I dread the day when the words “You’re the meanest mom!” are uttered. It’s inevitable. It is usually combined with a phrase similar to “Well, so-and-so’s Mom let’s them do it!” I remember those words from my childhood. I’m just bracing myself for their debut in our household.
When I found this story “The World’s Meanest Mom” I knew that I was ready to take on those words with pride. I might even make a t-shirt!
“I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While other kids had no breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had pop and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. My mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were on a chain gang. She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing. She insisted that if we said we’d be gone for an hour, that we would be gone for one hour or less.
“I am ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor law. She made us wash the dishes, make beds, learn to cook, and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she lay awake nights thinking up mean things for us to do. She always insisted that we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
“By the time we were teenagers she was much wiser, and our lives became even more miserable. None of this tooting the horn of a car for us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates and friends come to the door to get us.
“My mother was a complete failure as a mother. None of us have ever been arrested or beaten a rap. Each of my brothers has served a mission, and his country. And whom do we have to blame for this terrible way we turned out? You’re right—our mean mother. Look at all the things we have missed. We never got to take part in a riot, burn draft cards, and a million and one other things that our friends did. She made us grow up into educated, honest adults. Using this as a background, I am trying to raise my children. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my children call me mean. You see, I thank God that he gave me the meanest mother in the whole world.” (Orien Fifer, Phoenix Gazette)
I realized I was already headed down the meanest mom road once my kids started school. Their lunches were self-prepared, their class presentation projects were clearly done all by themselves, playdates were turned down if I could not get to know their friend’s family first, etc.
Every mother is different. Every mother is trying their best. My best is different than the next person’s, and the inspiration I receive on how to best raise my children is different than another mothers.
And that’s okay.
I want to create a sense of self-worth in my children in knowing that they can do hard things on their own. I want them to know that sometimes the way I say “I love you” is in saying “no”. They may not realize it now, but someday when they are grown and gone, they will be able to reflect on their childhood and say that they too are glad that they had the meanest mother in the whole world.
Are you a mean mom too?