Every parent, regardless of his or her values or disciplinary strategy, is guilty of pulling an occasional fast one, doing something a bit out of character in order to maintain their sanity throughout parenthood. And, I'm sorry to say, I'm about to expose you all -- or at least myself.
So, because my parental sins have built up over the past few years, in no particular order, here are...
25 embarrassing things all parents have done, but won't admit to publicly:
1. Watched one of your kid's shows... after they're asleep.
2. Pretended you didn't notice a dirty diaper and handed the baby off to someone else.
3. Held a baby with one arm while drinking something alcoholic with the other.
4. Stolen food directly off your child's plate.
5. Blasted music in your car to obscene levels, only to realize your child was sitting in his car seat, ears covered and horrified.
6. Threatened your child with a punishment you had no intention of following through on ("I'm giving every single one of your toys to Goodwill" comes to mind).
7. Known a celebrity solely from their appearance on "Sesame Street" or "Yo Gabba Gabba."
8. Found yourself singing a Fresh Beat Band rap, word for word, then falling into a deep depression.
9. Told your child their [insert sport or activity] was canceled when it wasn't... because you were tired and/or it was raining even a little bit.
10. Stole food directly off your child's plate when they weren't looking.
11. Dropped a loud F-Bomb in front of your kids, then cringed, hoping they didn't hear you.
12. Threw out a useless, waste-of-space toy and acted like you didn't know what happened to it.
13. Stepped on a Lego and cried harder than you did the day your child was born.
14 Hung out in the bathroom with the door locked to have one full minute of peace.
15. Lied to your significant other about having washed the kids' hands before dinner.
16. Stayed a little bit longer than necessary in the bounce house.
17. Got frighteningly competitive while playing Hungry, Hungry, Hippos, Sorry! or Candy Land.
18. Used a fictional character (Santa, Tooth Fairy, the crazy guy in the closet) as leverage to get your kids to behave.
19. Lied by at least a year to get your kid into a theme park for free.
20. Skipped 12 pages of a 15-page book to make bedtime come sooner.
21. Pretended to be asleep to avoid a late-night bottle feeding.
22. Laughed instead of helped when your child got stuck inside their shirt, tripped and fell or mispronounced a word like "fork."
23. Told your child to "keep his voice down" while screaming at the top of your lungs.
24. Momentarily freaked out when your kid handed you back your phone with one app missing, and you couldn't tell which one it was.
25. Walked out the door, went to work/a public place, got funny looks from strangers, then realized when you looked in a mirror that your face was still covered with Sofia the First and "Dora" stickers.
I'm sure there are more. So please, unburden yourselves and share your confessions with the always-compassionate Internet of something embarrassing you do or have done as a parent. Or feel free to tweet me @JoeDeProspero with the hashtag #embarrassingparent.
Yes, I'm aware that there will be exceptions to this list and some of you are perfect. If you are perfect, no need to connect with me on Twitter. We'll have little in common.