Friday, April 30, 2010


Many years ago, when my children were younger, I know that on occasion their friends would tell them that I was "mean" or strict. I tried to look on that as if they were paying me a compliment!

Once I had a total stranger say to me "You must be a mean mom." He said that because we were standing in line at the post office (at Christmas time, mind you) and my young kids were laughing and trying to poke one another and I told them to stop.

So he turned to me and said "You must be a mean mom." I explained that I couldn't let them poke one another because poking can turn to shoving and pretty soon they'd be knocking into or annoying the people in line. He didn't agree with me and still said I was mean.

However, right after I said this another mother came in with her children. Two of them immediately began joking and shoving one another and bumped into the man several times. The third child walked over and began using his fingernail to scratch off the snowman that was painted on the glass.

During this time the mother ignored the shoving and yelling and scratching and didn't say a word of correction to her children. After several bouts of being bumped into, the man turned to me and said "I apologize. You are a good mom!"

I was and am a "mean" mommy if that means I had expectations for my children when they were out in public, as well as at home. I expected them to behave, be polite, and remember that they weren't the only people in the store that day.

I expected them to use indoor voices when they were indoors. I expected them to say "please" and "thank you," and "I'm sorry" and "please forgive me." I expected that it was my job to watch their behavior when we were out, and not the store manager's job or the waitress's job.

I expected them to be respectful to me (and others) both in their tone of voice and in their behavior. I expected them to be obedient and do what we asked them to do without arguing. Now admittedly we didn't always get that, but there were consequences for disobedience.

When they were younger we said "no" to some t.v. shows, some movies, and to hanging out at the mall without a grownup there. We said "no" to going out to the movies without a grownup along. We said "no" to most overnight sleepovers at a friend's house (grandparent's house was o.k. though). They couldn't play at a friend's house if their friend's parent wasn't there to supervise.

We said "no" a lot. But we said "yes" to lots more. We said "yes" to having play dates with their friends, or having their friends and their parents over for fun and fellowship. We said "yes" to swim parties and bowling parties and all sorts of fun (with and without their friends). We said "yes" to lazy summer day BBQ's, bike rides, camping, and building snowmen in the winter time.

For every "no" that we said, for every "mean" mommy and daddy response that we had, we sought to make sure that they knew we loved them. We didn't always give them a reason for our "no," but let them know that they needed to trust our judgment. No, they didn't usually like not getting a reason, but learning to trust in your parent's love and judgment is just a prelude to learning to trust in the Lord's love and judgment all your life, I think.

We made sure to let them know that we only wanted what was best for them and that they needed to trust our reasons, even if they didn't know what they were. We made sure to let them know that we weren't perfect, we made mistakes, but that we were seeking to raise them for the Lord as best we could. We were, after all, responsible to the Lord for our actions.

So if your kids think you're a "mean" mommy because you said "no," don't let it get you down. You're not alone! And remember, someday they'll grow up and be "mean" mommies and daddies themselves!


  1. thanks for sharing this! :D you are an encouragement!

  2. I've never had an incident like you had but quite the opposite. When in a restaurant we will actually have people come up to our table on their way out and comment on how well behaved out children are and how rare it is. That right there tells you that the majority of parents just let their kids do whatever. I can't stand being in a restaurant with misbehaving kids. Especially when they are RIGHT BEHIND YOU in the next booth yelling over your shoulder and touching your hair with their sticky fingers and their "parents" don't do ANYTHING about it. *PHew* I'm glad I got that off my chest. LOL!
    You are a wonderful MOMMY and keep up the good work. It's nice to know we're not alone.

  3. I guess I am a mean mommy too then:) YOu are a great mom. I want to say "yes" to more things. These days though saying yes is not as safe as it was when we were kids...which breaks my heart.

  4. I feel like a mean mommy most times..but I know I'm not near "mean" enough!

  5. My daughter is 2 and I'm just beginning to become a "mean" mommy. lol Wow, people don't know the meaning of the word, do they?

    I feel bad having to say no, though I suppose it's something I'll have to get used to. I've been around people who let their kids go wild and it's not good - the kids are never really happy, either. Kids need boundaries!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh, that was perfect that the man had to eat his words. Ha.

    I am a "mean" Mommy too, but people tell me how polite my daughter is and how mannerly she is too.

    It is good to be strict in love. I'm sure I could do a better job though.

    Love ya.

  7. Thanks for allowing me to be glad to be mean! Behavior in our home and outside our home is also very important to me. Like you, I like to nip in the bud bad behavior and have been accused of being mean. I love your realistic expectations and know that through this training your children will become responsible and model citizens in their lives.

  8. Yes...being a mean mommy is a compliment in every since of the word. Kids actually like boundaries, and it is up to us parents to set them. Then sprinkled with love!

  9. I agree with all of these but why no sleepovers at friends houses?

  10. Having 5 kids we always drew a lot of attention when we went out. I remember telling them that people noticed us more since we came in a herd so they had to be EXTRA good. We always had people come over and comment on how well behaved our kids were in restaurants or stores. When someone has a dr appointment we would all take up the waiting room, usually with our school books to keep them busy. The receptionists were always amazed that they sat and did their work. It was never a question if they would behave. I am the Queen of Mean. Oh, we had a little boy over (about 6) and when the kids wanted to go outside I told them to clean up all the toys and we would go outside. He told me his mom didn't make him clean up and he wasn't doing it. WHAT?!?! I told him at our home if you played with toys you picked them up and while he was at our house that is what he would do. He told his mom he didn't want to come to our house anymore :) About a year later they came over and while I talked to his mom he played outside and SPIT on my son. He came in with a big spitwad dripping from his forehead. Lovely child. His mom later told me they had been to a restaurant and the waiter prepared their food to go because people were complaining about them. Another time they were moved to the party room b/c of complaints.

  11. Mean Mamí here!!!!
    according to my kiddos I am one =)

    And today I am going to be the Nicest Mamí ever!!
    We are celebrating "El dia del Niño"
    we are going to let them be for a whole day today! I just hope they don't burn the house down! =S

    ☼¨`*•.♥FELIZ DIA DEL NIÑO♥.•*¨`☼

  12. yeah, I had a mean mommy...but I think I'm even meaner! LOL

  13. I think you are correct in the way you bring up your kids. We need lots more mean mommies and I am proud to count myself among the proud just like you!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  14. I was...and AM...a mean mommy, too! ;-)

  15. oh yes I am a MEAN MOMMY! Im ever told that hear and there. I was once told if your kids tell you that your mean, your doing a GREAT job. :)

  16. From one mean mom to another...great post!

  17. Wonderful, encouraging post! I'm happy to know that I'm not the only "mean" mom out there! I appreciate how you show the balance; while we have to say "no" often, we can say "yes" a whole lot, too!

  18. I am a mean mom too! ;)
    not enough parents are "mean" these days!

  19. Good advice and I agree. We tried our best to do the same. I think we've done pretty well.

    You guys certainly have. Your boys (young men) are very well behaved and have great humor and are good friends for their peers.

    God bless "Mean Mommies" and teachers and recess teachers.

    Have a great week,

  20. When my boys told me I was a Mean Mom, I knew I was doing my job!

  21. Glad I'm not the only "mean mom!" I get comments all the time about how well behaved my kids are (ages 5 & 6). The only reason they are well behaved is that my husband and I have been "mean parents" since before they started crawling. LOL


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