Don’t You Dare Tell Your Mother

These fathers take the ole “don’t tell your mom” to a whole other level. Yards set on fire. Oodles of junk food. Medical debacles. Risky stunts. You name it. Some dads really love living on the edge (as long as mom doesn’t find out, of course). These stories brim with nostalgia, and are so touching—they’re bound to bring a tear to your eye.

Buckle up: You’re about to be served a gigantic helping of the warm and fuzzies.

1. Almost Toast


When my dad’s favorite toaster broke, he insisted on fixing it, again. My mom really wanted him to just replace it. They had a mini argument while dad takes the toaster apart. Mom leaves to run some errands, and about an hour later my dad’s got the toaster back together and ready for testing. He plugs it in, pops in some bread, and pushes the lever down.

Nothing happens initially and he’s trying to see down inside it to see if it’s working. Then a nice fat electric arc comes out of the outlet and the toaster turns into a fireball on the counter. My dad yells, yanks it out of the outlet and runs with it, still engulfed in flames, out to the back yard and from the steps hurls it towards our above ground pool. A HUGE mistake…

The pool is much too far away, and it just lands in the grass, setting the lawn on fire. Now he’s unfurling the garden hose and failing in trying to get the dinky little sprinkler head off it. So, he runs over to the burning toaster, kicks it towards the pool, then scoops water out of the pool until it’s just smoldering. Then he runs over and stamps the little fires out of the grass. But that wasn’t all.

He singed his beard, most of the hair off his arms and stinks of burnt hair. His socks are ruined, and he’s soaked pretty much head to toe. The house stinks of ozone and melted plastic. The outlet is charred. There’s a black patch on the backyard lawn. He scrambles, cleans the kitchen, opens every window to air out the house, and sweeps and mops.

He also swaps the outlet for one from the garage, resets the breakers, parks the lawnmower on the scorched grass, trims the burned hair out of his beard, showers and disposes of his burned and grass-stained socks, and what’s left of the toaster. Then he puts me in his truck, we go to KMart and grab a new toaster and I, of course, am sworn to secrecy.


2. What’s For Dinner?

My dad was a scruffy bachelor type, and he and my mom separated when I was two. I’d spend weekdays with mom and weekends at dads for most of my childhood. They made it work and were outstanding co-parents in spite of their myriad of differences. One day, when I was about eight or nine, dad was scratching his head, trying to figure out what to feed me.

My fellow Canadians will be familiar with the Canadian pantry staple Kraft Dinner, which is our Kraft Mac and Cheese. Dad pulled a box of this out of his pantry, blew the dust off the box and cooked it up. I took a bite and immediately noticed something was off. I told my dad that it tasted funny. He took a look at the box and his eyes widened in horror.

He discovered it was a whopping six years past its best before date. Of course, we had something else, and he told me, “Don’t tell your mother.” What’s the first thing you think this little snitch exclaimed as soon as I walked in the door to mom’s place? “”MOMMY, GUESS WHAT DAD FED ME?!” The next weekend mom showed up at his apartment and threw out everything in his pantry.

It was taken in good humor by everyone involved, and it’s one of my favorite stories from growing up.


3. What’s In A Name

My parents helped me out with rent during college. They’d send me a check every month for $800 which was honestly really nice of them. My mom usually does it but for whatever reason my dad did it once and spelled my name wrong on the check. He wrote “Alicia” instead of “Alissa” so it wasn’t just a spelling error but also changed the sound of my name a bit.

I didn’t notice until I was at the bank in line at the teller already. So, I called my parents. My dad literally said the most hilarious thing. He said “don’t tell your mother about this” and didn’t realize my mom was on the other line. To this day he says he was just distracted and in a rush. College was over a decade ago but my mom still plays the “at least I didn’t forget what our daughter’s name was” trump card now and then.


4. Donut Try At Home

My dad was a teacher and when I was 11, home for spring break, I decided I wanted to make homemade donuts while my dad graded papers in the dining room directly off of the kitchen. He had my little brother in there with him, he was about 1 at the time. I made the dough, got the oil in a pan nice and hot, and then turned my back for long enough for a fire to start.

I thought I could handle it on my own, and carried the flaming pot to the sink and turned on the faucet. I can only imagine what it was like for my dad, sitting there calmly when a fireball bursts through the door. All I remember is his hands grabbing me and tossing me outside, then chucking the baby out, followed by the dogs.

He put the flames out, looked at my hand, bandaged it up, drove to Home Depot, and had the kitchen repainted before my mom got home from work at 6:00.



5. A Leg Up

When I was growing up, my dad would let me stand on his feet while we slow danced. He always said he wanted to do the same thing on my wedding day and it would be our secret until then. We wanted to keep it a secret from mom because we wanted it to be a cool “us” moment at my wedding. We would always joke around my mom about our big “surprise/secret.”

Fast forward to 2017 when I got married and we had the father daughter dance while I was on his feet. It was one of the most surreal moments of me having this dream from when I was 5 years old to it coming true! Mom loved it, by the way!


6. Lending A Hand

Years ago, when my daughter was one or two, we stopped at McDonalds, got food, and continued on. My daughter had never eaten french fries at that point. This time we gave her some. She happily sat in the back seat, in her car seat, munching away. Suddenly, she was choking. My wife leaped into the back seat. I assumed as an EMT she could handle it easily.

What I didn’t anticipate was the panic. So, I pulled over, got out of the driver’s seat, opened the back seat door, and sat down next to my daughter. There were tears in her eyes, and she was looking at me for help. That kind of broke my heart. I tilted her head back, looked down her throat, saw a pile of fries, shoved my fingers in, and pulled them free.

She immediately began to breathe, and everything was fine. Except it wasn’t. My wife sat opposite of me, just staring at me in disbelief. For the next few hours of our road trip, I had to endure her lecturing me and ranting to me about how putting your fingers in someone’s throat will almost always shove the blockage deeper.

I understood what she was saying was true. I also understood that I could literally see the potatoes in our daughter’s throat, and easily yanked them up. In the end, my daughter lived, so I was fine with what I did and happily endured the hours-long lecture afterward. The “don’t tell your mom” moment came a couple of months after this.

We were having dinner with friends. Our daughter sat in a high chair at one end of the table, with me to her side. We were talking about board games and no one was looking at my daughter. Then I felt her little hand on my arm. I looked over at her, and she had tears streaming down her face. Her mouth was open, no sound coming out.

I have to tell you how stunned I was when my little girl reached over, grabbed my hand, picked a finger, and put it into her throat. I had no idea that children could understand or even remember significant details like “I was choking and my father used his hand to un-choke me” at that age. I had cleared her throat over a month prior.

I didn’t think kids had any “object permanence” or memory like that. But I was wrong, at least in this case. In any case, I looked at her with my finger in her mouth and realized she was in trouble again. I tilted her head back, looked down her throat, and saw an almost completely unchewed mini muffin. It wasn’t even that far down.

I looked over at my wife, because I was about to do something that would infuriate her. She was oblivious so I plunged my fingers down my daughter’s throat, pulled out the muffin, and then once she was breathing again, I whispered to her, “We never tell your mom about this.” I gave her a kiss and held her hand for a little while as everyone else debated whether to play Fumiko or Ligretto. No one even looked or saw.


7. Hightailing It

My dad has a ‘classic car’ and many years ago, he decided to put flame throwers in the tailpipes. After a car show, my dad and I, and two family friends went to a bar some miles away. We were in the lead with our two family friends following. We noticed that the third car back was no longer following so we pulled over and the car behind us decided that they would go look for them.

So, waiting on the side of the road, my dad starts revving the engine to set off the flame throwers. Just as I’m going to tell him not to because we’re on dry grass, he sets them off and dark smoke starts to billow around the car. Dad drives forward and we turn around and sure enough there’s a small grass fire there.

We put it out, leaving a small burnt patch. Fast forward to later that night, we had the same family friends over and decided no one should tell my mom. Well, dad happened to set his grill on fire and the family friends’ youngest daughter goes, “Oh no! Bud started another fire!” That’s how mom found out.


8. Donut Tell Mom

I took my 2-year-old to the donut shop the other day. The lady working there was thrilled and said, “Oh, how cute! Is this the baby’s first donut?”  I promptly replied, “Sadly, no. And if you ever see her here with her mother if you could please pretend that you’ve never seen her before here that would help me out a lot.”


9. An Idle Car Is The Devil’s Workshop

While dad and I were working on a project car, we also had a bathroom remodel going on for the master bath. My mom haggled with my dad for ages to get a fancy toilet. We ended up getting one that cost a couple thousand dollars. It was quite an investment and until the bathroom was ready to install it, we kept it in the garage.

So, we were working on the car, and my dad decided to turn on the car to hear the idle with the choke fully open. Well, he didn’t check to see if it was in gear and, of course, disaster struck: The car started driving without anyone in the car. It lurched directly into the box containing the precious toilet and pretty much mounted itself on the box, wheels spinning.

We turned the car off, dislodged it from the toilet and checked for damage. If the car was in drive instead of reverse, I would’ve been run over. Behind the toilet was my bike and a foosball table. Both got destroyed. Luckily the toilet was fine so we swore each other to secrecy. Mom already hates the car so she can never know.


10. Cookie Monster

My dad’s doctor put him on a diet due to health reasons. About two weeks later, I was chilling in the kitchen and my dad walks in without a care in the world, opens the pantry and grabs a few cookies. This was all in front of me, so naturally I’m like, “Dad, what are you doing?” Dad doesn’t respond and just grabs a cookie.

I prompt him, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Super aggressively, dad responds, “I can have a cookie!” Doubtfully, I ask, “The doctor said you could?” Dad said that he had, grabbed two cookies and walked out of the kitchen. About 5 minutes later, he came back and said, “But don’t tell mom.” His secret was safe with me.



11. I’ve Got You

We lived in Florida when I was 6. One beautiful day we went to the park. The plan was that I was going to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels by riding it down a huge hill to my dad below. I get to the top, get on my bike, and start rolling. Immediately I freak out and I’m barreling towards the only palm tree on the hill.

My dad jumps in the way and I hit him instead. He’s got a big scratch on his shin but that’s the only damage of the day. Afterwards I remember him taking me to McDonalds to make me feel better about it and we pig out in the car on the way home. It was our little secret and I really miss those Florida memories.


12. An Open Secret

I’m the son in this story, but one time when I was like 14-15, we had a family party at my aunt’s house down the street. Eventually, the party just winded down, and all the families started to go home. My dad decided to stay, and I asked if I could stay with him. Eventually, it was just my uncles and me relaxing and telling stories at 2 am while I sat and listened to them.

It was the first time that I could remember “staying up with the adults.” My dad got too plastered to drive us home, and no one else was there. We could have spent the night, but then my dad was like, “No, I know your aunt has bicycles in the garage. We should just ride bikes home. It’ll take 10 minutes tops.” So, my dad and I rode bikes home taking a park detour.

We started trying doing wheelies and donuts with our bicycles on the giant grass field. We finally get home at 3 am in the morning and we’re covered in mud and grass. My dad looks over at me and whispers conspiratorially, “OK, we have to be quiet sneaking back in. Don’t tell mom what we did. She’s going to be furious if she finds out we rode bikes while I was plastered.”

Then he proceeded to knock on the door, and when my mom answered the door, he proceeded to tell her with glee exactly what he told me not to tell her. My mom was indeed furious.


13. Acts Of Kindness

One cousin of mine was orphaned early on. She was a bright kid but had absolutely no resources except for scraps from extended family. Her mom used to be on super bad terms with my mom. So, we couldn’t mention my cousin in the house. But dad got this cousin a computer, took her shopping for clothes, and we’d take her out for treats once a month or so.

Also, every week we’d participate in a roster to pick her or send her to tuition and extracurricular activity. My dad said that mom wasn’t to be told. I’m convinced mom still doesn’t know.


14. Say Yes

My Dad called me 3 years ago and said, “Hey, I need you to help me and I need you to lie to your mother about it. She can always tell when I’m lying, so I need you to do it.” The situation was that my parents got married in a civil ceremony at Fort Bliss when they were 15 and 18. My mom always regretted that she didn’t get to have a real wedding.

So, for their 40th anniversary, dad wanted to give her a surprise wedding but zero clue about how to plan it. This is where I come in because I both know how to plan a wedding, and am apparently a sneaky child—which is not wrong. So, dad arranges a venue. I task my brother with making bouquets and my sister with making a wedding cake—both having prior experience with these.

I invite secret guests, line up a photographer and call my mom. I say, “Hey mom, I want to get some formal dress-up family portraits done this summer. My girls are obsessed with ombre so we’re going with shades of blue and lilac, each generation in a different color, as the theme (these are my mom’s favorite colors). Let’s go shopping.”

Meanwhile, my dad sneaks my mom’s engagement ring out of the house, which she wasn’t wearing because the stone was loose and she was afraid it would fall out. He took it to the jeweler, had the loose stone replaced with a bigger stone and the original stones matched and reset to frame it. The day of the wedding, we all get dressed up and are posing for a photo when my dad goes down on one knee and proposes.

She says yes, we all pile into the car, and they get married again in a little chapel where all our extended family is waiting to surprise her.


15. Kiting Around

One day, my dad, my little brother and I wanted to let kites fly. Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t strong enough, so he just opened the trunk, let us sit in it, kite in hand, and started driving. While driving. he turned back to us and said, “Don’t tell your mom.” It was great and since we were far out, there was no one who could see us.


16. A Spoonful of Sugar

I was born very early, at only four pounds. On top of that, or possibly as a result, I have a fragile immune system, especially so when I was young, and up until a few years ago, I got seriously sick five times or more a year. At times, I had to be brought into the emergency room. As a result, I drank exclusively Pedialyte to counter that when sick, and I developed a serious distaste and hate for the stuff.

My dad was responsible for bathing me one night to help me cool down. We were on a vacation, and I had inconveniently gotten sick while we were staying in a hotel. I’d had a high fever, and my body was so sore and tired that I’d slept for 24 hours. No one could wake me up, and I hadn’t drank anything at all in that time.

So, my dad put in front of me a very big glass of Pedialyte and told me I had to finish the whole thing while I sat in the bath. I took it as obediently as I could, but a fourth of the way in, I just felt so miserable and mad that I started sobbing. My dad had this heartbroken look on his face, and stroked my hair, near tears himself.

It was late, and we were tired, so he wrapped me up in a towel, and put me in bed with mom and him. He drinks a lot of mountain dew, and he told me that for every three sips of Pedialyte I got down, I could have a sip of soda to help wash out the bad taste, but not to tell mom. I never did, and it’s one of my favorite memories of me and my dad.



17. Hitting The Roof

Dad was putting new roof shingles on. I was three or four. I asked if I could help. He said if I could climb the ladder then sure. I was always climbing so that was no issue. I climbed right on up and started handing him shingles. It would have been a “don’t tell your mother” moment had she not come home from grocery shopping. After several back and forths of “Where are you” and “Up here, mom,” she figured it out and flipped out. Her words? “WHAT IS HE DOING ON THE ROOF?!”


18. Rock On

My husband took our son to a rock concert when he was only 10 and let him get into the mosh pit. I was shocked seeing the video and would have been upset at the time. He was our first child, I was over protective and would have thought it was way too dangerous. It was oddly sweet to see a moment I didn’t know about and how respectful these big, tattooed, crazy haired, screaming wild rockers were with my little boy. My son said it really helped improve his self-esteem.


19. The Perfect Lawn

When I was ten years old, I was in a head on car crash with my dad and my little brother. My dad ended up with two shattered feet and he was in a wheelchair after getting out of hospital. Now, being stuck in a wheelchair, doing some house chores was difficult for him. One day, while my mum was out, I was called by my dad to go grab the lawnmower and the trimmer.

My dad had decided to cut the grass while in his wheelchair. So, ten-year-old me does as she’s told and grabs what needs to be grabbed. I move what needs to be moved into the garden but there’s one problem, dad can’t get into the garden in his chair. The entrance is just too narrow. So, my father being the reckless and mischievous man that he is, comes up with a plan.

He’s going to lift himself up using the garden wall, I’m to collapse the chair and move it through and then reopen it so he can sit down. The pressure is on. Little ten-year-old me is ready to go. He gets himself up and we manage it in one try. After that, cutting the grass together was fairly simple but by this point we’d attracted the attention of the -+neighbors.

My neighbor from across the road was frantic when she saw what we were doing. Husbands from other households were joking my dad was making them look bad. Then, the jig was up. Mum was home. I didn’t get into trouble exactly but mum never let us live down.


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20. Adventure Time

When my wife’s at work, I will take my 4-year-old daughter out for breakfast, and then we will go on a small adventure around a shop of her choice and pretend whatever she wants. The last time we went to a car parts shop and rolled tires around as we were freeing the “rollings” from the “monster.” So far my wife doesn’t believe her. To be honest, it is the only thing pre-Covid I miss doing.


21. Gaming Emergency

One night when I was about eight, after I had gone to bed, my dad was playing a Nintendo game—Legend of Zelda, I think. We had both been playing it but we were stuck. He finally found a secret passage, paused the game, and came upstairs to wake me up. He told me he had figured out where we were stuck, and “snuck” me downstairs in a blanket (I’m sure my mom knew).

I got to stay up after midnight on a school night, hiding under a blanket, to see where the hidden passage went. It was a silly little incident, but very memorable.


22. Smooth Driver

When l was 12 or so, I walked into my dad’s office to find him counting money. He said, “Don’t tell mom and you’ll find out what it’s for.” So, I didn’t say a thing. Two days later he woke me up early to run errands with him. We came back with a new used car. He also said if I didn’t tell how much he spent on it he’d let me drive it.

It was only a couple of hundred dollars but we were broke and she would have been mad. My mother tried so hard to find out but I kept the secret. So anytime we were in an open space like an empty lot he would let me drive it. I felt like the coolest kid in middle school knowing how to drive a car. It was our secret thing and I’ll cherish those memories forever.

When I got my permit at 16, I was so excited to drive it for real. I asked my mother if I could drive her around. She refused, citing my inexperience. I couldn’t argue because I didn’t want to get Dad in trouble. This went on for a few weeks and, once, it finally happened one day while dad was home and he overheard. He came in the room and gave me a nod.

Then, he said to my mother, “She’s a better driver than you anyway,” tossed me the keys and told mom everything. I was so stoked that I could drive! Dad said, “Drive it? No. If you can keep a secret for that long you can keep the car too.” Twenty years later, it’s still one of my favorite memories.



23. Keyed Up

My dad was releasing a caught chipmunk in the woods a few miles from home and accidentally locked the doors with the keys in the ignition on. He ran all the way home and while dripping sweat told me to quickly drive him into the woods before my mother got home. He definitely said, “Don’t tell your mother about this,” a few times.


24. Bring Your Child To Work Day

When I was 8, my dad worked some government job that required him to drive hours to a base in the middle of the desert. A couple days a week, when he was supposed to drop me off at school, he’d ask if I wanted to go to work with him instead. We’d make the drive and after he was done with work, we would climb this giant control tower and watch fighter pilots do target practice.

Then he’d take me to the mess hall and let me eat all of the fried chicken and ice cream I could handle. On our drives home he would buy me a soda and occasionally indulge me in a belching contest. I’m just starting to realize how much this all meant to me, I just wish he were here so I could tell him. He also took me with him when he worked in a dispatch office.

I remember playing Legos and barbies under his desk. I’m not sure why he always took me everywhere, but I loved it. God, I really miss him.


25. A Stitch In Time

My dad and I were emptying the car of a half side of beef when I noticed that he was having some issues holding the packages. and there was a thick bandage peeking out of the cuff of his shirt with some blood on it. I asked him what was wrong with his wrist, to which he replied, “A glass shield on an electric meter shattered at work and slit my wrist. I had to get stitches. Don’t tell your mother.” I, promptly, yelled, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! DAD HURT HIMSELF!”


26. Letting The Cat Out

We had just moved into a new house when my wife’s beloved cat got outside and ran away. We spent the next few days looking for it and filling out missing cat reports at the various animal shelters around. Six months later we get a call that our cat had been found and was at a vet’s office about ten miles away. My son and I get in the truck to go check it out and it really is our cat!

We put it in a cat carrier and put it in the back of the truck and drive home. After about five miles a car behind us starts honking and gets us to pull over. The cat had gotten out of the carrier and was walking along the edge of the truck bed. We get it back in the carrier and then place it inside at our feet and I say, “Never tell your mom about this.”


27. Living On The Edge

When I was little, my dad had a workshop in the garage where he’d do wood work. I’d come out and talk to him while he worked, and he’d let me sit on the car that was parked in the garage. He framed it as something that was really bad and edgy, and we couldn’t tell my mom. I was five, so I believed it and felt so cool without actually doing anything wrong or dangerous.


28. Two-way Secret

This last Christmas my 4-year-old helped my wife wrap one of my gifts. It was late so I was working.  The next day, while my wife was at work, she came running through from her bedroom first thing and yelled excitedly, “Daddy! Daddy! I helped wrap your gift it’s a surprise it’s a slushie maker!” “Honey, that’s awesome but you aren’t supposed to tell me that.”

She replied, “I know, I know, but it’s a slushie maker!” So, I asked, “If you know not to tell me then why did you tell me?” She promptly said, “Because I’m just so excited to make slushies with you!” I was crying with laughter at this point and told her that it was an awesome gift but to keep gifts secret, and I told her we wouldn’t tell mummy so she wouldn’t be disappointed that I knew what it was. I ended up telling her that evening because it was just too funny and cute.


29. Vegging Out

Whenever my mom would leave town for work, my dad would tell me and my sisters it was “make up your vegetables” night. Then we got to have pizza for dinner as long as we told my mom that we had vegetables while she was away. We, of course, got busted when each of us answered with a different vegetable than the others did.


30. Same Yet Different

Once when I was about 15 and on holidays with my dad, I was a complete idiot and decided that it’d be perfectly ok to wear a fairly expensive pair of studs that my Mum got me, whilst swimming in the surf. Of course, I lost one of them and panicked, so my dad bought me a cheap pair from a chain accessory store. We tried to get a pair that resembled the old pair as much as possible.

Unfortunately, we had to settle for a pair that was about double the size of the old ones and had plastic backings. Anyway, I got home and went a few weeks without my mum saying anything. Foolish me thought I had gotten away with it. However, one day I was in the middle of taking my earrings off and putting them away when my mum walked into my room and said, “I know they’re different earrings.”

Turns out I could’ve just told her the truth and I wouldn’t have really gotten in trouble. Huh.


31. Blast From The Past

My mom and my dad were teen parents when they had me. They were very unprepared, and not a good match for each other. Their relationship fell apart when I was 2. In 6th grade, my English teacher gave us an assignment to write a one-page paper about the origin of our first and middle names. I lived with my dad and stepmom at the time, so that night I went to him, pencil and paper in hand, and asked how they came up with my name.

I have a very common first and last name that was really popular to name girls at the time, so I didn’t expect much. I watched the color drain from my dad’s face as he asked me why I wanted to know. When I showed that it was for school, he mumbled something and then told me not to tell my mother. Turns out that for the life of them, they were very unable to settle on a name for me until 2 days after I was born, and my name came from my dad.

In a fit of frustration, he suggested my first and middle name, who both happened to be the first names of his ex-girlfriends, one of them right before he started dating my mother. He told me he liked both names on their own, but he didn’t expect my mother to be in love with the combo and agree, so he kept his mouth shut. I’m nearly 23 now and my mother still has no idea, and my entire class had a fantastic reaction when I read out the story of my name.


32. Planted

My sister was 10 or 11. My dad was very worried and had been waiting all day for us to come home from school. When we got home, he pulled her aside saying he needed to have a serious talk with her. He said to her, “I was looking for a pencil, and found this in your desk,” and pulled out a plastic baggie filled with some dried plant material.

She said, “Oh, catnip?” He thought that it was a more nefarious substance. We would make little cat toys with catnip and the bag had ripped so she put it in a Ziploc bag. He sighed a huge sigh of relief and laughed and told her that he had thought she was using and asked her not to tell our mom. He was so very embarrassed!


33. Watched Over

My dad is a huge watch enthusiast, and one of his favorites brands is Panerai. One day, he took me to a Torneau AD so he could have his watch fixed. While in there, I picked up the words “appraise” and “installments” and I immediately knew he was going to buy something big. He actually got into debt over watches and it got so bad, they almost got a divorce.

So, I went up to him and asked, “Dad, are you buying another watch?” He just got very quiet, and even the salesperson sort of backed away. He started pleading with me not to tell mom about it. If I didn’t, he’d buy me an Xbox 360, along with 3 new games of my choice. And so it was! It was an awkward drive home. About a week later, he went into my room with tears flowing down his cheeks.

That was when I found out he had also skimmed my college savings for his watch buying. But even then, I wasn’t mad. I just wanted him to stop wasting our money and just be happy with us. With that Panerai he had just bought. I kept my promise. My mom to this day doesn’t know. Dad sold off most of his collection, still has the Panerai to this day, and paid off his credit cards and loans. He still apologizes to me about it from time to time, including today. I’m just glad it’s all behind us!


34. Partners-In-Skiving

One day I decided to pull a sick day at school, came down stairs and saw that my dad was making a coffee. I asked him what he was doing and why he wasn’t at work and he said, “I could ask you the same question.” We stood in silence for a moment and then he said, “I won’t tell your mum if you won’t.” We had a good laugh about it and he let me have the day off.


35. Not The Boy Who Cried Wolf

When I was 19, I woke up with the worst stomach pain in my life. I was never one to get stomachaches growing up, so I did a quick Google search on how to check for appendicitis and I determined that that’s what it had to be. I asked my dad to take me to the ER and the whole trip there he was saying that it was a false alarm. When we got to the hospital, he told me to call him when I was done faking it.

About 45 minutes later, I called to tell him I had appendicitis, was going to need surgery, and if he didn’t want me to tell mom, he’d better come back. The only words out of his mouth were, “I’m on my way and you better not tell her I left.” She ended up calling me 10 minutes later. My dad claimed that he left to go get me something I forgot at home, and that’s why he wasn’t with me. And she still made it to the hospital before he did.


36. Tickled Pink

My dad and I were on our way home from a car show when we were followed by the authorities. My dad struggled to put on his seatbelt quickly in hopes he wouldn’t get a ticket. Unfortunately, we got pulled over. This might have been the first time ever that I saw an officer this close up let alone speak to one. I was a deer in headlights the whole time.

One of the officers leaned in and asked my dad why he was swerving. He told them I was tickling him. The officers looked at me straight in the eyes and asked if this was true. I was too scared to say anything and just nodded yes. The officers smiled and said, “Never to do that again while your father is driving, ok?” They left without any further words and my dad gave me the lecture of ‘don’t tell your mom.’


37. Wigging Out

Dad was doing some DIY work in the kitchen installing a breakfast booth. I was “helping” drill going through the wall. After a bit of struggling, he realized that he had accidentally drilled too far and gone into a drawer in the next room, a drawer in which for reasons that remain unclear 45 years later, my mother had stored some very expensive wigs.

Needless to say, a power drill being shoved into them did not do said wigs any favors at all, so my dad quietly untangled them from the drill and told me not to say anything. He confessed several months later when mom discovered the ruined wigs, and she laughed it off because she wasn’t particularly attached to the wigs in the first place.


38. Saving Grace

My stepmom started to charge me rent when I turned 18. I accepted as it meant I didn’t have to do as many chores and was mostly left alone. It was about $200 a month. At the time I was making $9/h which was slightly above minimum wage for my state. I was miserable at the time so I saved up to get a refurbished Xbox one to play games.

I asked my dad if I could just use the small TV in the guest bedroom. This was a TV no one used. He said he would think about it. A couple days later he said that I can but my stepmom wanted to add $25 a month to my “rent” to use it. I broke down. I told him that I was saving up to try and leave and she was the reason my sister left.

He then said that it was okay and that I had to pay rent but not the extra. Later, it turned out that he saved the money I paid for rent and gave it to me for my deposit on my first apartment. It was a “we won’t tell your stepmother about this” moment and made our relationship a little bit better.


39. Game On

My dad took me to my first MLB game and told me not to tell my mom. Later, I found out it was because the game was a good bit outside of the travel radius set in the custody agreement. They were arguing a lot more than usual at the time so he knew mom would say no if he asked about it, but he really wanted to take me to a game.

He told me not to say anything so she couldn’t use it against him while trying to take him to family court again. Luckily, I didn’t say anything and we got to keep sneaking away to games until the travel radius stopped being a thing. Dad still has the tickets too.


40. Cutting It Fine

We lived in a conservative Middle Eastern country and, when I was 12, I really wanted to get my hair cut very short. My mom was strict about cutting my hair so she kept saying, “Absolutely not,” which was very disappointing when I just wanted to feel free of my thick and heavy curls. One day, my dad and I went to the mall together along with one of my friends.

Right before leaving to go home, my dad said that he wanted to go to the barber’s to get a haircut. I used up all my courage to ask if I could also get a haircut there because I wanted my hair short. After debating, he made me promise not to cut it too short and to lie to my mom that he dropped me off at a women’s hairdresser’s with my friend and not the barber’s.

I got in and without any idea of what to do I just pointed at a photo on the wall of a random celebrity’s haircut and asked for it. I ended up having an extremely short haircut with shaved sides and a short top. My dad freaked out but eventually calmed down. When we got home my mom lost her cool and it was a disaster. Obviously, he couldn’t keep the barber thing a secret but it meant a lot to me that he was willing to lie to her for me to be happy.


41. Fallible And Human

In my second year of college, my best friend ended their life. We were all pretty heartbroken, so my mum and dad drove up from the next province to be with me. My dad, being a great cook, decided he would cook my roommates/friends and I a nice dinner to bring everyone together during the bleak moment. My dad and I ended up getting completely plastered.

He got embarrassed at his plastered state, and snuck out the back door and jumped in a cab without saying good bye. I was upset that he disappeared like that, but he also still had the car keys I needed so I could drive me and my friends to the funeral the next day. I called him and asked him to get out of the cab—and that I would meet him at whatever street corner he was at—which he did.

When I found him, he was sitting under the stoop of an apartment building, puking and crying. I rolled up and together we staggered home, crying arm in arm. When we got back to my apartment, he was still embarrassed, so he asked to sleep in the car. I said okay, grabbed him a blanket, and Pringles and a Gatorade for midnight munchies.

I went back inside and no sooner did I sit down did I get a text from him saying he was cold and wanted to come in. I went and got him from the car and he was covered in Pringle crumbs. I dragged him up the sketchy spiral staircase to my apartment and the last thing he said, before he went inside and to bed was, “God, your stairs are like Hogwarts, man. Please don’t tell your mother.”

And he passed out. It was the moment I saw my dad as a real person, not just my father. I think a lot of fathers try to be strong and stoic for their kids during hard times, in an attempt to be stable for us. Sharing this heartbreaking moment with him just brought us closer together. I love my dad.


42. Washing Up

Ohio had a huge ice storm that knocked out everyone’s power for a week or so. I remember going with my dad to do some errands for groceries and stuff. My dad in his infinite wisdom saw a car wash that was empty and went to it and deposited a couple dollars in change to get a wash. I reminded him that it was an electric car wash and that there was no power to actually use the wash. That story never made it home.


43. It Snowballed

I threw a snowball at my six-year-old. I packed it very tight, and I was a fair distance away so I had to really pitch it. She wasn’t looking at me and I was aiming for her bottom. A 6-year old’s bottom is not very far away from their head. I quickly realized it was going to be a headshot, I yelled her name to get her to cover up.

Wrong move. She turned around just in time. It beaned her in her left eye, tears instantly exploded out of her. I tried calming her down before asking, “Do we really need to tell mommy this?” She screamed, ” I WANT MOMMY!!!” Within 45 minutes she had a huge shiner. 4 years later I haven’t even come close to living that one down.


44. Not-so Secret Sweet Treat

My 4-year-old son randomly walked to the kitchen at 3 am. I had just finished up some call of duty, and he saw me eating ice cream. So, I got him a bowl and we were whispering like nerds, and we both said, “Don’t tell mom!” We didn’t do the dishes the following morning and my wife asked us who had ice cream. The little snitch pointed right at me!


45. Shipping Costs

Dad was buying an expensive wooden ship model online, from other country. My parents share a bank account, so dad wanted mom not to see he had bought something so expensive. One day we’d met at my place, he showed me the site, I helped with language during ordering process, paid with my bank account, and he handed me cash he’d been saving for this model. And about a month later it came to me. He is working on it now and it gives him so much joy.


46. O-live It

Once my dad dared me to eat a whole jar of olives. I was maybe 10 at the time. If I ate the whole thing then I would get $50 as long as I did not tell my mom or my brother. It was a stupid dare, I know, but he was plastered, and he knew I loved olives with a passion. I ate them all with gusto and washed it all down with the brine.


47. The Bear Truth

Once my dad took me to the zoo while my mom was visiting with my grandparents. I had a nasty habit of climbing on anything that looked like it could support a kid’s weight. I was up to my usual tricks when we were at the zoo, walking along the retaining walls of the animal enclosures. To me, the animals were just the cool animals I saw on the Discovery Channel or in cartoons.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before I fell into an animal enclosure and my dad looked back for me. Around that time, he heard some woman scream, “Oh my god, there’s a kid in the bear pit!” I had fallen into a pit of water that I later learned was slightly separated from the bears. Bears being curious animals noticed my presence and decided to wander over to check me out.

I remember being upset that I was all wet for about five seconds before starting to splash around and then seeing about two or three black bears slowly walking over to me and sniffing me out. Keep in mind that I lived in central Texas, so there’s no bears around for miles; the idea of making yourself seem bigger or fighting back was about as foreign to my young brain as translating the Iliad from its original Greek at the time.

Thankfully, by this time, my dad had alerted the zoo staff. Then, apparently, a couple of workers distracted the bears with food while another worker got me out of there and back to my dad. After my dad got a hold of me, dried me off, and read me the riot act, he bought me a bag of cotton candy I had asked for since we didn’t get to see the rest of the zoo that day.

He told me he’d only get it if I promised not to tell mom about the ordeal. I agreed since I wanted the cotton candy, and I think he told my mom that I’d fallen into an artificial pond or something. Of course, mom found out later anyway.


48. Just A Little Snack

My mother works as a secretary at a law firm. The firm she was working at, at the time, paid for sports tickets to schmooze their clients. However, if the date was approaching, and there were no clients who were going to use the tickets, the firm either gave them away to the first person to email or held a raffle if it was a better ticket.

One day my mom comes home with two tickets and parking passes to see our home team. Since there were only two tickets, my mom sent my dad with me. She wanted us to bond. She had one stipulation though: don’t buy any concession stand food. It was expensive and she didn’t want us to waste money. My dad agreed and we went on our way.

Well, 6 or 7 innings in, and we’re feeling peckish. So, dad says, “Who’ll know? Don’t tell your mom,” and we go and get snacks. Popcorn, soda, pretzels and hotdogs. We walk back to our seats, arms loaded, and watch the rest of the game. We come home, and my mom asks how it went. I said I loved it. She asks my dad if we got any snacks.

He says no. But then his worst fears come true: She proceeds to list every item we got verbatim. Turns out, she was recording the game for memory’s sake, and we made the highlight. One of the cameras caught us with our arms loaded and the commentator even said, “Well, don’t those two have their arms full!”


49. Fired Up

I was with my dad and we thought it was a good idea to start a small fire, on the porch—the wooden porch. It was made of mostly paper and we made sure to scatter the embers and everything. But, after we went inside and to bed, the wind must’ve kicked up because we came outside the next day and there was a giant hole burned into the porch.

My dad just told me, “Hey don’t tell your mom; I’ll get it fixed.” He then proceeded to cover it with a small table. She found out anyway and we’re pretty lucky that the house didn’t burn down.


50. Dogging Our Steps

My dad wanted to take us outside of the Scottsdale, AZ, city limits to see Halley’s comet. We drove about 45 minutes north of town into deep desert. We spent some time viewing it. We had heard dogs barking in the distance when we first got there. But they seemed closer now. Then closer. It was pitch black. I think we had a flashlight but that was it.

We started heading back to the car, shone the flashlight at a fence in the distance and about five terrifying looking dogs started right at us. We literally got the doors to the car shut just as drooling, snarling, dogs started jumping up to the windows and getting in the bed of the truck. We peeled out, and dad said, “Don’t tell mom about the dogs, ok? Your mom’s brother was almost eaten by dogs when he was little.”


Source: 1, 2

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