Candace Ganger

Sorry, But I'll Never Stop Being A "Mean" Mom

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My youngest is notorious for saying, "You're beautiful, mom, but you're mean." He says it often, to my face, and he's right (about the mean part, at least). I may not be "mean" in its darkest definitions, but to both of my kids I'm the meanest in all the land. Sorry not sorry, children, because I'll never stop being a "mean" mom. Being a mean mom has been challenging, sure, but my amazing kids are the product of all my meanness so, really, I have no reason to apologize. None.

I don't know if I've always been considered "mean" by my kids, but sometimes I don't think they understand what it's like to have this job (and of course they don't because, you know, they're children). Long before my precious children were born, I made a promise that I'd be the one to stay home and care for them while they're young — no matter what — and there are days I probably do come off as mean in order to keep that promise. I'd never hurt them, and of course all my "mean" mom behavior comes from a good place. I don't want to raise spoiled, entitled brats, so sometimes mean is the only way. Where my kids see "mean," I feel I'm only organized, structured, and an advocate for all things "get it done."

I guess when I really look at my particular parenting style, I guess I may come across a little mean to a 10-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, who always want to hear "yes" instead of "no." Still, saying no when it's necessary is part of the job. So if my kids are looking for an apology, they'll have to keep looking. I won't stop being their "mean" mom, and here's why:

Because My Kids Don't Understand "Mean"

My kids call me mean rather regularly, but I'm convinced they have no idea what "mean" actually means. When I think of a mean mom, I wouldn't picture myself. I think of a mother who neglects her children, hurts them emotionally or physically, and talks to them in a way that's abusive. You know, a mother who has no business calling her self a mother. If my kids prefer to think of me as mean for telling them it's bedtime or asking they clean their rooms, and I know I'm far from the actuality of it, I'm OK with that.

Because "Mean" Gets Things Done

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Sometimes my obsessive scheduling creates anxiety within my family, and I know this. I don't do it to hurt them, but ultimately, to help them. Without all my notes and lists and time frames, this house would be in total and complete chaos. Whether they understand it or not, me being mean is what keeps the house in order. You're welcome, fam.

Because Being "Mean" Taught My Kids How To Share

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I can confidently say that my kids are fantastic when it comes to playing with other kids. They get along well, share toys, and seem to do great in school and other social settings. Not to keep patting my mean self on the back or anything, but hey — they didn't exit my womb that way. I think whatever I've done had something to do with it.

Because "Mean" Taught My Kids How To Listen

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When my kids go with other people (friends or family), I get so many compliments about their good behavior and listening skills. Of course they're not always angels at home, but that's when I use my special mean sauce to show them how to act with others. So, yeah. I'll continue being mean, thanks.

Because "Mean" Involves A Lot Of Hugging

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My kids don't always say I'm mean, but when they do it's sometimes after I've loved on and hugged them a ton. I'm so mean I taught them to love me anyway.

Because "Mean" Means Leading By Example

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I can only hope that one day my kids will take over and be just as mean as me, loving their families, friends, and loved ones so much they're willing to do what's necessary. If I don't show them, how will they know?

Because "Mean" Prepares Them For The Real World

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All kidding aside, I'm only human (and a mother human at that). I want to raise respectful, law-abiding kids, who have morals and understand consequences. I love them so much, I owe it to them to be mean. So, mean I shall be.