School’s Almost Out: It’s Time to Start Lying

School is almost out. I can tell because my son took dead flies for Show & Tell yesterday, and he brought a hoe to school today. There’s nothing that screams we’re drinking the dregs of the school year like the kindergartner hauling around desecrated insects and shouting “Mom! Hurry up with that hoe!” across the parking lot of the nice Christian school.

School is almost out. Oh, yes it is. And like the indomitable Jen Hatmaker pointed out, thank God ’cause the best of us are crawling on our bloody hands and knees to the finish line and the rest of us just flat-out collapsed on the course weeks ago. I, for example, am sitting in the medic tent with an IV drip and I don’t even care that I’m not going to get my finisher t-shirt this time. They said when I’m done rehydrating I can have a cookie; that’s good enough for me.

So. Let’s talk about the summer, shall we? It’s right around the corner. Which means it’s time to start lying to ourselves and lying hard, parents.

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And these are the lies I will tell myself:

1. The summer is easier than the school year. 
2. I need a break, and I will get one.
3. This is the time to kick back and RELAX.

Listen; I know honesty is important. But I like to save honesty for when I really need it. Like when I’m having a mental breakdown after a long summer of lying to myself. The end of August is a good time for honesty where honesty = a beer, a bag of Pop Chips and a novel that will rot my brain. But this is not that time. No; there is a season for everything under the sun, and this is the season for lying.

Lying, after all, has been very, very good to me.

When I found out our 4th kid was going to come with a twin brother, for example, and I wasn’t sure I could handle 5 kids, I lied to myself. You can do it, Beth, I said. You’re going to be GREAT at this, I said. No sweat, I said. Sleep is overrated, I said. I lied and lied and lied because lying was better than packing my bags and moving to Mexico. And you know where lying got me? Through parenting five kids is where. I rest my case.

At the end of August, I will lie to myself again. And these are the lies I will tell myself:

1. The school year is easier than the summer.
2. We need a routine and the homework is worth it.
3. The fall is here; it’s time to RELAX after a surprisingly busy summer.

The End

……….

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P.S. There are other lies I plan to tell myself very soon. My daughter gets her driver’s permit this summer, so this one tops the list: Teaching a kid to drive? Piece of cake.

What essential lies are you telling yourself? Any you’d recommend to other parents in need of a few good stories?

……….

“Pinocchio” image credit to africa via freedigitalimages.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
36 comments
  1. Hahaha, I LOVE this article!…all of your “lies” are very true for me too. Here are mine!…
    1) Oh yes! MY kids read BUNCH of books for their school reading logs!
    2) I just LOVE the quality time spent with my loving children!
    3) MY kids LOVE the outdoors; they’re outside EVERY chance they get! And they only spend one hour a day on electronics!

  2. Lie 1) Summer is easier because I only have to feed 10 for lunch and not 320!
    Lie 2) We’ll go to the beach this summer.
    Lie 3) I will not let them use the TV until after 5, or any of the gaming devices attached to it.
    Lie 4) They can come over anytime! I’d never notice another kid running around here (well, that is kind of true…).

  3. I need to try this technique. STAT! I’m a teacher and I spend most of the summer stressed out about the impending END of summer. I worry that I’m not using the time wisely enough, I’m filled with shame when I watch three trashy TV shows in a row because “I’m wasting my summer!” Maybe lies would work better.

    I’ll add this one:
    Lie: I will change my habits and wake up earlier so I can drink coffee in peace.

    Pant’s on fire,
    Mary Evelyn

  4. Same lie I told twice before with my two older kids-Potty training in the summer is so much easier! This kid will be out of diapers for good by next week!

  5. Maybe teaching Abby to drive WILL be a piece of cake. Teaching Megan to drive has been mostly a piece of cake. With the occasional unexpected jagged chicken bone in there. But still, mostly cake. LOL Really, she’s only almost killed me one time, and she’s been driving for 6 months now. She’s very cautious – way more cautious than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So cautious that I had to go buy one of those “baby on board” diamonds, only our diamond says, “STUDENT DRIVER! Please be patient.” But cautious is good. Way better than wrecking mom’s beloved HHR that they no longer make, right?

  6. Summer lies, where to begin?
    While my son is away at camp, I will paint his room and finally hang his curtains. Also, he will love it and keep it clean.
    While my son is away at camp, there will be sex. Lots is a good lie, some might still be a lie.
    We will have a nice, responsible structured summer. I will monitor his use of electronics and his visits to Minecraft-land.
    I will buy cheap organic produce to supplement our own fantastic abundant harvest, and can enough fresh food to last till next summer.
    I’m on a roll. I’m beginning to think I’m good at lying.

  7. […] School’s Almost Out: It’s Time to Start Lying by Beth Woolsey (you could also go with Worst End of School Mom Ever by Jen Hatmaker, but since I’m not a mom and our kids are not in school yet, I chose this one…but am technically giving you both. Oh well.) […]

  8. Forget summer, I’m going for get through one more day. (New baby.)
    1. I will fold all six clean loads of laundry tomorrow.
    2. We won’t watch much tv tomorrow.
    3. I will get a nap tomorrow.
    4. I will clean my whole house and have my old friend over for dinner after taking my four boys (ages 6 to 6 weeks) to a birthday party with a present I haven’t purchased yet.

  9. Yep. I’m right there with you, friends. These are excellent essential lies. Also, Otter Pops are practically the same as whole fruit.

    1. OOOHHHH! Guess what is also exactly like fruit??? Halls cough drops – the raspberry ones. It says it right on the package: Dietary exchange: 10 drops = 1 fruit. The FDA would not allow them to say that if it wasn’t true, right??? LOL

  10. Summer lies i tell myself:
    1) DD swimming twice a day is the same as showering
    2) Even though she turns brown as a berry, she’s totally using enough sun screen
    3) I’m completely excited that she’s going away to camp and won’t miss her at all

  11. I homeschool, so this transition is non-existent. My lies are 1) We’ll get caught up on everything tomorrow and 2) Tonight will be different. I’ll get enough sleep. I keep telling myself the last one so that I don’t lose it and start crying every morning when the first one wakes up….

  12. I kept waiting, too far in advance this year, for that “relaxing” summer that was coming, “soon” when I would be done teaching for the year and could be home with my son and husband (also a teacher). I white-knuckled it for weeks, getting through grumpy parent behavior and antsy student behavior and my own tired behavior. Then we almost got there, the end was in sight, the beautiful days of relaxation and trips to the museum/beach/zoo/nowhere were looming beautifully…then I got laid off. Now I’m twice as stressed as before. So my current lie, I suppose, is that getting through the next week of school meetings is going to be, “fine” as I tell people what happened and deal with their condolences. That getting another job is not going to be a problem. That the fact that I’m completely losing my relaxing summer that I was so looking forward to, even if it was maybe a bit of a lie in itself, is going to be “OK” is what I’m dwelling on at the moment. Job searching is fun, right? (Big lie.)

    1. Ouch. This was a fear of mine the first four years after I changed districts. I think the handy lie for this occasion is that it’s an opportunity for a better job you wouldn’t have thought to look for otherwise…
      Good luck. I did hear from another teacher friend just yesterday that there are more openings out there than there have been in several years. No lie.

      1. Thanks for the encouragement. It feels a little bit good to have someone listen. I won’t say, “great,” because that would definitely be a lie. “Great” would be someone calling me tomorrow, no TONIGHT, to urgently tell me that they have great news to tell me that will end up with us having plenty of extra money…or just enough money. 🙂

        1. Ohhh, I’m so sorry to hear this. I just finished my first year of teaching as a long-term sub and one of my lies is “I’m not worried about next year yet.” I know my district will do SOMETHING with me, be it an aide or teaching position, but it’s so hard not knowing…

          Best of luck to you!! I really hope something turns up for you!!

    2. That sucks. I’m sorry. We’ve been in the limbo of job-loss before. Loved every minute of it. <--- last sentence = big, huge lie Sending love your way.

      1. Thanks. Yes, it does. We did some numbers tonight and it looks less scary than we had previously thought without my income, but not at all comfortable. Better, though.

  13. I’m sorry. I just can’t lie to myself anymore–the crippling disappointment when my lies are revealed as untruths is more than I can bear. This year, I’m going with the truth.

    This summer will be wonderful and terrible and sticky and busy and boring and relaxing and exciting and messy and wet and gritty and slippery and life-force-draining and cup-filling.

    We will make it through to the other side (OK, maybe just a little lie…)

  14. Ice cream is a breakfast, lunch and dinner food b/c it has milk in it.
    It’s not really too much screen time b/c I’m sure there’s something educational in there.
    I can wait until my child turns 25 to start talking to me again.
    My child will learn to love the beach if I keep dragging him when he’s screaming and complaining.

  15. Just think, once she has her drivers licence, she can shuttle the other kids around and do errands for you. I know that sounds crazy (and a little like a lie) but she’ll be so excited to drive that she wont mind running to the grocery store for more milk. Also, you wont always have to shuttle her around to her after school activities.

    Granted, that’s if you trust her… but from what I read I’m sure you’ll be fine. (No lie)

  16. Lie #1 we had a rough night so we’ll get to sleep in this morning. Lie #2 Since my baby is getting older, he will quickly respond to discipline and stop pulling the cat’s tail. Lie #3 there is no way he’ll be able to climb over that baby gate.

  17. My looming summer lies include-
    1) I can’t wait to spend 6 days sleeping in a double bed with my hubby and all the children on the floor at my mother in laws house
    2) The beach is fun
    3) My 15 year old is totally ready to learn how to drive
    4) I love having a vegetable garden
    5) Vacations are so restful for me
    6) My kids watch very little TV, especially in the summer when they can be outside.

  18. “Old episodes of Miami Ink are totally child-appropriate television.”

    1. I first read that as Miami Vice. LOL

      1. “Miami Wice, nummah 1 hot new show!”

        Yes. I love the movie Eurotrip. I’M NOT ASHAMED.

    2. Word, Lane. We call this “cross-cultural immersion” at our house.

      1. That is SUCH a better explanation than “if I have to watch one more Super Why my brain is going to dribble out of my ears” or “man that Ami James is pretty.”

  19. Lie #1, I will get to sleep in because a) we no longer have to wake the kids at 6:15 to get ready for the bus and b) child #4 came home from school saying his plan for the summer is to sleep in and then nap.

    Lie #2, it won’t cost that much more to feed the family during the summer despite having two kids home all day.

    Lie #3, I will have time for my home business and some projects despite having the kids home because child #5 will have siblings to help entertain her.

    1. Lie #2 should be two MORE kids home all day.

  20. My son will be going for his beginner’s driver’s license this summer. The lie for me? He’s still my little boy.

    I also just bought him size 12 steel-toed work boots for his first official job.

    This lie is not working so well!!

    1. That lie is one that is hard for us to see through and the one that they get the most annoyed with I”m sure.

  21. Yeah, my top lies: I can’t wait for school break, because nothing says fun and easy like a 900 mile family car trip to see family. Second lie, life will be easier as my kids get older, I know this is a lie, but in someways it’s part true (right!? I think I still need to tell myself this one). Third, when my kids get older my house will stay cleaner…I think I still need to believe this one too. Yeah I need these.

    1. #1 (car trip) – definitely a lie. #2 (it gets easier) – in some ways yes. (They can bathe themselves and wipe themselves and put themselves to bed, most nights.) But in other ways it’s harder than I ever imagined. (Launching young adult kids takes A LOT of emotional energy, I tell you. And lots of prayer.) #3 is an outright lie. The older they get, the busier they get, the more stuff they leave lying around. If you’re lucky, though, one of them will be a bit of a neat-freak and actually clean his/her bathroom on his/her own. 🙂 Enjoy the ride, fellow mamas!

    2. Sssshhhhh. Those are the mommy version of the tooth fairy lies–we MUST believe them. I’m sure my house is cleaner now that my girls are 15 and 7, isn’t it? I’m sure it’s easier now that they’re both older; all the not sleeping is just a fluke (for all school year apparently) and Jet Lag, and the Summer will be restful and a break and we will make LOTS of Fun Memories, I just know it! I don’t quite understand why time seems to be speeding up and there are bigger projects and more angst, and clutter seems to be multiplying but the summer will be the perfect time to get a handle on all of that, won’t it? Yes it will!!!!

    3. My house got cleaner when my first four grew up and moved out and there was just me and my husband and the baby. And then my husband died and it was me and the baby and the house was clean. And then my 18 year old son came back and the house stayed clean. And then he moved out and we got a roommate with 2 kids under 3 and the house stayed clean. And then we lost the roommate and the extra kids and my baby became a teenager and my house is a MESS and I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. please send help

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