I’m Proud to be a Mean Mommy

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It was bound to happen.

The day my kids got so angry with me and could actually verbalize how they felt.

“Mommy, you are being SO mean!!!” {Usually followed up by “I want my Daddy!!!“}

Not gonna lie. The first time they told me that, it felt like a punch to the gut. They had called me out. My first instinct was to argue and attempt to rationalize with them that Mommy wasn’t really mean but clearly that wasn’t going to work with a 4 year old. So I turned to Facebook to lament my sorrows because, of course.

Mean MommyAnd I’ve come to realize that I AM a mean mommy. More importantly, I’m actually okay with that. I’d prefer there was a different term than “mean” but ehhh, my kids don’t know the meaning of “strict” yet. As a WAHM/SAHM mom, I am responsible for much of the weekday discipline. Clearly, it’s not my favorite – but I so strongly feel it’s a huge part of my job as a parent. I am 100% all about the wonderment of childhood, those magical moments where you can’t believe this is actually your life, and their absolute joy to show me their newest creations. But in between those incredibly rewarding times, I also have high expectations for my children. I am grooming them to be responsible, confident, and loving adults one day. Preferably productive members of society that can function outside the confines of our home. Gulp. And they aren’t going to achieve that if I am constantly permissive and passive in my discipline.

Plus, I really want their help around the house. Grin.

In all seriousness, here’s how we make the “mean” mom work in our house ::

1. Keeping consistent rules

Around here, there’s not much bend for what we {I} expect. You must brush your teeth. You must take a bath. You do not hit. No snack if you haven’t had something healthy to eat prior. No dessert if you didn’t eat a good dinner. You get the picture.

2. I am not their cosmic gift genie

Meaning they don’t get everything they want, just because THEY WANT it. I’m talking little hot wheels cars at Kroger, the newest Doc McStuffins plush toy at Target, or a Kit Kat from the check out line. More than once I have almost caved on this policy because who really wants to carry their screaming toddler out of Target {leaving behind 2 full bags of groceries and things I needed – true story}? But the truth is the more you give in on those little things, the more they come to expect it as a RIGHT. Not a privilege or “special treat.”

3. It’s okay for them to experience loss

Yes, it’s terrible when a toy breaks. The sad look in their eyes can bring even a mean mom to their knees. But what about the toy that broke because you treated it recklessly? I.am.not.replacing.it. {For that matter, neither is Santa – usually their default response, “I’ll just ask Santa for another one.” No, ma’am, you surely will not.} How will they learn to properly care for their things and take responsibility for their actions if a new item just suddenly appears? They won’t.

4. Teach them to apologize

Around here, we immediately and swiftly encourage our children to apologize. We don’t tolerate disrespect or other negative behaviors. {But please know that we as parents also model this behavior and eat our humble pie on many occasions. If mean mommy screws up, I am most definitely going to suck it up and say that I’m sorry. We aren’t perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination.}

5. Cultivate independence

Now that my children are a little older {4 years old}, this mommy doesn’t just jump at every little need or want. I have certain expectations that they can get their own snack, wash their own bowl, get the dog some food, put their clothes in the hamper, and dress themselves. And you know what? Now my daughter LOVES to cook with me, begs me to wash the dishes, and wants to unload the dishwasher. Why? Because she knows she can do it. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to take advantage for as long as it lasts.

As I re-read this list, I’m not sure how radical this all is. It seems fairly sensible and logical to me. Yet I know that even as the “mean mommy”, I don’t always follow through with my discipline or threats. Why is that?

BECAUSE IT’S HARD.

It’s easier to give in, to avoid the fight, banish the tantrum.

But I have to believe that I’m doing my kids a huge disservice by avoiding the HARD. Life is not an easy journey. Never was guaranteed to be. And if I throw them out into the world after 18 years of coddling and pacifying, to me it’s akin to child abuse. I’m not supposed to be their best friend. I am their MOM. And I take that responsibility very seriously.

I read in a bible study today about motherhood being like “monovision.” {Monovision is where you correct one eye for near-sightedness and the other for far-sightededness – they work together so you can see both near and far}. Exactly like parenthood. We have to be present in the moment and taking care of the “here and now,” while keeping in mind the FUTURE. What we do now affects how they will behave in adulthood. No pressure, right? Ha!

So pass me that “mean mom” crown. I’ll display it proudly at the dinner table tonight.

{Ok, you knew it was coming right? The infamous “Meagan Disclaimer.” I’ll just say this… I will go to the ends of the earth for my kids. I love them beyond measure. Just because I may not cater to every whim doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. I show them love in consistent praise, tons of hugs, lots of “I love you’s” and “I’m so proud of you’s”, quality time, and so much more. And I think they are much more willing to go along with the “mean mommy” thing because they know intrinsically they are safe, cared for, adored, and LOVED by us – we only want the best for them. And lest you were concerned, I am NOT opposed to the occasional treat. If you saw our toy box and storage you may be a bit horrified. I just prefer to gift randomly instead of when it’s being dictated to me on the Target toy aisle.}

 Any other “mean moms” out there too? I’ll share my crown with you.

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

18 COMMENTS

  1. Oh my gosh, yes! Someone finally said it!! I’m not their best friend, I am their MOM (at my house, that’s usually followed by “and I’m in charge”) I’ll take the mean mom crown any day!

  2. I like your style! I was horrified this weekend at a birthday party where I met a mom, whose parenting philosophy is never say no. I told her I have a Dr. Phil episode on my dvr she needs to watch. I received some really good advice on parenting when I was pregnant with my first. An old lady from my church said, “I never threatened my kids, I promised them… Good or bad whatever I told them I was going to do I did it, whether it was a punishment or treat” Follow through with your kids sometimes seems the hardest thing to do, but it makes me consider my words carefully, and makes my kids consider their actions.

    • Great advice, Vanessa! This whole “Yes Mom” new phenomenon is dangerous in my opinion. I try to say yes to the easy things (You want to wear shorts and it’s 50 degrees outside – you’ll learn 😉 ) but we must say no even when it’s hard. You’re right, follow through is the most difficult because it’s so much easier to go the other way. Thanks for reading!

  3. This is by far my favorite Houston Moms Blog post. I proudly wear my mean mom crown. I probably would have been this way anyway, but after becoming a teacher and seeing first hand those victims of said child abuse (coddling and pacifying), no way would I handicap my own kids like that.

  4. Love this! I have many times referred to myself as “the mean mom” and I mean it in EXACTLY the way you describe. So refreshing to know there are others out there with the same perspective!

  5. Thank you, Meagan! My husband and I are older and were childless. We adopted our daughter when she was six after being in our home for over a year. We have had adjustment periods, but I am proud to wear the “mean Mommy” crown. Our daughter just turned eight years old. The other day she told me she had thought I was just a mean mom, but now she understood that I only want what is best for her and because I love her. She added, “That’s good because I will need a mean mom when I am older. I hope that is not a threat. 😉

  6. I just tell mine that I’m earning my mean mommy points, and all mommies have to earn a certain amount before their kids are grown ☺

  7. I needed this today. yesterday afternoon I received a very strong “so mean mommy” from my 5 year old. I hated it but finally said, yes I am because I love you and expect things from you. It was a rough rough few hours at home from a very tired new Kindergartener. Grace and forgiveness run plenty in our home as well… but all of your numbered points are spot on and make me feel like I’m not alone in this gig!!

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