This was a letter published by Anima Jain in 2011. The piece is very dear to me, so I wanted to share it with all the mean moms on os.me.
I was a rebellious teenager, and my mom was the meanest person ever. I thought, “Gosh! The number of rules I had to follow growing up, I would be better off at military camp.” During one such rebellion of mine, mom came to my room with the newspaper in her hand and a big smile on her face. While I looked at her all confused and teary-eyed, she pulled out a pair of scissors from the drawer, cut the article, pinned it up on my wall, and left.
Here is what it said.
You Are Fortunate If, Your Mom Is Mean.
Some day when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:
I loved you enough………… to ask where you were going, with whom, & what time you would be home.
I loved you enough to be silent & let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken me just 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, & tears in my eyes.
Children: Parents aren’t perfect, you know.
I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart. But most of all I loved you enough…. to say “NO” when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I’m glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.And some day when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.
Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, milk & toast. When others had a Pepsi and fries for lunch we had to eat homemade sandwiches. And you can guess what our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.
Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who are friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour we would be gone for an hour or less.
We were ashamed to admit it, but she had nerve to break the child labour laws by making us work. We had to wash dishes, make our beds, learn to cook, vacuum, mop floor, do laundry, tidy up our rooms, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes at the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!
She insisted we learn the value of money. She had to know where and how we spent the money which was ours. Even if we earned it she made sure we saved some, while other kids shopped till they dropped. Life sucked!
Mother wouldn’t let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 18.
Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have every been caught stealing, shoplifting, vandalizing other’s properties, or arrested for drunk driving or eve teasing. It was all her fault. Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults never shrinking from our responsibilities. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was. I think that is what’s wrong with the world today. It just doesn’t have enough mean Moms!
Today, reading this article makes me smile the way it made her smile ten years ago. Thank you for being a mean mom.
PS. I still have this article pinned up on my wall.