90% of parenting is a hustle. As a working mother of 3, I have to get creative in order to stay sane. So when they ask for pancakes in the morning and we’re running late, I tell them " awwwwwwww man, we’ve finished the last bit of pancake mix yesterday" even though there’s a full box in the cabinet. If we drive past Toys r’ us in the middle of the afternoon and they ask to go in to "browse" I say ‘"Dangit, they closed early again. The ONE day, we’re ready to buy some toys the store decides to close at 2 PM. Ugghhhhh, it drives me crazy when they do that." These aren't my best moments but a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.
One my favorite white lies, that I’d been using for years, is that when the Mr. Softee ice cream truck drives down the street, the music actually means that it’s out of ice cream. As a child I remember what that song did to me. No matter what we were doing, all children dispersed and ran for their parents as soon as the truck came down the street. I’d find my mom or dad and beg for the dollar to buy a cone of that delicious soft serve ice-cream with sprinkles on top. I didn’t know then, but it probably drove them nuts, especially in the summers when Mr. Softee was always around. You see, my kids are still at that age where they believe everything mommy says, so it works. I knew that I was on to something when one day, my middle daughter Maya heard the truck as we were driving.
Maya: Mommy, can I get some ice cream from the ice cream truck?
Marley: Maya, when the music is playing it means he DOESN’T have any ice cream, duh.
It took every ounce of restraint not to burst out laughing.
I love my kids and will do what it takes to make them happy but sometimes a little white lie is needed to get through the moment. Ice cream is great, but if I'm driving behind the truck and I agree to get it, I'd have to pull over, park the car, unbuckle the kids, get them out of the car seats, run across the street and cross my fingers that it doesn't drive off before we get to it. It was easier to lie than to say no. With children, NO isn't always the final answer. It can result in another half hour of why's? And Why nots?
I'd feel a little guilty because I'm constantly reinforcing that honesty is the best policy. I tell my girls to be true to themselves, to their parents, friends, family etc. I’m raising them to be impeccable with their word. When I was encouraged to reveal this secret, I knew it was necessary. However, it turned out to be more difficult than expected. I wanted to set a good example in coming clean but to have to admit that I'd lied, was more than I'd bargained for.
As a parent, I want my kids to think
mom is perfect. Through this experience, I realized that it's pressure I put on myself. My kids are totally cool with me as I am. In their eyes, no matter what I do, I am perfect. And that's good enough for me.
The relationship hasn't changed. My kids still trust mom, however, I'm now beholden to them when it comes to the ice cream truck. Every time they hear it, day or night, they give me that look and I know I have to stop what I'm doing. I owe them that much.
Going with the lie was convenient, but revealing the truth was refreshing.