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The Suburbanite
  • Adventures in Parenting: The meanest mom in the world

  • The “Northern Wyoming Daily News” recently ran a six-line advertisement from a woman named Angie who was selling her 16-year-old son’s pickup. Angie bought it for him under two conditions: he keep his grades up and stay out of trouble. Her son held up his end of the bargain until New Year’s Eve, when he made a very unfortunate choice.

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  • The “Northern Wyoming Daily News” recently ran a six-line advertisement from a woman named Angie who was selling her 16-year-old son’s pickup. Angie bought it for him under two conditions: he keep his grades up and stay out of trouble. Her son held up his end of the bargain until New Year’s Eve, when he made a very unfortunate choice.
    Her ad read: “VERY mad mother selling 16 yr. old son’s 1993 Ford Ranger. Drove 3 mos. before son forgot to use his brain and got caught driving drunk. $3500 OBO. Call meanest mother in Wyoming, 307-2**-****.”
    I noticed the ad when it went viral on the Internet. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Good for her,” I thought. Angie set clear boundaries for her son and held him accountable when he crossed them. Some said this was “tough love” parenting and applauded her for following through. Others felt Angie had gone a bit overboard and should have given her son a second chance. Her ex-husband and son begged Angie to remove the ad, but she held firm.
    Last week, in a far less dramatic turn of events, I joined the ranks of Angie and millions of other mothers. I, too, became “the meanest mom in the world.”
    My daughter, Maggie, was having one of those stressful, hormone-driven nights only experienced by the girls and women of the world. Everything and anything was wrong. First she cried over the smallest issues, moved on to anger and ended up in a full-blown preteen tantrum. I felt sorry for her, because she was so out of control. I could see something much bigger than her (estrogen) was the puppeteer behind her behavior.
    However, during our long, long evening together, Maggie made some unfortunate choices herself. They weren’t as serious as the young man in Wyoming, but still broke the boundaries of our family, including talking back, yelling, defiance and disrespectful comments. In spite of my efforts to assist her through several of her nightly tasks and repeated attempts at being understanding and gentle, Maggie was having none of it.
    “You don’t understand me at all,” “You don’t ever listen to me,” “You don’t love me and I know you hate me,” ending in … wait for it …
    “You’re the meanest mom in the world!”
    This announcement was followed by thunderous foot stomping, door slamming, screaming, wailing and what sounded like crashing objects. I was relieved Maggie had left the common areas of our home, sequestering herself away from me. I am proud to report I was calm throughout the hours-long event, never raised my voice and behaved like a rational person.
    At the time, this went against everything I was feeling emotionally. I really wanted to scream and rant about Maggie’s awful behavior. I also wanted to open a bottle of wine and drink it quickly with a straw and call it a night. However, when you’re a single mother, you must keep it together because all the responsibility falls on you. Giving up isn’t an option. I knew the challenges would pass and tomorrow was another day full of opportunities for good.  
    Page 2 of 2 - It seems there are so many of us mean mothers in the world. I feel proud I am finally in the club. My friend Kelly suggested we get jackets, ala the Pink Ladies in the movie “Grease,” with “Meanest Mom” embroidered on them. I think Kelly might be on to something. It’s a potentially booming apparel business, because, once you receive that moniker, even if it stings a bit, you know one thing: You are doing a great job as a mother. The designation is actually a sign you are doing lots of things right. You rock as a mom.
    Mean mothers give their children boundaries and follow through with consequences when they are crossed, as indicated by Angie in Wyoming. Mean mothers raise awesome kids, according to my Aunt Barb, who raised several. Mean moms raise the best kids — who grow up to be grateful adults — according to my friend, Kim, who has a successful daughter in college. Mean moms know they are doing the right thing when their children pitch their temper tantrums, according to my Aunt Dyanne, who is an elementary school principal and mother of two great adult children. Mean moms know true loves begins with respect, and sometimes, you just have to get through those days and years with your children, according to my Uncle Paul and my Aunt Nancy, who also raised several great children.
    I am proud to be “the meanest mom in the world.” Now I just need to get that jacket ordered.