It took a full afternoon of princess fun and one single question from my inquisitive 4-year-old for me to realize just how much I lie to her. That’s right, I said it, I, as a parent, lie.
You see, I spent good money for the girls to meet princesses. They got their hair put up in a bun, face painted and finger nails done. They read books and sang songs, and it was a wonderful afternoon. But, as I was recapping the event with my girls, Maylie started to ask a question then stopped. And, almost like she didn’t want to break it to me, Maylie innocently and so sweetly continued, “Mom, do you really think those were real princesses – or do you think they just had on some wigs?”
Wait, what?! This child is 4! Way too young to lose the magic! Call the Disney Planner – we are on our way. I mean, we have to get there before she knows too much, before she stops believing. Because we, as parents, lie.
Oh, you don’t? Can you tell me about that jolly ol’ fella that comes down your chimney every year and gets credit for all the presents? Lies. What about that Easter bunny packing eggs and candy? Lies. Oh, and that dollar bill under your kids’ pillow for their teeth – must have been that magical fairy. All lies. (Also, my tooth fairy has yet to come, but she will be cheap and only leave a dollar – so please stop paying $5-plus per tooth!)
I would like to tell you that the lies ends there, and maybe for some of you they do. But for me, unfortunately, it extends out further.
“We’ll see.” That is my most common lie. It is typically used when my brain unconsciously plays out my children’s reaction to my response to their question before I actually respond. For example:
“Mom, can we have a show when we get home?”
“No, not tonight. It is late and time for bed.”
To which two tired children react by throwing crazy fits in the back seat of the car as we drive home from GG’s way past their bedtime.
“Mom, can we have a show when we get home?”
“We’ll see, baby girls.”
To which two tired children heard that there might be a chance.
But me, I know that there is no chance that a show is happening – no way, no how! It is far too late and they are way too tired. But, I just conveniently dodged an eventful and awful trip home.
Oh, and it still doesn’t stop there. I also use “not today,” “possibly” “how about tomorrow,” and “maybe” quite often.
“Will you come back in and lay with us when you finish the dishes?”
But what I really mean is that Mama is done with bedtime for the night. Please go to sleep so you don’t catch me on the couch and not back in your room when the dishes are done (I mean if I am really doing the dishes and all).
So what does this really make me? A liar or a genius? (I guess the other alternative is an awful mom whose kids should be well behaved enough to be able to take no for an answer so that their mom doesn’t have to lie to them. But we will pretend that that is not an option.)
It’s actually completely ironic that I, the insister of truth when it comes to all aspects of life, am the same person telling itsy bitsy little white lies to my babies.
But, I will tell you why. You see, I want to watch their little minds beam with fantasy! I want to extend their imaginations and challenge their ideas. Sure, one day they will find out it is all make believe, but what or who will I have I hurt along the way?
And as far as the “maybes” and “we’ll sees” go, sometimes, this Mama is tired. And honestly, (no really, I am being honest right now), I choose to pick my battles. 8pm on a Sunday after a long weekend and an evening at GG’s is NOT the time to get my littles to learn how to take no for an answer. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the tantrum or fight. So for now, those little white lies are pushing me through the exhaustion – both theirs and mine.
Maybe one day they will realize that “we’ll see” probably means no. Maybe I should throw in a couple more “we’ll sees” that actually mean yes – just to keep them on their toes and all. I mean, Maylie did ask for a real tattoo that won’t wash off. And I of course replied, “we’ll see, baby girl, we’ll see.”
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.