I am going to be a mean mommy. Even before I was pregnant, I said I was going to be a mean mommy. What exactly is a mean mommy?
Well, several years ago, I was an assistant early childhood education teacher at a daycare. Basically, I floated from room to room wherever and whenever the daycare needed me. In this daycare there were three classrooms of infants, two classrooms of toddlers, two classrooms of the next age group, one pre-K, and one half-day classroom.
Well, one week I was in the half-day classroom filling in for the lead teacher. There was this little girl, I'm guessing around the age of 4, who refused to eat her sandwich and healthy foods. She would only eat the junk snack foods that her parents provided her. I was not okay with that. So at lunch time, instead of presenting her with all of the food that was in her lunch box, I only put out her sandwich and healthy items. She decided to try and push my buttons by just sitting there without eatting anything. It's not long after lunch that the parents come to pick up their kids. Well, when it was time to pick up this little girl, the mother picked up the lunchbox, and noticed that it was still heavy. She looked inside and saw that all of the food she had prepared was still there. I explained to her that I wouldn't permit her to eat the junk without eatting the healthy first. Her comment to me, "You're a mean mommy, aren't you?" (said with a smile). After a couple days of doing this, the girl realized that I wouldn't budge, and she ate her sandwich :) So yes, I am going to be a mean mommy.
I will follow through on any consequences (not punishments, mind you...) that need to be dished out. Even if it means I need to sacrifice something. For example, if we are on our way somewhere, and my child is misbehaving, and I say to him/her, "If you don't stop right now, we are turning around and going home", then that's what we'll do if the behavior continues. I hope that when the time comes for me to have to discipline my child, I remember my values and philosophies and put them into practice.
I hope I never, ever say "because I said so". I always hated that as a child. I have a logical mind, and so that answer never worked for me. Tell me the reason why I couldn't go outside. "I don't have the time right now to go outside with you and make sure that you are safe". I would have accepted that.
Or when it's time to put toys away, that I have the patience to sit with my kids and make sure that they put their toys away, instead of me doing it for them. And if they refuse, that I have the will and patience to pull them aside and explain to them why we need to put the toys away. Then give them a time out for defiance (if the talk didn't work). After the time out, I hope that I ask them if they understood why they were in time out, and then continue with a follow-through of them helping to clean up.
I believe that, while it may take some time, embarassment (read as: "hissy fits in the store"), and a lot of patience, it is worth it to guide the child towards doing the right thing, instead of giving in and letting the situation carry on, which will only make it that much more difficult in the future.
If being a mean mommy is ultimately looking out for the best interests of my children instead of playing by their rules, then that's what I am. A mean mommy. My daughter may think I'm her BFF now, but she has no idea what she's in for...
1 year ago