I’m here (hiding behind my computer) proudly a ‘mean mum’.
I wear this badge as an honour, although at the markets on the weekend there was a mother who loudly (and I mean banshee-style) bailed out her poor 6-7 year old daughter – let me be clear, I’m not mean like that. (or like Cinderella’s mean stepmother, but sometimes I might look like her)!
I do have the bad habit of yin yang yelling (which means I balance any bailing-out with praise, as much as I can, only I know I shouldn’t be yelling, I’m sorry) but I would never embarrass my kids (or myself) in public like that.
Anyway, Emily from Have a Laugh on Me, wrote a post about being labeled a ‘mean mum’ because she glad-wrapped Friday’s uneaten meal for the kiddies to have Saturday night and sent them to bed ‘hungry’ (as if our kids know the real meaning).
I’d do the same (fortunately my kids are, for the most part, pretty good eaters).
I challenge my kids to do the right thing.
I have (fairly) high expectations of them.
I don’t let them off the hook.
I don’t want them to fail, but I also do, because I’ll be there to help them get through learning life’s lessons that we all need to learn.
I want them to be resilient.
I don’t want them to take the easy way out (ok occasionally, but not regularly).
I want them to see how sorry I am when I do yell, so they realize that they are loved despite the yelling, and so that they may learn empathy, even for ‘poor mean mum’ who shouldn’t have lost her temper, but is human after-all.
I believe that princesses live in castles in fairytales and as much as our daughter is a princess to her father (no surprises there) I want her to be able to live as a girl (and a woman) in this world.
On other hand, I know that four year olds need their mother’s cuddles and that these will encourage good behavior far more than cross words ever could.
So I’m a mean mum with a soft-spot.
Mr Yang is a walk-over, as far as our daughter is concerned, and a little too ‘tough on the boy’ as far as our son is concerned. IMHO!! I guess I try to counter-balance.
I’d like to think of our parenting styles as yin-yang complimentary, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say we don’t argue about our differences.
I feel I’m forced into ‘mean mum’ persona by Mr Yang’s ‘soft-touch’ at least with our daughter. And with Little Yang, I have to soften the sterner edges of his father’s discipline.
I know that many parents won’t be totally on the same page with how they parent – we all grow up with different childhood experiences for a start – and even the most committed shared approach can come unstuck in the heat of moments and under the weight of whining.
Perhaps it comes back to the whole idea of sticking to core principles and shared values, having a middle-ground that is rock-solid – as parents we are clear about standing firm together in the ‘middle trenches’ and then at the edges we differ (and sometimes
disagree argue). I guess this is the closest we can get to ‘balanced parenting’ together – our measures of ‘meanness’ and ‘softness’ don’t have to be the same.
Of course that’s not going to stop me complaining that I wouldn’t have to be so ‘mean’ if someone else did the heavy lifting for a change!!
But in the words of a four year old ‘You mean Mum’ (my heart falls) followed (not long after) by ‘I lub you Mum’.
And from Miss Yin, normally closer and more affectionate with her father, a big hug when she comes to me for a special chat (because she usually seeks me out when she needs to talk about something and is upset).
Maybe mean-ness isn’t so bad after all.
Are you ‘mean’ or a ‘softie’ – and how do you balance out parenting with your partner?
Linking up with the lovely Grace for FYBF.
Kathy (PS – I’d love you to sign up below for my newsletter so you don’t miss my posts. And please share posts you like with friends.) X