This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

When I was little, my parent’s bedroom held a poem titled A Mean Mother, that I often read, but never truly understood, until I became a mom myself.  I would walk by this poem on a daily basis and pay it no attention until my mom gave me this poem when our first son was born.   Today I happened to be reading it again and smiled with joy to realize that I am, in fact, “A Mean Mother”…

(Here I am with my mom when I was little & she was “mean”…) 

lessons from mom





ou know, it takes a lot of hard work to raise your kids the right way.  It really does. It takes courage to teach them and discipline them while loving them and comforting them.   It takes patience to not yell and understanding to listen.

It can be hard to tell them no when we so desperately want to tell them, yes, but we are trying to teach them lessons or to have good values.

It is hard to not buy them things when we know that we can, but we want to teach them that they can not have everything that they want when they want it.

No… we give them great experiences and love instead.    Pretty mean, right? 

jumping in the waves

When we tell them that they have to play outside instead of sitting on an electronic device… pretty mean, right?


Or when we tell them that they have to come with us for a family-day instead of playing with friends… pretty mean, right?

why it's great to be a boy mom

When they don’t feel like going on a bike ride, but we tell them that’s the plan and we’re sticking to it … pretty mean, right?

mean mother?
Maybe we aren’t letting them walk outside without holding our hands…

We are just so MEAN…  and what a wonderful thing to be mean for so many GOOD reasons. ♥

It’s hard to be “mean” and not do things for them.  To teach them the value of self-pride and the art of communication. To teach them independence and hard work.

It is hard not to clean their room for them when you could do it in a minute, but instead you watch them work for 20 minutes on the same job.

Just remember that in everything that we do, and as “mean” as we are… we are always doing these things because we love them and we care about them.  When our kids call us ‘mean’ (and they do) I just remind them that it is all because I love them…

how to teach kindness
If you like this post, I want to encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter, where I send out quick emails with tips like these ones today.  (I’ll send you my free book SIMPLE PARENTING HACKS, too.)

Gift Ideas for YOUR parents: 
Meaningful Christmas gifts for YOUR parents who already have everything 1

stop doing that for your kids
how to stop your kids from arguing
in bed by 7:00

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Thank you, I loved this, my daughter had a small party today, and there were a bunch of wonderful girls having fun, but there were times when (in my opinion) some rude comments were made because the food wasn’t perfect or the craft wasn’t good enough…having a chat with my daughter afterward-she said that the other kids don’t have as many you know “rules,” so it’s more fun. Well to each their own. I’m a mean mom.

  2. I just wrote a blog about being a “mean mom” during bed time. love the poem

  3. I am forever catching flack because my son Nick (4.5) is a Montessori kid…and I expect A LOT. We have chores, we practice good manners in public, etc.
    I recently had a family member tell me I was ‘too controlling’. I was sad until the very next day my son…on his very own…told the man at the grocery store, “Thank You Sir for the basket!” The man beamed and so did I!
    I AM a “mean mom” and I take comfort that all our hard work can put smiles on a strangers face!
    Thank you for giving a shout out to Mean Moms!

  4. You and Allie look SO much alike in that picture you posted of you and your mom!!!

  5. Hey

    Nice article. I remember my mom telling me “if you didnt hate me even once in your life or didnt say it to my face, then I did something wrong” I remember being a teenager and thinking I hated mom and her being unfair..But now I see the end results and I know what she meant 🙂

  6. My daughter, also a Mom and Sunday School teacher today, once asked her favorite teacher who also had a daughter if she could move in with her. The reason was that she had to make her bed every morning and keep her room tidy if she wanted treats. Well her teacher told her that she would want to move right back home because the same rules were at her house… ahhh kids

  7. Well I was a Mean Mom sometimes but other times I was able to be a fun Mom especially when I knew my kids took me seriously as a parent. Now my two are young adults and making good choices for themselves, both working hard at good jobs that they love and are passionate about. I am smiling to see them doing so well, my mean mom lessons have paid off.

  8. Thank you Becky!!! This is so encouraging!!! I am so glad that I’ve found your blog!! <3