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Why good moms lie to their kids ... sometimes

Jill is a sometime runner and expert wine taster from sunny San Antonio. She has a degree in social psychology, one husband and three children. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Babble and she's regular...

I lie to my kids every single day, and I'm OK with it

Do you know that mom who says stuff like “I believe in being 100 percent honest with my kids 100 percent of the time?” Well, she’s not me. I lie to my kids. I do. I’m not particularly ashamed of it, I don’t think I’m a bad mom because of it and it’s a damn good thing that whole “pants on fire” thing is only a metaphor because ouch.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begin each day plotting how to deceive my small humans while drinking my first cup of coffee. I don’t lie awake at night thinking of ways to pull the wool over my kids’ eyes. If you want to know the truth, my mind is pretty empty when I’m slurping down my first cup of java, and I don’t usually lie awake at night because I’m stinkin’ exhausted when my head finally hits the pillow.

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But I lie to my kids daily.

You’ll turn into a grease spot if you don’t hold my hand in the parking lot. No one wants to be a grease spot, honey.” 

Chocolate? Oh no sweetie. This is mommy’s medicine. You wouldn’t like it at all. It’s spicy.” 

Those kiddie rides at the entrance of Target? Horses, helicopters or mini Thomas the Tank Engines? You know the ones. They eat quarters and bounce your kids around to the tune of super-annoying music for all of nine seconds.

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Sorry darling. That’s broken. Maybe next time.” 

Once in a while, we’ll happen upon some “fun mom” letting her snowflake ride the germ-infested fire truck (or whatever) right about the time we’re entering the store. This forces me to explain why I don’t have enough quarters. Or time. This usually results in crying.

I regularly threaten to take away iPads or suspend television watching. As if that would ever happen.

I lie, omit facts and stretch the truth to save time, elicit good behavior, save my sanity and in the case of Santa and the Tooth Fairy, to have fun and add a little magic to childhood.

I care about raising my children to be good human beings and yes, I agree good human beings are generally honest. When I ask my kids about what’s going on at school or who used my hairbrush to scrub the toilet, I expect truthfulness. I am honest with my kids about the big things in life. I give them age-appropriate slices of their adoption stories, my struggle with depression and ugly, scary things happening in the world.

Do I feel guilty about looking my kids in the eye and telling them the Snickers bar I don’t want to share is spicy medicine? Nope. Not one bit. Am I a monster because I don’t want to have a 10-minute conversation about why we don’t have time to ride the rickety, germy horsey at Target?

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No. I’m stinkin’ tired, I’m late, I have 20 zillion things to do and I forgot my list. On top of all that, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to bake cupcakes for some sort of class shindig tomorrow but my planner is buried underneath the mountain of laundry that’s piled on my couch. Maybe.

I’m multi-tasking like a boss and managing to stay one step ahead of the game… usually. But I’m a good mom. I love my kids and most of my waking hours are dedicated to doing stuff for them. I’m not complaining. Busy, unorganized moms take shortcuts and sometimes shortcuts involve little white lies.

Most of my kid lies are trivial. My 5-year-old has started raising his eyebrow when he busts me eating chocolate in the laundry room. I’m pretty sure he’s starting to get the idea that it’s not medicine but something good I don’t want to share. And, I’m pretty sure that when he connects the dots, he won’t be traumatized or lose trust in me.

More12 Thoughts you will have on your first night out away from the baby

I’m a good mom. I lie to my kids sometimes. Maybe not my brightest, shiniest moments in parenting, but I can live with myself. I bet you do it, too. Fess up and don’t make me bust out that “liar liar” line.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

I lie to my kids every single day, and I'm OK with it
Image: Tetra Images - Eric Isakson/Getty Images

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