My main goal in parenting actually isn’t to be the cool Mum – it’s to raise good, kind children who aren’t jerks.
If I have to get down and dirty and angry with them to get the message or lesson across, then I’m going to do it. But I’m not mean or unkind to them, and I think parents sometimes forget the definition of mean:
adjective, mean·er, mean·est.
offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating; nasty; malicious:
unkind, spiteful, or unfair
I’m definitely none of those as a human being, so definitely not a mean mum. I am, however, strict.
adjective, strict·er, strict·est.
stringent or exacting in or in enforcing rules, requirements, obligations, etc.:
demanding that rules concerning behaviour are obeyed and observed.
When I first became a parent, I was embarrassed to be seen to be angry, stressed out, or enforcing rules with my kids in public. 7 years on, two kids later, IDGAF. If someone sees me eyeballing my kids whilst saying angrily “you do that again and you’ll go in the car”, I honestly don’t care.
They are MY children, and I refuse to let them grow up not knowing what’s right and wrong in this world on a basic level. Because I’m not raising children, I’m actually raising young adults.
HOWEVER, I do know that you don’t have to be mean to raise good kids. My parents were never mean (although as a teenager I’m sure I thought they were), instead they were extremely strict when I was growing up, and for that I am grateful.
Because setting (and enforcing) boundaries isn’t mean. Boundaries are healthy and completely necessary in life.
Here’s some facts about me as the strict Mum:
1. THEIR DAD IS THE COOL ONE
Yes he can be a force to be reckoned with, and definitely strict at times, but he’s also more chilled out AND WAY cooler than I’ll ever be as a parent. I’m ok with that though – parenting is a team effort and I love that he is the way he is. Our parenting together is balanced and our kids benefit greatly from it.
2. I AM THEIR MUM FIRST, FRIEND SECOND
Just like Rory and Loralei on Gilmore Girls, I dream of having a wonderful relationship with my kids. I also am realistic that I can’t be their friend all the time – so I am Mother first, friend second. I am here to guide them in life and teach them right from wrong. That means to them, I won’t always seem like their friend. I am ok with this.
3. MY KIDS PUSH ME TO THE BRINK OF INSANITY
They fight, don’t listen, muck around and all the things under the sun that kids do. Because they’re kids. As an adult, I do struggle with this so of course they’re gonna push me to the brink of insanity. Sometimes, this is where being the strict Mum comes in. It is hella frustrating saying the same thing over and over again, only for your kids not to listen until you yell at them …
4. CONSEQUENCES ARE ACTUALLY COOL
Consequences are pretty much how our day is run, and how our kids learn. They learn “if you don’t listen, or do as I say, this will happen”. Consequences are a part of every day living, and it’s teaching them the ways of the world. As I said above, I’m not raising children, I’m raising young adults.
5. I’M NOT STRICT ALL THE TIME
I am constantly learning how to do this parenting gig, and I know that parenting isn’t all ‘yelling and getting angry’. I also get down on my kids level and listen to them. I try and sympathise with how they’re feeling because I know they’re still just children – and children are different from adults. One of my children is extremely sensitive and emotional, so in order to teach her how to deal with these feelings; I have to be kind and understanding. You don’t have to be strict (or mean) all the time to raise good kids. It is a balance.
Parenting is a balancing act. I don’t think many of us are actually mean parents, not by definition anyway.
Instead we’re strict.
We reinforce the rules so that our children learn the ways of the world, and are raised to be kind, considerate human beings. Setting boundaries isn’t mean either.
As I said above boundaries are healthy and completely necessary in life.