Mommy White Lies Hurt Other Moms Most

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I know common mommy lies are often seen as just something people do, often because they're afraid someone will judge them (everyone judges folks, just FYI) or think less of them or even admonish them for a choice. And it seems innocent enough, when the new mom on the playground asks if your toddler eats veggies. Your mind says, Only if they're hidden! but you say out loud, "Yeah, no problem at all."

By omitting details and not being entirely honest, you may feel like you're making yourself feel better, but chances are, you just made that mom feel a lot worse.

Mommy lies are one of the big things that made Mommyhood difficult.

It may seem like it's not that big of a deal, but when you get into serious conversations, such as postpartum depression, moms who refuse to admit they experience it or to what degree really alienate moms who are feeling that way. The more women who come out and say, "Yeah, when my baby was little, I had some serious postpartum depression and even some awful thoughts about hurting the baby. It scared me, but I'm glad I had people to turn to" is not going to be a negative reflection on you. But it may just be the admission that makes another mom who felt horrid guilt about those thoughts or struggles to admit it and won't get help because she doesn't want to admit it realize that her feelings ARE OKAY. There are people out there she can turn to who WON'T judge her or call her names.

We've got to be honest with ourselves, first and foremost, and then with other moms. I've fed my 18-month-old really bad fast food once. Yes, seriously. The ingredients freak me out, I know it's horrible, it's nutritionally void, and filled with chemicals, and it's total trash, and I could have gone somewhere else and gotten different food. And yet, I'm not afraid to say I did take her once. Why? Because I'm being completely honest, both in knowing it's bad for her and admitting I did it and don't feel that bad because it was one time, incredibly rare. Also, I'm emotionally honest enough to admit that it was unhealthy, but know that I also spend the REST of my time trying really, really hard to feed her as good as I can.

That's important because we can have frank talks then about the chemicals in fast food and why it's unhealthy, and healthy eating at home and the importance ... without vilifying people who do eat crap occasionally, and without sacrificing an honest discussion about the benefits of healthy eating.

Even in less heavy conversations, like "How many words does your 18-month-old say?" people are usually looking for answers to help themselves gauge their own child's development. If every single mom starts playing the one-up game, then the conversation is useless and a bunch of people whose children are on the lower end of acceptable development are left worried that their child is abnormal. Just a simple exaggeration really is a terrible thing to do to other moms, and ruins the "community support" goal. I mean, aren't mom networks about support from common ground? That common ground includes common struggles.

When moms aren't honest with themselves, or honest with other people, you make it much more difficult for other moms to know what's normal, what's acceptable, and for them to feel like they can be honest as well. It spawns a lot of defensiveness, a lot of denial, with very little gain. You'll actually find the more honest you can be with your mom friends, the more comfort you'll get from talking to them. After all, are they really your friends if you feel the need to lie about how you get your toddler to eat vegetables? Probably not. And for all you know, one of them is struggling with the same issue and you both could really help each other out, but you have to be honest in the first place, with yourself and them.

In my experience, this sort of personal and social dishonestly is often the source of the majority of Mommy Wars, competitions, and arguments. If people could just admit that motherhood isn't easy, there are things you don't know, and things you do but sometimes don't always have the energy to care about, we'd find we have a lot more common ground with a lot more moms, and have a lot bigger support system than we thought.

Are you really honest when you talk about your kids?


Image via Tayrawr Fortune/Flickr

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Christine Thompson

I'm probably too honest when I talk about my kids, probably to the point of scaring people out of having any of their own.

nonmember avatar anon

When I was part of a mommy group for my daughter's first year or so, I actually felt pressure to downplay her development. She is very verbal. I don't think this makes her better than other baby, and she is either right on track or on the slow end in some other aspects of development, but her verbal development is off the charts. She's been going to daycare for about 6 months, and other parents and the daycare provider have confirmed that she is very advanced in her verbal development. I always felt like I couldn't be honest about how much she was talking and communicating without other moms thinking I was bragging or trying to one up them and compete. Maybe it was in my head, and maybe it would have been better if there was a more honest culture around moms, but I felt like it was only acceptable to agree that my child was just like everyone else's - when in reality every single child is different.

thedg... thedgoddess

Yeah, I'm brutally honest. I've never been one to brag about my kids' development, mostly because they have developmental delays. Heh.


 

hotic... hoticedcoffee

I'm really honest nearly all the time, and sometimes it isn't pretty.  I can't do lies - small, big, out of niceness, to spare feelings, to avoid an arguement, to make someone look better or worse - just can't do it.  Well, I could, but it's pretty obvious when I'm being insincere.  People that I'm close to mostly know not to ask if they don't want the real answer, but I still find myself sometimes saying 'are you sure you want my answer?'.   I value honesty, so I'm not friends with people who find the truth difficult.

Mommy... MommyLady

I don't see any point in lying about my kids, so yes, I'm completely honest.

Caffe... Caffeineplease

It would be nice to open up and be honest about our children, and how hard it is at times to raise them and how emotionally exhausting it is to give birth. How everything changes and sometimes you can feel like your going crazy. lol  But its normal , we all have gone through it and should understand each other. No one is perfect so it wouldjust be wrong to think that oh that person has perfect kids and is a perfect mom, because its just not true. Doesn't mean we are wrong it means we are normal and that's how it really is. Kids can drive us nuts we make mistakes, but we learn and grow and in the end all that matters is that your little ones think your perfect just the way you are.


Sending lots love and ((hugs)) to all you mommies out there! moms rock

nonmember avatar Anon

One thing I learned from my mom was that "bragging" about your kids is in very bad form. I usually won't say anything to pump up my kids in front of other moms, even if it's 100% true. What I will do is comiserate with them. Last week a little girl around my kids' age refused to speak to us while waiting for a seat in the restaurant. I said, she's hungry; I too have one who can't be happy until her tummy is attended to. The mom seemed very appreciative of that.

bills... billsfan1104

I am very open. I refuse to participate in the mommy wars, where moms pretend that then never ever give soda to their kids, eat fast food, erf until five, or that their kids don't do anything wrong. My kids eag fast food, drink soda, play the Wii, and never ERF'd. And they are just fine.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I am honest cause ya look dumb when you are caught in a lie. I am not one to brag either. I won't tell a mom "well my kid has been sleeping through the night for months" when hers isn't. If asked I will say yea he is sleeping through the night. I have seen other moms do that to others and it's irritating.

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