Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Lie All the Time

So on the blog I am pretty honest (I mean, why not? It's the Internet!). But in real life I have a huge problem with not lying. This is hardly ever for personal advantage (though of course that does happen). It's more because I don't want to offend people.

Here's an example: I was hanging out with a friend of mine recently. She also is a mother, so we were discussing various parenting topics. Her 8 month old sleeps very badly (which naturally makes her life much more unpleasant than it would otherwise be), and so everyone tells her to CIO (let the baby cry for a certain length of time, in order to teach it how to settle itself, for those who are not parents). She thinks CIO is horrible and borderline abusive, and won't do it. I don't have a stake in this of course (it's not my kid, or my constant exhaustion), so it doesn't really matter to me what she does. But I think she's totally wrong, that CIO is a genius idea, every parent ought to do it, and that her scruples are silly and even harmful, to both her and baby.

Instead of telling her this, though, I just agreed with her ("Oh, you should definitely do what you feel comfortable with!"). There's something to be said for this (why get into a debate over something you don't really care about?), but then I went further and gave a 5 minute speech about how important respecting your child's individual pace is, how infants are still developing and need their parents, how they won't sleep badly forever, etc. I actually don't really think any of these things. In other words, I was totally lying, just to tell her what she wanted to hear.

I do this all the time. If someone lets their kid watch lots of TV, I will say, "Oh, it doesn't matter! It's not like that's all they do!", or to spankers: "Yeah, that makes sense. It's not like you can reason with a small child!". And it's not just parenting: when speaking to religious people, I will talk about the vital role of religion in morality; rich businessmen hear me talking about how taxation is annoying/harmful and environmentalists about how saving the earth via recycling and composting is important. Actually I don't believe any of these things: in fact, I think the opposite, quite strongly.

I'm not sure why I feel the compulsion to lie about these things. I don't get anything out of it (these aren't my bosses or anything, just random people). Strongly stating my opinions would be at best provocative and at worst cause fights ("Oh, you spank? Did you know that makes your child stupider and more violent? And what's wrong with you that you can't make a point without beating people?" being my real thoughts, for instance). But I don't have to agree with the other person, or worse yet, adopt and parrot their opinions. They don't even expect it of me! It is all my own idea.

I think this is one reason I like blogging, because for whatever reason I don't feel as compelled to hide my true feelings.


  1. I don't see anything wrong with this. Honestly - it's called choosing your battles. If supporting some one in their own endeavors (despite their differences with your owns) makes your life a little easier, why not?!

    It also makes me think of all of those times when I just needed some one to vent to, and instead got an earful about how wrong I was. I really would've preferred to hear what I emotionally needed to hear, even if the person didn't mean it.

    Also - we tried crying it out. It really does not work for every single baby. It resulted in hours of crying, escalating to scream, leading to hyper ventilating. None of which were conducive to sleep. I've read several books on different methods, and tried them for at least a week (if not longer), and found no relief. I do know that it works for other people - and I'm truly jealous, but I hate when people assume that because it works for some it will work for all. :/

    1. Sad about CIO for you: I hope Ginny just naturally developed into a good sleeper then, esp. now that she's older. Dealing w. toddler drama all day can be so difficult that the break at night is really essential, at least for me.

      I know what you mean about choosing your battles, and honestly think you are right. But being a good listener and actively lying (by parroting opinions I don't hold) aren't really the same. I think my friend would have been just as happy if I had just told her I understood and was sure she would do the right thing (which is true). It's so hard to find that balance for me.

  2. I think there is a different between lying and not starting a confrontation or butting in when it is not your call or decision. My thing is that I'll always listen and encourage the parent that they know best because at the end of the day we have no idea what other circumstances are there that might have led to that decision.

    But since you're asking: CIO rocks my world, spanking doesn't get you what you think it does, and TV rots your brain.

    1. Love your point about not knowing the circumstances: SO TRUE. It's a good thing to remind myself of, because I tend to think I know everything (must be being the oldest child!).

    2. Ok so I just realized that you've been replying to my comments (I don't get a prompt....but I thought I'd go back on a few posts...). I totally know everything too as I am an older child. LOL. I just TRY my best to tell myself that I cannot judge someone else's decision if I expect for them not to judge mine.