There once was a time when hearing that phrase from one of my kidlets would have had tears streaming down my cheeks. I would doubt my parenting decision and had to convince myself that I wasn’t doing some sort of psychological harm to my kids.
But now that I’ve got about nine years of parenting under my belt, I take that phrase as a compliment.
Yes, I said a compliment. A compliment of the highest order in fact.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still cringe on the inside whenever I hear it, but to me, it means that I’m doing my job as a parent by parenting my children.
As a parent, I see that my main job is to teach my two kidlets various life lessons. These are lessons that teach them about values and how to be thoughtful, independent, smart and confident human beings.
So, if making sure my kids behave properly, are kind to and considerate of others, that they always tell the truth, do their homework and study, eat healthy foods, go to bed at a reasonable hour, limit their screen time and help out with household chores – then yes, I am absolutely 100% guilty of being a mean mom.
You should make up one of those wanted posters and slap my puss right on it.
No offense, but I don’t want to be my children’s friend (at least not now, when they’re a grown adult, I will reconsider). I want my kidlets to know that while their father and I value and listen to their opinions, that we ultimately make the decisions and that we choose to run a household where rules are followed, and people are respected. That’s not being mean; that’s giving our kids structure to their lives.
This isn’t some new revelation or unique story. I remember saying the same thing to my parents. They were such a drag when I was growing up! They were on top of me about grades, keeping my room clean, helping out around and house and making sure I attended church weekly. They were so annoying, always wanting to know where I was, what I was doing, who I was with and worst of all, giving me a weekend curfew of 11 PM!
Well, their “mean-ness” must have worked because I’ve never been in trouble with the law, know right from wrong, got a good education, have a great career, take an active role within my church/community and have a great group of friends, a loving family and pretty much a happy life.
My parents knew I didn’t really think they were mean. And you know what, I know my kidlets feel the same.
How do I know?
Because I’m the first person they run to when they get hurt, when they want to be comforted, when they have something exciting to share, when they want to read a book, need help with something or just want to snuggle.
And I know that my life lessons are getting through. I see it in their daily actions, so I must be doing something right. So if they want to blow off a little steam and say I’m the meanest mom in the world, let them.
Now it’s your turn to share. Has your child ever called you mean? What is it that sets them off? Limiting screen time? Eating veggies with dinner? Wearing socks with shoes?
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