I Am That Mean Mama

mean mama hand

He came through the back door, holding his finger in front of him for me to see.

“Yook, Mama,” he said.  “There was a yittle boy outside who hurt his finger, and he needs his Mama to kiss it.  And you are that Mama!”

I smiled as I bent down to inspect the hurt finger.

“And you must be that little boy,” I responded as I offered my medicinal kiss.

Yes, I am “that Mama”.  Most days, that is.

mean mama boy finger

There are other days . . . well, let’s just say I’ve had days when I would have failed “lab” even though I could have passed a written test.

Those are the days when I’ve told my kids, “I’m not a Mom today.  Go find someone else to call Mom.”

Their puzzled, forlorn looks make me retract my statement (even though I know they knew I would.)

Could there possibly be a Mom out there somewhere who’s too strict, too inconsistent, too unfair, too tough, too uncompromising, and too particular?  I am that Mama.  Thank you very much.

Is there a Mom somewhere who walks from room to room every night to look at her kids before she goes to bed?  That’s me.

Can kids find a Mom who makes beds on sofas and brings books and tapes and crayons when a child is sick?  Sign me up!

mean mama boy on sofa

Is there any Mom out there who will make room for another bad dream when a kid crawls under the covers in the middle of the night?  I’m glad to be found guilty.

Somewhere out there in three different schools are five kids who need a Mom who insists on homework before play.  I am that mean Mama.

mean mama back to school

Is there a Mom anywhere around who still believes a kid needs more than eight hours of sleep at night?  I am that mean Mama.

Is there a Mom who is home when that yellow bus stops at the end of the driveway, who watches the light in the eyes of her kids flame or flicker to see what kind of a day they’d had at school?  I am that Mama.

Is there, by chance, a Mom who is sometimes too busy with lists and things to accomplish that she doesn’t really listen between the lines?  Who, me?  Yes, me!

Is there a Mom around who discovers, as Motherhood 101 continues, that she knows less now about discipline and loving that she did before she had kids?  Guilty as charged.

mean mama boy hands on face

Is there a mom somewhere who needs to remember, when she looks at the patchy yard, that we’re raising children, not grass?  I heard someone mention my name.

Is there a Mama who waits for that first blossom of spring, fresh mint tea in the summer, panorama of autumn and snowy days in winter?  Is there a Mama who believes that a house should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy?  Go ahead — put my name in the blank.

mean mama boys playing yard

Is there a Mama who still believes that the greatest security kids need is parents who are committed to each other?  I am that Mama.

Is there a Mama who believes that God is tougher than any strong-willed kid, bigger than any problem, stronger than any storm in life?  I am that Mama.mean mama homework

Is there a Mama who believes that her kids can change the world, one life at a time?  That’s me.

Yes, my little guy, you are that little boy, and I am that Mama.  When it comes to kissing fingers or mending hearts, I want to be that Mama.

mean mama child adult hands


 

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart.  It’s tough being the tyrant when your child wants you to be fuzzy and fun. It’s a lot easier being a disciplinarian when we remember our goal:  to raise children who become responsible adults. For a period of time, my kids learned to use the “you are such a mean mama!” to get me to give in and allow them their whims.  It took some thinking through on my part to recognize that being mean (in their definition) is actually a compliment.  [Please understand that I am not giving license for parents to be cruel or condescending to their children!]

While I knew full well (and our kids could verify) that we made plenty of mistakes, I also knew that we were doing some things right.  A friend told me one day (after my lament about the difficulty I was having at home with some of our kids) that our kids knew how to – and did – behave in public, so we were obviously doing some things right.  I started thinking about all the things that we did right as parents – and this article was born.  First printed in my column in a community-interest newsmagazine, it was later published in the book Southside Glimmers.

My littlest guy was three and a half years old when he came into the house that day.  The story says we had five kids in three schools.  We ended up with six kids, and for a few years, they were in four different schools.

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