It’s exhausting. It’s mentally taxing. It requires my own personal feelings to be protected by Teflon. And more often than not, it makes me and everyone I live with cranky, irritable, defensive, and just plain pissy (sorry not sorry).
But, really, being the mean mom isn’t something I enjoy, and it’s not at all easy to say the least, but guess what, raising kids who don’t turn into assholes as adults isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires some serious courage, an even tougher mind, and a whole lotta “mean.” So go ahead and bring it kids. Bring your sass, your tantrums, your backtalk, your laziness, your detention slips, and all your other bullshit because I’m mentally armed and ready to kick some mean child-rearing ass. In the best possible way, of course.
1. I’m not your friend. Not even close.
Early on, when the kids are young it’s easy not to blur this line, but when they become tweens and teenagers and start to withdraw from you, it’s very tempting to go the “let’s be good friends” route, so you can still feel close to them and involved in their lives. Don’t do it. You’re the mature adult with years of wisdom and life lessons under your belt, and you don’t need a 14-year-old friend. So keep it that way.
2. I’m not here to be cool. I’m here to raise cool kids.
And by cool, I mean polite, civil, respectful, courteous, and good-natured. You’re not gonna learn that from a mom who cares too much about whether she’s “liked” or “cool.” Don’t like me? I couldn’t care less. But one day you’re gonna love me for it.
3. Because nagging works. Science says so.
Remember that study that says nagging mothers raise successful daughters? It had mothers all across the country nodding their heads like, “Well, duh!” And then we all asked our kids to clear their rooms and do their homework for the 150th time that day.
4. I married a cool dad.
Yes, he’s the superhero of the home. When he walks in the door at night, it’s as if the kids are watching Tom freakin’ Brady run through the tunnel at the Super Bowl. This means he doesn’t get (or quite frankly want) to be the mean one, and I’m more than happy to step in and do that for him. I do it better than him anyway. PMS helps.
5. It just plain works.
Listen, I tried the gentle discipline route. I read all the positive parenting theories, like how to use emotional connections in lieu of punishments, and that shit simply did not cut it with my four sons. But you know what did? Eyeballs that have a stare so wicked it could talk a demon out of possessing someone (or stop a 3-year-old from flushing a Thomas the Train). Wanna see a teenager actually listen and obey? Here’s a hint: A deep and gentle emotional connection with a 15-year-old boy does not exist, but a stare like Satan’s works wonders.
6. It takes a village, except when the villagers are all too nice.
Before you hit the swings at the playground, there should be a contract that you’re required to sign which states, “If you see another kid being an asshole, don’t hesitate. Say something. This contract gives you the right to be mean. Also, when that kid is your kid, allow another mean mom to handle that shit for you.” Best believe I would sign that that sucker faster than you can say monkey bars. I love my village, but I need them to be on the same kickass mothering page as me.
7. Kids will suck the nice right out of you. Let them.
It’s great you want to be nice, but kids can smell nice a mile away, and will milk that teat dry, leaving you feeling used and exploited. Meanwhile, they’ll be sneakily getting away with misbehaving while you lick your wounds. Good news for you is that will only happen once, and usually early on in your parenting. But when the nice mom leaves, the real work is ready to start.
8. I refuse to raise little manipulators.
This is especially crucial because I am raising young men, and if for one second they think they can pull the rug over my eyes simply because I’m a female, then I have completely failed at mothering. Easily a pushover because I’m a woman? Hell to the no.
9. Still want to be cool? Just wait until you’re the grandmother.
Eventually, all the mean leaves your soul when the kids grow up and move out. Then you have a few years to recharge your nice batteries — just in time for all your grandchildren. Because we all know the old saying, “If Mom says no, ask Grandma.” That’s right little ones, come to Grandma because I can’t wait to be the “yes” lady. I’m gonna be nice like that.
This article was originally published on