I hate to say it, parents, but we’re liars.
We lie to our children. We lie to our coworkers. We lie to teachers, to family members, to strangers.
Mostly, though we lie to ourselves.
Now, that doesn’t make us bad people, and I don’t think we’re the kind of liars that upset those we love.
At least not on purpose.
What lies we tell ourselves about being a parent
No. We lie because we’re basically just trying to get through our day and to make things generally OK and, God forbid, easier.
So, in my eternal mission to find out why things happen, I decided to ask friends on Facebook about the sorts of lies we tell ourselves about parenting.
The responses were funny, educational and reaffirming that we’re all just figuring stuff out.
Lie: If I can just get my kid to age 18 and into college, parenting will be smooth sailing.
Lie: I can get my kid to school every morning on time.
Lie: That it will get easier as they get older.
Lie: I have to pick the right kindergarten teacher or my kid will never get into college.
Lie: If I’m open with my children, they won’t make the same mistakes I did.
Lie: That a parent is *really* in control of anything – particularly health, personality, defiance, etc.
Lie: *My* child won’t need rehab.
But here’s the biggest lie
I believe all of those lies, by the way. I have to for any chance at sleeping.
But the thing I think parents lie to themselves about the most is that having a true “work-life balance” is possible.
For years, I heard coworkers struggle against the mythical feat of strength that is balancing work and life. For years, I watched them fail and be incredibly upset and self-doubting.
The guilt from missing school events, dinner dates, homework projects, school pick-ups and ice-cream Tuesdays eventually beat some of my friends into submission one way or another.
Some bent the knee to the work king. Others turned to a more family-friendly existence.
Few, if any, found balance.
I admit there is no such thing as work-life balance
Now, it’s my turn. I went into this parenting thing with the lessons of my forefathers and foremothers. Because of their sacrifices and burdens, I decided to just give in from the start.
To just admit that balance isn’t a thing. That having a fulfilling career and being the parent I need to be were often going to be adversarial concepts. I would just have to accept that feeling of failing as a parent for working late or feeling like less for leaving work early.
I embrace the idea that work will have to take a loss more often than not. Saying “Daddy has to work” proved just too hard to utter.
My vow to my son is that I’ll do my very best to say “Daddy is here” as often as I can, while being thankful that I’m in a job that even allows for that luxury.
I’m lucky to have a job with flexibility
It’s an option my mother didn’t have. Raising three kids on her own pretty much mandated that work put life in a choke-hold. So, I am very aware that not all parents have the opportunity to decide.
For now, I do. And I choose to do everything within my allotted wiggle room to tip that balance toward home life as often and enthusiastically as I can.
Then, I’ll probably log in from home to work when he falls sleep. Stupid work-life balance.
Louie Villalobos is a parenting blogger and digital producer for azcentral and allthemoms.com. You can follow him on Twitter @louievillalobos and find his podcast on iTunes, Stitcher andGoogle Play. Just search for “I am your father.”