“It won’t always be this way.”
“I’ll be able to sleep….soon.”
“I have to help, she’s too little to do it by herself.”
“Pizza for breakfast is totally fine.”
Can you relate? Any of these lies sound just like something that comes out of your mouth from time to time? Let’s say it outloud and be proud!
We all lie about stuff in our parenting…and I am here to tell you….
Parenting is a 24/7/365 responsibility. It gets easier, it gets harder. It is incredibly rewarding one day, emotionally draining the next. You laugh one minute, then cry a river of tears the next. From time to time, it’s okay to lie to ourselves and others about our parenting.
Here are 5 things it’s completely OK to LIE about in your parenting:
1. ”X” for breakfast is okay: Hey, I know exactly how you feel! Figuring out breakfast some mornings is like deciphering the Rosetta Stone! Most kids are down for toast, cereal, waffles, eggs! Once in a while, your kid is going to throw out “I want cold pizza!” Your parenting training kicks in and you think you should say “HECK NO! You need to have …… (fill in the blank)!!” This teeny tiny voice in your head says “what’s the big deal?? It’s not like it’s every day, week, month he asks for it…” I want to swim against the stream here and say, you know what…if it happens a few times a year…A YEAR…it’s fine. Honestly. Cold pizza is not going to flat line your child’s learning for one day. If it’s daily, well then it’s a problem. You won’t get arrested by the parenting police for giving your kid an unconventional breakfast on a very rare occassion.
2. Helping your kids with stuff: We feel like we need to step back and let our kids do almost everything on their own so they learn. For the most part, I agree. We need to let our kids figure out how to reason, figure out, learn and retain. It’s important for them to develop those critical learning and thinking skills. There are times when it’s totally okay to sit with your kids and help. There have been days where I spell out words for my kids. I don’t make them sound it out and figure it out all the time. There are times I help my 7 year old zip his coat. There are times I help my teenage daughter find information for school projects. There are times I WANT TO HELP. I don’t do the work for them when it comes to school, that’s crossing a boundary you shouldn’t. Your child handing in a scale model of the planets done entirely by you is just bad! However, if you want to help paint them the colors she tells you to do. Or if you find a great website filled with information about their project, that’s okay too! We’ve all been told that “this “time/age” won’t last forever and you should cherish it…” It’s true and from time to time, you are allowed to help your kids do things and learn things. It’s not okay to bubble wrap them and do it all.
3. Clothing for the Win: We all wan to leave the house looking presentable. We all want to have clothes that look clean and cared for. Ask any parent of a toddler that locks onto something….some fad, some color, some style…and you can imagine the battle that ensues from trying to get your kid to change out of the Dora t-shirt she has worn in the house for 3 days straight. Slept in it, played in it, tried to bathe in it! There are many a battle I would wholeheartedly tell you to fight…the clothing one…LET IT GO! If your kid wants to wear something crazy to the grocery store, let it go. It’s okay to lie to yourself, that she looks just fine in Princess pajamas in the produce aisle. Honest! Weather permitting, my kids wore everything from pajama’s to halloween costumes to crazy get ups dragged from the dress up trunk. I’m pretty sure my oldest went to the doctor’s office in full feather boa, sunglasses and plastic heels one day. It’s okay to let your kids use their clothing to express themselves. It’s okay to turn a blind eye to their fashion sense.
4. Smelling Like a Bed of Roses: Bathing…the bane of any toddler’s existence. You would think we were boiling them in oil the way some of them behave when they hear the tub running. Most parents try to bathe their kids every single night. We don’t want them going to school smelling like they have been rolling around with Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, am I right?? The little known truth is that we could probably get away with bathing every other night, and sometimes even just a few times a week. For long term, we want our kids to have great hygiene but it’s okay to go a night or two without giving them a bath. Unless your kid is doing manual labour on a farm after school everyday, sometimes you can let that battle go for a night or two.
5. I Love You, You Love Me: Ahhhhhhhh, school friendships. This is a touchy topic because so many kids are suffering at the hands of school yard bullies and we are at a loss as to how we deal with it. We struggle as parents and are caught between our kids wanting friends and us wanting to go to the school and have a little prison yard chit chat with the little jerks (or maybe that’s just me). We say to our kids that it’s important to be a good friend and it’s important to have empathy. Where do we draw that line? I may have disagreement with this point. I say our kids do not have to be friends with EVERYONE. It’s okay to not like someone at your school. It’s okay to NOT want to share your things with someone who repeatedly bullies you and breaks your possessions. We may wish the very best for school yard scenario’s but the reality is our kids are on a battlefield some days and while we may tell a little white lie to ourselves that our kids get along with everyone, that’s probably not the whole truth. You absolutely have permission to allow your child to decide to NOT be friends with the bully. To NOT invite them to the birthday party. To NOT share their stuff while at school. It’s okay to lie to the teacher and tell them that you will speak to your child about the relationship and then tell your child they DON’T have to be friends with “Little Suzy.” School is no longer a Barney the Dinosaur stage. We don’t love everyone we work with as adults, why should we expect different from our kids.