The hash tag pops up on my feed and my heart drops right before my blood boils. Another Christian mom goes on to explain how she Put. Her. Foot. Down. She’s a #meanmom. And she knows that her kids will thank her when they are older.
Except probably not.
Because nobody I know that had a truly “mean mom” came away unscathed.
I understand that for some of these women, the premise of what they are saying is that they are trying to teach and discipline their children so that their kids grow up to be productive members of society, if not altogether Christ-like.
But I’m afraid. I’m afraid that even the hint of the connotation of being a “mean mom” sets us up for failure.
I know that my heart is naturally drawn to doing the wrong thing. The last idea I need in my head is that being a “mean mom” equates to being the authority in my home. It will taint my approach to my kids and be a seed for pride that I don’t want growing anywhere near my heart.
Why do we have to call ourselves a "Mean Mom" and wear it like a badge to prove that we are the boss of our kids and that we make choices for them that are for their good?
As a Christian mom, yes, I DO want them to listen and to obey (but with reasonable expectations and understanding of their maturity level and Spiritual growth).
I DO want them to know that I say what I mean. But I also believe that if they think I am a "mean mom" then I have gotten off track somehow.
God draws us with LOVING-KINDNESS, moms:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
I can't imagine God saying to me, "Yeah, I'm a Mean God/Mean Father" and I'm just doing what is best for you cause I'm the Dad so don't throw a tantrum. It may be semantics but I think it's dangerous thinking to refer to ourselves as a “mean mom.” The world will do a good job of showing my kids what mean looks like. Heaven forbid they get even a taste of that from me-the one God gave these gifts to in the first place so that they would know His love for them. Personally, I want to always err on the side of grace in my parenting.
I wonder what my kids would think if they read through my posts about the time I wouldn’t let them go to a sleepover because they didn’t clean their room and saw me refer to myself as a mean mom. Would they listen to me as a junior higher when one of them gets in trouble at school for saying something mean to a peer? Why should they? If it’s okay for me to be a mean mom, then the apple is simply falling close to the tree. When we approach our kids with an “I’m the mom here, so too bad for you” attitude we may get the outward behavior we are seeking but we miss reaching their hearts. That's not good enough for me.
It that the legacy we want to leave for our kids? Or is it this:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4
Lord, may my kids know that first and foremost, I love them, am tender toward them so that I can reach their hearts, and may they learn that they can be sad or even angry about my decisions for them but that those feelings can co-mingle with respect and love for me too.
As moms we often wonder if we are doing the right thing by our children but having them identify us with being a mean mom is a surefire way to fail. Let’s focus on a new “hash tag” shall we? Take your pick: