Recently, I was out running errands with my kids. It was the normal stuff; restocking at the grocery store, hitting up Target and swinging through the post office. And in normal kid fashion, they kept asking me for things.
“Mom, can you buy this for me?’
“Can we stop at this store too?”
“Mom, can I have a friend over when we get home?”
“Can we get Chick-Fil-A for lunch?”
However, in non-typical mom fashion, every time they asked me for something, I replied, “Sure.”
Maybe it was the sunshine. Or maybe they caught me on a good day. Maybe it was the Baileys I slipped in my coffee that morning. (I’m kidding on that last one! Don’t report me to Child Protective Services).
Regardless, after the third time in a row that I said yes to something, the kids started giving each other weird looks and and asked if I was ok.
I said, “Of course, I’m fine. Why would you ask that?”
And they replied, “You never say yes this much. It’s usually no, we can’t go there or no, you can’t have that.”
And that, my friends, got me thinking . . am I too mean? Do I really say no all the time? Am I total fun-sucker?
Tough mom vs mean mom
There is a difference between being tough and being mean. I will be the first to admit that I am a tough mom with high expectations.
There are rules in our house and I expect the kids to follow them. We have a chore chart and the kids need to contribute in a small way to the household every day. I won’t let them wander through town unsupervised.
Homework needs to be done before they can watch TV or play on electronics. When we go to a store, I don’t buy them everything they want. I request to speak to their friend’s parents before I let them have sleepovers. You know, all the typical “evil mommy” stuff.
I can understand how to an 11 year old, that could come across as mean. The 12 year old is probably convinced that I am an actual witch and I’m fairly certain the 15 year old thinks I am treating him like a baby. But deep down, I hope they realize that I don’t do any of this to ruin their lives. I do it to keep them safe.
Do the kids think I am too mean?
So I decided that instead of contemplating it on my own, I would ask the kids what they truly think.
Me: Hey guys! Quick question for you. Don’t think about it, just answer. Do you think I am too mean? (Please note, they all looked at me and each other like I had lost my mind before they answered the question).
Riley, 12: You’re strict, but not mean. You make us get good grades and stuff, which I guess it a good thing.
Mason, 11: No. You’re mean, but not TOO mean.
David, 15: You’re ok. You usually forget when you punish us, so its not too bad. (Side note – start writing down punishments so I don’t forget them).
Does it matter what my kids think ?
Honestly, no. In case you didn’t hear, they aren’t in charge.
Ask any good mom and they will see it from my point of view. No matter how it seems to my kids, everything (and I mean every single little decision that I make) is done out of love. I have an overwhelming urge to protect my kids and sometimes (ok, lots of times) that means saying “no.”
It’s not me saying no to fun. Instead, it is me saying no to a world full of danger. It is me saying no to harmful people or situations.
I don’t keep them locked away in a tower. I promise, I let them experience life. But at the same time, I have to walk a thin life between overprotecting and keeping them safe, which means that they hear “no” a lot.
And in the end, does it matter if my kids think I am too mean? Not really, because either way, they are stuck with me for a few more years.
Do other parents think I am too mean?
First of all, who cares? It’s hard enough to raise children without having to worry about other parents and their opinions of me.
But to answer the question, yes. I’m quite certain that some moms think I am too strict with my kids. I have even had other moms ask me to loosen the rules or take back a punishment so that our kids could go do something. Don’t worry, I didn’t cave.
Honestly, I don’t always agree with how other people are raising their kids, but they are their children. And it’s tough being a mom, especially a mom of teenagers. I know I am trying my best and doing what I believe is best for my children. It’s ok if not everyone agrees with my parenting style.
Living the evil mommy life
So am I too mean? Yes, probably, but here is what I tell my kids all the time – I have kept you safe all these years and I’m going to continue to keep you safe for the rest of your life.
I don’t hit them or verbally abuse them. We do lots of fun stuff. But I DO try to raise happy, well adjusted people who I can one day release into society and yes, sometimes that means I have to be a little strict.
If I can be a tough mom and protect them for just a little longer, than I am ok with being labeled as mean. After all, I didn’t earn the nickname The Evil Mommy for nothing.
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