Friday, February 4, 2011

Mommy Lies

Mommy Lies- little white lies that moms tell about their parenting style and/or day to day life.

Last month I saw an interesting article linked on the Bummis Facebook Page from The BBC UK titled Mothers admit to parenting lies, Netmums survey says.  The article was based on an online survey of 5,000 moms.

I consider myself the queen of over sharing and TMI.  Ask anyone who knows me (or is friends with me on Facebook) and they will be able to tell you that I hang it all out there for the world.  The good, the bad and the ugly I share regularly (as is my motto above for this blog).  I am  honest and upfront about my parenting success's as well as the failures. Sometimes to a fault, sharing my mistakes and often being made to feel "less than" for them by other moms.  So as I read this article I thought to myself "Surely I am not guilty of Mommy Lies.".  If I was guilty of Mommy Lies I wouldn't end up on the receiving end of mommy bullying and judgement as often as I seem to for some of the things I do (or don't do) with my kids.

The more I pondered and discussed it with others, the more I realized I was in fact guilty of these little white lies myself.  While I am far from perfect I do like to consider myself an honest person so why the need for these lies?

I think it all comes down to judgement, or really the fear of judgement.  We are worried if we give the "wrong" answers we will be seen as a "bad" mom.  As I discussed this with other moms I realized almost all (at least 98.999876%) of my incidents of Mommy Lies occurred while in the company of someone I viewed as an "authority figure" such as my children's Pediatrician, our Parents As Teachers Educator, anyone at a Government office and Monkey's Social Worker that she had before her adoption was finalized.  The other 1% occurred while in the company of moms that I do not even know personally while at places like the park, mommy groups or even story time at the library.

I asked some other mamas to share some of their own Mommy Lies with me.  The more they shared the more I realized I was guilty of the same.

Ashley, a 28 year old SAHM to 2 (9 year old and a 10 week old. ) from Pennsylvania had this to say about Mommy Lies at the doctors office- "I always get asked where my baby sleeps. I know that if I were to tell the Doctor that Zephyr sleeps in MY bed, she'd have a fit. I breastfeed so co-sleeping is what we chose. The doctor is 100% against it and believes a baby should be in its crib, on its back. While that works for some Mommas, I want my baby where I know he is safe and sound asleep. And where his food is readily available."

I could not have said it better myself.  This is the on of the exact things I find myself lying to the doctor about as well.  With my Little Man I actually was honest for the first few visits.  The doctor would ask "baby is sleeping in his own crib right" and I would respond that actually "no baby sleeps with us".  Then I got to sit through a nice long 10 minute (at least) lecture about how unsafe co-sleeping is and how it increases the risk of SIDS.  Which I really find ironic now that they have discovered that co-sleeping, when done properly and in a safe manor, actually REDUCES the risk of SIDS! (I will save that for another blog though).  Oh how I wish I had been armed with this information to throw in the doctors face BOO-YA  style with my first. 

Instead, after sitting through the same lecture the first 3-4 baby well visits I just began to parrot the answers I knew the doctor wanted to hear.  "Yes baby sleeps in his crib", "yes baby sleeps on his back" (my kids are ALL side and tummy sleepers), "no we don't have any pillows or bedding in the baby's crib"-which "technically" was not a lie, we didn't have any bedding in the crib, we didn't even have a crib at that point.

I don't know why the doctor intimidates me so much, its not like he can take my kids away if I admit that we co-sleep.  So why do I feel the need to lie?  Maybe just to make the visit go smoother and to keep it as comfortable as possibly? Atina R . from MO had an inspirational thought:: "We do it so we can be accepted, and don't feel guilty for doing something against the grain.......... I also think that's why moms feel they have to explain why they do certain things and why topics get so heated, all because moms want to be part of the cool club"

Christy, a 35 year old SAHM of one 14 month old son from Texas admits she has lied in the past about her sons eating habits "When Jake was 4-6m old, I'd lie and tell people that I'd feed him solids when I didn't. Mostly people without kids or 'old school' moms. " 

This is another area that, after much thought, I realized I too have lied about.  Not so much about when my kids started food, but more about what they were eating and how.  I was never really one for rules and we have no history of allergies on either side of our family.  Plus, I must admit, with my first I was oblivious to the rules such as "start 1 food and feed it for 3 days before starting another" or that certain things like chocolate, strawberries and peanut butter should not be given until age 1. 

 My kids are exposed to everything we eat, I do not restrict them to bland diets.  Its a crazy sight to most I am sure when they visit our house for diner and witness our kids eating salsa by the handful or curry soup like its ice cream and asking for more.

Tanya, age 30, WAHM mama of 2 from CA admits "I lie about the amount my 5 yr old watches TV, she watches TV in the evenings or play Vtech video games, I work with the kids all day and in the evening daddy wants to relax and play video games and mom thinks she deserves a break too so ...we take turns with the baby and DD#1 is in her room playing, or watching TV but you know what she's learned a lot, she knows how to read and write simple words and knows words that even we don't know so I don't think TV is so bad.. she gets plenty of attention still though and she's not always in the mood to watch TV but there you go! I am trying to limit her but it's tough to stimulate her in the evening when I've been stimulating the kids all day and then have the nursling"

This is a 1 mommy lie I am extremely guilty of.  I have this strange obsessive compulsive need to have the TV on as background noise constantly.  One of the first things I do in the morning is turn the TV on and one of the last things I do at night is turn it off.  This is something I swore I did not want to pass down to my kids but I am obviously not doing a great job about that. 

Does this mean we watch TV that entire time? NO!  Its just on, its just there, we go about our day to day lives as usual.  We read, play, do chores, go outside if its nice enough.  With that said my kids do pay attention to it a lot more than I care to admit.  When I am asked by their doctor, PAT or even a mom I don't know very well "how much TV per day do your kids watch" I usually pick a random small number like 2 or 4 and just blurt it out.  I justify this to myself as a half-truth because I know they are not watching TV all day long, but I know the total amount is more than likely double that.

Rachel, a 26 year old SAHM to a 9 month old says "I have said my son isn't feeling well when I just don't feel like or have the energy to do stuff with friends. I would just much rather be at home with my sweet boy who needs me, some people just don't understand. "Leave him, its good for yo...u and him." Mostly heard that from friend that doesn't have kids, so clearly she doesn't get it. When I need a break I take one. I just don't have the desire to "go out" right now. I'm perfectly content hanging at club Mama & Bubba! And, I don't like that I've done that... So, now I do my best to just tell it like it is!"

I must admit I have used my kids as "excuses" more than once.  Usually with my mom as a reason why I can't go to her house or that I have to get off the phone with her "Sorry mom, Monkey is fussy and I have to lay her down for a nap." meanwhile Monkey is already sleeping. 

Brittany K from Oregon, SAHM to a 14 month old son admits "When people ask me what time my son wakes up in the mornings and I tell them 7 but I always leave out the fact that I sleep in for another couple hours while hubby gets up with him. Because everyone knows a "good" mom who is on top of things has already been up for an hour, read the paper, started laundry and made breakfast by 7am."

Beth C. says "I lie about how many vegetables my kids eat ((if they eat half of what I give them, it's a great day)), and I fudge about how often they bathe & brush their teeth. On the teeth I really do have good intentions... but honestly, if they get out of the house with fresh breath, it's a good day for us. Oh lord, and cleaning their rooms.... I tell daddy they did it, when I did 99.275% of it, just so everyone is happy. My 10 year old is supposed to read for 30 minutes a day (out loud), and I'm supposed to sign a paper for his teacher. Some days we deal- if you put the clothes away, or just take out the trash, I'll sign it. God- I'm a horrible parent"

I am sure we all like to think of ourselves as honest but if you think about it hard enough and you are honest with yourself I am sure you will be able to come up with at least 1 instance where you are also guilty of the Mommy Lies.  If you can't think of one you must be a first time mama with a young baby, give it time and they will come.

Does that mean I think the Mommy Lies are ok?  Yes and No, its complicated.  In a perfect world there is no reason to lie ever.  In reality sometimes its easier to say "yes baby sleeps in his crib" than to heat THAT lecture again for the umpteenth time. 

I do think, as moms, we should strive to be as honest with each other as possible.  If we are honest and share the struggles we are having, like I am having with Monkey right now, then we can help support each other.  I try not to hold back the crazy, silly, funny, and sometimes scary moments that happen to us because I think that by sharing them, poo paintings and all, I may just help 1 other mom feel sane.  If I can help just 1 mom feel like she's not alone then its worth risking the hassle and negative feedback I may get from many other moms.

So what Mommy Lies have you told recently?

a pretty honest (most of the time) mama,


  1. I saw that article, too. I can't think of any lies I've told off the top of my head but I'm sure there have been some. I honestly kind of enjoy being different so I get some pleasure out of how it makes people uncomfortable that I do things differently sometimes. But that is a whole different problem that I need to work on!

  2. lol Julia, I think I have the opposite problem. I don't want people to think I am weird. Thats why most of my lies occur with people I view as authority figures like the doctor and PAT. I realyl try to be an honest person but sometimes its just easier that way.


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