Yesterday, whilst groaning (it’s obligatory), my teenage son accused me “Never saying what you really mean..”
Ohhhh, my boy. Don’t go there. Not today. Not when my meditation app has just told me to smile. From my eyes and my heart. Don’t give me conflict today. Pllleeaasse.
But, as usual, we continue. Along our jolly little ‘nearly 16-year-old’ way. Me, the shouldn’t get drawn in’ Mother, and him, the Son. The lovely young, but also you understand, sagacious, (16 in June) son. And so, I attempt to answer. To justify this outrageous accusation. But before I do, I explain that I have to get a splinter out of my finger and rush to the sanctuary of the bathroom, at which point I sit on the bath and have a good long think.
Can you imagine It? If we Mothers, wives, daughters, friends, spent our whole lives saying exactly what we wanted to say. It would either be complete bliss or; we would find ourselves rocking in the corner. No friends, greasy hair, muttering the words over again, “I only told the truth. I just told the truth…”
You see, it’s not that we lie to our children per se, is it? No, we just …a little bit don’t tell the truth to them. Say words. Those words that don’t really count as lies. Those untruths. There. Untruths. That sounds more literate and therefore far more intelligent and kinder than lies, much more justifiable. Little…Untruths.
What I really wanted to say when ‘Mr. Clever Clogs I’m nearly 16 and so know-e-v-e-r-y-thing-there-is-to-know-about-e-v-e-r-y-thing ‘ was,
Shaddap was what I really wanted to say, but…I didn’t. I couldn’t.
“You never say what you really mean.”
My God. He’s right. I’m a compulsive chronic liar. I’m one of those who doesn’t even know that they’re doing it.
Tell me. Enlighten me. Is it just me because I’m a homeschool mum with far too much teenage company on my hands, and therefore feel an obligation to spice things up a little in the trust department? Or do we all tell our children these glorious little-coded untruths?
What we really mean when we say to our kids…
- ‘Look in the middle drawer in the kitchen’ (I’ve thrown it in the bin)
- ‘I can’t remember’ (I’m not telling you)
- ‘Have you used that new shower gel I bought you yet?’ (get washed. You smell)
- ‘I’m going for a walk with Dad’ (I need someone to moan to. About you.)
- ‘Why don’t you all go and pick blackberries?’ (go away. I want to surf the internet on my phone for half an hour)
- ‘I’m just going to the toilet.’ (See above)
- ‘I think so …Yes’ (I haven’t got a clue who or what you’re talking about)
- ‘What was Y’s Mum doing when you went over to his house last night?’(tell me she was sloshed on the couch with an empty bottle of wine)
- ‘Why don’t you have an apple if you’re hungry’ (those crisps will make your spots worse)
- ‘It’s been lovely these past few days without any distractions’ (I’m ecstatic that your computer’s broken)
- How do I add a tag to this photo? (I do actually know how to do this. I just want you to feel sorry for me. For once)
- ‘Do you prefer me with long hair or short?’ (I’m a hormonal wreck going through perimenopause, just say I look gorgeous with both.)
- Want to come for a walk with the dog? ( I love talking to you)
- ‘Act your age; you’re nearly 16’ (OMG you’re nearly 16. Please don’t leave home)
- ‘It’s 11 pm! I don’t want to hear about your drama rehearsal’(lay down and let me stroke your hair)
- ‘You’re driving me mad’… (I love you).
Our little world of cryptographic language.
When a toddler says something truthful (usually much to the embarrassment of the parent standing next to them) people just laugh and say, “out of the mouths of babes!”
So what changes I wonder?
Maybe he’s right, my, ‘Mr Clever Clogs 16 year old’. (don’t tell him I said that though)
Maybe we do hide behind our words. Never saying what we really mean. Making life more complicated than it needs to be with all our untruths. And as we get older and older we just add more and more layers.
No. Don’t say that. I don’t want to be one of those old women who tell lies about everything from their age to the number of operations they’ve had…
Right then. Time for a change. I’m turning over a new leaf. As from now, I’m telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No more underlying – excuse the pun – interpretations. No more, ‘guess what I mean what I really really mean .’
And the smell.
And the fact that I broke his laser pen.
Just tell him I love him.
And stroke his hair.
And tell him I love him.