Three parental confessions

Vanessa's kids standing on a bridge

I’m sure most parents would agree, there are times where you look at your kids and think, hey, I’m doing a pretty good job here. Perhaps you handled a difficult situation with them well, perhaps they did something that greatly impressed you which you felt could be attributed in part to your parenting. Whatever the cause, there are definite moments where you nod and feel confident that overall you’re a pretty good parent. Then there are those other times. The times that you are not so proud of. The times where you short-changed them a little when it came to being a great parent. I am feeling the need to confess three of those times, in the hope of a little forgiveness, or at least in the hope of a little reassurance from others that they may have done similar things…

1) Bedtime stories – I used to read stories to my children regularly. I recently wrote about our favourite children’s books over at Limebird Writers – Oh to Write Children’s Books Like These. Sometimes however, my children would choose a particularly long book, and sometimes this happened when I was very tired and didn’t particularly feel like reading a long book. Sometimes therefore, instead of turning over one page at a time, I would turn over two or three pages at a time, with a swift sleight of hand that an accomplished magician would be proud of. At the same time, I would briefly summarise in my own words what probably happened in those two or three pages. And if I wasn’t skipping over pages, then I would be condensing big full pages of text into short succinct sentences. I couldn’t get away with this with books that they were very familiar with of course, and there were occasions where they would helpfully point out that I had missed a bit, to which I would reply “Ooh yes, good job you spotted that!”. Before you judge me too harshly on this one, please acknowledge that at least I was reading to them.

2) Clocks – I have already previously confessed to this one on my blog, but in case anyone missed it…one day when I was particularly tired and frazzled, I set all the clocks in the house forward by an hour in order to trick my kids into going to bed an hour earlier than usual. People seemed quite impressed by this one when I mentioned it previously, and not at all critical, so I don’t mind mentioning it again.

3) Childcare provision – When my son was seven and daughter 10, I needed to find some childcare provision for them during the school summer break. I found that our local sports centre ran a club. It was perfect:

– It ran daily from 8.30am-5.30pm which meant I could still go to my 9-5 job.

– As it was run by the sports centre, every day was packed full of sport and physical activities, which I love for my kids.

– It was literally half the price of most other childcare provision around.

The only problem was, it was for ages eight and up, and my son was four months short of turning eight. What’s four months right? You know what’s coming here. It’s not so much the fact that I lied to the sports centre about his age which makes this a bad parenting moment, it’s the fact that I had to tell him to lie about his age if he was asked. You may judge me harshly on this one. I don’t think I deserve forgiveness here; teaching your children to lie is pretty bad, and I still feel guilty about this one.

So there you have it. Feel free to join me by sharing your own confessions below, parental or otherwise, but please nothing so bad that it will put me in the awkward position of thinking “Should I report this or not?”.


39 responses to “Three parental confessions

  1. Ha, Vanessa…Tsk! Feel better now? These “infractions” are so minor as to hardly register on the scale of bad parental decisions. Plus, like many other situations, you can’t know what you would or would not have done in the same situation. And since I never had kids, I am the very LAST person to comment on parenting ๐Ÿ™‚ I fairly shudder at the thought of what decisions I might have made.
    I got a huge laugh out of the clock story. And here’s what the fudging of you son’s age reminded me of. I once had a puppy I wanted to take to obedience training, but the puppy had to be 12 weeks old before he could start. He was 11 weeks. But I was convinced he was the smartest puppy on the planet, so I convinced the trainer to let me in. Which turned out to be a horrible mistake. My puppy was just too young and immature to grasp what was going on, and had no attention span or memorty to speak of. That falls into the category of “Be careful what you wish for”.
    Here’s a better (more embarassing) one. When I was in college, a friend asked me to take a graduate school entrance exam for his mother, who was traveling that day. I was very nervous (VERY!) but agreed to do it. Except at the end, you had to sign your exam and I signed my own name. So I got caught immediately. They almost kicked both of us out of school, and I can’t say I would blame them if they had. This should make you feel much smarter than I am ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Wow, that college one is bad! But kind of funny that you signed your own name, hehe, that’s the sort of thing I’d do too. It doesn’t make me feel smarter, but certainly less guilty about my confessions!


  2. Let the parent who is without sin throw the first Tonka truck.

    And as for the lying incident, well, lying isn’t black and white. I mean, people lied to the Nazis to save lives. That’s an extreme example, but I’ve talked to my son about lying and when if ever it is okay. So think of it as one of those teachable moments about making choices and moral quandaries.


    • Yes it’s true, but I just keep thinking it will come back to haunt me later when he lies about his age in order to get alcohol! Mind you, they’re much stricter these days on checking ID for those things than they were back in my teenage years!


  3. And here was me getting ready for a picture of that haircut you gave your daughter recently… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I think it must be incredibly tough being a parent. You learn on the job, you don’t get the onsite training that any other paying job would give you! You’re bound to get creative sometimes and you’re bound to make mistakes… I don’t think these are huge things, I really don’t. Shit happens. It’s good that you’re there reading to your children – you’re a writer, I’m sure your made up stories were great! ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for the clocks – that’s hysterical! In short, I don’t think these are the failings your kids will judge you for later on – it’ll be about curfews and parties they weren’t allowed to go to etc! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Another great post, as always, missus! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. I cannot speak from experience, either, since I don’t have children. But those don’t sound so bad to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I bet a lot of parents are thinking, “Why didn’t I think to change the clocks?!” It used to be easier, of course, before every electronic appliance had one that most adults couldn’t figure out how to program…. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Yes, there’s only a fairly short window of opportunity where you can use the clock one – they have to be able to tell the time, and know how that relates to their bedtime, but they can’t yet own all the electronic gadgets that tell them everything!


  5. I do like the clocks story. Fantastic idea and one I’m sure others will do when they read your posts about it!

    Our local sports centre did a similar thing during the summer holidays and I spent all day there 5 days a week for the whole holidays. It was FANTASTIC and I’m sure he enjoyed it and only had to add a few months to his age to make it happen.

    We’ve all lied about our age at sometime or other ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Yes, it was a really good club at the sports centre, it ran during every school holiday, still does in fact, he went to it for several holidays, has only just stopped really. He prefers to just do a football one now.


  6. Oh Vanessa, no worries! We all must do what we need to in order to get through just a day!!

    I have done the reading trick, and it’s always easier when the kids haven’t learned how to read yet, lol. I can’t do it anymore, though.

    I love the clocks idea, and I have done something similar when the kids were too young to tell time. During the winter, it gets pitch-black here at about 5pm, so I have often–often!–been able to get them to bed at least an hour earlier than usual. All I’d say is ‘My, it’s dark outside. That must mean it’s bedtime, lalalalala-la!’

    These are called survival techniques! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • It is mostly all about survival isn’t it! But we still feel guilty, because we feel that we should be wanting to spend every possible moment with them, and so if we do things to cut down the time and get some time to ourselves then we feel there must be something wrong with us! The bedtime when it’s dark one kind of backfires in the summer though doesn’t it when it can still be kind of light at 10pm!


  7. Well, I’m guilty of the first one for sure. The kids aren’t old enough for two or three, but I could relate anyway, somehow. Maybe because I just wish I could do those types of things. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I think your “set clock ahead” post was the first of yours I read. Brilliant. I’m still mad I didn’t think of that trick when the kids were young enough to know better.


  9. I did the book one all the time.

    Dr. Seuss had this terrible habit of writing very long, plotless stories. (Scrambled Eggs, Super!; If I Ran the Zoo; The Sleep Book, to name just a few.) He sets up a very simple idea (I’m gonna get different kinds of eggs; I’m gonna get different kinds of animals; let’s look a different kinds of animals sleeping,) and goes on forever. He could’ve cut 8 or 12 pages out of each of those books and nobody would’ve missed a thing. And I proved it.



    I know Vanessa very well and I can confirm she is an outstanding mum ๐Ÿ™‚ And I used to get Autumn to lie about her age as well!!!!


  11. lol Oh Vanessa no judgement here. I have a very tall son and enrolled him in a holiday program when he was 8, and he had to be 10. They never asked. I just assumed 8 year olds were ok ( that’s me not ready the form) and they thought he was at least 10. He had a great time and was really impressed he got to do rock climbing etc.
    You’re never too young to start lying about your age.
    I have a friend who tells people she’s older than she is so that she can here “You look great for your age.”


    • The other slight guilt I had about the age thing on the holiday club was that their insurance might have specified the ages of the children, and they could have got into trouble or it could have invalidated their insurance if there had been any incidents.

      That’s funny about your friend and the reverse age lying! Although I have always thought it a bit odd when women claim to be younger than they are because it can just look like they’re not aging well!


      • I hadn’t thought about the insurance and I am sure that would be a factor. I think I was pleased to be ignorant and when I found out, he was enjoying it to much. Bad mum, bad mum.

        I feel the same way. Why say I’m 5 years young and then have someone think oh dear, she didn’t look after herself. LOL


  12. Hey Vanessa ! I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. You can see it here.

    You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, but I wanted to show you how much I love your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. These are your confessions?? I thought this was how parenting was actually done? *Skulks away, wondering how bad a parent he actually is…*


  14. I agree, #2 is genious and I may even try it this Sunday!
    I’ve done #3 also when we were taking my son to Disneyland for his 3rd birthday – the magic number when you have to start paying for them. I had free passes to cover everyone and if my son was still 2, he’d be free too. The birthday was only 1 week past his birthday, so I didn’t feel totally guilty. The problems were, my son was as tall as a 4 year old, and when I’d say “How old are you?” He’d say “I’m 3!” So I jokingly told the ticket checker he’s been practicing for his birthday which is in a week. He started to interrupt with “No Mommy, my birthday was…” and I scooted them through the turnstile.
    Case 2 (AAH! A double offender!) was a free screening in Hollywood of an obnoxious “FRED” movie and you had to be 8 to go in. My daughter and her friend were a month or so from turning 8 and it’s a bit of a drive to get to Hollywood from my house, so I didn’t want to get to the gate and be rejected. All the way up her little friend kept saying “I don’t think I can lie!” (I absolutely adore his convictions!) and so I said, “Lauren will say I’m 8 and you can say, ‘I’m the same age as her’ which really is the truth – from one angle”
    I know somehow karma will have me pay for that one when they get to high school that I “taught them” to lie.


    • Haha, I love the “I’m the same age as her” idea, that really made me laugh. I know what you mean though, how can we punish them for lying when we’ve taught them to do it!

      A couple of months ago I went to take my daughter and a friend to see a movie that was a 12 certificate – my daughter is 13 and the friend was 12, so they were both eligible without having to lie, but when I tried to buy the tickets, the guy asked for their ID and then said to me “We have to see ID, we can’t just take the parents word for it”. I was furious, and thinking how dare they suggest that the parents might lie about their children’s age! I’ve only realised how funny that is, when quite clearly we all do!


      • I don’t know how it is on your end of the world, but I don’t know many kids that age over here that would have an ID with age. Maybe school ID but that doesn’t usually put age. Yikes!


        • Yes, same here, it was very unusual to be asked, and they didn’t have any ID so couldn’t go in – the only thing they could have brought if we knew was probably their bus pass that they use to get to school which does have their date of birth on I think. Other than that, I guess passport or birth certificate. Other times when I’ve taken my kids to see a movie they’ve been perfectly happy to accept my word for their age.


  15. Skipping pages in books was the least of your parental challenge moments, here. And the age thing, well, I’m on your side. I would have done the same thing, but I would have gone on and on and on to my son about how there are different levels of lying. And then I would have felt guilty, as you do. It’s a sign that parental support systems are not what they should be, I think. Anyway, I think you’re a fabulous parent. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Join Me in More Parental Confessions | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

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