On any given day, my kids are pissed at me for one reason or another. Either I asked them to clean up the puddles they left in the bathroom, or I cut their Xbox time too short. Sometimes I even have the audacity to ask them to pick up the dog poop in the backyard or take their dinner plate to the sink.
Sometimes I’m a nagging mom. Sometimes I’m a strict mom. And sometimes I’m, dare I say, the meanest mom EVER.
Generally, I think I’m a fairly laid-back parent about lots things — most things even. I say yes to lots of things — screen time, unhealthy snacks, and later bedtimes. I don’t hound them about their grades (as long as they try hard and respect their teachers). I overlook the socks on the floor and get off their back about the disaster that is their bedroom. Look, I don’t even get hot and bothered when they don’t put the toilet seat down (which is pretty much all the time).
But because I don’t wait to raise assholes, at some point, I need to put my foot down and set some limits.
There’s whining, complaining, and crying, of course. They talk about how their friends get to play Xbox for five hours straight (they don’t). They try to convince me that they will do their homework in the morning (they won’t). They tell me Johnny down the street doesn’t have to pick up after a dog (Johnny doesn’t even have a dog).
I think it’s safe to say that my kids are moderately pissed at me on the regular. I am close with both of my children, and I truly believe that I am a safe place for them. But they are often annoyed by me, frustrated by my expectations, or downright mad at me for enforcing silly things like “rules.”
I’d be lying if I said that being the meanest mom ever was totally okay with me. It’s no fun to have your kid mad at you or to argue about something like the importance of tooth brushing and showering. But ultimately, I’m okay with holding the role of “mean mom” sometimes because I know that it’s necessary. It’s just par for the course in this parenting gig.
Do I want a healthy relationship with my kids? Of course. Do I want them to love and respect me? Yep. Do I want them to trust me and know that I am their safe place, biggest advocate, and strongest defender? You bet.
But do I need to be their friend? Nope. No, thank you. I am their mom, not their friend.
I don’t want to raise assholes, nor do I want them to be Neanderthals without any manners or common sense. I don’t want them to be feral heathens who think the world exists only for their pleasure. I want them to be kind and considerate people. And that means that sometimes I need to set limits. In other words, sometimes I need to be “mean.”
I don’t need to be friends with my kids, nor do I even want to be friends with them. Because let’s face it, I sure as hell wouldn’t let a friend get away with the shit my kids do sometimes, but they are little and it’s my job to help them grow into kind, respectful, and non-assholey human beings. And to do that, sometimes my kids will get pissed at me. Sometimes I need to be the world’s meanest mom.
Sometimes I piss my kids off by singing loudly in front of their friends. I don’t let them jump out of a moving car while we’re navigating our way through the carpool line. I dash their hopes of living in a squalor and filth, by making them do things like take a shower with soap. I remind them to brush their teeth and wear deodorant. Sometimes I even dare to make a home-cooked meal, clean up their baseball cards for them, or hang up their jacket. Any of these things can spark an eye-roll or grumbling. And god forbid, there are consequences for their misbehavior. Well, that will certainly earn me meanest mom tally marks.
I piss my kids off a thousand different ways about a thousand times a day. Okay, I’m exaggerating. It’s only in the hundreds. For instance, I’ve been able to piss my kids off by putting cheese in a grilled cheese and cutting said cheese-less grilled cheese into squares instead of triangles.
And if you’re looking for a surefire way to piss a kid off? Just clean up the Legos that have been lying in the middle of the kitchen floor untouched for five days because he was “still playing with them.”
But you know what, pissing our kids off just goes with the territory. And being “mean” sometimes is just one of the responsibilities that goes along with the privilege of being Mom.