New mom secrets and liesWhy moms fib or exaggerate to their friends, family, pediatrician, and strangers, and why it's sometimes healthy.
Lies we tell our parents
If there's one thing that mothers and mothers-in-law are good at, it's giving unsolicited advice. So how do you tell these opinionated women that they don't always know best? You pick up a paintbrush and start whitewashing.
As one mom put it: "My mother-in-law vehemently disagrees with me on most aspects of child-raising, and I can't take the stress of that on top of the stress of raising kids and working. So I say, 'Yes, Mom, I've been letting the baby cry it out,' which actually means that I let her cry for two or three minutes. Or I say, 'Yes, she loves the present you sent' -- that choking hazard I stuck in the attic."
Kristin Carlson of Appleton, Wisconsin, agrees. "My mom wants me to feed my baby solids to help him sleep longer, but I think it's too early, so I tell her that I tried but that he refused to take it. I don't feel great lying to her, but I just don't want to do it." (For the record, Kristin, if you don't want to lie, the truth is that starting solids early does not help infants sleep longer.)
Sometimes, the fibs just boil down to pride: "If I'm having a bad day, I definitely don't tell my mom," says Beth Vagle of Denver. "I don't want her to think I can't handle it."
Lies we tell our husbands
Yes, it's true. A new mom's partner in parenthood isn't immune from deceit. "Since I've been pregnant," says Megan Gross of Seaman, Ohio, "I've told my husband that the smell of dish soap makes me nauseous. Now he has to do all the dishes!" Hmm, maybe that would work with laundry detergent, too.
"My husband and I have an agreement that whoever is holding the baby when she poops is the one to change the diaper," says Kristina Landreneau of Langley, Virginia. "Sometimes when I know she has a dirty diaper, I pass her off to him. A few minutes later I say, 'I think I just heard the baby poop.'"
As long as you don't hide your underlying feelings -- whether it's resentment that he's not helping out enough or worries that you're not a "good enough" mom -- from your husband, DePaulo says, small lies like these are common and most likely go both ways.
Sometimes the lies a new mom tells her husband serves more to alleviate her own guilt than to deceive him. Case in point: finding personal time. AtBabytalk, we think moms have the right to demand a little time to themselves, but many of you feel so guilty about making "me" time that you find it easier to sneak it in instead. "I'm with my three kids all week while my husband works," says Emma Haygood of Berrien Springs, Michigan. "On Sundays, I tell him I have to go grocery shopping for a few hours. I really do go shopping, but I spend at least 40 minutes at a nearby Starbucks sipping a latte and reading the paper before heading home. It's my little secret!"
The award for best poker face, however, goes to a New York City mom of two who wishes to remain anonymous (so as not to blow her brilliant cover). "I had a day off from work that my husband didn't know about. I left the house for work as usual, but I spent the entire day by myself -- going to the movies and the gym -- before coming home. He never knew."
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