Image by Floyd Brown via Flickr

Once in a while I come to the realization that I can be very hard on people. I expect a lot. As a result, I am also disappointed a lot. Clearly this is not a healthy, fair or a productive way to exist. And I cannot say it is really a conscious thing. I think I am so very hard on myself that I naturally just put that on others as well. Now, I am not saying I am some kind of heartless hard ass. That is far from the case. While I am much tougher than I once was…I am still a bleeding heart. I forgive extremely easily. I understand and empathize with the troubles of others and always take that into account when considering their behavior. And there pretty much isn’t anyone I wouldn’t help if I could.

It also depends on the topic at hand. When it comes to parenting, that is where I become most judgmental. If you have read my blog before, this will not be much of a surprise. I have strong beliefs when it comes to parenting, raising children and teaching them. Beliefs which are SO strong that I sometimes block out other perspectives and am very quick to condemn another for doing something I see as very wrong. This is one of the times when Bitch Heather comes out.

And while I do not like this part of myself, I still stand strong in my convictions. I will always believe that feeding your kid McDonald’s on a daily basis is WRONG. I will always believe that booty shorts and eyeliner will never belong on a 10 year old. I will always stand by the fact that I do not think parents should be friends with their kids instead of being parents. There are certain things of which I know I will not waver. And because I am an opinionated loud mouth…I voice my frustration and disappointment in others for doing what I consider to be “wrong, lazy or stupid”.

Yesterday I, without taking a moment to process and perceive, automatically became angry when I was told that my husband’s ex was allowing their daughter to dance to a song I deem as inappropriate for a child in the school talent show. Quickly, I huffed and puffed and penned about my anger. I assumed she knew the song and simply didn’t care as many other parents seem to do these days. My step daughter’s mom has many different views than I do and obviously we clash in our ideologies many times. I was so upset that it had gone that far off from where I so strongly stand.

And many of you may think I am merely the step mom and I have no real right or reason to complain as she is not MY child. Its up to the parents and that’s that. True, I have no rights. And I have tried to step WAY back in regards to my parenting her. But you also should consider that I HAVE been a parent – a very active parent – to her for almost 10 years now and since she was in diapers. Every “step” situation is different and ours seems quite a bit different than many.

Anyway, her mother told me that she was not aware of the song lyrics or the inappropriateness of it being preformed by children. She did take that time to look up the lyrics and agreed to speak with her daughter about changing her talent show plans. I apologized to her for assuming she knew and was simply making a lazy, bad choice. I knew I was wrong to do that.

I then remembered one time as a kid in the car with my mom. The song ‘Walk on the Wild Side‘ by Lou Reed came on the radio. She turned it up and exclaimed how she loved that song and told me to listen to it. Then it gets to the part: 

Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was given head

My mom suddenly turned it down and gasped as she realized the lyrics. “Now that was stupid…I was wrong, don’t listen to the song.” And she had to laugh at herself.

My mom wasn’t a bad mom. She was young when I was born – only 20. She made her mistakes…some small, some large. But she did the best she could. The best she knew how. And I never considered her a bad mom because of that day in the car. So, why would I so quickly consider someone else ‘bad’ for something quite similar?

Being nasty to my husband’s ex has become admittedly and embarrassingly easy for me. My anger, resentment and bitterness have taken over the majority of my, what used to be, laid back personality. Yesterday she emailed me and apologized for things she has done to hurt me over time. She said she is working on things and hopes one day things can get better. Have I heard this from her before? Yes. A couple times a year it seems. But never before had we been in such a state of mutual hate. And though I am much more skeptical and weary…I know that SOMEthing has to change. This detest, this furious frustration, this constant battle needs to end. I cannot handle it and it is ruining who I want to become.

As my part of trying to heal this situation (not that it can ever completely be healed – who knows), I need to realize and remind myself constantly of the following:

1. Not everyone is going to agree with me…as right as I know I am 😉

2. I cannot control, fix or change others and I need to be okay with that.

3. Parents make mistakes. I make them everyday. I need to give people a break.

4. Not getting angry and lashing out doesn’t mean I am rolling over…it just means there are some things of which I need to let go.

5. Sometimes I can be kinder in my delivery.

As I say all the time, I am not perfect. And as I attempt to work on these things…I am sure I will fall back onto bad habits once in a while. But I do recognize that which needs to change on my end. As far as what other’s need to do…that is up to them to decide and there is NOTHING I can do about that.


7 thoughts on “Mean Moms…Have I Become One?

  1. We would not have been “cool” parents. We were both brought up in strict homes, where reading and homework was most important. Other stuff waited. We got to watch TV and listen to music, but never had all the gadgets and stuff. When we go out to eat now, we almost always get sat near a family with little kids. It’s almost like the hostess is trying to punish us or something. Kids making a fuss in restaurants makes me frustrated. Listening to parents make little deals with their kids?! When we were kids, if we made a fuss, our dinner was over and we headed to the car, no questions asked. After one of those episodes, we learned to not do that again. Stores are another place of “deal making”. If my parents said no, that was end of discussion. If we pressed the issue, again our little trip was over. My parents never hit us as kids. They laid down the law and that was it. They stuck to it, and we knew it. Believe it or not, kids want limits. They want lines, so they know how far they can go. Many parents I dealt with didn’t understand that and I was criticized for it. Years after the fact, some have come back to me and apologized, saying they should have trusted my judgement. You being a mean mom? Nope, just being a parent. Remember, they all ready have friends and they are their own age. Respect is a two way street and you can’t force respect on someone.

  2. I havent censored what she listens to – haven’t felt the need as of yet. I just said she shouldnt be preforming it. Everyone is going to parent differently I guess and I think most of us pick our battles. I dont sit around all day repeating the word no over and over. There are plenty of things that DO slide.

    1. Heather, please don’t be so quick to take everything as a criticism. I wasn’t saying that you don’t let things slide or that you censor what she listens to. I was only sharing my philosophy on parenting and using music as an example since that’s what spurred the blog. There are many things I let my kid do that I know other parents wouldn’t let their kid do and probably even more things that I don’t let her do that other parents do let their kids do. That was kind of my point – that we all have to pick and chose our battles based on what’s important to us. I remember when I lived with my mom in 7th grade I had a strict bed time. Every Sunday night we would fight because my favorite show (Remington Steele) came on at my bedtime and she wouldn’t let me stay up to watch it. She wanted to fight that battle every Sunday night (the other nights were never an issue). She sent me to live with my dad & step-mom in the 8th grade and the subject of bedtime never came up. I could go to bed whenever I wanted. They weren’t going to fight that battle but I knew I had to go to school in the morning on time regardless of whether or not I was tired.

  3. I strongly believe that people should pick and choose the battles that are most important to them because every battle cannot be won and by trying to do so, you will lose the war. My daughter is very into music and regularly sings “racy” song lyrics. Are they the best thing to hear coming out of a 6 year old’s mouth? No. But, I am not going to fight that battle with her. She is a lover of animals, people and the Earth and is very sensitive to any of these things being abused. She is also very concerned about doing the “wrong” thing and will tattle on herself (and others) over the silliest things. I don’t want to say no to her about everything because I want her to accept no and know that mom means it when it comes to the big things. We are only human and as such are programmed to make mistakes. All we can do is learn from them and move on. And like you said, we don’t have control over others.

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