Lies Your Mother Told You

We all love our mother, but over the years, collectively, moms have told their share of fibs.

For example, “Don’t eat that food on the floor..You’ll get sick!”

So not true…haven’t they heard of the five-second rule?

I was well in my 20s before I realized you could wash dark clothes with light clothes and your washer and dryer wouldn’t explode. And while washing your hands is always a good idea, you won’t drop dead if you don’t.

I think the biggest whopper my parents ever told was probably when our childhood cat Abu disappeared. (We live by the road, so there was a 90% chance Abu got hit by a car or eaten by a coyote.) When my little sister innocently asked where Abu was, my dad gently said, “Abu is such a pretty cat, I think another family probably picked him up and took him home with them.” I remember thinking at the time, I hate to break it to Dad, but Abu probably got hit by a car. But if it makes him feel better, I’ll just let him think that.

Interestingly enough, when I asked my mom how babies are made, she didn’t even try to lie. I still remember the wave of supreme shock. It was like you had just told me that babies were made by sticking your finger in someone else’s ear. She then bought me an illustrated book to explain more clearly. I remember swallowing solemnly, flipping through the pages thinking, Man, adulthood is going to be a lot harder than I thought.

Anyway, we love you mom, but we’re on to you now.

Here are a few of my favorite falsehoods, brought to you by mothers everywhere:

1. Nothing good happens after 9:00 p.m.

Not true. In fact, I can’t think of anything really interesting that does happen before 9:00.

2. You’d better go to bed, or Santa Claus won’t come.

Truth: Santa always seemed to come, regardless of whether we went to bed at 8:30 or 1:00 a.m. Although I never could figure out why my parents acted like they had been hit by a truck the next morning and couldn’t get out of bed on the most exciting day of the year.

3. Don’t cross your eyes, or your face will freeze that way.

I only know one person this has happened to, and I think they were kicked by a mule.

4. Don’t sit too close to the TV—it’s bad for your eyes.

The era of the 50-inch HD flat screen has adequately disproven this one. I think my parents just didn’t want us blocking their view of M.A.S.H. and The Cosby Show.

5. You’ll ruin your dinner if you eat that.

I must be a freak of nature because I have never had a problem eating cookies at 4:00 and still being ready for dinner at 6:00.

6. I never did that when I was your age.

You probably did. I just can’t prove it right now.

7. [On shots] This won’t hurt a bit / It will only feel like a tiny pinch.

Are you kidding? It hurts a lot! Why do you think that kid is screaming in the next room?

8. Pay attention in math. You’ll need this later.

By now every adult knows this is NOT true. In fact, they probably won’t even have algebra in 2026.

9. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Well, sometimes words do hurt. A lot more than sticks and stones. As all adults know, playground comments can in fact, can scar you for life.

10. This hurts me a lot more than it hurts you.

OK…so there may be some truth with this one. All I know is, I will never say this to my kids because nothing confuses a 5-year-old more than having an adult say this while whacking their bottom furiously.

11. Just one more picture!

This is still a lie every time.

12. We’ll only stay five minutes.


13. I don’t need a gift.

YES, you do! Why don’t you just come out and say you would like $25 to the mall?

15. You’ll look back on this and thank me.

That entirely depends on the circumstances. Things I am still not thankful for? Two years of piano lessons….being forced to throw rotten apples with bees in them out of our yard so my dad could mow the lawn (To this day I still can’t pick up a fallen apple without cringing.)…Being forced to earn money to go on a field trip I didn’t even like…Let’s take this on a case, by case basis, shall we?

To moms everywhere who taught us the art of the little white lie….we love you anyway.

Thanks to you, we know not to step on cracks, pick up pennies that are tails down, to eat our carrots, not to wake sleepwalkers, approach stray dogs or look at directly at an eclipse with the naked eye (turns out that one’s real).

Thank you for loving us enough to lie, and tell us we are the smartest, most beautiful children in the world, and that you never once regretted having us.

In turn, we will tell our children that cleanliness is next to godliness, that the meatloaf was always delicious and that you were always right about everything.

Except the piano lessons.