4 White Lies I Tell My Kid to Keep the Peace


There’s been this thing floating around Facebook recently – something like, ‘Lies Our Parents Used to Tell Us’. And man, seeing this totally hit home. I know my parents told my siblings and I little lies as kids. But lying is bad, right? One of those seven deadly sins. I think this is something that we’ve all been taught since childhood. The teaching isn’t wrong – lying is bad. I don’t want my girls to think that it’s ok to be untruthful, but sometimes, in The Wonderful Land of Parenthood, telling little white lies is a necessary key to survival. Standing where my parents once stood, I can totally appreciate this secret to staying sane when you have a teeny version of yourself arguing about something as asinine as the color of a sippy cup to take on a trip to the zoo that, guess what: they won’t even use once you leave the house because it’s better to contaminate your water bottle.

This social media share about lying parents has made me realize just how many I tell during any given week. And unfortunately, my four-year-old isn’t so easily outsmarted anymore. She’s started to catch on to me (much to my dismay), and the girl doesn’t hesitate to call me out on it every chance she gets. (“Hey, Mom! You can bend down! I just saw you pick that up!”) And I have a feeling that she’s going to let her little sister in on all my secrets as soon as she can.

These are the tried-and-true white lies that I use that she hasn’t yet figured out:

  • TV Shows. A grown adult can only watch/listen to so many episodes of Little Einsteins before they a) start pulling out all of their hair or b) break out into the Rocket song whilst shopping alone. (Or walking down the hall at work. Don’t judge me.) Or both of those. My go-to when I just can’t take it anymore: “I’m sorry, sweetie. Little Einsteins is broken for the next week. How about we watch something new?” as I frantically scan through Netflix praying to sweet baby Jesus that we don’t accidentally scroll over it again. Works like a charm.
  • Starbucks is totally open on Saturdays and Sundays. Just not Monday-Friday. Outings. We usually make a Starbucks run as a family on the weekends when we’re out running errands. Apparently, this has created a teeny blonde strawberry frap addict. She knows the Starbucks logo now and anytime she sees it she insists that she’s “very very firsty” and only a pink milkshake will quench her thirst. Usually, I can just say ‘no’ and she’s good, but she’s only 4. She likes to push the envelope. And sometimes she’s just tired. So a tantrum might ensue. How do I kill that tantrum? “Starbucks is closed right now. BUT they’ll be open Saturday when we go grocery shopping. How does that sound?” BOOM. Tantrum over. This also works for her favorite stores, the zoo, the museum, McDonalds, and the park.
  • Clothes. For the most part, I’m pretty lenient about what she wears. But sometimes I really need her to just wear what I say she’s going to wear. But she’s also already developing her own little sense of style and telling her what she has to wear summon her inner-demon. This is when I bring out the big guns: Her teachers. She loves her teachers and doesn’t want to disappoint them. “Hey, Kate. Miss Beth texted me and said that she really really wants you to wear this outfit.” Annnnddd she’s dressed before I can finish the sentence. Mom-win. This also works with vegetable eating, bathing, picking up her toys, and general 4-year-old moodiness. Basically, she’ll do whatever anyone asks. As long as it’s not actually me or her dad asking.
  • Teeth Brushing. This has been a fickle topic at home for us. She wants to do it herself. Which I applaud. But she’s 4. She still needs a little assistance. “Kate. You have a few little bugs on your teeth yet. Can Mama brush them away for you?” BUGS? ON HER TEETH?! Cue toothbrush handoff without a fight.

Someday, she’s going to realize that Netflix shows don’t ‘break’ and that Starbucks isn’t closed at random times during the week. And it’ll dawn on her that Miss Beth and I don’t text each other about what she’s wearing or eating. Hopefully, she doesn’t think any less of me for using these little white lies to keep our lives running on fewer tantrums. But for now, I’m going to keep on lying to keep the peace (and the little that’s left of my sanity).

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Samantha is a native of small-town Southern Indiana who loves exploring the Circle City with her husband and their daughters, Kate (October 2011) and Isla (December 2015). After finishing a degree in Professional Writing at Purdue, Sam made her way to the greater Indianapolis area where she learned to embrace the lack of hills and abundance of interstate. After an 8-year career in business development and marketing, she’s taken a step back from the corporate world to focus on her own business – GrayGirl Designs – where she designs invitations, stationary, and business materials and offers marketing services, graphic design, and résumé writing. When she’s not trying to balance family and her business, she enjoys (in no particular order): Jazzercize, yoga, crafting, horseback riding, way too much coffee, and hiking. Sam is also a melanoma survivor and a passionate advocate of skin cancer and sun safety education and awareness.