grow out of her head this color.
The lie one chooses to tell, ultimately depends on one’s motivation. More often not, we fib to either keep our kids safe (“If you go outside with wet hair, you will catch cold,”) or to simplify a complicated situation (“The mechanical horsey is broken,” when you have one quarter but two children). Below are some of the various lies, half-truths, fabrications, and otherwise un-true things I have told my children at some point during their relatively short lives. Sadly, I can no longer get away with most of these.
I have lied in the best interests of my children:
- The car engine won’t turn on until your seatbelt is buckled.
- Eating spinach will give you big muscles.
- College is mandatory by law.
- You’ll love this new kind of chicken (otherwise knows as Tilapia).
I have lied to save my children’s feelings:
- Yours was the best pinch pot in the whole class.
- The shot will only hurt for a second.
- That bunny in the road is just sleeping.
- That is a hilarious knock-knock joke.
Then, there are the lies I’ve told for completely and utterly self-serving reasons.
- Only one Reeses peanut butter cup comes in a pack.
- Santa won’t come until you’re asleep.
- We’re out of batteries.
- Mommy and Daddy are taking a nap.
Of course, there are the societal and seasonal lies (think: holiday friends and dental darlings). These are things we tell our kids in the spirit of preserving their innocence and creating a sense of magic. The adult world is appallingly un-magical and since they have the rest of their lives to live in it, I feel no guilt whatsoever in inventing a bit of wonder and joy while they are young enough to believe. Besides, these lies have an internal expiration date (usually between six and ten, depending on older siblings and know-it-all classmates). I believe these are victimless lies and very rarely do they cause a child to feel betrayed when the truth eventually comes out. In fact, most kids play along long after they’ve stopped believing because they enjoy the charade so much.
Undoubtedly, there are some parents out there who never, ever tell their kids even the smallest of fibs. (They are probably the same people who use cloth diapers, eat only organic foods, and drive electric cars.) If you are one of these parents, then good for you. I admire your resolve, your integrity, and your discipline. But for the less virtuous among us, there are some instances when stretching the truth – or circumventing it entirely -can sure come in handy. Believe me. (Or maybe not, given what I’ve just confessed.)
“The shot will only hurt for a second” fib only works the one time 🙂
Hahaha! “Mommy and Daddy are taking a nap” – a lie that many, many parents tell their children, I’m sure.
By the way, I think the title of this post is fantastic…oh Mom Jeans. Always good for a laugh. 😉
Good job and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
Those white lies aren’t that bad. I am more of a say nothing person when it comes to a bad truth or lying. But I haven’t had kids…
I laughed out loud multiple times reading your lists — mostly because I’m shocked there are HORRIBLE (if by “horrible,” we mean “wonderful”) moms out there JUST LIKE ME who’ve told their children the same evil lies! 😉
College is mandatory by law and only one peanut butter cup in a pack: both top of my list.
I insist a solid knack for little lies is the very best parenting tool! Hilarious post!
Brilliant! I don’t have kids, but I do have a partner and I do have a mother. Sometimes half-truths are essential for survival–not to mention sanity! Sometimes the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth will drive you stark raving mad. Some recreational fibbing goes a long way toward by-passing the loony-bin. Long live the WHITE LIE!
Hilarious! I’m going to be a cloth-diapering, organic-eating mama, but I can assure you I will be lying to my kid(s) about those things, too! Who doesn’t?
Nice, light, humorous and easy to read. I like the bullet points with the self-serving lies. Keep it up!
Loved this post, hilarious!
Thanks for this great start to my day!
Thanks for the laugh this morning. I’m with you and, must say, have used just about ALL of your well-meaning fibs with my children. Now on the tail end of raising nine children, I might have invented a few others along the way!! LOL
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Totally enjoyed your writing style — keep it up!
They are probably also the parents who rip their kids off by telling them that Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real!
Whenever possible, I preferred the “not really a lie but not the whole truth either” approach. A failure to provide complete information is not a lie — technically.
While spinach is mandatory in our house and college is optional, any toy that has buttons and makes mechanical, annoying sounds and flashes lights would be out of batteries and even possibly sleeping in the trash!
Oh, I believe you, all right. And that “Mommy and Daddy are taking a nap” only works if you’re reallly quiet.
And…..thank God it wasn’t Liar, Liar, Pajama Jeans on fire.
Funny lies! I like them!
While I agree it’s fine to tell children little white lies, I am confused about one thing. You say that parents who never lie to their kids probably eat only organic food and drive electric cars. Do you think that only eco-friendly people are completely honest with their children? I eat organic food and live a “green” lifestyle. I lie to my niece all the time.
Just before my freshman year of college my mom told me a story that was an incredible fable…it was the story of how most people in our family have some terrible allergic type reaction to weed…and I fully believed her. Fully. I told friend after friend about my family “allergy.” A couple of years ago I was talking to her about our “family allergy” and she nearly peed her pants she was laughing so hard…it was a fable. What an amazing thing to make up. Needless to say…I stayed far away from weed in college.
And would you really believe someone who says she doesn’t ever lie to the kids? Although I might if she only had a baby and hadn’t truly experienced parenthood at its best (or is that worst?).
Your examples were all great.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.
I always say the little fibs we tell our kids are attempts at keeping their innocence until they get out into the real world. It makes it sound better than saying we’re flat out lying.
Hey, I admire your reserve at parenting in the first place. Must be an ever-arduous challenge in this day and age. My four-legged child (a black Lab named Jack) is enough child for me! Aging Gal
This is a great post! I often wonder what kind of mom I’ll be and what I will and will not tell my child. Reading this made things a little clear for me 🙂
Hilarious post! I’m not lying 🙂
I used to tell my oldest son (age 7) that certain things were against the law when I was REALLY having a hard day with him. I stopped. And I don’t do it to his younger brothers…unless something really IS againt the law (“no, it’s against the law for me to drive the car while you are sitting on your brother”).
As for holiday friends…I tend to think that people who insist they are “lies” lack imagination.
I have always told my kids that Mom & Dad HELP Santa and that I have been helping Santa for YEARS (and yes, I am, in fact, a VERY large elf – NOT a very short human; seriously, among elves, I’m like a super model;). The oldest understands that when he is older, he can “help Santa” surprise his brothers too. Santa’s not a lie; he’s an idea that allows us to give to each other in surprising and SECRET ways – and no one needs to write thank you cards.
If EVERYONE who CAN plays, EVERYONE gets visited by Santa! : )
Granted, the 7 year old DOES still think that Santa is a REAL GUY…and we’ll see how it goes over when he realizes what’s what. But I hope he takes it like I did…and still do. The tooth fairy and Easter bunny…may be a little tougher….
Congrats on being Fressly Pressed! Well deserved!
My kids often ask to go to this place or that. Target and Costco and IKEA seem to be the latest favorites. I hear myself often telling them that they’re closed. Gosh, too bad.
Just for our own amusement one holiday season, we told our now 12 yo that we couldn’t find the It Edition of Guitar Hero, but we did manage to find the Dan Fogelberg Edition. Somehow he doesn’t find us nearly as funny as we find ourselves.
😉 Congrats on FP!
Hi, i love the post! I was looking all over for a link to sign up and follow, but couldn’t find one. 😦
Oh and congratulations on being “Pressed.”
Awesome–I laughed out loud, in the library. Now everyone’s looking at me. Great post.
I have used the “we’re out of batteries” line a few times. But mainly to keep my sanity because my son keeps pushing the button on a Transformer over and over and over and over and…
Parents who don’t “fib” to the kids? Impossible. I like the last one. My children are now 18 and 15 and so “Mommy and Daddy are taking a nap.” has morphed into (from me) Be out in a minute, I’m getting dressed! or (from the husband) Hang on, your mother is naked! (which I find annoying as he is, often, still not lying, which is very important to him). How important you may ask? Years ago, when I finally figured out how to tell the kids that there was no Santa, my husband was so upset he went to them and told them mommy lied. Blew my mom cred right out the window.
I’ve only sunken as low as doughnuts or birthday cake for breakfast. The saddest day for me was the day I had to ‘fess up to the whole Santa thing. We had a good cry (his heart was broken) and then I invited him to be part of the magic. Kids grow so fast and I agree with you. Being a grown up blows! Hold on to the magic of childhood as long as possible.
I forgive you, you’re hilarious. Nice post.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Hahaha. I can’t decide if my fav lie is that the bunny is just sleeping or only one peanut butter cup comes in a pack. This article makes me want to have kids so I can lie to them.
“(insert culinary delicacy) is nasty, I’m eating it to save you the horror.”
I think my kids were mid-teens before they caught on to that one. (they’re 23,21,20 and 12 now)
Hysterical!! I too have lied my children for all of the same reasons you do. Great post!!
LOL We used cloth diapers and eat organic food! But my husband and I lie – proudly! – for the sake of magic. The Tooth Fairy used her left hand to write a lengthy note to my daughter the night her first lost tooth was tucked under her pillow. It took me 30 minutes (I am NOT left-handed), but a know-it-all friend had already told my girl that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real… You do what you gotta do, you know? Great post!
Human reason is evolving. Some things we have not figured out as yet. Maybe it is erroneous to think that there are some benefits in lying that out-weigh the negative effects. At least, we can be sure that a lie is just a lie. Maybe your husband is way ahead of us.
LOL Congrats on FP! I enjoyed your post but can’t help but think of my husband who adamantly disagrees with the little lies like Santa, the Easter Bunny and the like. He remembers being crushed when he learned the truth about Santa (got into a fight over it at school actually) and it severely damaged his ability to trust his parents, or any adults thereafter. Maybe one could argue that it taught him to have a more questioning nature and that the critical thinking that grew out of that was a good thing, but he also learned to never trust things on faith anymore. It didn’t hurt me a wit that my parents were perpetuating untruths like Santa. I guess it’s important to know that every person/child processes that information differently. My husband is 37 and if the subject comes up, he really gets on his soapbox about it, so clearly it made an impression that he’s never been able to let go. 🙂
Great post, and very funny! I think a favourite for many parents is ‘if the ice-cream man plays a tune it means he doesn’t have any’ ahaha
Congratulations on being FP!
this is hilarious! i love it. i have a 2 year old, and i can already sense which fibs i’ll need to tell to keep the ship sailing smoothly. and 1 reeses in a pack is brilliant. thanks for sharing and i’ll be sure to continue following!
My eye was caught by your catchy title – my mom only recently bought her first pair of non-mom jeans when she was approaching 60. My favorite mom lies were related to my wellbeing and nutrition – anything fruit based was “nature’s candy” and any unidentifiable white meat (like your tilapia) “tastes just like chicken.” A lot of the times she had a good point!
My husband was making fun of me last week because I also told my little ones that only 1 Reeses peanut butter cup comes in a pack. Haha! No mother-of-the-year award for me either!
I am certainly not a perfect parent, but I am always truthful with children. I don’t count the holiday stories, although I am careful about my wording. Grandma liked to talk about calling Santa on his cell phone, but those kinds of statements didn’t ever come from me.
I tell my kids I have never lied to them because I think lying is disrespectful and I expect them to give me the same respect…but I also say that I will simply not tell them things I think are too personal or not appropriate for their age, or things that will hurt them for no good reason.
Loved your post. I don’t have kids but I lie to my cats all the time.
There are times in every mother’s bag of tricks when only a little white lie will do. The sooner we face this the sooner our guilt will lessen. If only just a little.
As an adult child living at home, I still get the “If you go out with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold” one all the time!
Love it 🙂
I use the battery lie at least once a week. Though the most used about these parts are: no all the buses stop at 6pm, and no we can’t telephone person X he/she is at work/on holiday.
Loved this post. While it’s not an “out and out lie,” on vacation this year, we took our kids to the Outer Banks in NC with their cousins and always do an “adventure.” This year, it was Harry Potter. The kids had to do all sorts of activities throughout the week (I wrote a blog post on this, actually), and one of the funniest moments was when we made a potion, and with the slip of my hand, like a real magician (which I am not), I had them believing that when they waved their wands, they caused the potion to work. It was so great. By the way, the kids are not small children: two are 11 and two are 9. They are still asking me a month later, how I did it. I think I’ll keep this fib going for a while!
So sorry if this comment posted twice (having technical problems here). Just wanted to say that this post on your blog was delightful. Also, do note that you will probably have to still keep up some subterfuge when the kids are grown, as well. Mine are 27 and 29 (I am 63), and when they ask, “Why can’t we just pop on over whenever we feel like it?” My response is: “Because your Dad and I take a lot of road trips.” Translation: “Your dad and I finally get to knock boots without wondering if we forgot to lock the door or not!” My storyteller blog is the opposite end of the spectrum. http://www.howthehelldidIenduphere.com
So sorry if this comment posted twice (having technical problems here). Just wanted to say that this post on your blog was delightful. Also, do note that you will probably have to still keep up some subterfuge when the kids are grown, as well. Mine are 27 and 29 (I am 63), and when they ask, “Why can’t we just pop on over whenever we feel like it?” My response is: “Because your Dad and I take a lot of road trips.” Translation: “Your dad and I finally get to knock boots without wondering if we forgot to lock the door or not!” My storyteller blog is the opposite end of the spectrum. http://www.howthehelldidIenduphere.wordpress.com
Well written and thoroughly endearing.
College is mandatory by law?
‘New kind of chicken, otherwise known as tilapia?’
Wow! You outdid my own mother! I loved reading this too much…
“The adult world is appallingly un-magical and since they have the rest of their lives to live in it, I feel no guilt whatsoever in inventing a bit of wonder and joy while they are young enough to believe.”
Beautifully put, I read this post with a smile from ear to ear. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
Great blog! I think that as parents, we know the crippling effect of real honesty, so small little lies here and there only help, not hurt. But ONE reese cup?? No one should lie about that!
Another form of lying to your kids, sort of, is you dad’s letting little kids win at arm wrestling. Then when they are older, they lie to you and let their old dad win.You can count me among the less virtuous.
[…] I’d be lying if I said I always tell my children the truth. And while I’m sure it doesn’t make me a lock for Mother-of-the-Year, (that ship undoubtedly sailed the morning I served fruit rollups for breakfast) I don’t think it makes me unfit either. The truth is that telling a few well-intentioned white lies can actually be a fairly effective parenting strategy. And to be honest, sometimes it just gets me through the day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m n … Read More […]
Really well written and entertaining post. I am a mother of three and I have told theses little half truths and lies whenever necessary. Any parent who says otherwise is full of it.
Congrtas on the fresh press! Keep on writing!
Love this! The broken mechanical horsey reminds me of the broken gumball dispensers. Here are some of my mother’s own lies:
* “Wow this bag has more cookies!” (she would say this whenever my brother got a smashed up cookie bag, once mom said this he would immediately stop crying and boast in the fact that he had more cookies than me)
* “It came from a very small chicken” (it was actually rabbit leg not a drumstick! My sister fell for it, but mother ruined it and later told her the truth, my sister could not stop crying because she ate a bunny).
* “Just take two more bites and you’re done, oh come on that was not a real bite” (She would repeat it over and over again until I had eaten most of my food)
So many years later and we now laugh at these things (and I’m almost sure I’ll end up saying the same or similar things to my children).
Love it, and sooo true. My favorite lie to tell is that its too late. As if there was a magical time in which things stop being able to be done. That magical time tends to be when Mommy is tired.
Hahahahaha! At some point I also used some of the “lies” too. 😉
Funnest post I’ve read of late … and way too true.
My mom never lied to me outright. She would tell me that she would tell me when I’m older or tell a half truth, and if it was important I would raise the issue with her then, usually when we were alone in the car. Though I do remember the Tooth Fairy (we never did take Santa or the Easter Bunny seriously, for some reason… they were like fairy tale characters- nice stories, but only stories), but I was seriously disenchanted when I woke up at six AM one morning to see my dad’s big hairy arm reaching under my pillow. That was awful.
Hurray! From one fibber of a mom to another……..loved your post!
Colledge is mandatory? Come on, by the time we are old enough for that one
we’ll know better. How about something like – without a degree – you’ll never land
a job. That’s what my parents said, It was pretty effective till the recent economic
down turn – now it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Ha ha ha ha! Love every bit of your post. Especially the “mommy and daddy are taking a nap.”
I don’t have kids yet, but I have definitely fibbed to the kids I’ve babysat for. My personal favorite is the “magic lotion” (aka hand sanitizer) I used to make a bump on the forehead feel all better. Congrats on being freshly pressed!
this is hilarious…kind of makes me wonder why fibs my own mother told. Other than the ‘your face will stick that way’ and ‘if you eat too many Popsicles you turn in to one. Thanks for the great laugh before bedtime! Congrats on freshly pressed
Funny. I’m more of a “sins of omission” kind of parent. Some things are on a “need to know” basis. No direct lies here and yes, organic cooking, but no cloth diapers or electric cars:)
Love it! Very entertaining. =)
Thanks for the laugh!
Awesome post! I will definitely use the one about the resses cups!
Liked your post.
Ok, I just lied.
I LOVED your post.
Thanks for the laughs.
Haha! Nice lying, i mean, nice writing… 😀
i have been on the receiving end of these lies and believe me wen I learned about them, I used to laugh myself silly.. 😀
[…] An Exercise in Narcissism – (It’s all about me) – piece on th e lies we tell our kids to help them (and us) thro the day […]
It always kills me when I have to lie to my kid. We have a crossed a line somewhere between childhood and the grown-up world where understanding changes into a different frequency. We lie because sometimes we don’t know how to tell the truth.
simply hilarious what a mother will do to keep them believing, recently my 11 year old boy was waiting for me to come home with his hands on his hips and when I saw him from afar I knew he had made a discovery. He said “mom I can’t believe you lied to me about the tooth fairy, what else did you lie to me about? What about Santa “Okay i lied about the tooth fairy but I would never lie about Santa” At this time he responded with, Dad said there is no way the tooth fairy can fly using her wings, because they are too small. So what is it, does she fly in or walk in” Life is to enjoy these funny moments.
I wish I’d learned to lie better, sooner.
LOL. Thanks so much for sharing that! 🙂 Your comment about expiration dates and know-it-all classmates was spot on. I know how we hold our breath around the holiday season waiting for that kid at school to blow it for my little one’s magical-moment. Well written!! Found you on Freshly Pressed (awesome job getting up there 🙂
Congratulations on being freshly pressed
They are not lies…they are inconvenient exaggerated truths…..I keep reminding myself…
spread the humor:charlywalker.wordpress.com
Love this! Although I also “lie” (must we call it that?) to my children from time-to-time, what I say when they ask me if I believe in Santa Claus is, “No one really knows for sure about Santa. I believe in the magic of Christmas.” or something to that effect, to try to avoid a bald-faced lie.
White lies, as you mentioned, can be used as strategies to encourage or discourage certain things and it kind of preserves their innocence, too. I’m sure they all appreciate them, too, once they are old enough to understand; they’ll actually thank us for not creating unnecessary horror in their upbringing.
I don’t have kids. I’m not even married but I can relate to the whole situation. Sometimes truth can really put you off in your childhood impacting your whole later years.
Hi! My kids are 4 and 1. I tend to use the “white lies” A LOT! HA HA HA! My favorites are: “Ikea is closed so we can’t go there now.”, “The toy won’t work until after nap.” and “Sorry I don’t have money for the ice cream man. I left my money home! You should have reminded me to bring it.”
Thanks for sharing!
When your 2 year old wants to watch Dora – “Sorry, honey, Dora’s broke.”
When she wants to go outside, again, on an extremely hot day and is trying to open the door.. “Oh no! The door is broke! We’ll have to stay in here.”
Long live the white lie!
Great post. Especially appreciate the confession about the knock-knock jokes.
Great post and really capatures the fine line we tread as a mum. And also I think it is good for them to know we are not perfect!
I’ve always prided myself on my children being able to ask me about most things and I will honestly respond – even to the point of my 8 year old asking about sex and responded I would telll her when the 4 year old wasn’t around. When he fell asleep in the car she said – you can tell me now and we had one of those great discussions that you only have in the car.
Unfortunately she seemed to have believed the mild prank that the world was black & white until 1960 – when someone threw the switch. We told her this when she was four as a bit of silliness and she seemed to believe it until last year…….oh well….
What the hell?! I won’t catch a cold if I go outside with wet hair?! I’ve been LIED TO ALL THIS TIME?! My grandaunt STILL lectures me on that. Maybe her mother lied to her and she still believes it. I refuse to believe that she’s a liar. *folds arms*
What a witty and funny post! I love your humor and style. Thanks for writing! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
I am sure my mother lied to me about things. It is natural for a mother to keep her sanity! I turned out alright…
Sometimes I wonder if my mom still does the whole “white-lies”thing, but that’s only in my imagination I think.. I want Santa back!
You mean fruit roll ups aren’t okay for breakfast?? Oh, what is the world coming to? Great post!
lol. i don’t have kids, but i think your lies are justified. 🙂
I don’t want to lie to my kids….but sometimes they make me. And for the record…I don’t shave my legs for an hour in the bathroom…sometimes its the quietest place in the house to enjoy a good crossword puzzle and a cup of coffee….THE TRUTH SHALL SET ME FREE!
If you’ve seen the movie Away We Go, those same parents that don’t tell lies may also be breastfeeding til their children are 7 and practicing community sleeping. Kudos to you, parenting is tough!
[…] Liar, liar, Mom Jeans on Fire! (jillsorr.com) […]
[…] Liar, liar, Mom Jeans on Fire! (jillsorr.com) […]