“You lied!!!” yells my youngest at me as he storms off to his room crying.
“I didn’t lie” I explain, yelling after him “I changed my mind”
“That’s the same as lying Mum. You broke your promise!!”
“But I didn’t promise” I defend “You asked me if you could watch some tv and I said after you spent some time outside but you had so much fun that you stayed out longer and now it’s too late to watch to tv”
“But you said I could!!”
And I did. I did say he could. I didn’t add the caveat. I just said after he played outside, so technically I have broken my promise. In his eyes, I have lied to him. It’s not a big one, but it has a devastating effect and though I manage to smooth it over with cajoling and apologising and soon to be broken promises of something else to make up for it, I can’t help but think of all the myriad of lies that make up my day as a mum.
1. The bowling alley/movie theatre/toy shop is closed today.
2. Your friend that you’ve been asking for a playdate with all holidays is away.
3. Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny are all real – and they all break into our home at night and look at us while we’re sleeping. That tooth fairy even puts her hand under the pillow of your sleeping head. And we let her.
4. I didn’t mean to say f*ck – Except I did. I meant to say it, I just didn’t mean to say it under my breath. That was for you. I meant to f*cking yell it because you and/or your father are driving me mental.
5. Darling you were wonderful! – no you weren’t. Do not EVER pick up that violin again. The noise that it makes in your hands is horrendous.
6. I’m calling the school principal to tell them how badly you’re behaving. Yes I am. I have their number right here. *dialling – ok, I know this comes under the verboten ‘threatening’ parenting technique but it works like a charm. So judge away!!
7. Every other child in the world your age goes to bed at ‘insert time’ – well, it wouldn’t be a lie if all you other parents got with the program. FFS.
8. Mummy, does Aunty have a scar on her tummy because that’s the where baby got taken out of? – Yes [true!] So is that how babies come out of mummies? – Yes. Where’s your scar? – It went away.
9. Are we nearly there? – Yes is the immediate answer whether we’re 5 minutes away or an hour away.
10. Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry! That incredibly noisy toy is broken! It will have to go in the bin now – or maybe I’ll just give it back to your Aunty who now has her own kids… not such a fun toy now is it??
11. If you don’t put your seatbelt on and the police see you, they will pull the car over. I will be arrested and have to go jail and they won’t even give you a lift home – I try not to use that one too often. On a bad day there’s a chance they may call my bluff
12. Yes, of course I’m listening to you! – I love hearing about how much your brother is annoying you
13. Because I’m your mum and that means I know everything about you. Ev-er-y-thing. – Actually, I think that may be more of an over-zealous aspiration than a lie
14. Don’t jump on the bed, Mummy’s not feeling well darling – sort of true. Mummy has a hangover and sore feet from being out dancing until about an hour before you woke up.