The Meanest Mother in the World

Growing up my mom always said it was her goal to be the meanest mom in the world. I always wondered why she said that? Now that I am the mom and am working my hardest to raise self sufficient, capable, confident children I more fully understand my own mothers’ intentions.

As my kids continue to get older each year, my husband and I worry and discuss how we are going to keep our children from falling into the ever so common “entitlement” trap. Unfortunately, we have talked too much and done too little. At 5 and 6 years old my first and second children seem to think the planet moves around their ever so wonderful selves. Although they are sometimes very good at doing household jobs they are constantly fighting, teasing, running, and yelling. My poor baby girl will never know what it means to have peace. In the last year I have gone from a mother who occasionally gets angry to a mother who constantly yells.

The bottom line is; I’m tired of yelling. I didn’t sign up to be a mother so I could be stomped on, screamed at and told NO. I definitely never dreamed of yelling at my kids and being angry all day. Contrary to what my kids believe, I love them very much and I want nothing more than for them to be happy and love me back. Things must change soon.

As I have pondered, prayed, stewed, and complained about my children’s bad behavior I have determined a few very important things. First is that kids need quiet time. They need to learn that there is a time and a place for noise and expelling energy. The second thing I know for certain is that giving kids everything they want does not make them happy and appreciative. They are not capable of understanding that in order for them to get a new bike their dad must work. The concept of ‘counting your blessings’ does not apply (at least not naturally, it must be learned). Giving kids copious amounts of stuff only makes them greedy, selfish and demanding. They soon begin to feel entitled to getting whatever their little heart’s desire. Before too long sharing is out of the questions, thanks and gratitude are never considered, and items are disrespected and completely lose their value.

I already see this transformation taking place in my kids when one of them throws a fit if the other one “touches” their stuff; when a gift is received and a thank you must be pried out of their mouth; and when their belongings lose their importance because they have SO MUCH STUFF and they know that if they whine, cry, and throw a fit they will soon get something bigger- better- newer. I have noticed this especially when bad behavior has forced me to take away toys and I have gained nothing because the kids don’t even notice the item is missing. There are very few “favorite” toys because so many of them have perfect substitutes (J5 doesn’t mind if I take away her stuffed dog because she has 15 OTHER stuffed dogs). Basically I have placed myself in a situation where I have no leverage to get my kids to behave.

Here is where I must now become the meanest mother in the world.

My poor parenting skills have left me with a big mess to clean up and fixing it will NOT be easy. I am, however, hoping the problem will be easier fixed NOW with two young kids rather than LATER with four older kids.

Here is the plan:

Step one of my journey to becoming the meanest mother in the world started Friday when I made the kids help me organize their toys. This is something we do quite regularly so they aren’t too suspicious yet.

Step two took place yesterday morning as I made 3 lists: A-Toys, B-Daily Requirements, C-Acceptable ways to fill time.

Step three happened yesterday afternoon when my husband and I removed from our home every toy my two older children own, including their bikes (my husband swallowed hard when I said bikes must go too).
 

Steps 4 and 5 were the most difficult as we sat the kids down to explain where all their toys went and tell them how they can earn them back. (#5) Enforcing the rules will be a daily battle.

The earning back process will go as follows. Each day the kids will be required to complete the tasks on their list of daily requirements (list B). They will then be given the opportunity to pick one item from their list of toys (list A). They will only get to keep the toy they choose by having good behavior. Yelling, hitting, fighting, and ANYTHING else that causes their mothers blood pressure to rise will result in the toy to be taken away.

Judging from their list of toys (yes, it is FAR TOO LONG) I anticipate this game to last about 30-45 days. Hopefully this will be enough time to create some good habits and break some bad ones.

I have already predicted the whining and complaining about “being bored” so this is where list C comes in handy.

Just between you and me, I am also using this as a way to get rid of some ‘unloved’ toys. Anything that is not ‘chosen’ after one month will either be given to good will or will be put away to be given to the younger children for birthdays or Christmas.

I must be honest, I have NO IDEA how well this is going to work. I do know that it will require a lot of effort on my part, but I just can’t keep ignoring the problem in hopes it will go away. It may very well be that my personality type was not cut out for successful parenting but I am 4 children too late to use that as an excuse. This world is filled with far too many selfish, entitled children who grow up to be needy, unproductive adults. I refuse to be a contributor to this problem, at least not without first giving it my very best effort.

Lucky you; if you care to see how this goes please keep in touch. I will make regular Facebook updates on our progress as well as a 2nd blog post to analyze our success or failure. Please feel free to join the competition and share your most successful discipline techniques or the times your kids think you are the Meanest Mother in the World!

To download my lists click (PDF) or (Excel)

 

"Like" our This Lady's House Facebook page for regular updates on our progress!

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Comments

I really recommend Danny Silk's book, "Loving Your Kids On Purpose."

By Christina (not verified)

Thanks for the recommendation, I'm always looking for good quality parenting books!

 

By jayme

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks!

Thank you for asking permission... Yes, you may quote my posts as long as you provide credit and a link..

Happy Gardening!

By jayme

I stumbled upon your blog through a pin on Pinterest. It was your 10 meals post, which I promptly pinned, and posted on Facebook so that I may cook less throughout my week.

Anywho, I was browsing the rest of the blog when I stumbled upon this post, and the follow-up post. I have to say that I commend you for taking action now, and trying to solve the problem before it gets too out of control. I find myself in the same situation with my oldest, who is almost 5. She is constantly hitting, fighting, talking back, and overall just being mean to both myself and my youngest, who just turned 2. My oldest and youngest both have "chores" already. They both know that dirty clothes go in the laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, and toys in the toybox. The last one is a fight though, the other two they do with no problem. I think the biggest issue I have is that I am OCD about keeping things organized, so I would rather do it myself. My grandmother noticed that this was rubbing off on my children, as they are very particular about how things should be as well. She went so far as to tell me that I "ruined" my children. Lovely, yes?

I think I may follow this same path with my two children. I know that my youngest is not old enough to fully understand the concept of work/reward, but my oldest is. My youngest mimics everything my oldest does, so I am going to try this as a modified approach.

Thank you for this post, there are several mothers out there who feel as if they are doormats. I am one of them, and this has helped more than you know.

By Tasha (not verified)

I am sure there are many who feel like us! I'm glad I'm not alone.

By jayme

I think you've got some good ideas going - I would just caution you about one thing. On your chore list, you've put "read one book a day." If you make reading a CHORE, you're telling them that reading is something that we have to do, that it's arduous, and that there is little pleasure in it. If you want to encourage your children to like reading, they need to see you doing it and enjoying it, and they need to be read to as a pleasure, as something fun they get to do with Mommy. Reading should never be rewarded, and it should never be a chore. Both of those things tell our kids that reading is "extra work" and it's not something that ordinary people do for pleasure.

By Loni (not verified)

Perhaps you misunderstood my check list. Reading isn't a CHORE, it is a daily responsibility (not the same thing). Everyone should read every day, I expect it of myself and my kids. Their teachers also expect it of them. Just because we are responsible for something does not make it arduous. I take great pleasure in fulfilling my responsibilities as a mother. Homework, piano practice, and dishes are all responsibilities; that does not mean they hold no pleasure. My kids get EXCITED to help me work in the yard just as they get EXCITED to sit and practice the piano with me. Reading is the same. I expect my kids to learn that reading is an everyday event, it isn't a reward like TV. However, that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable. I am an excessive reader and my kids SEE how enjoyable it is. I also believe that a love for reading forms long before a child is 5.

My kids love checklists. Since this list has been hanging on the wall there have been dozens of times C7 has run to me saying, "Mom, the list says its time to read a book". So, we drop everything and sit on the bed with a book. One thing my kids know about their mother is that she will stop just about anything for the chance to sit and read.

Remember, with kids ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING!!

 

By jayme

I have found myself to be the WORST Momma in the world....my 2 dd (12 and 14) KNOW the world evolves around them, we homeschool so they are not on a demanding schedule, I am OCD about lists, organizing, cleaning etc but over the years my dd have not been required to do much at all. They will reluctantly help if I ask. It's not like they don't KNOW where the dirty clothes, dishes, "stuff" goes. They just don't seem to care and I rarely find what I'm looking for where it should be. I am obviously a lax disciplinarian and my hubby tries but I usually step in even though I know I shouldn't. I am desperate to reverse this "entitled Momma will do it" mentality. I want to stop fussing and yelling so much. I know my dd will be grown quickly. I don't want to miss these last yrs OR create slacker adults....HELP!! ANYONe

By Anessa (not verified)

As a fellow "mean mom" of 4 young boys, I'm so glad to have found your blog and read some common sense! Thanks for the great ideas!

By Mrs. Morales (not verified)

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