All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tattling vs. Non sequiturs

No one enjoys catching you in a mistake more than your children. Parents may bite their tongues from saying, “I told you so.” My husband and I get few cheap thrills seeing the other one make an error. My employees are polite enough to say things like, “no, there’s NO way you could have known…” But children live for these moments. The best way to prove a child actually heard you is to break the rules you’ve given them. Suddenly, they become whistleblower, judge and jury.

Now a bigger person would gladly look at her children and admit to a mistake. When called out in front of another loved one, like a spouse, a bigger person would come clean with a big mea culpa, and accept her fate. I’m just not that person. Sure, I’ll admit to a mistake, but I’ve learned it’s a never ending process on the kids’ part to play town crier. They don’t keep it between us. They blab. We all try to be careful, but there are little everyday things that pop up that kids would YouTube in heartbeat if they could.

I’ll be honest. I tend to drive a little fast. So let’s just say I’ve gotten pulled over with the boys in the car one, two, maybe five times. In all but one case, through kind consideration of law enforcement, I have been warned and sent on my way. But God forbid it was just dropped. Not only does my son tell my husband the second he sees him, but he tells him again and again and again. We tell the kids all the time to close the door gently, and be sure it’s secure so the dog doesn’t get out. So of course the time I slam it, BAM, the truth-police make mental notes of what fell from the wall near the door. Chasing the loose dog is teamed with the, “ooh wait ‘till Dad hears about this.” Thanks, thanks ever so much for actually helping me. It’s not like you’ve contributed to the manic pace. Heavens no.

I began to add this to my checklist of things they do that drive me nuts (it’s none of your business why I keep such a list) and while flipping pages- right there under #362-  I saw it, “blurting out random things that have NOTHING to do with the conversation.” There was my strategy. (Muttley laugh) Tattle, and I’d fling the most random thing in the world to them right out there. I could exploit the anarchy of an all-boy household AND use a page from their own playbook to emerge unscathed by shame. (imagine Vincent Price in “Thriller” laugh)

Randomly redirecting attention completely throws the tattler off guard. There’s your shock. Now, add enough confusion, steering toward my own agenda, and things like the second seventh traffic stop are swept away. Their young little minds can’t process that fast. There's your awe. Who are they, with stashes of candy wrappers under the bed and six weeks of forgotten homework, to judge me? I want to go on record that I am NOT advocating hiding things between spouses. I’ll tell hubs when I’m good and ready. What I don’t need is a 10 year old blabbing while I’m schlepping groceries into the house. You want their disclosure to STOP since it’s the least convenient time for you, and you’ve not been given enough time to work out plausible excuses.

The best way to explain it is using some of these purely hypothetical examples:

• Mom got stopped AGAIN for speeding/
HA! Driving-Why is your lacrosse gear in the driveway?!

 • Mommy forgot to close the garage door and since it was open all day people could have stolen our stuff!
Why is this backpack on the floor? How am I supposed to move through here with stuff all over the place?!

• Mommy spilled coffee all over your car seat, Daddy!
Did you leave your wrappers all over the floor in Daddy’s car like you do to mine. Are those Sour Patch Kids still ground in to my seats?!

• Mommy was late getting me to soccer and she was using the F word.
Yeah- what IS with the F in Science?

It’s so simple, and yet so effective. Give it a go. I highly recommend this technique. I will advise that to be most successful, you need to muster the perfect amount of righteous indignation. It won’t work if you’re week of heart or conviction. I’ve seen this in action, and it blunts more awkward announcements than you can imagine. I’m truly at peace with the way this works. They’re kids. I’m teaching them to think on their feet by modeling such behavior. Really, as a parent, I see it as a key life skill I’m passing down.


  1. Life skills are, indeed, something we need to pass on to our indeed, this is your job and you are doing it to perfection! Thanks for the great idea.....plan to try it soon!

  2. I can tell you that your diversionary technique works like a charm! As a grown man I had this scheme successfully perpetrated on me for many months by a psycho girlfriend(a particular one, that is) before snapping out of my bewilderment. It should work markedly better on boys, I suppose, until they're the wiser - just in time for their own psycho girlfriends(God forbid!). ...they'll have Jersey Diva Mom to thank for their preparedness. ..good parenting! - "No one walks on my boys!"(psycho-chicks included)

  3. Love this idea!! My kids love to "get mom in trouble" when dad comes home! I am definitely going to have to implement this!! :-)

  4. Awesome strategy! And as you know, I could use one for this very issue! We parents need to stick together and just maybe we'll beat the little urchins at their own game. ;) lol

  5. My two year old has started to remind me of things. He loves to tell me,"Don't drink out of the cereal bowl".