As a parent I try very hard to be honest with my children. For the most part I answer all their questions truthfully, age appropriate of course but truthfully. They know the proper names for their body parts...though Anna has a "my-gina" and it is too funny so I haven't corrected her yet, they know that sometimes life isn't fair and that there are winners and losers when playing a game, they know that my hair is really grey underneath the hair dye, they know what really happened to their cat Maddie who died and that Elizabeth Warren really isn't Native American...all the fundamental truths.
Like I said, I pride myself on being honest with my girls..and I thought I was...that is until this morning when I had to call Santa. Yes my friends, I said Santa. There was a huge knock-down drag-out fight this morning. Anna was mad at Sara (for no real reason) and went on the attack. Even though Anna is the younger of the 2 she is definitely the scrappier of the two. She was pulling her around by her shirt and then pulling her hair by the fists full. I had to break them apart (which is not easy...Anna is like a pit bull and once she gets something in her sights she doesn't let go)...I had Sara run into my room, shut and lock the door and hide out until Anna calmed down. Anna was not being rational...imagine that? A 2 year old not rational? So I had to call in the big guns. I got Santa on the line. Fortunately I have his direct number and he is always available. Sadly, I have had to call him several times since last Christmas.
It got me thinking. I am not as honest with my kids as I thought. In reality Chuck and I both sit on a throne of lies. Truth be told we lie to them constantly.
Cultural Lies: These I don't really feel bad about. These are lies that society as a whole participate in. Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc...These are little white lies...they are not meant to harm or hurt anyone. Plus, I totally use them to my advantage. They are awesome at correcting errant behavior. Oh, girls you don't want to clean your room? That is ok, but remember Santa will look in his magic snowball and see that you don't take care of the toys you have so he will think you don't need new ones..."Santa is watching" is enough to get them to turn their behavior on a dime. The past few years have brought about another amazing parenting tool...THE ELF ON A SHELF!!! This expands the whole Santa is watching time-frame by about a month. Plus, they send emails periodically throughout the year to help keep the kids on their toes. If you forget to move the imaginary elf there are websites listing excuses (i.e. LIES) you can tell you children as to why you did not move it. It is a whole cottage industry based on lies...
Lies of Convenience: These are lies that help make your life as a parent easier. If you have children you are well aware of these (or maybe I am the only deceitful parent out there). Some examples of these are when it is time for you and your kids to leave somewhere telling them it is closing...Oh girls we have to go, the park is closing now (even though there really aren't any set hours)...Or another example when you are running late and they ask if their hair or outfit looks crazy you simply say no with a straight face as you look at the bike helmet, rainbow sweater, diaper and rain boots they have put together as their ensemble. Anna has needed to take some Allergy medicine lately. She gets mad that she only needs 1 tsp. So, instead of listening to her I put it in 2 smaller syringes and tell her that she now gets to take two. Lie!! Sadly, as I sit here and think about it I tell at least 3-4 of these a day. I am realizing that I am as dishonest with my kids as the day is long...
Lazy Lies: These are lies parents tell out of sheer laziness. My Lazy lies have been well documented on my Facebook page as well as this blog. I have been known to shut all the shades on a snowy day when I didn't have the energy at 6 in the morning to get the girls all dressed up in their snow gear and stand out in sub zero temps...I originally told the girls that the rule book for the mini van said you couldn't eat or drink in it. It was against the rules. That didn't last too long. Then I had to come up with another lie about why we could now eat/drink in it. For the record you are allowed to eat/drink in mini vans when they send you a letter in the mail saying so. I have a habit of blaming things on the news...oh, the news said we can't go outside today...it is too hot/cold/rainy...oh, the news said that the Ecotarium is closed today...oh, the news said that everyone needs to be nice to their sister today... There have been several times I have been this close to calling my brother or my friend V.R. and seeing if they could make a fake newscast to help perpetuate my lies.
Fortunately for me the girls are still young enough that they believe whatever we say. But we know that the day is coming when they realize that Chuck and I are full of sh*t. Until then we are going to milk the dishonesty for as long as possible. Plus, the news says it is OK to lie to your kids.