When this mom is bragging about her child walking at 8 months and that one is boasting about her child reading at three years-old, it can be hard not to lie to try to make yourself look like a better mom. It can also get out of hand pretty quickly...and ridiculous even faster.
As Circle of Moms member Veronica K. points out, sometimes all it takes is for one mom to say her kid can swim a lap in the pool for another mom to shoot back , “well my kid can swim the Atlantic Ocean and back, in less than 2 hours, beat that!”
Both moms know it’s not true, but neither are willing to give up the lie. It’s one of those lies moms know we’re telling each other to feel like better moms. Lies like these three:
Lie #1: "My child sleeps through the night."
If people would stop asking “When did yours start sleeping all night?” we’d stop telling this lie. My older son didn’t sleep through the night until he was nearly four, but I rarely told people. Like mom Shauna D. shared, I too, “felt bad when people asked me if he was sleeping through the night.”
Instead, I did what new mother Shell R. did. I tried to figure out the minimum number of hours needed to legitimately claim that your child is sleeping through the night. You’d be surprised how few hours actually qualifies when you’re trying to convince other moms your child is sleeping through!
Lie #2: "My child doesn’t watch TV."
Granted, for some moms, this isn’t a lie. But for most of us, it is laughably blatant one. But the urgings of organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, who instruct us not to let our children watch TV before they’re three, feed the mom-competition and make us all round down. Way down.
Circle of Moms member Katherine C. confesses that her biggest “parenting whopper” is that she doesn't allow her kids to watch more than six hours of TV a week. Mother-of-two J.L. doesn’t tell this exact lie, but is tongue-in-cheek about what letting her children watch TV before the age of three says about her as a parent:
“Oh, my, I must be a horrible mother,” she says with an LOL. (She adds that “so far neither of them has suffered a bit.”)
Lie #3: "He must be exhausted! He never behaves like this."
I’ve used this lie more than once to explain a tantruming child (sometimes it’s easier than explaining an Asperger-related meltdown). And other moms have been gracious enough to pretend to believe me.
But it’s not always ease or embarrassment that prompts us to use exhaustion or changes in routine to explain unexpected behavior; sometimes it’s expectations. As mom Nikki S. explains, “There are times that I have lied about my daughter's behavior, only because I have very different expectations than my friends and family do.”
Should We Stop Telling “Mom” Lies?
Some moms think the lying is more ridiculous than the lies. Member Meghan A. just lays it on the line about herself and her son, readily sharing their shortcomings: “Sometimes I do use TV as a babysitter, he is the worst sleeper I have ever met [and] some days he hardly eats.”
Maybe Meghan has the right idea. Because, no matter how much you think other moms understand the lying game, there are always going to be mothers like Dawn D., who calls herself gullible. ”I believe the lies," she says, "because I don't understand why people lie about these things.”
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