I Believe Mean Moms Rock
Growing up, I remember my mother was always involved in my childhood. Sometimes she seemed to be too involved. She was a “stay at home mom”, that meant she had lots of time on her hands, or so it seemed.
When I was a child, mom made us finish our homework and do our chores before going out to play. I remember walking through the door on numerous occasions from school, hearing the phone’s loud ring, knowing it was my friend from next door wanting to play. I also knew what the answer would be to that question; it was always the same, “after your chores and homework are done”. This was usually followed by a lot of moaning and groaning and the occasional sound of feet stomping. I stared at the overflowing trash and the seemingly endless pile of homework, thinking my friend must be the luckiest kid alive. She always got to play right after school, my mom was so “mean”.
Mother also asked too many questions. I would get ready to go out and mom would have her lengthy list of questions ready. You know. the who, what, when, where, and why. I felt like I was being interrogated. How could I have done anything wrong? I hadn’t even left yet. Why the third degree? Did she not trust me? Was she trying to make my night miserable? If I just offer up all the information would this keep her content? Would the questions stop? I remember thinking that she never wanted me to have any fun at all. Could this be true? Right before I was to leave we would usually engage in battle over the dreaded “what time to be home”. She would initially start at a time that seemed way too early, all my friends stayed out way beyond this. It always seemed in my best interest to negotiate for a thirty minute or hour extension, nothing too extreme. This rarely worked. The extension more times than not turned into a reduction, and I ended up coming home earlier that my mom’s initial time proposal!
When I was in high school, on one of the last days of the school year, the whole senior class decided to take the day off to go to the lake. Yes, ditch class! It was the end of the year and we had all worked so hard. Although I wasn’t a senior myself, I still felt the need to go and experience everything that my friends were going to. I couldn’t hear about all the fun they had on Monday. That just wouldn’t do. Plus I had a car, how would they get there without me? They needed me. I couldn’t let them down. So we loaded up and took off. The trip was to be kept hush, hush. I knew that if my mother found out I would be in hot water! The entire time I felt like I was hiding, looking around corners for mom or anyone who knew my mom. I felt like I made a terrible decision. I knew what I should have done but chose to go against what I had been taught. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom and I didn’t want her to find out. I recall returning home, feeling like she already knew. Was this my guilt showing? Had shealready heard about my day’s events? My mother was a great lie detector. She could tell when something just wasn’t right. I tried to skate through her questions without incriminating myself, not knowing she already held the smoking gun! My trunk had been full of sand from that trip that seemed oh so important. I always thought I was the first person to try to get away with anything, turns out that others had actually tried and failed before me.
When I was a child I recall thinking of all we could have had with my mother’s lost income: the brand name clothes, the movie night money, and all the many wants of a young teenager. I did not realize what I had was much more valuable. I now understand that everything she did was out of love. My mother taught us many important and essential lessons. She taught us the value of family. She taught us to love and support each other, and cherish the time we spend together. Mom helped teach us to “choose the right”, to make good decisions. The sacrifices a mother makes for her children are greatly immeasurable.
Now as I have grown and become a parent myself I plan to implement those same practices that I once disliked so much. One of the things I teach my children is the importance of an early bedtime. My children are not fond of this. I always hear “I need to go to the bathroom” and “I need a drink” at least a half dozen times, but I believe that my children should be well rested physically and mentally for the day ahead of them. I also believe in meeting the parents of my children’s friends before they stay the night. I want to know that I can trust them with my most valuable possessions, my children, and that they will keep them safe.
Like my mother, I plan to be involved in their childhood. I want them to be taught correct principles, like how to be honest. I want them to respect others, and stand up for the things they believe to be true. I want them to become the best they can be.
So when I hear my children mutter the words “you’re mean”, I hope that one day they will look back and cherish those lessons taught to them, just as I did.