Even though you’re doing a great job as a parent (obviously), that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. After all, we’re human, not Supernanny. Moms do what they have to do to get through the day, and sometimes that means bending the truth when speaking to our precious angels. We’re not talking about major lies, just little tricks all parents employ to make dealing with littles a tiny bit easier. Whether you call them fibs, lies, or just creative parenting solutions, here are 13 things we all say to our kids that help get us out of sticky parenting situations — even if they’re not technically true.
1. “This food is too spicy for you.”
Look, we love our kids and we’d do anything for them — except share our pie. Since all little kids think pepper is the devil, saying something’s spicy is a surefire way to keep every forkful to yourself.
2. “This toy is broken.”
Maybe you don’t feel like taking out a personal loan to pay for replacement batteries. Or maybe you’re sick of the flashing lights and music that turn your living room into a nightclub. Either way, we’re all guilty of declaring a toy DOA when all it really needs is a fresh set of triple As.
3. “Daniel Tiger is sleeping right now.”
Saying your kid’s favorite cartoon characters are taking a nap is so much easier than explaining to them that Mommy’s going to lose her mind if she has to watch a third episode in a row.
4. “Santa Claus is watching.”
If they’re not going to listen to you, maybe they’ll listen if they think presents are on the line. And if this doesn’t work or you don’t do the Santa thing with your kids, you can always just say you’re going to tell Grandma. That might be even scarier.
5. “We don’t have any more mac and cheese.”
The moment your picky eater declared mac and cheese edible, you stocked up on enough blue boxes to survive through the apocalypse. But you worked hard on this meatloaf and mashed potatoes, so rather than debate it, sometimes you simply have to claim that cheesy elbow pasta is out of stock.
6. “McDonald’s is closed.”
Kids can spot those Golden Arches from a mile away, but sometimes a fry run just isn’t in the plans. As soon as they learn what “24/7” means, the jig is totally up on this fib, so enjoy this easy way of avoiding a car tantrum while it lasts.
7. “That sign says you have to be good.”
When you’re waiting for a table at a busy restaurant or in line at the bank with a bored child, a mom’s gotta use what’s around her. A well-placed “please wait here” sign easily becomes an “all children must listen to their mommy” message. You’re not lying, you’re being resourceful.
8. “If we buy that bear, it will miss all its friends.”
Sure, it’s a complete lie, but it’s nicer than saying, “Stuffed animals are pointless and you have far too many already.”
9. “The tooth fairy is real, and she won’t come if you don’t floss.”
You can either wrestle over the toothbrush or use the power of a fictional pixie to convince them to practice good oral hygiene. Clearly the lie is the way to go.
10. “Aw, we don’t have any dessert, but if I had candy, I’d give you some.”
Except for the stash we keep in my sock drawer for after you go to bed. And the bag in the back of the medicine cabinet that we dip into when you’re mid-meltdown and we need a break. And my PMS arsenal. Other than that, we’re fresh out.
11. “Mommy’s going to bed now too.”
And we will. Right after we finish this pint of mint chocolate chip and catch up on The Crown.
“Maybe” is universal mom code for “We’re absolutely not doing that but I don’t feel like arguing with you right now, so I’m saying this and crossing my fingers that you’ll forget you asked.”
13. “You’re not the boss around here.”
Sure, keep telling yourself that, mom. We might be older and maybe even wiser, but let’s be honest, the kids run the show.