There are certain lies that we understand are a necessity to giving our children a happy and magical childhood. Off the bat (spoiler alert!) Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy come to mind. What I did not fully understand before my oldest grew into a too clever and too demanding preschooler, was just how often and how routine my lies would become.
For example, when my son and I walked by an ice cream truck yesterday, I lied and told him the ice cream man ran out of ice cream.
When my son was begging to watch cartoons this morning, I lied and told him that the television was broken.
When my son was begging to stay in the swimming pool, I lied and told him that the lifeguard said it was time to get out and let the next set of children in the pool.
I know what some of you are thinking. Wouldn’t it be easier to tell the truth? Sure, I could tell him that the reason he was not allowed to eat ice cream is because it’s a special treat and not meant for everyday, and then face the inevitable temper tantrum. I could tell him that he can’t watch cartoons because I am trying to be a good mother and limit his “screen time,” and he would be quick to point out my hypocrisy on the mornings I plug him into cartoons just so I can squeeze in a quick shower. And I could tell him that I just don’t feel like swimming anymore, and be faced with a sad and inconsolable two year old who keeps telling me I am mean.
So I admit it. I lie because I am exhausted. Because I am avoiding a public meltdown, or unanswerable follow-up questions. Most of the time my lies are truly in his best interest. Other times it’s because I am being lazy. Because when I fight with my son about things, he generally wins, and when I see him cry, it hurts my heart. And when I try to reason with him, he defies me with dictatorial logic that only a two year old can muster. It is called the “Terrible Twos” for a reason, isn’t it?
But when I tell him I love him ten thousand times a day, it’s always the truth!
What lies do you tell your kids? What are you avoiding when you tell those lies?