1. If it preserves my personal parenting sanity. Example: Oldest is playing with whistle that sounds like a high-pitched train horn AND it lights up. I say, “that is an outside toy.” What I really mean is, “for the love of all that is good and holy get that thing away from me or I am going to lose it!” BTW, still trying to find the person who decided that said whistle was a good idea.
2. If it buys me decision-making time. Example: Boys are fighting. I only heard half the story. Child one approaches me and whines (we all know how I feel about whining!). I re-direct him to sibling. “Talk to him about it!” Truth: I have no idea what happened, or what to do about it.
3. If it keeps my children from worrying. Example: one Christmas, our little family of 4 was almost stranded in a flash blizzard on the Ohio turnpike. We were driving along just fine. The snow falling was actually quite pretty. We had to slow down, but nothing too drastic. Then, bam! Wind whipping, snow swirling everywhere, no cell phone signal, can’t see the car in front of you, white-knuckle driving. We pulled off at the next exit, which thankfully had some motels, one of which had a room and all you can eat breakfast! Boys half sleeping/half awake, in jammies and winter coats in the backseat asking, “Why are we pulling over, Daddy?” Answer: “We’re really tired and it is dark, so we are going to sleep here tonight.” Truth? “I am absolutely terrified that we are going to end up in a snow bank, so we’re getting out of here!” See? Why make them worry?
4. If it keeps my children safe from strangers, danger, or fear. Nuff said.
5. If it prolongs my children’s innocence. Our oldest is 6.5 years old. He turned 6.5 yesterday. When you are that little, that extra half is a big deal! Pretty soon he will no longer believe in Santa, the tooth fairy, etc. etc. The day of discovery is coming like a freight train and it makes me sad. As soon as he figures it out, little brother (now 4) will inevitably learn the truth,too. That’s what older brothers do, right? I remember my older brother showing me the stash in my mother’s shower. Why rob them of the innocence? Why steal the mystery, the anticipation? They will figure it out soon enough.
6. If my answer (the lie) saves me from entering into the Mommy Wars, again. In my experience, when other mothers ask questions about breastfeeding, naps, sleep training, solid foods, school, summer vacations, sports, blah blah…..they don’t really want my real opinion. I know I don’t when I ask. They want my support. So I give it. “Yes! Totally normal!” “Oooh, great idea!” They want to be reassured that they are not totally crazy (not totally, just partially like the rest of us) and that they are doing right by their children (They are. We all are.) Lying? Yep. Deceitful with intention to harm? Never.
7. If my answer helps me save face with colleagues and supervisors. Example: “Yes, I read that message. My response is in my email draft folder!” Truth: make short-hand note to self on meeting agenda, scurry back to office, find said note, decipher it’s meaning, read aforementioned email message, reply all with smiley face at end. Wipe sweat from brow. This answer is very un-professional and very un-student affairs-like. But I don’t care (lie).
8. I can’t possibly think of another reason. Actually, this is true. I am drawing a complete blank. I am sure that I will come up with more after I publish this post and read all of the other witty, insightful, and honest Broads’ stuff!