In her book Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later Denise Schipani writes about how parenting has changed between her mother’s generation and her own and how she attempts to do hard things as a parent even when it makes other parents call her mean.
In spite of the title, the book does not take the regrettable tone you sometimes here online or in real life of “I’m such a bad person! I’m such a bad mom! I’m such a mean mom!” when the person saying so doesn’t really think any such thing. The title rather refers to the way that Schipani feels like other parents regard her when she raises her children differently than the norm.
The ideas Schipani presents aren’t actually that mean. If you think it’s “mean” to say no to your children occasionally, refuse to let them grow up too fast, or to resist the urge to helicopter parent then I suppose the book would seem aptly named to you, but to me the ideas presented in the book were common sense.
The book is organized around ten “mean mom manifestos”:
- It’s not about you, it’s about them (that is, the kids are not your “project” or your chance to relive your childhood).
- Hang on to yourself (don’t let your whole life revolve around your kids even if they are your full-time job – it doesn’t do you or them any favors to think they are the center of the universe).
- Start as you mean to go on (think about how you want your kids to turn out and set your rules and priorities accordingly).
- Don’t follow the parenting pack (other parents like to be judgey about how you feed, diaper, and discipline your kids, but you need to do what works for you and your family goals – don’t do things just because the other parents are doing it).
- Take control (be the parent in the scenario).
- Say no. Smile. Don’t apologize. (you can say no without turning into a scrooge).
- Teach them life skills (prepare your kids for real life tasks like cleaning bathrooms, cooking, and doing laundry – even if you regularly outsource those things your kids may not always be able to).
- Slow it down (be careful about schedules, outfits, when you let them have new technology, etc – not to be a Luddite, but to be thoughtful).
- Fail your child, a little bit, every day (allow your child to fail so he can learn to grow).
- Prepare them for the world, not the world for them (keep the end game in mind).
I think Schipani is right about the changes in parenting culture – the tendency to compare ourselves to others is much easier now that we have the internet, and it can be difficult to resist the feeling that we need to keep up with what everyone else seems to be doing. Mean Moms Rule is a good reminder that we can be reasonable in our parenting.
The publisher has graciously offered a giveaway book for one A Spirited Mind reader. If you’d like to win a copy of Mean Moms Rule, leave a comment and tell us about a way you don’t follow the “parenting pack.”
The giveaway will be open through next Friday, April 20. Good luck!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The publisher sent me a review copy of the book, but the opinions in the review are my own.