You know what I’m talking about. The “mean mom” is the (usually) self-appointed title taken on by Moms when they say “no” to their children, and then tell you about it.
It usually comes up when said mom is asking other parents how they handle a given situation. When Mean Mom finds support for her decision, the joke about being a “mean mom” often ensues.
I dislike this phenomenon.
As parents, our job is to raise responsible, caring people who will make society better. To do that, sometimes you can say yes to things they ask for, and sometimes you have to say no.
Saying no is part of the job. Everyone does it sometime.
But it’s not the supposed “mean moms” that I’m defending. You said no? Great.
It’s every other parent who may or may not make the same decision.
Because when we refer to ourselves or someone else as a Mean Mom, we aren’t really saying they are mean. It’s a way of sharing that decision using a self-congratulatory title that tries to sound self-effacing.
When a mom says “no” to something, and then says “I guess I’m a mean mom” to other parents, the implication is not that she’s mean, it’s that she’s firm. She knows how to say no.
Knowing how and when to say no is good parenting. “Mean” and “nice” have nothing to do with it.
Moms, if you are proud of yourself for sticking to your guns about something, say so. Don’t cloak your pride in doing something difficult under a veiled insult.
And while you’re at it, don’t create a dynamic that makes the moms who say “yes” in the same situation feel like they aren’t as good a mom as you.