'You Can Make Them Explode!' Fathers And Sons Share their Best 'Don't Tell Your Mother' Stories.
We've all had a moment with a parents where it was clear that it would have to remain a secret forever. In these moments, we learn the lesson that loose lips sink ships.
The only way for three people to keep a secret is if two of them are dead.
Here are sixteen of people's best "Don't Tell Your Mother" stories.
Many thanks to the Redditors who posed this question.
1/16. I brought my sons, 5 and 10, to Circus Circus in Las Vegas for a weekend. I lost the younger one for a full 5 minutes at one point. Scariest 5 minutes of my life, and mom never heard about it.
2/16. Not my dad but my step dad. It was more of a don't tell your father story but hey, it's cool. My parents divorced and my mum remarried to my stepdad.
My dad is one of the most anti gun people you will meet (he was born in 1947 in the UK) and naturally because of this I love guns. When my mum remarried my step dad I found out that he was actually a gun collector and his house had an armoury.
He knew that my dad hated guns and that I loved them and so he used to give me what my dad never gave me. We were clearing out his armoury one day and came across about 1kg of "unidentified powder" (we both knew it was gun powder). Basically we went out into his garden and set fire to this powder and I loved it.
I'll never forget he held me at arms length and said "now you must never tell your father about this or he'll have my guts for garters" He died in February and I miss him every day, such a legend.
3/16. One night I was enjoying a small bit of ice cream after my four year old daughter went to bed. She came downstairs and 'caught' me. So I offered her a small bite, but since she was supposed to be in bed, I said "don't tell mom." She assured me she wouldn't. My wife wouldn't have cared anyway but it was a fun little game to play.
After she went up to bed and I was down on the couch, she snuck in to the master bedroom where mom was resting. She told mom that I had let her have some ice cream, and she was afraid of "sugar bugs" so could she please brush her teeth again.
My wife just laughed at me the next day. Little girl ratted me out to brush her teeth, something she doesn't like doing anyway.
4/16. When I was ten years old my dad came to my school before noon and told the principal that I had a doctors appointment. (continued...)
I had no idea he was coming at all, and seeing him in my class was a bit of a shock. He then told my teacher I have to go to the doctors, and I was believing that I was actually going to the doctors. We ended up going to a baseball game for the whole afternoon. My mom was out of town for a couple of days and my dad told me to never tell her that he got me to play hookey from school.
5/16. Not a dad, I'm a mum, but in my experience telling my kids "don't tell mum" is a lost cause.
A few years ago when my oldest two were around 3-4 their dad took them to the park. I told everyone dinner would be ready when they got back so no ice creams or sweeties this time please.
When I opened the door, both boys looked at me, looked at each other, and said in unison "we didn't have an ice cream." Husband stood behind them face palming.....
6/16. I'm a dad, but this story is about my dad.
It was the summer before my last year at college. A friend of mine got a job across country and he decided to take the opportunity to see as much of America as possible before he had to start work. He asked me to come along. It was going to be a month long road trip. We'd contacted a few friends and relatives along the way where we could crash, the company was paying for gas and 5 nights hotel, and we brought along a tent for the days we didn't have a place to stay. I'd saved up a little money at my summer job.
The night before we left, my dad was sitting in his recliner reading the paper as always. I sat there on the couch watching TV.
Now, my dad was a very conservative man. Old school. The kind of "kids should be seen and not heard" parent. Not big on emotional displays. Frugal to a fault.
So after everyone else had turned in for the night, it was just me and him. He motioned me over, and pulled out an envelope he had hidden. Looked at me over his reading glasses and said "don't tell your mother about this" as he handed me the envelope.
It was filled with money. Not a lot by today's standards but a lot in 1986 and without a doubt more money than I'd ever seen my dad carry. I sat down and said "I don't know what to say." (continued...)
He responded "have fun" and went back to his newspaper.
He died six months later. That moment was the last real one on one interaction I had with my father. A little while after he'd died, my mom was going through his dresser drawer when she found his stash. Apparently my dad had been squirreling away cash for years. Walking around money for when he went on one of his many fishing trips. He dipped into it so that I'd have some walking around money on my trip.
7/16. I was once a resourceful young lad and would ride bikes with a friend to the recycle center behind some stores. We would jump in the magazines bin and pull out all the magazines, and well, anything with pictures of girls.
Sometimes we sold them to our middle school peers and as fate would have it, some kid ratted me out when he got caught with it. My mom launched an all out search for the magazines. She found somewhere near 200 (about 50% of the loot). They were all on the dining room table when I got home from school. Mom wouldn't even talk to me and just said "wait until your father gets home".
A couple hours later, I get yelled at by both parents, grounded for a month, no tv, no phone, no friends, etc. When I wouldn't give up the names of kids I sold to, I got an extra month of restrictions.
The next night I found a playboy under my pillow with a post it note that said "200 is excessive, but so is 2 months restriction to your room. Here is 1. Hide it better and don't tell your mother."
8/16. You know those noise maker gunpowder bangy things? Explaining to my daughter that you can put them in your hand and headbutt them to make them explode. We went through an entire packet of them that day...
9/16. We're from the UK, and when I was really young and saw my dad on weekends, he used to drive over a hundred miles an hour with me egging him on all the way.
Always at the end as he pulled up home he'd tap his nose and say "don't tell your mum". Of course the first thing I did was tell her! And she'd just tut, laugh and say he was terrible.
Looking back I thought it was weird nobody really cared. Turned out his car was European and the speedometer was in Kilometers.
10/16. At 16 my parents helped me get a car; the keys to freedom were: Per Dad: no tickets, pay my own gas and maintenance and Per Mom: home by curfew After a few close calls/negotiating a few extra minutes with upset Mom, Dad recommends I call him if I'm cutting it close. Really...? From then on, I'd call Dad, he'd tell Mom that he would wait up, aka fall asleep in the lazyboy. This was a 2 birds one stone deal. He got parenting cred from Mom (go on to bed, honey) and a good night's nap in the lazyboy until I drifted home.
Miss you Dad.
11/16. I'm at home, hanging out with my two year old daughter while mom is at work. I'm drinking a beer, and set it down for a second to go to the bathroom. My daughter is really smart for her age, and knows not to touch things that aren't hers, but I guess leaving the beer just out of reach made it too tempting to her. She grabs her chair, puts it under the dresser I had set it on, and climbs up and grabs my beer. I come back in the room just as she's taking a big Ole swig. She hated the taste and spit it out instantly, but will never tell my wife about that one. To this day my daughter refers to my beer as "my icky".
12/16. This wasn't me but was my best friend's story. His wife had a raging temper and the smallest things would set her off yelling at him and the kids.
About 5 years ago his son was 3 and had just learned how to flush the toilet so he was flushing everything. They played the same weekly numbers on the Washington lottery and that week his wife was away visiting her sick mother.
He bought the ticket and got 5 numbers and won $6700. This was huge because they were financially hurting.
Well you can guess what happened. He had the ticket on the counter and couldn't wait to surprise her when she got home the following day.
While we were playing Xbox we heard a flush so he got up to see what he put in he toilet this time. He walked in and saw the ticket in the toilet just as the little boy was flushing again. I've never heard a yell so loud. It was too late though. $6700 gone.
He cried. I had never seen him cry before. He made me promise not to tell her or anyone because his wife would have exploded and likely hurt him and the kid.
Worst day of his life by far. Kid still has no idea what he did.
13/16. Went fishing in questionable conditions. Left the harbor in 6-8 foot waves in a 19' boat. Probably shouldn't have gone out at all in retrospect. (continued...)
Had a great day off fishing in the lee of a point.
Start to head home and things have deteriorated big time. Going home in 10-12' waves, with big ones hitting 14'. Struggling to even make it through them.
All this is happening in late November in the north Atlantic. Bad news if anything goes wrong. No one else is out there to help us.
My dad tells me at one point "Take your life jacket off. It won't help out here, it will just make the inevitable take longer. We make it home or we don't. I love you."
To this day, that's the only time I have been scared on a boat, and I have been in some serious situations.
When we made it back he said "never tell your mom what I told you. That is between you and I."
So yeah that's my craziest don't tell mom story.
14/16. When I was young, we had the typical parent dynamic of 1:1 strict/lenient ratio. Mom was laid back and figured we were allowed to find our own fun while my dad was more critical. However, both agreed on the "no underage drinking" policy.
So my brother, fresh out of Freshman year and with his typical 15 y.o. "bro" egging him on, snuck tequila out of my parents' liquor cabinet and took about 5 shots each while my parents were sleeping upstairs.
Almost immediate regret.
Half an hour later, there's a cycle of being totally obliterated on the couch and worshiping the porcelain god. The whole while they're "sneaking around" to not wake up my folks.
The next morning, my dad pulls my brother aside and asks what happened the night before. My brother tries to blow it off, but my dad just dead-eyes him and says "That tequila made its way into the toilet somehow, I don't care if it was out one end or the other." (continued...)
Brother fesses up. My dad nods, slaps him on the arm, and says "I think this is one lesson your mother doesn't need to hear about."
15/16. My oldest caught me being the tooth fairy. She agreed that telling mom or her brother might ruin it for them more. She still gets her silver dollar if she loses a tooth, I just don't have to be such a ninja to give it to her.
16/16. When I was a kid, my dad would mow the lawn and then sneak up to the local dive bar and have a beer before my mom noticed he was done. I grew up in a town of roughly 1,200 people and the bar was two blocks away so it was totally feasible. My dad used to bring me with him, bribe my silence with a $1 bag of redskin peanuts and a can of Mountain Dew. My mom always knew because I'd slip up about the peanuts a day or two later.
Fast forward to being 24. I'd just moved to a new state after grad school with my then-boyfriend's job, I was underemployed at the time and my only company was my new kitten. I didn't tell my parents but I think my dad always knew I was miserable. One day I got a package from home that was 1 lb of redskin peanuts. He tracked down the vendor from the bar and bought them in a bulk bag. Still warms my heart when I think about it three years later.
When I was about 5 years old I was playing hide and seek with my mom and dad, Dad would pick a spot for me to hide and mom would come looking. Dad decided mom would never find me if he opened the window and put me out onto the roof of the balcony a floor below us (3 story apartment house).
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.