It’s Bedtime! And Other Lies I Tell My Children

This past weekend, my family and I went on a little staycation. We had a great time, but the kids stayed up super late, and the next morning, woke up just as early as they always do.  For most of the morning, they were little terrors.  There was whining and crying, until we finally decided to head home.

Just a few short miles from home, my oldest experienced a bout of motion-sickness and projectile vomited (which I didn’t even really think was a thing until I had kids, btw) on everything and everyone. When we finally pulled in the driveway, everyone was miserable.  After cleaning the kids and ourselves, my husband and I spent 45 minutes cleaning the interior of the car in 8 degree weather.  Any loose change or toys on the floor of the car went into the garbage.

When I went back inside to start the laundry, my son asked me what happened to a stuffed animal that he had won in an arcade machine. I explained to him that the animal did not appear to be salvageable, and that he had won three of those, so I threw it in the garbage.  He cried so hard over the loss that I ended up trash-diving and spent the afternoon cleaning and styling a stuffed animal that he will probably never play with.  Needless to say, it was a long day.  I was not only drained, but I was honestly on the brink of losing it.  And I longed for my kids to go to bed.

I have always been a stickler about my kids having an early bedtime anyway, in part because I believe that getting adequate sleep has a direct impact on their mood, behavior, and overall development, but mostly because I am downright exhausted at night.  And this night, was no exception. In fact, the kids were cranky.  I was cranky.  And, I just could not take it anymore … and since it was already dark (this is why I appreciate winter now as an adult!) and they cannot yet tell time on our clock, I shouted, “It’s bedtime,” a half hour earlier than their bedtime actually is.  And they were none the wiser.

And, my lying does not stop there.  Here are some other lies I tell my children…

I have no idea how your drawing ended up in the trash. OMG!  How do my kids make so many drawings, paintings, cutouts, etc. in one day?!? I save their best work, I hang some art on the refrigerator, I put some up in my office, and they each have a space in their room for their favorite drawings. Yet, still, I open their folder every day from school and piles of papers jump out at me.  If I saved every single piece of artwork my kids made, I would seriously be on the television show Hoarders and my house would be unlivable in less than six months.  It is madness.  I mean, sorry kid, but not every piece of paper that you touch a crayon to is an effing masterpiece.  Since I am not a complete monster and do not actually want to say that to my kids, I secretly throw out the extras when they are not looking.  But I will be damned if I will admit that when they ask.  I know better.

You’ve tried that before and you liked it. My kids are not really picky eaters as much as they are picky-triers.  It is very difficult to get them to try even a slight variation of a food they already love.  “But it looks different,” they whine.  “What is the black stuff?” Umm.  Seasoning.  That is what makes it actually taste delicious.  If there is any indication that this is a new food, and therefore, a chance they may not like it, I can pretty much assume that it is not getting eaten.  But, if I say, “You’ve tried it before and you liked it,” they will first look at me and then the food skeptically, but with persistence they are more apt to at least touch it to their tongue (even if that is literally all that they do with it) before telling me how disgusting it is.  And, for some reason, that feels like a win for me!

[Insert fun, but expensive activity your kid loves here] is closed. My youngest son is constantly asking to go to Chuck E. Cheese or to Walmart to “buy a toy.”  But I am not made of money, I do not want to do those things all the time, and I am not raising spoiled brats.  Plus, it is literally never enough to satisfy him.  I could take him to Chuck E. Cheese all afternoon, and he will still ask to stop at Walmart on the way home.  Now, I recognize that I can just say “no,” and perhaps that it is the better overall lesson.  But, that will lead to a never-ending tantrum because if he knows that I have all the power, he is going to try to wear me down.  And although I do not give in when I say “no” to these things, it makes for a miserable afternoon.  So, I tell him that they are closed, and he generally accepts this.

It’s not turkey. It’s Thanksgiving chicken.  Because, seriously?!?

I’m just putting these toys in the attic, dear. Ok, so this one is not entirely a lie.  I am, in fact, putting the toys in the attic.  I just do not intend for them to stay there for longer than a few months, at most.  Then, without warning, I am donating or selling them.  A few times per year, I try to have my kids help me clean out their rooms and find toys to donate to kids who are less fortunate.  I do this because I think it is a good lesson for my kids. It is not, however, the most effective way to rid my home of toys that my children no longer play with, because they hold on to things that they forgot they even had or have not played with in months.  I can appreciate their nostalgia, but I am also tired of picking up and looking at toys that were designed for infants, when there are actual infants in the world who could use these toys.

So, yes, it is true. I lie to my kids sometimes. And since I want to be honest with you all at least, I do not really feel that bad about it. The lies I tell are for my own sanity sake.  I like to think of it more as survival.

Okay, so now my secret is out. What lies do you tell your kids for sanity sake?

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