Ever wondered how to be a mean mom? Yeah, probably not. You might want to look into it! Here is why…
I don’t remember a lot about when I was really young, but I do remember the particular night when I made my mother cry. In my little 5 or 6 yr old world I was completely oblivious to the long and exhausting days my mom was enduring to raise 3 young children. I remember the words that came out of my mouth like it was yesterday.
“I hate you! You’re a MEAN mom!”
Evidently, it was just enough to send her over the edge that day because I heard her sobbing in the next room and my little kid heart felt like it was going to break!
I am now that mother raising 4 young children. My heart still aches for my young mother, only now even more as I experience some of the same emotions that she did raising me. When I scrape Cheerios off of my kitchen floor I think of my mom and all the Cheerios she scraped off the floor for me, all the diapers she changed… for me….and all the times I was un-grateful and disrespectful…and yet she still never gave up…on ME! That kind of perspective helps me to get through the rough times of raising my own kids.
My mom wasn’t really a MEAN mom, she was just a young mother doing the best she knew how, just like I am now. She was firm, and consistent, and always put raising us above any other pursuit in life. She wasn’t afraid to be the BAD GUY when it meant raising us to be responsible, caring adults. She took away our video games and sold them when she knew they were taking over our life. We were only allowed to watch G rated movies even when all of our friends were watching something else. We were expected to do chores and do them WELL! If we broke something, we were expected to make amends. I remember breaking our VCR at a very young age because I stuffed it full of index cards. I had to do dishes for a long time! (or at least it felt long in my little world)Growing up, a lot of people judged my mother for being to ‘strict’ or ‘mean’ including close relatives and friends. What they didn’t see was the mother that I saw. The mother I saw would spend hours reading great novels to all of us at night (think EIGHT children!). The mother I saw taught us to love each other and to love others. She taught us to love God and Sunday was always a special day at our house with hymns playing softly in the background. I always knew she loved me and she went out of her way to raise us right, but she was not afraid to be labeled a ‘MEAN MOM.’ She was not afraid to push the easy standards of the world to the side and pave her own path in raising her kids.
I remember her when I am tempted to let my kids play on their tablets longer than they should so I can get some peace.
I remember her when my kids are fighting and I want to put them up for adoption!
I remember her when I feel too tired to gather everyone for family prayer or read scriptures.
I remember her when life just literally sucks and I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
I remember her when I have to make dinner for what seems like the millionth time, or wake up with a baby who won’t sleep, or when being a mother just takes every ounce of energy I have left in me.
I remember my ‘mean mom’ and I keep on trying, keep on caring, and keep on loving, because if she could do it for me, I can certainly do it for my own children!
When my own children scream, yell, throw fits and utter these words,
“I hate you! You’re a mean mom!”
I only smile and think to myself,
“Well good. I must be doing something right!”
Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my mother: