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Afterthoughts 5-14
Sometimes you have to be mean
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In honor of Mother’s Day, I am remembering a poem that was given to me many years ago when I was in the throes of raising my children. It hung on my bedroom wall for a long time, and I referred to it many times during those turbulent child-rearing years.
All three of my daughters are mothers, and I am sure they refer back to some of those “rules” on occasion. In fact, one of them just recently said “Mom, I don’t know how you and Dad raised three daughters!”
This is only a portion of the poem, but the part I recall most often:
“I had the meanest mother in the world. While other kids had candy for breakfast, I had to eat cereal, eggs and toast.
My mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times, and she had to know who our friends were and what we were doing.
She actually had the nerve to break the child labor law, she had us to work. We had to wash dishes, make the beds and learn to cook. That woman must have stayed awake at night thinking up things for us to do.
By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser and our life became more unbearable. None of this tooting the car horn for us to come running; she embarrassed us to no end by insisting that friends come to the door to get us.
I forgot to mention that most of our friends were allowed to date at the mature age of 12 or 13, but our old-fashioned mother refused to let us date until we were 16. She really raised a bunch of squares. None of us were ever arrested for shoplifting or busted for dope.
Because, you see, I thank God, He gave me the meanest mother in the whole world.”
I often fear many parents in today’s society strive to be their child’s best friend, and that is all good until you have to tell them no or to discipline them. Today, I truly enjoy being with my girls and consider them my greatest friends, but that has not always been true. I’m so very proud of my children and the paths they have chosen, and maybe, just maybe, they will use some of the rules presented in “The Meanest Mother in the World” poem!
I’m remembering my late mother and mother-in-law today with love and respect, for the many lives they touched.
I want to close with words from Phyllis Diller: "I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them."