The lies we tell

As parents, we tell lies all the time. These are mainly to our children. For example:

“Do you like my picture Mummy?”

“Yes!” you exclaim. “It’s brilliant!”. No it isn’t, you’re thinking, it’s rubbish, I can’t even tell what it is.

“The tooth fairy is real isn’t she Mummy?”

“Yes of course darling!” you reassure. No she isn’t, you mutter under your breath, now shut up and go to sleep so I can shove 50p under your pillow.

According to a survey published today by Netmums though, it’s not just the kids we’re lying to. We’re also lying to each other. If you thought playground peer pressure was behind you, apparently you’re wrong – as parents we are constantly comparing ourselves to other mums and dads, and finding ourselves lacking. In order to cover up our feelings of inadequacy, we’re lying about our parenting – how much TV we let the kids watch, how many meals we cook from scratch, and how much quality time we spend as a family.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m happy to admit that my children watch a fair bit of television. It’s not that I don’t want to do wholesome eight-year-old activities, it’s just that, well, ok… I don’t want to do eight-year-old activities to be honest.

In fact, the competitive element between me and my closest parent friends comes normally from who can neglect their children the most, so I’m not scared to come clean.

*stands up in the circle*

My name is Jo and my kids watch TV and eat fish fingers. Big deal. I’m a working single mum, I do my best, get over it.

So come on, stand up, tell the truth. What lies do you tell other parents? Your secrets are safe with me…*

*clearly not true as this is on The Internet.




  1. 17 January, 2011 / 5:43 pm

    I have been known to carry around a large coffee mug while cooking dinner, its typically filled with red wine …

  2. Beth
    17 January, 2011 / 6:05 pm

    “I’m sure your Dad’s new girlfriend didn’t mean to ….. ” whilst secretly wanting to score points and agree how awful a person she is.

    When asked what I put in my spag bol I never mention the jar of Dolmio I use every time.

    “I’m just tired, I didn’t even drink very much last night”

    • 17 January, 2011 / 6:53 pm

      Hahaha! They sound familiar. I’m just tired. Honest….

  3. 17 January, 2011 / 6:15 pm

    … shuffles into the circle…Hi my name is kairen and my kids don’t wear matching socks very often. Oh and I know most of the words to Tracy Beaker programmes. … shuffles off again to cook a more gourmet meal than fish finger sandwiches. Sausage sandwiches !

    • 17 January, 2011 / 6:55 pm

      Kairen, I have always firmly believed that it is far more important for socks to be of matching lengths than patterns. Fact. Also, what’s not to love about a sausage sandwich?? Bread = carbs, sausage = protein, ketchup = one of your five-a-day.

  4. 17 January, 2011 / 6:45 pm

    Haha! This is very funny.

    I once wrote a post about an inspired (I thought), creative painting activity involving Fruit-Shoot lids. Mainly because I had bloody hundreds of the things all over the place.

    Well apparently allowing your kids to drink Fruit-Shoots is the cardinal sin of parenting. Not one person commented! OK, actually one person did, but only after a lot of twitter goading “come on, admit it, I’m not the only person to give my kid a Fruit-shoot”!

    I suspect if had been using an old Innocent Smoothie carton it would have been a whole different ball game :0)

    • 17 January, 2011 / 6:51 pm

      Oh. My. God. You give your kids FRUIT SHOOTS??? You are going to HELL. I’m pretty sure on Mumsnet that is the equivalent of giving them crack.

      *kicks empty Fruit Shoot bottles to the back of the recycling cupboard*

      • 17 January, 2011 / 7:22 pm

        I know! I’ll make sure she doesn’t have access to crack til she’s MUCH older. I do try to be a responsible parent don’t cha know :0)

  5. 17 January, 2011 / 6:50 pm

    It used to be the same as yours, but Amy’s a bit older now and I have started being a bit more truthful with her. I think it’s ridiculous that other parents put pressure on us to lie; we are who we are and if they don’t like it then we should find a different circle of friends. My opinion!

    I’ve learnt over the years that we just can’t please everyone, but so long as we please ourselves, then the rest will fall into place!

    CJ xx

    • 17 January, 2011 / 6:57 pm

      I completely agree with you, especially when this survey shows that NONE of us are perfect – we are all just feeding into this illusion of the perfect parent being one that bakes daily with their kids and lets them watch half an hour of TV a week. It’s just not true. We all just do our best and do whatever works for us and our families.

  6. 17 January, 2011 / 7:02 pm

    I do think that striving to be a perfect mum is setting yourself up for failure. There is no such thing as a perfect mum. All we can do is be the ‘best mum’ that we can be. Perfect is a figment of imagination. ‘The best I can be’ is in me……..somewhere…. just got to find it.

  7. 17 January, 2011 / 7:03 pm

    YOu know this is right up my street, and i’ve written many a confessional on my blog. sadly people don’t always want to reciprocate. “I’ll show you mine” but they dont’ necessarily show you theirs….


    • 18 January, 2011 / 3:08 pm

      I’ll show you mine anytime M2M ;-)

  8. Beth
    17 January, 2011 / 7:04 pm

    I suppose on a serious note the main lies I tell to my children are to protect them from either ‘bad things’ in the world in general or things I am probably ashamed of about myself. Other parents who are good friends I can be honest about as they are usually doing the same an being open about it but I do feel slightly judged by the yummy mummy brigade.

  9. Sarah
    17 January, 2011 / 7:12 pm

    Definitely lie about how much TV DS watches and how long he spends on the DSi, oh and how many Little Dishes he eats! Probably lie to myself about those things too. New years resolution was ‘less Mumsnet-More actual Mummying’ :)

    • 18 January, 2011 / 3:08 pm

      That’s the irony of mumsnet isn’t it?? The friends I know who use it end up spending so much time on it ‘talking’ about parenting that they don’t have any time left to actually DO any!

  10. 17 January, 2011 / 7:22 pm

    Oh that’s funny. The ‘mother, known as Becky’ in that article is me! I’d forgotten I’d given that quote! It’s true though – I’m such a crap mum, I just lie myself into being a good one :)

  11. 17 January, 2011 / 7:41 pm

    Another great post Jo – geez – I don’t even know where to begin.
    Firstly, we only have odd socks in this house. If not from the washing process then from the fact that Cheryl (the cat) has a bit of a thing for pinching socks and I have totally given up on the retrieval process. I don’t know where she keeps them and I can’t be bothered to look.
    Secondly, I don’t do parks or any other seven, eight and ten year old activities.
    Thirdly, my kids eat cheese strings, white bread, chips and drink fruit shoots.
    Oh and I swear (a lot).
    Great tip on the big coffee mug from ‘By word of mouth’ love it.

    • 18 January, 2011 / 3:06 pm

      Cheese strings though are actual cheese, so that’s fine! I’ve seen them on adverts. I swear it’s true.

  12. 17 January, 2011 / 8:13 pm

    I often wonder how my boy grew up to be a teenager at all when I think of some of the rubbish he used to eat. Desperate to try and introduce more protein to his diet as a toddler, I resorted to stuffing hula hoops with Dairylea cheese.

    • 18 January, 2011 / 3:06 pm

      Hula hoops and dairylea – classic!

      I used to do something really gross with hula hoops when I was little – I used to chew up a mouthful of them, then stuff the chewed up mush inside another one. Then eat it. I can’t believe I typed that…

  13. 17 January, 2011 / 8:28 pm

    I think that you are doing a fine job of parenting. I enjoyed the post. You always make me laugh.

  14. 18 January, 2011 / 12:01 pm

    Popular ones:

    1. She/he is such a looker, they’re going to grow up to be a knockout (nose grows)
    2. She’s/he’s really clever, some kids are just better at other things…(nose grows some more…)
    3. I never drink during the week. (nose is javelin sized now…)
    4. I always walk my kids to school. (can’t get in the house…)

    • 18 January, 2011 / 3:04 pm

      I ALWAYS walk my children to school, it is only a mile away after all. Honest I do guv.

  15. 19 January, 2011 / 7:58 am

    You mean I’m not MEANT to tell other mums that when my son’s friends come round I let them play ‘catwalks’ in my shoes (simply because its hilarious), or let his veggie friends just try a bit of sausage, or that some mornings I still feel drunk from the night before, or that I’m having to avoid one of the daddies at school because I may have given him the wrong impression….Hmmm….This honesty thing may be where I’m going wrong and could explain a lot about the lack of mummy friends I made at the school gates!!

  16. 19 January, 2011 / 8:57 am

    Are fish fingers now verboten? I thought they were ok, fish and all that…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.