The gentle art of dishonesty

These jeans I’m wearing? They look just like my old best jeans. But they’re not my old best jeans, they’re my new best jeans.

I hadn’t intended to buy any new best jeans, but then my second best jeans got a hole in them. I’d been intending to wear them to Alton Towers, so then I was forced to wear my best jeans to Alton Towers and then I wouldn’t have any clean jeans for the housewarming party the next day.

You can see my dilemma. There was only one solution for it. To throw money at the situation in the form of new jeans. Without telling my husband, obviously. Because he wouldn’t understand the need for the new jeans.

But someone knew what was going on. Someone was in on my dishonesty. And not for the first time. My daughter.

She knows we don’t lie. But she also knows that occasionally it might be OK to buy things without letting Daddy know.

Like when we went to town and he told me not to buy her anything and I only bought her a £6 Tshirt (with a 20% discount!) from M&S. That’s not much really, is it? Still best to keep it quiet from Daddy. He would never realise it was new.

Then there was the man who came to the door selling dusters and ironing board covers. I’m always polite to these people, but I always say no. But something about him and his story made me feel sorry for him. And made me agree to buy something. I didn’t need dusters, so I bought a pet towel. Because the guinea pigs are really hard to dry after a bath. It’s worth a try, right?

I agreed with my daughter that there was to be no word of the man at the door, the pet towel or the £6 which exchanged hands. The pet towel was buried amongst the guinea pig paraphernalia. When it comes out in spring it will be ‘Oh this old things, we’ve had this for AAAAAGES’.

Minutes later, I got a message from next door. My neighbour was worried the man had been casing the area with a view to breaking in. But she’d bought something from him, just as I had, and given her sons strict instructions not to tell Daddy, just as I had.

Why do we do this? Is it wrong? Are we teaching our children that dishonesty is OK? Do we do it more with daughters than sons because they’re ‘more like us’? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pet towel, Dishonesty

This doesn’t exist. You didn’t see it, OK?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh we have had this conversation, there are times when ‘white lies’ are necessary (I think), my sons will now question this and tell me that if it is ok for me to lie, then I shouldn’t tell them off for lying. I have tried in vain, to explain the difference between a white lie to save hurting someone’s feelings, but I don’t think they really get it.

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    • It is a difficult one! I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing by lying by omission and teaching my daughter to do the same. Of course, no lying at all would be the best idea and would be sending the right message to our kids.

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  2. Your hubby reads your blog, right? My Z is such a blabber mouth I can’t keep anything hidden, ever! One day I shall teach him the art of white lies 🙂
    I’m guessing hair drying a guinea pig is a no no?

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    • He doesn’t!
      Z is like next door’s kids – he’ll grow out of it! My daughter is ace – she’s totally trustworthy.
      We had considered the hair dryer, but I don’t think we should!

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  3. Controversial one here – if somebody wants to tell somebody a white lie so they don’t get hurt or upset that that’s fine. But what I can never understand is why women feel they have to hide purchases. Why? I’ve never hidden what I spend money on. I’ve gone out and worked. Bills paid etc. I don’t feel the need to justify what I then spend any residue on.

    I never have and I never will explain what I’m spending my hard earned money on. As long as everything has been paid that needs to be paid why do women feel they need to hide what they are buying.

    It’s 2015 not the 1959s, as long as you have your priorities straight why hide purchases?

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    • That’s a really good attitude! I wish I didn’t hide my purchases (and I don’t generally hide many). But over the last few months I haven’t earned as much and the kids are so expensive! As well as the usual costs of bringing them up and their extra-curricual activities, I’ve had to pay for school trips, an Explorers shirt, a violin bow and a school rugby shirt in the last couple of weeks, plus I’ve forked out a lot on physio for myself. These were all necessary, but a guinea pig towel wasn’t! I don’t think my husband would think the jeans were necessary either, as he would think it fine to wear them to Alton Towers one day and a party the next day!

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  4. Oh this is so familiar! I must admit to sometimes making ‘extravagent’ purchases in cash (like in Hobbycraft or when I go out for coffee and cake with friends) so that they won’t appear on the credit card bill. It’s not that I’m hiding the purchases exactly because my husband knows full well what I’m spending (and the cash that I’m using comes out the joint account anyway!) I suppose because he earns so much more than I do there is an element of guilt there at spending money on myself, even though I hardly ever do.

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    • That’s exactly it! My work has dried up a bit in recent months, so I’m learning even less than usual. I’ve been known to buy myself lunch with cash.

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  5. I’m not sure why but I’ve never felt the need to be dishonest about my purchases. Although there was that time I bought a new dress which I justified by whacking it on the store card and saying “But we pay it monthly and it was 30% off AND you did say you liked it too!” and I did offer to return it. I knew if I had asked first he would have said no, so I suppose being a little sneakier about it, if not outright dishonest, is just as bad! For me, it’s definitely because I don’t work, I don’t feel as though I have as much right to spend money and I know the husband would be horrified if he knew I felt that way! Man, money is SUCH a weird thing.

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    • It certainly is! It’s kind of the same for me. Even though I do work, I earn a fraction of what my husband earns and always put the kids first. I don’t think I can justify spending money on me.

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  6. Ha ha you are funny. I had no idea you might sneak a new pair of jeans . Actually my children have probably all been in on these kind of while lies from time to time – it’s just a slight bending of the truth, nothing more. If asked outright, you would own up, yes?

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    • Yes, definitely! And he probably wouldn’t even mind. Unless he asked on the day when I’d just forked out for a Scout camp or a big pile of school uniform, then he might be cross!

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  7. In my house, if I said don’t tell Dad they’d be there telling him in seconds lol.

    I sometimes sneak treats for myself because I know that if my hubby knew I’d had a treat then he’d want one to 😉

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  8. My kids can’t keep a secret at all! I can’t hide anything!

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  9. Ha ha, my daughter would have done when she was younger, but they reach an age when they stop telling!

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  10. I don’t share money with my husband, so I don’t specifically need to lie. Although he does make comments when lots of parcels turn up. Tbh, he makes more fuss about blogging parcels than shopping. It does make it easier not having to keep things quiet, although I do shuffle them upstairs sometimes when I’ve bought them in store. Parcels are harder to hide because N always shouts about them arriving.

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