Why I Love When My Kids Say I'm Mean

I take it as a compliment when my kids call me a meanie, because it's confirmation I'm doing my job as a parent

A photo of a scrawl from a pissed-off kid that’s surfaced on Facebook cracks me up. This mommy’s meanness is so epic it’s got several volumes, so you better sit a spell. I hope this kid's mom is laughing hysterically, saving it to share at her kid’s wedding some day -- and patting herself on the back.

This might be strange, but I love it when my kids call me mean. To me, it’s a sign I am on the right track.

They say the most important thing with kids to be consistent. They also say you should pick your battles. For me, these two valid but diametrically opposed guiding principles duke it out daily as I muddle through raising my two kids. Do I really want to take away books for stalling on PJs (and cue meltdown) when I’m trying to wind my son down for bed? Can I maybe pretend I didn’t see that eye-roll from my daughter even though we darn well know I did when we were having such a nice day?

However, while picking your battles is necessary sometimes, it can also be a giant excuse to practice path-of-least-resistance parenting. And even though that’s easier in the short term, it only defers that freakout for later, because they know Mommy’s weak. So when I lower the boom and get called The Meanest Mommy in the World -- alert Guinness, we have a new world record -- this is how my brain translates it: I don’t like the rules you are enforcing but I am glad you care enough to give me the limits I need to not be a psychopath so big ups for tough love, Mom!

Is it just me?

For the record, I also enjoy being called “my best grown-up” and “betterest mommy in the world” (I got that one yesterday). But in the absence of those accolades, I’ll take Mean Mommy…with pride.

 

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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