One Mean Mama

The idea for this article is completely unoriginal, but it's content is. I recently read a blog post from a father who discussed all of the horrible things that he does to his children that he feels absolutely no guilt about. I agree with so much of what he wrote and thought that the article was hilarious. At the end of his post he invited readers to comment on their own guilt-free parenting pleasures. This immediately got me thinking about some of the things that I do or say to my kids even though I know that saying such things is mean, untruthful and borderline wrong.

I was not going to be able to leave him a brief comment. I was going to need my own entire blog post.

I had never really thought about how mean we parents can be and how unreasonable we are sometimes. If a fellow adult were to treat me the same way that I sometimes treat my own kids I would be irate and intolerant of it. I guess that's just part of parenting. Our kids will be parents one day and they too will get their turn to experience this particular enjoyment right of passage.

How am I mean? What do I lie about?
  • I pretend like I'm paying attention to them when I'm actually not. I nod, I give them vocal feedback, and I might even give them direct eye contact. But I'm not listening to them. Not one word that they're saying. Afterward I say a generic enthusiastic, "Wow honey!" or "Maybe we can do that," or "That's awesome!" but I have no idea what I am commenting on.
  • I force my kids to take naps. I lie and tell them that they must nap because that's when children grow. In our house a person is only able to grow when they are asleep, so if you want to get taller you have to take a nap. Why do I say this? Because naps are not for them or their health. Naps are for me. Naps are for my sanity and are my only time to get anything done around the house. 
  • I act like I am much more mad than I really am. Yes, it sucks when my 6 year old spills a full glass of milk while he is sitting at the kitchen table doing his homework, but it's not all bad. Inside I actually get super excited when this happens! I now have the perfect "out!" I can blow up and pretend to be disappointed or angry so that my kid is too scared to be naughty for a few hours, if I'm lucky, for the rest of the day. I suggest this lie to all parents.
  • I remember some advice I was told early on as a parent: You should never pine one child against the other or compare them to each other to their face, because it makes them dislike each other. But guess what? Even though I know it's wrong I do this all the time. If one child is misbehaving I frequently point out that another child is on task. They don't seem to hate each other when I do this, in fact this technique seems to have the desired outcome. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right?
  • Once in a while I pretend like we are out of certain groceries. I do this because making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is much less work than making spaghetti or tacos for lunch. Even though I know the kids get really sick of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I still lie. As an adult I despise having to eat the same things over and over yet I do not afford my children the same luxury.
  • Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Elf on the Shelf, all lies. Speaking of Santa in particular, I often threaten that Santa won't come when I know very well that he will. I threaten this when they're hitting each other, they're not listening to me, or maybe they just do something they're not supposed to do. It actually feels selfishly good to tell them that if they continue to (fill in the blank) that Santa won't come, or if he does come that he will only bring them coal. Now, seriously, I would never take Santa away but it sure is nice to have that empty promise as ammunition.
  • This might be the best worst thing that I do. In secret, I individually tell each of my kids that he or she is my favorite child. I don't know what it is about siblings (maybe that competition I was talking about earlier) but they are constantly vying to be the favorite child. Every few days at least one of them asks me who it is. I should say, "I love you all the same." I actually say, "You are my favorite because you were my first," or "You are my favorite because you are my only girl." I tell them that they can't tell the others because it would make them sad. This one will probably come back to bite me one day, but for now I tell myself that I am attempting to build up their esteem (but I narcissisticly thrive on the look of pure happiness they get on their face when I tell them what they want to hear).
I am a dishonest mom to my kids sometimes. I realize that this is completely unfair because I am trying to teach them the importance of honesty. I am not sure how long I will be able to get away with my despicable behavior, but hopefully for awhile. Not only is it fun to get away with acting like this, but it keeps the days interesting too.

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