Friday, September 28, 2007

lying to your friends

I just read an article in one of those baby/parent magazines that comes free in the mail. BabyTalk, maybe? There are several of these mags on whose mailing lists you find yourself after you've told any american hospital your full name and address. (Perhaps this is one good reason for a home birth?) Why do I read these? I don't know. Because I was sitting in the tub and didn't want to read any more student papers.

The article was about lies moms tell their friends or the pediatrician or their own mothers in order to avoid conflict or judgment. Answers to questions like "Is the baby sleeping through the night?" or "Do you brush your kid's one tooth?" or even "How are you doing?" And, as if this is news, the article reported that moms sometime lie and say, "Oh yes, sleeping through the night!" or "I'm just fine" only two weeks after giving birth, when all of us could use some help. And then the article went on to say that it's okay to lie every once in awhile and not to feel too guilty about it.

It's not that I think we should all tell the truth all the time... My issue is: Who cares? So what if I lie to my neighbor who is just trying to make conversation when she asks if F is sleeping through the night? So what if I lie and tell someone I'm fine when I'm not? It's my business if I don't want to discuss it, and certainly a reasonable choice if you know an honest answer is going to get you an ear-full that you really aren't interested in hearing. I say this, yet I generally don't lie about these things. I say, "Oh my gawd if I could only get a full night of sleep," or, "Actually I'm struggling with some post partum." Some of my friends have even commented my answers to their questions (of how often I bathed my newborn, for instance: once a week) made them feel relieved and less like they were doing something wrong. I don't know--I just don't fear other moms' thinking I'm a bad mom. So what if they do?


February Mama said...

I think it's sad that we so often get put in a position where we feel like we have to lie to these people. Especially to other mothers. We have this enormous pressure to make ourselves look like Supermoms and our babies like perfect little prodigies. I remember the first time that I really lied about how things were was at this church group (heaven help me, lying at church!) and my son was very fussy and it turned out that I couldn't leave him in the nursery, and one of the ladies there just smiled at me and said, "He's just not himself today, is he?" And instead of saying, "Actually this is who he is at around 10am every day!" I tried to look puzzled and said, "Yes, I just don't know what's come over him today." Because I didn't want my baby to be known as fussy.

Benita said...

Good for people to know.