I had the good fortune to attend a lovely staff Christmas party recently. There was dancing! And I danced a bit! (Not the simple round, though, and Groom-boy did not dance.) We had a great time with some really nice people, but I’m betting a bunch of them think I am horrid.
You know how sometimes you get talking (and, no, I can’t even really blame the wine) and then wonder if perhaps you should have just shut the heck up about it? Kinda like writing a column in the newspaper? I had one of those moments. A moment or two, actually.
The good news is the things I said serve to rightfully crown me as the self-proclaimed Meanest Mother Ever. I have been called the Meanest Mother Ever by the two short people who live with me. Regular readers could rightly assume that I’m fully justified in this due to my chronic lack of sleep – thanks in large part to the aforementioned short people.
The Meanest Mothers Ever Club is one I’m sure many moms would join by virtue of the fact we are told we are mean for serving vegetables or enforcing bedtimes or ensuring people are clean. You know, Crimes-Against-Humanity kind of stuff. Sometimes I have been told I am the Meanest Mother Ever when I do something completely unreasonably, such as try to prevent the short people from destroying the house. One time I had the nerve to empty the kiddie pool because Boychild and Girlchild decided to use the water to make mud pies, which they subsequently threw against the screens on the back porch.
Yeah, I’m a brute.
At the Christmas party some of this sort of thing was discussed by a few of us moms. Then I started bringing up other things, such as how when a certain child in my house decided he didn’t like soccer anymore and quit halfway through (not entirely unexpected – we didn’t think he’d want to sign up for a second year because he hadn’t loved it the first year), I made him pay us back out of his allowance for the remaining sessions.
Yes, I did.
As if that isn’t enough, some of you may recall how I have stashed all the junk food in a container in the basement dubbed “The Snack Box” because the short people were, in my opinion, munching on a few too many processed and sugary non-food items. My kids now sometimes ask their dad to retrieve “some of the good snacks in the basement.” They know I am too mean so they won’t ask me.
I know. I am completely unreasonable. Imagine – trying to feed them nutritious snacks. Outrageous!
At the party I also mentioned how my kids sometimes tell me, after they receive unwanted requests to tidy up or go to school or whatever, that they’re “not my friend any more.” I always say, “Good. It’s not my job to be your friend.” And it’s not, really, at least not until after they live in a house away from me and stop waking me up in the night. Right?
I can justify all of these actions as being ways to teach responsibility and consequences and to encourage healthy eating and respect for others. It seems perfectly reasonable to me, but when you throw all these stories together at a Christmas party it just, well, makes me sound a tad ogre-ish.
I’m not sure whether people would want to join my Meanest Mothers Ever Club, even if I promise there will be great stories and we can seek charitable status and raise funds for cases of wine (or whine) and getaway retreats to spas and so on.
Rest assured, however, these poor children have at least one good and caring parent, as demonstrated by this conversation I had with Girlchild just the other day:
Girlchild, after completing a requested task: “You’re the boss, Mommy.”
Girlchild: “You and Daddy are the bosses.”
Girlchild: “But you’re meaner than Daddy. You’re the mean one.”
Me, with resignation: “Yep, I’m the mean one.”
Girlchild: “Daddy is my superhero.”
(Published in The Perth Courier on Dec. 8/09)