Guest Post: Slummy Single Mummy on the lies we tell our children

>> Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Every now and again the opportunity comes up for me to run a guest post on The Potty Diaries. I normally give an unequivocal 'no' in reply; this is my blog, I like to write the content. Call me controlling, or just come right out with out it and call me anal, I don't care; this blog is the one area of my life where what I say goes. But when Jo at Slummy Single Mummy offered to write a post for me, I deliberated for about - oh, I don't know - 10 seconds, before biting her hand off.

I love her writing. Plus, she won the undying affection of myself and some other 'veteran' bloggers at our first face-to-face meeting during the 2010 CyberMummy conference when she rocked up with a nearly full bottle of wine she'd half-inched off a pr, announcing that she had decided to share it with us because we were 'the coolest'. Since we could all give her at least 10 years and had been feeling somewhat like school prefects at 3rd form disco, you can imagine that went down quite well...


A good friend phoned me the other day.

“I’ve ruined Christmas!” she wailed, never one to underplay the drama in a situation.

“What have you done?” I asked, in a muffly I-answered-the-phone-with-a-mouthful-of-sandwich voice.

“Derek asked me straight if Father Christmas is real and I told the truth!”*

“Oh dear,” I said, trying to sound sympathetic whilst at the same time keeping half an eye on twitter. “It’s so hard isn’t it? Belle asked me to absolutely promise that I wasn’t the Tooth Fairy this week.”

“What did you do?” my friend asked.

“I lied.”


I don’t know if it was the right thing to do. Belle certainly didn’t seem happy with my response.

“Swear on my life Mummy that you’re not the Tooth Fairy,” she said.

Awkward pause.

“I swear on your life that I have never dressed up as a fairy and taken a tooth from under your pillow.”

Not very convincing.

“I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” she shouted, folding her arms across her chest and turning away from me. “Mummy’s aren’t supposed to break promises. How will I ever trust you again?”

The questions had come on the back of a visit to see Santa in his grotto, a visit which Belle had treated with a good deal of scepticism. “How can that be the real Father Christmas,” she asked, quite reasonably I thought, “when I saw a sign earlier saying he was going to be somewhere else in town this afternoon?” It was a fair point. “Besides,” she added, “I could see the line where his beard was stuck on.”

This bit wasn’t fair at all, as his beard was real, and one of the most impressive Santa beards I have ever seen. She wouldn’t have it though, even when I zoomed right in with the camera and showed her the individual hairs growing out of his chin. (In a photo afterwards, not on the actual man).

They grow up so quickly don’t they? A couple of years ago she was completely taken in by a visit to what was genuinely a teenage girl in a Poundland quality fake beard, and yet now, faced with an elderly man with impressively bushy white facial hair, who almost had me convinced, she’s doing everything she can to pull him apart.

It’s a tricky one, because actually I still really want to believe in Father Christmas myself, and I want to keep the magic of things like the Tooth Fairy alive as long as I possibly can. Pretending that you believe is surely almost as fun, so isn’t it OK to try to keep up the pretence? Or should you be honest with your children, even if perhaps they don’t really want to hear it?

When did your children stop believing?

*Not his real name. Seriously, who would call a kid Derek??

You can find Jo blogging over Slummy Single Mummy, amongst other places...


Expat mum 13 December 2011 at 19:29  

Ten years? - I thought she was young enough to be my first-born when she came up! (and obviously well-qualified to be in my gene pool since she was carrying vino!)

My 8 y/o is probably on his last Santa Xmas this year. He has written a list and we're putting it up the chimney etc. but he has stopped asking the trick questions, I think, for fear of learning the truth. You know, like - How come you and Santa both use the same wrapping paper?

Potty Mummy 14 December 2011 at 05:40  

EPM, 'at least 10 years' - AT LEAST. But yes, you're probably right. *sigh*

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