Sometimes It’s Good to be the Mean Mom, And Here’s Why


Can I share with you a little secret that I harbor? I feel a small (massive) tingle of pride when I hear my kids tell me that I am the “MEANEST MOMMY, EVER!!!”

That’s right, people. I am the meanest mommy ever, and I’m pretty proud of it. I feel sorry for those parents who want to be their kids’ best friends. I feel a twinge of sadness and fear and, I’m not going to lie, horror, when parents are upset that their kids think they’re mean. Why? Because when you are the mean mom, you’re the mom doing your job right. Oh yes, you are rocking this parenting thing. If your kids are old enough to speak and they have yet to call you the meanest mom in the world, you need to check yourself before your wreck yourself. You’re not doing something right.

Newsflash: You are not your child’s friend.

Bigger Newsflash: You can try your hardest to be your child’s friend, and it will never work.

Biggest Newsflash: What could your parents have done when you were growing up that would have made you ever even want to consider them being your BFF? Right; nothing. They could have bought you and your friends bottles of rum and motorcycles and let you do whatever you wanted when you were at their house, and you still would have found a reason to not want to hang out with them. Your friends might have thought they were cool, but you never would have shared that sentiment because kids are hardwired to think that their parents are embarrassing, awful and oh-so….parental.

I like when my kids tell me I’m being mean just as much as I love hearing them tell me they love me (also note that I do not love hearing them tell me they will live with me forever. They’ve to go…mama did not sign up to take care of them forever…I want grandkids one day and no one thinks a 30-something living at home with mommy and daddy is serious marriage potential). I like it because it makes me feel as if I’m doing my job. It reminds me that I’m making poor choices (in their eyes) that will prevent them from making actual poor choices (in life). I like it. I also enjoy embarrassing my kids.

I also think that I’m cool. I think that my kids can call me the meanest mommy ever (I do wish, however, that they’d buy me a tiara to go with that title), but I revel in the fact that they are quite wrong. I’m cool. I like good music and good food, and good wine and good friends and a good book, and a good vacation and shopping and holidays and beer. I like the fun stuff. I tell jokes. I laugh a lot. I’m funny. I’m a lot of fun. But I’ll be the mean mom. Why? Because the mean mom has the safe, good kids.

End of discussion.

Okay, not the end, I’m going to tell you why, today, I was the meanest mommy a half dozen times and it’s only 3 pm. I was the meanest mommy today because I would not:

Let my 4-year-old have Oreos for breakfast

Let my girls throw the cat off the second floor balcony to see if he would land on his feet like the cats in cartoons

Let my 7-year-old unbuckle her seat belt to get the toy she wanted to play with that she dropped on the floor of the car while we were driving 60 mph down the road

Let my 4-year-old touch the stove when I was making breakfast

Let my daughter RSVP yes to a birthday party at the home of a classmate whose parents I happen to know are addicted to drugs and probably cooking meth in their guest bathroom

That was just today. This weekend I was the meanest mommy ever because we were at a gorgeous resort for our daughter’s 7th birthday and I would not let her and her cousins go get in the lazy river by themselves without me or daddy present. I was also mean because I would not let my kids eat ice cream in my car (what? I know I’d be the one cleaning that up).

I am the meanest mommy ever, as you can easily tell.

And it will just get worse; I know this. As my kids get older, they’re really going to think I’m mean when I won’t let them have boyfriends or girlfriends in their bedrooms. They’re going to think I’m mean when I don’t let them drink or do drugs and when I forbid them from smoking. They’re not going to like the fact that they want cell phones and they’re not getting them even remotely close to the near future. They’re also going to hate that there will be no internet access anywhere but the living room where I can see what they’re doing. Sorry – that’s that. They’re going to think I’m mean for a variety of reasons, but I don’t care. Want to know why?

Because my mean mommy decisions are in place to keep my kids safe. I know that I cannot keep them safe every single moment of every single day, but I also know that I have the power to make good decisions for my kids that will keep them safe as often as humanly possible. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m also not looking to be the winner of the cool mom popularity contest right this second. I’m looking to be the winner of the cool mom popularity contest when my kids are grown up, successful college graduates with the ability to adequately care for themselves and their own families and when they are married long before they ever have kids and when they are able to work anywhere because they don’t have a criminal record, and when they are happy and successful and carefree because they were not kidnapped, raped, molested or murdered because I let them hang out with pedophiles on the internet and decided that in the interest of them not being ‘mad’ at me that they could have all the internet and social media privacy they wanted.

Nope. I’d rather my kids be alive and safe to think that I’m mean so that one day they’ll have kids of their own in their happy little homes and realize that I wasn’t mean; I was the best freaking mom on the block. Hashtag Winning.

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images


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