Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Love: Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later

A year ago I posted my first book review and it's one that really stuck with me most of the year (also making my year-end best of list).  I said I wanted to post more about books and I'm glad I've stuck with that.  Reading is a huge part of my life and I love sharing that with others.  Finding someone who has read and enjoyed the same book(s) is like an instant connection.

Today I'm talking about a book I read after putting it off for months but it turned out I shouldn't have.  Parenting books can be dull and filled with a lot of facts.  Which I get, that's helpful when talking about some aspect of it but it can also make for tedious reading, something I am not a fan of.   This one was nothing like that and had me doing a whole lot of head-nodding and mental "Amen, sister!".

Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later
by: Denise Schipani
page count: 228
approx. read time: 3.5 hours

The author starts out the book, the first sentence in fact, claiming to be a mean mom.  That was probably an obvious start from the title.  But then she goes on to explain why she considers herself "mean".  It's not for any abusive (although kids may seem regular household chores that way) or actual mean reasons.  It's more she's tough and wants to prepare her kids for the real world without losing herself in being a parent along the way.  That sounds like pretty good goals to me but feels to go against a lot of popular parenting culture.  I shouldn't feel incredibly guilty anytime we do something away from Luke or take time to read a book while he's awake and happy.  (Residual guilt over him being an only child and thus I'm his primary playmate many days?  Maybe.)

I don't want Luke to be overly coddled, I want him to leave our house (something he currently says he's never ever going to do but I doubt he'll still be thinking that in 20 years) with some real life skills, be able to live on his own, and really, not need me, as tough as that is to admit.  And implementing all that starts now.  Whether it's teaching him how to do laundry (eventually), live with disappointment, or just stand-up for himself, there are a lot of skills we need to teach him now and some of that comes from being "mean".

Ms. Schipani has "10 Mean Mom Manifestos" all of which get their own chapter and explanation:
  1. It's Not about You, It's about Them 
  2. Hang On to Yourself.  You May Need That Person Later (and So May Your Kids)
  3. Start as You Mean to Go On
  4. Don't Follow the Parenting Pack
  5. Take (or Take Back) Control
  6. So No.  Smile.  Don't Apologize.  Repeat as Necessary.
  7. Teach Life Skills,  If Not You, Who?
  8. Slow it Down.  Slow it Way Down.
  9. Fail Your Child a Little Bit Every Day
  10. Prepare Them for the World (Not the World for Them)
I particularly liked (needed, appreciated) reading about #2 - Hang onto Yourself (Hobbies, people) and #4 - Don't Follow the Parenting Pack (sometimes you just need someone to tell you it's ok to be different and go against the "Pinterest" tide). Some were things I hadn't thought much about (are we speeding Luke through life?  Pushing him into things he's not old enough for yet?  I don't know but now I'm thinking about it!).

Taking the easy way out and being a "yes" parent can be fun in the moment but probably isn't best for your kids in the long run or for you.  Saying no to his morning cookie requests and no to whatever he's asking me to buy him at Target or even to wearing shorts outside in the snow (I've gotten that one repeatedly this year).  It might make him momentarily happy if I say "yes" but really, not the best for him or me.  I want Luke to be happy but I also want him to grow up to be a good person who can, and will, take care of himself, with the necessary skills.  And sometimes being a mean Mom is what is necessary.

This was a pretty easy book to read with a nice conversationalist tone.  I got some new insights, even though agreeing with her overall philosophy before even starting the first page.  I highly recommend to any parent, the more of us "mean" Moms there are, the easier it'll be to stick with it!  Also, I want Luke to find a future spouse who already knows how to do the laundry too. 

No comments: