Teaching Kids the Hard Lessons: Why Sometimes Your Job is To Be the Mean Mom
The words are never easy to hear – “You are the Meanest Mom in the WHOLE world!” But when you hear them, know that you are doing exactly what you need to do: setting boundaries, being the line they cannot cross, teaching them about personal responsibility.
In short: raising them to be good citizens.
It isn’t an easy job, but as they say, “Someone has to do it.” Truth be told, we’d probably rather be the fun Auntie or the Grandma who spoils them silly. Some days I’d think I’d trade places with the 15-year-old babysitter who is adorable by every child in the neighborhood.
That’s probably why this classified ad by one such Meanest Mom went viral on social media. We know this toughest of jobs falls on us, the moms. The mean ones who have to balance the tender, loving side with the job of saying, “No” – not once, not twice, but repeatedly.
Oh to be the babysitter who let’s them stay up past their bedtime.
My grandmother shared her wonderful wisdom with me when I first became a mother. She told me “Children need and want boundaries.” She went on to explain it’s what makes them feel safe. Without them, children feel unprotected and insecure.
The way I see it is our firmness grounds them, giving them the solid foundation to explore. They know there is someone watching out for them so they can experience the world in the carefree manner that we admire as adults. And when they explore a bit too far, we turn those mishaps into “teachable moments”.
Thinking back to my own childhood, I still remember a few of those life lessons. One in particular stuck with me because learning it was hard. My little brother and I took sibling rivalry a step too far and broke a window. The tough lesson: we both had to pay for it despite all our protestations of “Not MY fault”. Funny how that didn’t work.
Accountability 101 learned the hard way because it meant losing the money I had saved for something I really wanted. Months of sacrificing treats at the candy store, and doing extra jobs around the house, gone in a flash. Thankfully I got to learn that lesson with training wheels instead of later in life when it would have really sucked.
So for all you Mean Moms out there, this post is for you. Keep up the good work.