If any of you happened to see my Facebook status on Monday you know that I faced a motherhood dilemma.
Scenario; I had asked our kindergartener ½ a dozen times if he placed his lunch in his backpack and to which he replied, yes, each time. So, I drop the kiddos off at school. I get home and go to the fridge to get our 3-year-old a snack and guess what I see in the fridge? His lunch!! Mind you, I asked him like ½ dozen times if he had his lunch, and he said yes. So my dilemma was, should I take it to him or allow the situation to be a learning experience? If I took it to him would he think he could just forget it whenever he wants and mom will bring it to him? But he is only in kindergarten, am I a bad mom if I don’t drop it off? But the experience would be a great way to encourage responsibility? I was torn and starting to lean toward one direction but felt I needed confirmation that my decision was indeed correct. So I decided to ask for some help from my mommy friends on Facebook and called my hubby. The response was unanimous, take it to him. Mind you the overall suggestion was to first let him wait it out a little and sweat, then drop it off. Which makes sense, he will experience the anxiety of not knowing what to do and then mom will swoop in and save the day! Who doesn’t want to be the hero, right!? But, the thing is, that wasn’t the solution I was initially leaning towards.
I was leaning towards not dropping off his lunch. Chances are he would get food from the cafeteria (Darn village!! Why must they make it so difficult to parent sometimes?) The school will not let a child go without a lunch (which I totally understand, especially when there are kiddos whose households are going through difficult times and school breakfast and lunch might be all they get for the day). But here is the thing, if my son went without a lunch for one day that would be huge and he would definitely remember it the next day! But, since the school cannot allow children to go without a lunch they will provide the child lunch and then have them repay the money the next day. And the rule in our home is that each child may buy lunch twice a month. Thus, if he had already purchased his two lunches for that month I would have had him repay the school lunch with his own money. The question I have been pondering since Monday is, am I a mean mom? If you are a mean mom by other’s standards does that mean that you can’t be a good mom? Or maybe being a mean mom when the situation calls for it makes you a good mom? (I clearly do way too much thinking, lol!).
So I did what any woman would do and further analyzed myself in an effort to compartmentalized my mothering style (why do we do this?).
Another parenting milestone that might make me come across as a mean mom is potty training? For all 3 of our children I did the 5 days of hell, and if you have done it I am sure you can agree, it is no picnic! It entails, first and foremost, removing all diapers from the premises (see, it isn’t the toddlers that cave, it’s the parents, and if there is a diaper or pull-up anywhere in the house it is just too tempting) and going straight to underwear/panties, and a no turning back mentality. I clear my schedule, purchase 30 pairs of underwear/panties, treats for #1 and #2, and prepare for a very long week of accidents, whining, tears (for the child sometimes too), and lots of patience. By the end of that week my kiddos are potty trained and I am exhausted. What I have found is that the weeks that follow potty training week often include moments when the newly potty trained child simply does not want to be interrupted during play to go potty. You can remind them until you are blue in the face. Or you can pick them up while they kick, yell, and scream and carry them to the toilet and place them on it, often to only wait minutes for nothing, then return to the activity and have them have an accident.
My solution, is to let the child know that they need to go potty. If they refuse, which they often did, I explained that they would be cleaning up the accident. Let me tell you, it only takes one time of them having to stop playing, clean up the pee that is all over the floor and possibly on toys (mind you, I went back and gave it a thorough cleaning), go get clean underwear/panties, and clean pants. They quickly learn that it is much easier to just go potty when mommy says so and then return to play.
Other ways I might come across as a mean mommy……
- When the children decide to throw their dirty clothes on the floor instead of placing them down the conveniently located laundry chute upstairs they then are required to walk the dirty clothes all the way down to the basement.
- Our 6 & 7-year-old make their lunches for school.
- If the children do not like the dinner I prepared they have the option to eat it or not to eat it. Breakfast is the next meal. I am not a short order cook.
- If you make the mess you clean it up.
- The children make their own beds.
- Why, just this morning I left my 3-year-old at preschool while she was crying.
These are all things that might make me come across as being a mean mom, but let me tell you, they are the hardest things for me to do!! Do you think my heart wasn’t aching as I walked down the hall hearing my little one cry? It was the worst feeling in the world!! Would I have loved to run back, give her a great big kiss and hug, and say mommy will stay? Darn straight! Is it easier and much much faster for me to make all the beds and take care of all the dirty laundry? You bet! Am I much more efficient and less messy when it comes to making lunches? Let’s just say if PB & J sandwich making was an Olympic sport I would be bringing home the gold! And what mom doesn’t want to be the hero who swoops in and drops off the lunch or homework their child forgot? This one!
Allowing children to have consequences is the hardest thing to do as a parent. Especially when you know how easy it would be for you to fix the situation for them, or simply do it for them. And the worst part is, while you are enduring all the pain and heartache that comes with watching your children have consequences in order for them to one day be responsible, self-sufficient, confident, contributor to society, they will more than likely be mad at you.
So the next time you see that parent not making their child’s bed, or have a parent request that you not clean-up a spill made by their child but rather the child clean it, or you catch wind of a parent not rushing in to complete their child’s responsibilities maybe you should thank them? Thank them for all the sacrifices they are making now so that the future generation will flourish.
So, are you a mean mom? Know of a mean mom? What are your thoughts? Please share.