The mean mom’s guide to real life


After years of toil, struggle, and inner turmoil wondering what, if anything, I want to be when I grow up, I have discovered my one true calling: I am the Meanest Mom Ever!
Crowned. Sure, my children have crowned me “Meanest Mom” countless times, but lately I’ve been a winner, or at the very least, first runner-up, on a daily basis.
I am apparently different from the legions of nice, normal, and utterly cool moms who, I am told, spend their days tucking chocolate and gummy bear sandwiches into lunchboxes, calling their progeny off school for the slightest sniffle, and shouting “new video games for everyone!” on every shopping trip.
Granted, I didn’t become Meanest Mom Ever overnight. No, this level of expertise involves an investment of time and great diligence.
A Mean Mommy in training must stick to her guns, even in the face of incessant whining and “I hate you’s!” meant to break a mere mortal mother’s heart. It involves developing marked skill in invoking the proper respect so that “because I said so” takes on an ominous tone that no smart child would ignore.
Trashed. Recently, as I was forcing our son to shovel his bedroom to at least a minimum health department standard (amid his cries of “but I LIKE it this way”), I calmly informed my darling little trash hound that since he would not do as asked (which would have taken all of five minutes), I would graciously take care of the task for him. I, of course, would use a trash bag.
Making good on this threat took about 20 minutes, a handful of toys and trading cards, and an immediate surge in his interest in picking up after himself. I like to think someday he (or his spouse) will thank me.
To be honest, I’m a legacy. My own mom was the meanest mom ever and I really just inherited the crown from her.
She had ridiculous rules like a curfew (please) and was unrelenting in wanting to know who, what, where, and when for EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE I went.
I mean, really! I think thwarting my harebrained teenage schemes became something of a hobby for her.
The apple, as they say, does not fall far from the meanest of the trees, and I now find myself saying the same dang things my mother said while doing the same darn things my mother did.
It turns out that rather than sticking to my original plan of being the coolest mom ever and letting my children live on cookies and soda pop and Scooby Doo cartoons, I am seized by a desire to equip my kids with the same self-discipline, integrity, and the ability to make sound decisions that my spouse and I are (generally) blessed with.
Who knew? Lest anyone believe himself capable of snatching my title, let me assure you I have a long list of rules that I am often told NO ONE ELSE ever has to follow, such as: Whining will get you nowhere except into big, big trouble.
I also hold to the quaint notion that sick kids are sick ALL day and there will be no miraculous recoveries allowing for participation in after-school activities. I have even driven children to school after they remarkably recovered from an early morning illness that seemed to wane just after the school bus passed our house.
There is also no fun to be had at our house until homework and related projects are complete.
This Mean Mom thing isn’t for the faint of heart. I lose a lot of friendships – mainly those of my children on an almost daily basis – this way.
Friends. I don’t worry too much about it, however, as I am happily cultivating a new parenting theory: You can emphasize being “friends” with your children in their formative years, but in doing so you run the very real risk they will grow into adults that, were they not your own, you wouldn’t befriend at all.
Or, you can take the path less traveled and be parent now – with all the attendant responsibility – and run the very real possibility that your children, once grown, will become the kind of adults you will be delighted to call your friends.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is pleased to be crowned the “best” at something. She welcomes comments c/o; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460, or


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.