April Fools' Day Is Dangerous for the Sarcastic Parent

It's a thin line between a silly joke and being a jerk, and I would fall face first on jerk side

I am terrible at April Fools’ Day.

I just don't get it. You tell someone a lie, they believe it and then you laugh and laugh and laugh? That's every day of my life as a parent, except that the laughing is on the inside. And sometimes the laughing is crying.

I may not see the funny in April Fools’ Day, but as a parent I do see a certain attraction to it. April Fools’ jokes seem like a fantastic way to express all of the sarcasm you have to hide from your children throughout the year. As someone who considers sarcasm a second language, however, I can't be trusted to be responsible with the great power and liberty that April Fools’ Day gives me.

Here is how I can see it playing out:

There's a line between making a silly joke and being a jerk, and I, unfortunately, would fall face first on the jerk side.

Child: “Mom, can I have a treat?”

Mom: “Well, you didn't eat any of your dinner and had a tantrum because I didn't make pasta. So, yes. Have three.”

Child: “Really?!”

Mom: “Heck no. April Fools'!”

Child: “That's not very funny.”

Mom: “It's hilarious. April Fools'! Eat your broccoli.”

See? It would be too tempting to take it from harmless merriment to a release of all of my parenting frustrations.

Child: “Do I have to do my homework?”

Mom: “Nah. Just skip it.”

Child: “Really?”

Mom: “Yeah. Who cares? I mean, you're never going to have to do math without a calculator anyway.”

Child: “Awesome!”

Mom: “Right?! But all lies. Sit down, fool. I mean, April Fools'.”

There's a line between making a silly joke and being a jerk, and I, unfortunately, would fall face first on the jerk side. But, maybe I haven't seen the best that April Fools’ Day has to offer parents; maybe I just need to see April Fools’ Day at its finest and most time-consuming. So like any parent who is clueless about something and wants to feel worse, I went to Pinterest to see what other parents do to lovingly and un-sarcastically trick their children.

I found a lot of pins that show ways to make food look like it’s one thing when it's something else — like an "ice cream sundae" that is actually made out of mashed potatoes.

Let's be clear about this — if someone offered me a delicious ice cream sundae and it turned out to be mashed potatoes, I would pee on something they loved.

A mess-free way to scare the pee out of your kids.

Anyway, my favorite parts of these Pinterest April Fools’ ideas are the comments left on the pages by teens who are very clearly over it.

As Annabelle put it: “I'm not stupid. This would not fool me.”

Hey! Your mother spent an hour making a meatball sub out of chocolate truffles and strawberry jam! Also, touché.

Another pinned idea is to attach a party popper to your kid's bedroom door, so that when they open it in the morning, the string gets pulled and the popper goes off. What a fantastic way to get screamed at before your first cup of coffee.

Finally, you can use a black Sharpie to draw a spider on the toilet paper roll, so you can “give them a scare when they reach for the toilet paper!”

No thanks! What is it with trying to scare our kids while they are at their most vulnerable: sitting on the toilet, waking up in the morning and anticipating the creamy goodness of an ice cream sundae? The bathroom is one of the few places I can get some peace — there's no need to defile such a sacred space. As young Krissy put it under the spider picture on Pinterest: “K fine then. Bye.”

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