“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory bank of our children”. -Charles R. Swindoll
There are so many different parenting styles these days it is hard for anyone to even know where to start when they get the news they are expecting their new bundle of joy.
I have had a lot of people come to me in the past years for “parenting advice” or “tips and tricks” on how to handle certain situations. I always have had a hard time with that, because what works for one child does not mean it will work for another. I can tell you out of my four children, every single one of them has their own style, personality, emotions, and uniqueness. With that, I have had to take very different approaches to them on effective parenting when it comes to simple discipline. But, one thing that I do all around the board for every single one of them, is know that I am not their friend right now, I am their mom. My sole purpose on this parenting journey is to understand that I am raising these tiny little humans to become respectful, loving, independent adults, and with that comes the responsibility at understanding that sometimes I will in fact be:
The Mean Mom!
“What does a mean mom entail?”, you may ask yourself. I am here to break it down. First off, let me start by saying that I have actual had the title “mom” or “mommy” for half of my life. Yes, you read that right, I welcomed my first at the age of 16, and being such a young mom, it took me a really long time to figure out how to really do this mom thing, because I was still trying to figure out who I even was. At the age of 32 I am STILL trying to figure out who I am. Hey, that is another blog post, no one has time for that! Let’s get back to the point shall we? Being a mean mom does not mean that anytime you are around your children you are screaming at them, yelling demands, breaking their confidence, beating them. It is actually very far from that. Being a mean mom means that you have certain expectations for your children, and they are expected to do their best to meet those expectations.
Now, that does not mean put unreasonable expectations on a child who developmentally can not achieve that. Because, then you are setting your child up for failure and that is not what we want our children to grow up thinking. In our home our expectations are very reasonable for the age of our children.
MEAN MOM REASON #1: School is number 1, you will always do the best to your ability at school, that does not mean you need straight A’s, but it means that we know your potential. If you are struggling in math and you end up with a C but you did your absolute best, then we will hang that C up on the fridge in celebration. If you are very capable of getting a A, but because you refused to do your homework, you did not study for the test you knew you had, you simply did not apply yourself to your ability, then you are grounded until the grade is up. That last part is mean mom material. Being grounded. It is not easy grounding your children, because honestly it is more of a punishment on my part, having them hanging around me all the time. Just staring. That is why being a mean mom is so hard, sometimes you too are being punished.
MEAN MOM REASON #2: You have chores once a week. Now, do I expect my house to be ready for the queen on a weekly basis as I slave labor my kids into having to “gasp” clean the toilet they spent the last week peeing all over (boy mom’s will get this). No, absolutely not. Do I expect you to know what chores you have, and do them right the first time because I have shown you numerous times how to achieve that? Of course I do. What happens if you slack on your chores and purposely do them wrong, or not at all, then the next week you get to do ALL the chores in the house instead of the very small chore you were asked to do in the first place, while your siblings sit and relax. Once again, that last part is where the mean mom comes in.
MEAN MOM REASON #3: Laundry. The dreaded, dreaded laundry. I remember when my now husband and I moved in together I had a laundry pile the size of Mt. Everest hidden in the laundry room. I was working full time, I was a single mom, I had three children, and I just did not have time. I remember the first time I showed him my dirty little secret of laundry he looked at me very confused and said “Why are they not doing their own laundry?” Now, this was a foreign concept in my brain. I had never even considered showing my kids how to do their laundry. And that is when my life changed forever. Yes, my three older children do their OWN LAUNDRY! They each have a designated laundry day once a week. You are expected to start your load in the morning before school, you change it when you get home, and then you fold and put it away when it is finished. The mean mom part is that if you forget your laundry day, you have to be reminded of your laundry, if it is 9:00pm and you still have not changed loads of laundry, then you do not get TV for the next day, or Play Station, or whatever else you were planning on doing. I would like to clarify though that I am fully aware that life is life. Even I forget to change loads every once in awhile, or we are just busy that day. I get life happens! So if you have been on your A game, and it slips your mind every once in a great while, or we were running here or there that night, then you are obviously allowed to make up your laundry day at a different time. You just have to wait until your other siblings finish their days, so they are not punished. I will also change your load for you if I know we are doing something that evening. So it is done and ready for you to put away. It is all about balance. Once again, we are not here to set our kids up for failure. We are here to teach them life skills, along with life lessons. But, you are solely responsible for your underwear, have you ever seen an 11 year old underwear? NO THANKS!
MEAN MOM REASON #4: Our children are very limited in technology. Now, this one is a touchy subject for many parents. It is also one that comes up one debates on any and every mommy site I am apart of. This is something my husband and I decided for our own family, for our own personal reasons, that does not mean I am judging you that your toddler has an I Pad in the grocery store, or that your 7 year old has their own phone. That is not the case AT ALL. We made a choice on limiting their devices because we saw what happened when our daughter had one when she was in 6th grade. It was like we lost her completely. She constantly had her face in her phone, she was always moody, her attitude went from a fun loving 6th grade girl, to a girl who was tip toeing with a very severe case of depression. We made the choice at the end of 7th grade to take said phone away, and we never looked back. That one got me mean mom of the year! I graciously accepted my award, and thanked her for the nomination. I also thank my son who is now in 6th grade for a second nomination when he came to us asking for a phone, and we both laughed and laughed through our absolutely not. One thing I do want to say is that it is also okay to take a device away, to check devices, and to monitor your child! You may feel like you are invading their privacy, but from a personal standpoint, seeing what your children are doing, talking about, or what apps they are on may save their life. The rule in this house now is, if you can pay for it, you can have it. We stick to our guns on this and they are all thriving and surviving very well without it. I personally believe that our children are loosing their sense of wonder and imagination at a younger and younger age due to the push of devices, but again, this is my own personal feeling, do what works best for your family. But, do not think your child will not thrive if they do not have the latest and best device out there. Or feel like they will be left out from their peer groups or from things that may hurt them socially. We allow our children to use our phones to chat or text when needed. We also allow them time on their Chrome Books from school to chat with friends if all homework is done for a certain period of time. I am here to tell you, they will be just fine. With that being said we also limit their games and game time. These things have to be earned in our house. You can earn game time by reading. For every minute your read, it is the amount of time you get to play your game (This is week nights only, as long as you had a good week, you can play as long as you want on the weekend). So if you come home, and read 30 minutes, you get 30 minutes of your game! This has actually really helped our middle son who was really struggling with reading. It gave him a reason to read, and now he loves to sit down with a book over grabbing the game counsel. He just got into Harry Potter, if I could tell you how proud that makes me! You can be the mean mom, but also a Potter fan, I know from experience.
Now that you know the top reasons why I am a mean mom, even though there are many many more, like my daughter loosing her bedroom door for 3 years after slamming it during a very lovely pre-teen meltdown one to many times, let’s talk about all of the above a little bit.
Our youngest started doing his own laundry at the age of 6, and he was supervised the first few times he did it to make sure he understood everything. If he had any questions about what to do, if he needed help learning the buttons, or how to fold, we were there right next to him to encourage him and teaching him. I know I have said it a few times in this post but you can not expect your children just to know how to do things, this is not to set them up for failure, this is to set them up to flourish. Even our 15 year old at times has questions about a chore, or laundry, or why oh why they didn’t have a door. Questions are good! We encourage it!
It is okay as a parent to not be liked by your kids at all times. It is okay to tell your children no, it is okay to set certain expectations, and to have consequences. It is okay to hold your kids accountable for their actions when they do something wrong. All of these things are okay, and will not cause your little one to run away, resent you, or hate you later in life. It will help them grow, and learn, and it will help them to learn a little more about the adult world, because in the adult world it is not all rainbows and sunshine. We have family and friends who joke and laugh at the way we run our house at times. They call it “Bootcamp”, they will even say to their own kids, you better stop talking back to me or I will send you to “Bootcamp”. This actually upsets me at times because I did not know teaching your children how to do simple life skills is now considered military training? But, hey, when my kids enter the cruel, cold world of adulting, they will have a better understanding on what they are capable of to make it. They will be in college, and able to get their laundry done, apartments clean, cook a good meal, and how to be socially present for their friends, and for their academics. Because obviously that is all my little angels will be doing in college, right?
There are things we as parents really need to do to raise successful adults, being their parent and not their friend is #1 in my eyes. That does not mean that they are not loved or encouraged every single day. It does mean they understand what is expected of them to make a successful household and to become successful people. And they take pride in their work when it is done! My daughter actually just rolled her eyes at me the other day because I walked across her clean floor! I will take that eye roll any day! Always remember, being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but being a child in today’s society is equally hard, so make sure you are not only teaching your children, you are also listening to them, because listening to them will help relieve the nominations of meanest parent in the world, most days at least. Hope everyone has a great week!
What are some chores you do around your house, or what qualifies you as the mean parent this week?! Comment below!!