Have you ever lied to your kids to make your life a little easier? Don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, millions of parents around the world tell little white lies (and sometimes not so little) to make the day go by a little smoother.
Parenting experts say lying to kids is a big 'no no' so let's call it 'parenting hacks' instead, shall we? Personally, I applaud the mother who turned the clocks back by three hours and told her kids it was bedtime at 4pm on one particularly challenging day when she had reached the end of her rope - we've all been there. I think more mothers should do this come to think of it - there should be an official 'turn the clocks back and send the kids to bed early' day in the calendar. At least once a month. It would save many parents from losing their shit.
Here's the thing though - after reading and sharing parenting confessions from around the world for over five years, I've learnt a few things. For one, most parents have the same secrets. Forgetting birthdays (yes, this does happen), eating the kids' snacks, telling them you're allergic to playdough (or glitter or slime) to avoid playing with it, and blaming the kids to avoid responsibility (if you haven't blamed your baby for farting in public are you even a parent?).
What I've always found interesting though is that parenting confessions usually come with a share of guilt, especially when they come from mothers. I'm assuming you've heard of 'mum guilt'? No one tells you about it before you become a mum but it hits you as soon as that second line on the stick turns blue and it follows you around for years like a bad odour.
This was one of the reasons I wanted to share as many parenting confessions as possible in the book. I wanted parents (and especially mothers) to know that they are doing great! That everyone has mishaps, moments they chose the 'easy route', that everyone makes mistakes and that there is no need to feel shame or guilt about it.
Most of all, I wanted them to know they could speak the truth. Parenting is hard and kids are sometimes (often) assholes. Adorable assholes, but assholes. Parenting (and especially motherhood) is not what you see on TV and in the movies. It's hard work. Rewarding, but also really hard work. People have confessed to feeling burnt out, to missing their single days before kids, and some even questioned if they should have had children in the first place. This was never how I felt but I think it's important to share those voices for the sake of anyone who might feel the same.
And finally, I also wanted people to laugh, because I think laughter is the best remedy for everything. Hard to do in the moment I know, especially if you haven't slept in years and you've got what you hope is mashed banana in your hair, but eventually - looking back - many parenting stories are funny. Like the woman who forgot about the tooth fairy and ended up taking the money from her child's piggy bank. Or the mother who couldn't take her son asking her again about Santa so she ended up telling him Santa was dead (opening a door to a fun conversation about death). Or the lady that told her child who is scared of a clown that the ice cream van is owned by a family of clowns so now every time he sees an ice cream van he runs a mile. All great memories.
Tova Leigh's new book You Did What? is out on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021. To pre-order or purchase your copy, head to https://www.watkinspublishing.com/shop/you-did-what-by-tova-leigh/.
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