Part of being a parent is teaching our children about this great big world we live in. It's our job to answer their many pressing questions, and to educate them about the many communities surrounding them. It sounds simple enough but, truthfully, teaching a child all that they need to know in order to grow and thrive and discover isn't always that easy. In fact, there are things moms wish they could lie about, but can't. There are realities that we'd rather shield our children from, but can't. Even though explaining things like war and hate and violence and sexism and racism and rape culture and a slew of other horrific epidemics and societal problems can feel disheartening, our children need to understand why these things so that, one day and as unrealistic as many may say it sounds, they'll cease to exist.
As parents, we have the opportunity to raise a more progressive generation and to raise human beings that don't just accept or "tolerate" differences, but embrace them, too. It's a major responsibility, but we owe it to our children to leave them with a world that was better than the way we found it, and to enable them to do the same one day.
Part of raising a better generation than our own means being honest with children about "intimidating topics," especially when we're dealing with heavy subject matter that may be difficult to explain to a child. Little white lies that moms tell their kids are mostly harmless, and kind of hilarious, but it's important that parents are able to be honest with their children, even when we don't want to. The following ten items are things that all moms want to lie about, but simply can't. Just because we can't handle the truth, that doesn't mean that our kids can't.
How Certain Vegetables Really Taste
This is mostly harmless, but it can still do some damage our kid's ability to trust us when they bite into that little green tree and realize that, no, broccoli really doesn't taste all that great. There are definitely worst tastes in the world, but telling our kids that broccoli is "just so delicious" is going to make them think that we're either crazy, or that we're liars and unworthy of their trust.
I tell my kids this: vegetables don't taste the best, but they can make you feel your best.
How Much Violence Is On The News, And Why
I'm pro-gun, but allowing my child to watch the violence on the news, especially gun violence, makes me a nervous wreck. I don't think that my kids are old enough to understand the weight and consequences of guns being in the wrong hands, or anything about terrorists or political wars, which is basically all that's on the news today.
When my son sees footage of people being shot or soldiers carrying guns, I want him to look away. Still, I don't make him. While I want to shield him from everything bad in the world, I know I can't and I know I shouldn't. He needs to be aware that there are bad people and bad things out there, and I use them as examples of people he doesn't want to be, or of things he should never do. He knows that there's good guys and there's bad guys, and we're doing our best to make sure that he knows he should be one of the good guys.
Antyhign About Death
Explaining death to a child can be, well, complicated. Different circumstances and religions only complicate this further. I personally believe in God and heaven, but I'm not going to push my own beliefs on my kids and I feel like exposing them to as much information as possible and allowing them to make their own choices is the best route to take. Still, it certainly doesn't make it any easier to explain death to my children.
For example: my mother passed away when I was ten. Therefore, my kids have never met her. We have a big painting in our living room that a friend of mine made me, based off of a picture of my mom. I look like my mom's twin, so this painting somewhat resembles me. When my son was looking at that painting the other day, my husband said, "That's Grandma." My son looked confused, so I explained that the picture was my mom. Since he's never met her, and doesn't yet understand death, explaining her absence to him is tricky. I wish I could lie about this one, because I truly have no idea how to go about explaining it.
When We're Sad
I don't like my kids seeing me sad, but being a mom is hard and, well, sadness just happens sometimes. Kids need to understand that they shouldn't have to hide their feelings and that it's OK to feel things other than just happiness. In fact, it's vital that children learn that those "not-o-fun" feelings are perfectly normal and healthy. For that reason, I don't lie to my kids about being sad.
I wish that I could pretend that I am calm and collected all the time, but I'm just not. I don't want my kids to worry about the things that I worry about because they're just kids. It's not their time to worry about adult problems, it's their time to play in the mud and build blanket forts.
That said, I worry about a lot of things and trying to lie about that only makes it worse for me which, in turn, makes it worse for them. I don't hide my feelings from them because I don't want them to hide theirs from me. I want them to know that it's OK to come to me when they're worried, and that feeling vulnerable or scared is in no way an indication of weakness.
How Much We Miss Our Kids When They're Gone
My kids drive me crazy all the damn time. My partner and I don't really have much help with them, so date nights are nonexistent and alone time is scarce at best. My sister-in-law will keep our boys for a weekend night every three or four months, and you would think that my partner and I would go nuts with excitement during the 24 hours when our kids are away from us.
We immediately miss them when they're gone, and end up picking them up early. Every. Single. Time. It already gets on our kids' nerves and they're just toddlers.
I don't know if you guys have heard but, um, parenthood is hard. It's awesome some days and completely worth every premature gray hair on my head, but it's still hard. I'm a working mother, so I have a part of our family's financial responsibility on my shoulders. I also have shared responsibilities of house work. I also have two kids who have appointments and practices and teacher meetings. I've got a million different working pieces to my life and juggling them all is a bit (read: extremely) overwhelming, and there's just no hiding it from them (or anyone else for that matter).
Where We Hid All The Noisy Toys
I have anxiety and noisy toys are a huge trigger for me. My partner removed the batteries from the most obnoxious ones, but there's still a few lingering toys that I'd love to take a bat to if it meant effectively shutting them up. I've hidden the toys before, assuming that my kids wouldn't notice, but the second their absence is realized, my kids go on a man hunt. They don't stop until they find them, and when they do, they stare me down because they know that I hid them.
That Sweets Are Gross
I have a major sugar addiction. Seriously. It's so real and it affects my life daily. For this reason, I try to keep sweets out of our house. While I'm not in any way suggesting that sweets are inherently bad, I don't want my kids to struggle with sugar the way I do. In moderation, sugar is fine and wonderful and oh-so-delicious, but when not eaten in moderation it's, well, diabetes. I try to pretend like sweets are gross, but my kids have grandparents who love to shove sugar down their throats, so they know better.
That We Know Everything
My oldest son is turning out to be an incredibly smart child. He's curious and creative and imaginative, but he's also extremely observant. He watches people and things with great concentration, and you can see his little blue eyes taking mental notes while doing so.
As his parent, it's my job to teach him things and answer all of his questions, but since he's so damn observant and curious, he questions my judgments and opinions on an extremely regular basis. When I try to explain things that I myself don't necessarily understand, he catches on and quickly disregards my answer. I wish that I knew the answers to all of his questions, but I don't. Now that he's caught onto that fact, he uses it against me and decides when I am and am not right, and what he will and will not listen to from me. It's super fun.