We’ve probably all been there.
We’re having a conversation with another mom with kids similar in age to ours and talking about our life with littles. We probably don’t know this mom super well, she’s not in our closest circle of friends, and we’re listening to her tell us how her toddler never watches TV, that they don’t believe in using TV to entertain or baby-sit their kids.
And then you start to feel that little nagging inside, that she’s a better mom than you are because your toddler watches TV on pretty much a daily basis. You may not want it to be that way, but one way or another, it’s become a kind of routine in your day.
And then all of the sudden you hear yourself start telling this mom something about your children that is either completely false, or only partially true, because you are trying to make yourself look and sound like a better mom than you are feeling like at that moment.
When you finish the conversation and go your separate ways, you may find yourself wondering, why in the world did I say that? Why did I feel like I had to lie to her to make myself feel better?
Have you ever had an experience like that? I know I have, and I always kick myself later for not being real and honest.
Why do we moms feel the need to lie to one another?
A recent survey done by Netmums found that moms admit to lying to each other in order to seem like better parents. But that these lies just end up making us feel inadequate as mothers.
I’ve been thinking about this issue for a few weeks, ever since I shared this post about the things I don’t do as a mama of a toddler. The response was overwhelming, and the comments ranged from appreciation for my honesty which helped other mothers to feel better about themselves, to some really mean-spirited comments that basically said I was a bad mom, and even some moms that claimed to be SuperMom herself.
All of these responses made me realize that the reason so many moms resonated with, and appreciated, the post was because we have this idea that the other moms around us are actually “doing it all”, or have it all together, or that their kids are perfect, which may be partly based on the lies that we tell each other.
So I started thinking about the different lies that we as moms tell. Some of these I know I’ve said myself, and some of them I know I have heard from other mothers.
7 Lies Moms Tell Each Other:
My child is a great sleeper. 1 of 7Translation: My child is a great sleeper right now.
While there are some lucky parents out there who have legitimately good sleepers, from my experience, and in talking with other moms, most kids have sleeping troubles at some point. So if you child is one of them, be assured that you are not alone.
My child never has tantrums in public. 2 of 7Translation: My child has a compliant personality and is generally mild mannered, so she rarely acts up in public.
I heard this one when I wrote a post about dealing with public tantrums and was told in the comments it was because I wasn't doing a good job as a mother, because their child always acts perfectly in public. While I'm glad that some people have children who are easy to parent, I really can't believe that they've never acted out in public, and anyway, my kids don't happen to be those kinds of kids.
You look great! 3 of 7Translation: You look different than the last time I saw you.
This one usually comes while pregnant or after having a baby. I've heard it recently since I'm expecting my third baby, but the thing is, I know it's not true because I can look at myself in the mirror. I'm just finally starting to really show, and getting past that awkward stage where you look more fat than pregnant. It's true, I look fat, you don't have to be nice about it.
I’m sending my kid to school to socialize them. 4 of 7Translation: I'm excited to have some kid-free time!
I'm obviously not an opponent of preschool, my daughter started this year, but the reality is that there are lots of other ways to socialize kids besides dropping them off at school for a couple hours. Just sayin.
And in fact, preschool might not even help with socialization at all.
Life is just crazy busy. 5 of 7Translation: I'm a little (or a lot) overwhelmed with life right now.
I know this one, because I've told it myself. The truth here is that it's not so much that I'm really that busy, it's more that I just feel overwhelmed with all I have to do which stresses me out. And so, when I inevitably drop the ball on something, I blame it on how busy I am.
Oh, it’s really easy. (A DIY or handmade project) 6 of 7Translation: It actually took a lot of work and a ton of time, but I want you to think I'm good at stuff like this.
Maybe this one really is true for some mamas, and I'm just super sensitive to it because whenever I attempt any kind of DIY or handmade project it takes way longer and is way more work than I expected it to be. Because I thought the directions or explanation made it sound like a piece of cake, which for me, it was not.
I really can Do-It-All! 7 of 7Translation: I'm hanging on by a thread.
Then for some reason there are the moms who just can't seem to let go of the idea that they can do-it-all, or have it all, and that nothing has to give. Well. Good for you. I hope that works out for you. The rest of us non-supermoms will relax knowing that we don't have to keep up with you, and we're doing a great job of being the best moms we can be.
Now, you may not lie to your closest friends. I don’t either. I feel very blessed to have lots of close friends that I can talk honestly with about how things are really going for me as a mom. But once I get outside of that circle of friends, I find that I am much more likely to fib a little, or stretch the truth here or there. And I really wish I didn’t do that. Both for my own sake, and for the sake of the other moms I’m talking to.
So, how about instead of lying, we commit to being vulnerable and honest with each other, and support each other in this most difficult and important role that each of us has, raising our children.
Do you sometimes lie to make yourself sound better, or different, than you might be as a mom? Do you feel like other moms lie to you about how they are doing as a mom? How does this lying affect you?
Top photo credit: skeddy in NYC/flickr