One of my dear sweet children, who shall remain nameless, called me a mean momma the other day.
I was heartbroken, for about 5 seconds.
Then I said to that sweet (though rather sour at the moment) child, “Good. Then I’m doing my job. It’s my job to be mean, and you better believe I’m gonna do a great job at being a momma. I’m going to teach you good things. I’m going to help you learn and grow and love and live in the very best way I can. As long as you are making bad choices, I’m going to be mean. I’ll be the meanest mom in the world if I have to. I’ll do whatever it takes to help you learn good things and grow up to be an amazing person.”
Being a mom isn’t all sunshine and trips to the park, baking cookies and pouring milk. Sometimes, being a mom is just plain hard work. We have a responsibility to our children. They trust us to love them like no other, protect them from harm, kiss their boo-boos, set boundaries, and teach them good things.
I love being the fun momma. The momma that does cartwheels (and yes, I can still do them) in the yard, jumps on trampolines, and takes them on hikes in the woods. I want to be the momma that plans bonfire nights and big, fun birthday parties. I want to read to them, paint the girls’ fingernails, and help the boys get dirty! I love this fun stuff of motherhood.
I have a bigger, more important job to do, too. I have been entrusted with these sweet little ones. I am to teach them good things like manners and caring, loving and sharing. It’s my job. It’s my job to help prepare them for the “big bad world.” They are counting on me to be a good momma. I don’t take this lightly.
Discipline is not easy. I don’t want to be a mom that yells at her kids and looks like she survived a war zone at the end of each day. For the past week or two, I’ve been struggling against that very thing.
December was very hard on us. Besides the stress and rush of the holidays, we had two trips to the emergency room for stitches, one of the kids had a fever that lasted five days and one had strep throat. Is it any wonder that the kids have been out of sorts?!
So for the past week, we have been getting back on track. No more picking and teasing. I explained to the kids that mom was back in the game and ready to deal with this little issue. I’ve done more sitting the kids by the wall (our form of time-out, because there are walls everywhere) in the past week than I did in all of December.
Our trip to the library on Friday went awry before we even got out of the car. Seeing that a lesson must be learned, I did the hard, mean mom thing. I told the offender to sit back down and buckle in. I let my oldest child take our movies back in (our little local library is a teeny tiny place with only a few parking spaces… gotta love a small town… all the ladies who work there know us…. don’t do this in the big city, okay?!). She picked out a movie for our Friday Pizza/Movie Night, and I stood by the door watching the children in the car (10 feet away, again… small town) so I could hand the librarian my library card. I asked the offending child what was learned by missing out on library time, and was rewarded with an very good answer.
I’m no fool. I know this lesson will need to be reinforced, but I don’t think it will be quickly forgotten.
I want to do a good job now, while my kids are little. I hope to teach them as much as I can, equipping them to learn even greater lessons as they get older and wiser. I want good things for them.
So, the “mean momma” is not giving up. I’m going to love my kids with all I have. I’m going to teach them good things. I’m going to hug them and encourage them. I’m also going to tell them to go sit by the wall until the timer beeps. It all comes down to loving them, really. I’m going to love them enough to be the “mean momma,” and that is that.