White lies. Big lies. Blow your mind lies. I’ve told them all and no, I’m not a pathological liar: just a Mum trying not to lose her mind. Here’s why I do it:
- Nutrition and Health
There’s so many reasons why I lie to my children about food it could be a whole other blog post. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll narrow it down to why I lie about the availability of certain foods:
Child: Can I have some chocolate?
Me: No!? it’s 10am.
Child: Can I have some chocolate?
Me: I said no and you didn’t use your manners.
Child: Can I have some chocolate, please?
Me: There’s none left.
Child: Aaaaaw. What can I have?
This conversation ended in carrot sticks. That’s why I lie. (FYI there’s ALWAYS chocolate.)
- Avoiding self-inflicted injury
On prickly subjects such as why the sky’s blue and why words are words (true story) it’s best to employ tactics to avoid lengthy round-a-bout conversations which can lead to Muscle Tension Dysphonia (vocal chord strain). Instead of answering with a scientific explanation or whimsical observation requiring brain power and lots of words, I like to point out fluffy dogs, ask them what Santa might bring them for Christmas in ten months or suggest Papa might bring home some chocolate from work. This way I have avoided talking and they have forgotten their question. It’s not so much lying as smoke and mirrors.
- Prevent Becoming an Empty Mum-bot.
There are certain things I’ve managed to hang on to from my life as a non-mother which have enabled me to retain some semblance of my soul, my very essence (but not the ability to board a plane correctly apparently). These might include going to the toilet by myself or singing along to the radio, perhaps reading a book for five minutes straight or eating something I don’t have to share. For these reasons my bathroom has become my place of solitude and reflection (aka leave me the feck alone for five minutes please). I’ve told my children that the chemicals I use to clean my bathroom are poisonous and that opening the door when I’m in there will result in their face falling off. They still knock on the door and call out to me through the gap at the floor.
- Screen time
No, I don’t let my kids play on the Ipad or watch TV all day, but I also like to pay the bills or check my Facebook account uninterrupted. When I’ve done that however and my children pester me for a screen of some sort, I apply the same tactics as above (see Point 1). Here however, the antennae might be down or the Ipad out of charge. (FYI the ipad is NEVER out of charge.)
I love the park of an afternoon as much as the next weary mother, but after an hour of yelling about not throwing bark/sand/sticks, trying to find a secluded place for a child’s ‘bush wee’ or breaking up fights over swings, I’m ready to go home and cook dinner. Of course, the kids never want to and they don’t give two hoots about my cooking schedule so I’ve had to tell a little white lie about something called a Gongawallafox and whether I can hear it howling for children who won’t leave the park on time. I’ve gotten a fair bit of mileage out of this one but the eldest is finally onto the fact that there is probably no mythical creature who checks on a child’s punctuality.
We managed to avoid shopping mall rides (and literally throwing our money away) for almost five years by telling our eldest that they were just for sitting still on. Once she realised they moved it was disappointment for everyone when they were all broken. Every single one. Says so right there where you put the money in. Broken. (Nana smashed that dream run with a Wiggles ride in the Spring of 2014).
- Encourage good behaviour
Santa doesn’t come for naughty children. The Tooth Fairy will leave broccoli if you don’t brush your teeth. I’ll ring Nana and tell her she can’t come if you keep drawing on the walls. Pfft. As if any of that is going to happen. Lies! All LIES!!!!
There’s more but I’ve got to finish up: this computer’s almost out of charge and I’ve got to run to the shops for more chocolate since we’re out. (That’s code for my bathroom’s free and I’ve got to clean it 😉 )
What have you lied to your children about?