Saturday, 27 March 2010

Mean Moms

(As the British Postal advert goes – I saw this and I thought of you!! It arrived in one of those circulated e-mails so I regret I don’t know its author.)

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too. And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was.

We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, toast, Yam and Plantain. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat Rice . And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labour Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, and empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers; she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head.

Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16 or Over .

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced.

Most of us were never kidnapped, or raped, or caught shoplifting, or vandalized other people's property or were arrested for any crime.....

And it was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are educated, honest, hard-working, conscientious adults. And we are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

(And Their Kids)


  1. I have read this before and it is all so true..I know I was a Mean Mom..My Daughter had no problem at times telling me this...The meanest thing I ever did to my kids was let them take Drivers Ed, then took their learners permit when they passed...The couldn't get their Drivers license till they could pay for their own car and the insurance...I had to do that as a teenager and it didn't kill me..If they have to spend their money then they will take care of it...Both my children survived the Mean MoM..When my two oldest Grandkids were like 3 and 5 they were getting into things and winding their Mom up...She called me an told me I wasn't really a BAD MOM, she had got on the kids and she said I flew right out her mouth...It does come back and they finally see we really weren't so mean...
    Thanks for the post...

  2. I'm a horrible mummy according to in-laws, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers on the bus or in the supermarket.

    Most of the time I can live with that for the reasons you outlined, but it would nice if the entire country (oh alight, the ones in the country who meet me) didn't all decide that I am a right cow because he has a bedtime, does jobs in the house and is expected to be polite.

    People think I am heartless, they just don't see that I do what I do because I love him to death and I want him to reach adulthood and reach it with the tools and the attitude that help him make the most of it rather than having to relearn his MO because the rest of the universe isn't as soft on him as his Mamma.

  3. I'm afraid I have to beg to differ on this point. i have been, deliberately and philosophically, a very libertarian mum. my kids were autonomously home educated when younger and have never had curfews or excessive regulation. I have always been honest and open with them but considered family life as something we worked at together not something I was in control of. We do now have a washing up rota and they clean their own spaces. But last Christmas Day all of my three older children worked a shift voluntarily, doing jobs that are less than desirable. My oldest son, who was a disastrous teenager, now has a work ethic I am proud of, and he found it from within himself, I did not force it in to him.
    I think it is wrong for parents to think they know it all and have all the answers, we don't, we are just as likely to make a mistake, make a poor decision, who are we kidding?
    with respect and much love

  4. "I think it is wrong for parents to think they know it all and have all the answers"

    I think it is wrong for parents to think they don't know anything and haven't got any answers.

    Although that wouldn't actually be my stance when it comes to AHE/libertarian parenting, I'm just reflecting back the loaded language at you, defined by your choice of absolutes and extremes.

    Most of us think we probably know more or less enough, most of the time, for most of the kids, to have most of the answers .... with some bouts of self doubt and panic along the way.

    We just come to wildly different conclusion as to which parenting approach will work best for us, our kids and our circumstances.

    I'd prefer to be left alone to get on with it in my own way without the world and its mother feeling the need to share their opinion of my parenting style with me, as I'm sure you would too.

    Because frankly unless somebody is scarring/abusing their child (and I mean that in the real sense of the words not the hyperbolic "Mummy Olympics" sense of the words) physically, emotionally or mentally, I really can't get that excited about what they do, how they do it and why they do it.

    Vive la sodding differences and let's spend the energy finding answers for the kids who really have got the short straw in parental terms.

  5. Yes my Mum was mean too :)
    and I guess if you ask my girls they would say I am pretty damn mean too!
    Its all so very true.....

  6. Hi Sarah
    The point I am making is that people often seem to think that their kids have turned out ok and safe **because** of something that they did, when there is no proof that this is the case. Sometimes you can do all you can to prepare them for the realities of the big bad world, load them up with advice and regulations, or on the other hand wrap them in cotton wool and pander to their every need etc etc through the many and various parenting approaches, and still children will get knocked over by cars and take drugs and get abducted by strangers. The message is, there are no guarantees in life. You are right, we all try and do our best in our own way for our children, but you can never know if what you did was the right thing, how they might have turned out if you had done things differently. I don't think that what I did was better, it was just different. Sciptor's post was actively advocating a certain approach, I was just offering an opinion on his suggestion.
    thanks for sharing

  7. My kids had a 'mean dad'so my role was as 'smoother'. It all worked out ok. They knew they were loved. I hope.

  8. My parents seemed to be fairly loose about certain things. They let me go out during the week, clubbing (while I was doing my A levels), which I probably wouldn't with my kids. However, there were certain "unwritten rules", like my curfew (don't miss the last bus, and don't sleep in for school) which kept me very much on the straight and narrow.
    With my teens (17 and 14) we haven't had too many spats and problems yet and I definitely feel like I'm making it up as I go along. I have no idea how I would react should something "big" happen.

  9. Great title for a blog aka MEAN MUMS!!!

    l can't do mean....alas...

    saz x

  10. Hi
    Thank goodness my children have grown up. It reminds me of the record that keeps saying 'no charge'. I have it on my juke box.

  11. Yep, I'm MEAN -- and proud of it!

  12. Great blog post -- I'm mean and proud of it!

  13. @Ken - oh I remember that song. It was a country record and the singer (male I think) listed all the chores the mother had done for the child, including carrying it for 9 months, and then says "No charge". Can you imagine if mothers tried that on their kids. Mine would be rolling their eyes all over the place and thinking I'd finally lost it.

  14. We are always the worst parents ever to our teens, are we not?

    And yet, we are always the best that we can be at the same time...

    Until they begin to parent their own children - Then it all comes clear. Great posting, Scriptor, thank you for pointing it out to us x