Friday, July 5, 2013

I Am A "Mean" Mom And I Am O.K. With That

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When our children were growing up we said "no" to some things and on occasion other children told them "your mom is mean" or "your parents are mean."

When my children reported it back to me I took it as a compliment.

I even had an adult man call me a "mean mom" once because I wouldn't let my kids wrestle in the line at the post office.  The man almost immediately apologized and told me I was a good mom after another woman's kids started hitting and poking one another in line and bumped into him several times.  If asking my kids to not push and shove one another while waiting in a line makes me a mean mom, so be it.

I am positive that there were times that my own children thought I was mean too. I am o.k. with that.

I might even have been called overprotective by other adults, on occasion.  I am o.k. with that too.

If loving my child means that I am mean, so be it.

If curtailing some of my child's freedom and setting up neighborhood boundaries in order to protect them means that I am mean, so be it.

If saying no, they cannot stay all night at the house of someone I have never met before means that I am mean, so be it.

If saying no to many, if not most, overnighter's (except at grandma and grandpa's house) means that I am mean, so be it.

If putting a filter on the computer so that they couldn't access certain sites means I am mean, so be it.

If saying no to the total stranger who introduced herself as my new neighbor and asked if my five year old could come over with her right now to play in her house and watch her two and three year olds while she worked inside her home is overprotective and mean, I am o.k. with that!

If saying that they couldn't watch certain shows when they were younger and limiting their t.v. and computer time is mean, so be it.

If having them take music lessons and do chores to teach them a work ethic and diligence and perseverance is mean, so be it.

If homeschooling them instead of putting them in public or private school is mean, so be it.

If it's mean to expect that it's MY job to watch my kids when we were out and not the store manager's job, so be it.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

If expecting them to behave when they were out in public and not run around in the fancy restaurant and be loud and disrespectful to other diners is mean and not letting them be "kids," so be it.

If not allowing them to hang out at the mall for hours on end when they were teenagers is mean, so be it.

If not allowing my kids to go to a movie with their friends without an adult present is mean, so be it.

If not allowing our eight year old to have the run of the neighborhood and instead limiting his bike riding to three driveways away on either side of our driveway is mean, so be it.

If letting our kids know that, as a parent, we would reserve the right to read their emails or texts on occasion, if we felt it was warranted, is mean, so be it.

If having to know where they were, who they were with and when they would be home is mean, so be it.

If letting them struggle with making a decision about something so that they could learn HOW to make decisions and get comfortable with making decisions, instead of making the decision for them is mean, so be it.

If insisting that they make their beds and keep their rooms neat when they were younger is mean, so be it.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at

We took our kids to church, taught them about the Lord, and with God's grace tried our best to model it at home.  If that's mean, so be it.

We taught them that we expected them to be respectful and obedient, and that when you obey your parents you are obeying and honoring God.  If that's mean, so be it.

We tried our best to encourage them to say "I am sorry, please forgive me" when they had wronged someone and/or hurt their feelings. If that's mean, so be it.

We taught them that we could set boundaries for them and teach them values but ultimately they are responsible for the choices and decisions they make.  If that's mean, so be it.

We tried our best to teach them to be kind and respectful to others, if that's mean, so be it.

Children are too precious to leave the raising of them to chance.  When ours were young we set up external boundaries in hopes that they would, in turn, develop their own internal boundaries as they got older.

We said "no" for them in certain situations when they were younger, in hopes that they would have the confidence and strength to say "no" on their own when they were older.

I know that everyone doesn't agree and would raise their own children differently.  That's fine.  But these are MY children and we had to do what we felt was right.  We're STILL doing what we feel is right.

Did our kids resent being sheltered?  Certainly there were times when they were not happy with a "no."  Of course they didn't like hearing no! They were kids!  Do they resent it now?

I just asked my youngest that question.  Did he resent it now? He is 20 and he looked at me with a teasing smile on his face and said "I turned out good, didn't I?"  (Well, all except for using the word "good" instead of "well" I'd said he turned out o.k, lol!

My eldest wrote a blog post for me when he was twenty (you can read it here).  In it I asked him to give some "parenting" tips  I asked him to reflect on his childhood. In his post he said that we had "set boundaries but weren't horribly strict."  In that same post I said:

I find it interesting that he said we set boundaries and weren't horribly strict, when in reality we were somewhat strict. I guess it just shows that the boundaries either made sense to him or that he didn't feel restricted or just didn't want to say it, lol!). 

There was much that he could do, to make up for the things that he wasn't allowed to do.

When that same son went off to college, he wrote us a letter.  In part of his letter he said:

"I want you guys to know just how much I love you both and how much everything you've done for me has meant.

I know I haven't been the perfect kid growing up, but I attribute who I am and the man that I've become to you both, and I want to thank you for that foundation.

I want you to know and take comfort in the knowledge that I am going to school with the right beliefs and attitudes.

Thank you for raising me in a way that is respectful to other people and cultures, attitudes and personalities, but also for raising me to be someone who is not afraid of who he is and what he stands for. 

I pray that God can use me there (school) guys are my role models and I respect and love you both more than you could ever know, and thank you so much for putting so much love into raising me and giving me a great life.  I love you both so much!"

I am a "mean" and "overprotective" mom and I sheltered my children.  And I would do it again.

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  1. I guess that means that I am "mean" mom too, I am ok with that!

  2. Oh good, I'm not alone! "Mean" mom unite! Lol!

  3. Oh Nan, thank you for this. Just the encouragement I need. I too am that mean mom. Lol. Just at the beginning of summer break we had to deal with the issue of my son wanting to go spend the night at a new friends house. We didn't know the friend or parents and I said no. The boy came to our house on my turf but I still didn't feel comfortable allowing my almost 15 year old at his house. My son even handed me the phone with the other boys mother on the line to which I kindly told her that we were not in the practice of allowing our children at the homes of people we did not know. Mean mom award right here. Anyway we are still praying about this whole situation and hoping it won't rear it's head again. So many of the things you mentioned in your post sound just like me.

    1. Those decisions aren't always easy but we're doing the best we can as parents and seeking the Lord for wisdom and we can trust Him to guide us!

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  5. Nan .. you hit the nail on the head with this post. I consider myself a mean mom because I am overly strict but I am also fun too .. I think I balance it out pretty nicely. Thank you for this.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

    1. Oh absolutely! We do have to find that balance between saying "no" and saying "yes" and loving them and having fun! :)

  6. THANK YOU!!!! I needed this since I was just told this morning I am a mean mom :) I am sharing this with my readers on my FB blog page. You put into words so many things I would like to say. Thanks again :)

    1. Congratulations, lol! From one "mean" mom to another! Thank you so much for sharing this post on facebook, I am honored!

  7. Excellent post and a great encouragement to young moms who get confusing messages in today's parenting beliefs of being your child's best buddy instead of their parent.

    1. Thank you for your sweet words, my friend! Sometimes we have to make those unpopular decisions because we love our kids so much!

  8. Nan, you've covered most of the familiar objections and answered them with wisdom and common sense. We have to remember that our goal is not to be their friends, but to be their parents. LATER, when they're all grown up, we can be their friends. . . sorta!

  9. My 4 year old tells me I'm mean all the time. LOL Glad to know I have company. ;-)
    Visiting from Fellowship Friday.
    ~Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents

    1. Yup, there are lots of us out there! ;)

  10. They will be so much better off, well-mannered and mature when they become adults. You are saving them a ton of heartache by being that "mean mom," Nan! It's called tough love and it is a beautiful thing! Thanks for sounding out about this important aspect of parenting. Great job, my friend!

    1. I second Beth! I like this post so much I'm featuring it at Family Fun Friday - thanks for pouring into this new mama's life.

  11. My friends and I compliment each other by calling one another "mean moms". We all agree that the nice moms have ill mannered, lazy kids.
    I have been told that I am over-protective, mean, unrealistic, etc. throughout the years, but I am also told by those same people that I have great kids. Somehow they don't get the correlation.
    Keep being mean...nice work.

    1. Hahahaha, love the part about not getting the correlation, lol! Not ever going to regret being "mean!" ;)

  12. When our children grow up to bless us like your son did, that makes everything worth it doesn't it?! Great post, Nan.

    Thanks for linking up with me over at WholeHearted Wednesdays this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thanks, Judith. I did, I hope you have a great one this weekend! :)


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