Mean Mommy

That’s what I call what I’ve been lately in the morning…”Mean Mommy”IMG_2962

I don’t wake up that way. Although your alarm clock being a 6 year old who’s internal clock is permanently set to 7:00AM on the dot who then decides to wake you up not with hugs, snuggles & whispered “wake upppp…” but instead chooses physically pulling your eyelids open & saying “C’MON MOM! TIME TO GET UP!!”. Or her new trick is a clever one indeed, we keep Sheldon in our bathroom overnight with a baby gate on the doorway, she’ll go to gate & call for him, waking him & riling him up “C’MON BOY! Want to go out?! Huh?! HUH?!” which of course solicits incessant dog barking from a very full bladder filled puppy that I know only gives me a limited window to get him to the backyard before my morning chores will also include cleaning the floors. SO I usually go from dreams of Ryan Gosling my dear sweet, handsome husband to wide awake & trying to bolt down the stairs. Oh & did I mention that there is usually a 3 year old who has crept her way into our bed during the night & curled up into the perfect ‘little c’ shape next to me & she does not feel the urgent need to go downstairs, she wants to wake up slowly, like normal people ((hand in the air waving wildly)) do. So in the midst of the barking & begging,  she starts crying that her snuggle buddy has jumped out of bed & before I can get to the stairs she’ll cry from the bed “Carrrry Meeeeee!” & I’ll swoop her onto my back like a baby sloth, all the while I’m timing in my head how much longer I have until the pup who’s already made it to the back door bladder explodes. ((TICK TOCK TICK TOCK POP GOES THE BLADDER CLOCK))

I feel fairly confident that I could stop here & have most of you uttering, “Amen Sister!” but that’s actually not what tips me into the dark side. Once we get downstairs the girls grab their cups (a sippy cup of yogurt & milk that either P or myself make the night before & having waiting on the bottom shelf of the fridge) & head to the couch to watch their ipads for a short while. I do actually get a chance to have a cup of hot coffee, sit down, & watch a bit of the Today Show. It gives me a chance to wake up & is quite nice…until it isn’t.

Here’s where things go bad…

I tell the girls it’s time to go upstairs & get dressed. They whine & complain, “just one more minute! I didn’t even get to see the fluffy kitty get into the spaceship yet!” ((note to self: check to see what are those kids actually watching online anyway)) After 2 or 3 “I mean it!” sent their way they begrudgingly make their way up the stairs. After that every single movement that gets us towards leaving the house is a battle. Somehow that perky, bouncy 6 year old now turns into a limp piece of spaghetti when I’m trying to help her get dressed. Have you ever dressed spaghetti? It is not fun. Of course as soon as I get one dressed & turn towards girl#2 the first will dive into her bed. “No! Do not get back in bed, go brush your teeth! Seriously, c’mon! Please?

Every single little thing takes effort…

Shirt over head, fixing pants that have been put on backwards, sending them to brush hair & teeth, having to go back & brush hair & teeth because as I’m trying to dress myself in my morning clothes (these are clothes that closely resemble & sometimes even include a piece of the pajamas I was previously wearing. Morning clothes will soon be swapped out for presentable attire & will be hopefully hidden from anyone who might know my name until kid morning dropoff is complete) I see this:

‘Little one who’s supposed to be “brushing teeth” is actually just creating large amounts of foam in her mouth & growling at the mirror like a rabid dog while ‘big one’ who is supposed to be brushing her hair, hair which she refuses to let us cut & is coming dangerously close to dreadlocks, is actually just passing the hairbrush through the air that hovers just over her actual hair. I give a deep sigh & look over at the bedroom cablebox to see that we were supposed to be in the car 5 minutes…ago.

THAT is when ‘Mean Mommy’ takes over all of my awareness. Now, let me clarify, I’m not talking about head spinning, corporal punishment type of parenting but Mean Mommy is someone I hate becoming & don’t want to be a daily part of my girl’s childhoods. She raises her voice, “PUT ON YOUR SHOES! SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’M GOING TO TELL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT & PUT ON THOSE DARN SHOES BEFORE I TAKE ALL OF YOUR DOLLS AWAY! FOREVER! Mean Mommy is forceful, anxious & begins both her & her children’s day off with a less than loving start.

I’ve often thought that if I woke up earlier, before the kids, & started my day with some quiet time & peace I’d be better equipped to handle the chaos of the morning but the truth is I love my bed. I love being in my bed & it truly takes an army, or a least a pee filled dog & very loud little girl, to get me out of it.

So I wonder, what makes you become ‘Mean Mommy’? Or maybe I should ask, do you become ‘Mean Mommy’? What’s your trigger & have you ever been able to find a way to prevent the transformation?

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  1. gah i totally feel your pain! i hate starting the day off on a “mean mommy” note. My kids are 10,9 and 7 so you know theyll dwell on that for the first few hours of school if not all day and i refuseeee to send them off that way but some days it happens but before i leave them i make it right :) it take a lot for mean mommy to come out for me as well. like my wife says im the “talk about your feelings” mom lets give them a few chances type of mom. they know not to push buttons because mommy can get ugly so they try their best not too. my son the 7yo is tough because he lovessss to read so any chance to pick up a book,star wars even worse, hell do it even if it means mean mommy might pay him a visit. with the girls is lying. dont lie to mommy because 99.999% of the time mommy already knows the truth and if i dont trust your other mommy does :P kids will be kids and theyll test us unintentionally and intentionally lol

  2. Andrea

    THIS IS ME!! I was just telling my coworkers about this yesterday! My husband.. lucky him.. has to be at work early, so misses out on this exhausting part of the day.. Its funny because when I think back after I have dropped my kids off at daycare(I have 2 girls, 6 and 2).. I think.. I have only been up for an hour and a half and I am exhausted and completely in awe of all that has happened and was eventually accomplished in that small amount of time. I tell my neighbors who have older kids to try to remember those early years when they hear me yelling in the drive way to GET IN THE CAR!! DON’T LET THE DOG OUT!! PUT YOUR SHOES BACK ON! And then after I drop them off, it is silence, and I am in my car alone on the way to work and I feel guilty. Mostly for not being that patient parent who can explain everything to each child in a calm and soothing way.. I am hoping this gets easier as they get older.. But please know that I am in the same struggle as you every morning.. You aren’t alone! Thanks for posting, this made me feel better today :)

    • Natasha

      THanks Andrea, you made me feel better too! Also its funny, when you hear someone else explain their story it’s so easy to see from the outside why you shouldnt be so hard on themselves but when its yourself you feel so guilty…that mommy guilt, it’s a sneaky one!

  3. Susan

    We had to cut the device habit on weekdays. It’s just too hard to get them off of them and everyone is cranky. I thought it’d be awful but it’s been fantastic. They’re much more cheerful and interactive – and not as hurried to get up so early when they know there’s no device before school or whatever is happening. Just breakfast, hair, clothes, shoes, bag, go. Color or craft or read if there’s lots of extra time. More device time on the weekends. If they’re being generally cheerful and helpful, that is.

    • Natasha

      Hmm, we cut the TV in the car & were super scared to at first, but it actually turned out to be one of the best parenting decisions we’ve made, they sing along with the radio, actually talk to us, it’s great BUT taking away their ipads in the mornings, hmmm, i dunno, super scary!

      • Kimberly

        If you don’t want to give up the iPad habit in the morning. I might suggest waiting until they are 100% ready to go before they have access to them. In a sense they earn the iPads by getting ready without hassle. They quicker they get ready, the sooner they earn their tablet time. I hope you get it figured out. It sucks to be mean mommy, I know from experience!

  4. Vilma

    OMG yes! I become mean mommy, like every day! It’s sad really! I have a 4, going on 16, year old son who likes to push every button! From not wanting to get dressed, to not wanting to wear what I pick for him, running around when I ask him to get shoes, straight ignoring me when I tell him to brush… Oh the list can go on! Then I have a 20 month old who likes to clim- everything, likes to stick her hands in the dog bowl, stand on the book shelf to turn on the wii and DVD player… talk about trouble! Just yesterday we were at the grocery store and I looked like the mom who couldn’t handle her two kids so I totally became the “mean mom” taking my son to the side and looking into his eyes while I meanly whispered you walk next to me or else we are going home and you are never going to see that wii or 2ds again! I feel like none of this ever happens with my husband tho, like they are the most behaved children and listen and do everything he tells them to do or not do. Are moms that easy to walk all over? I guess it’s payback because I remember my mom getting upset/ mad with my brothers & I and we would seriously just laugh, but if dad said it oh you better believe we stopped and listened!

  5. Lisa

    I give you serious props for making it this long before discovering Mean Mommy. I have a 12 month old and she’s already made an appearance. What triggers me? Blood curdling screams when I have to change a diaper or put him in the car seat. Heaven forbid he have a clean tush or safe car ride. He’s also decided it’s time to find some independence which means blatantly ignoring me or my husband when we say ‘no’ to things. We really try to limit the ‘no’s but when he’s grabbing for a cord in a socket we get pretty serious. I fear what the next few years bring us….

    • Natasha

      Oh Lisa, your story about your little one so reminds me of our Sophie…there’s a reason we call her ‘Sophie Monster’ (;

  6. Gina

    My mean mommy looks exactly the same, with the six year old who tries to crawl back in bed because after he was up at 5 now that it’s 10 minutes before we need to be out the door he’s suddenly too tired. I’ve started putting him in the car before I take the dog out one last time so I’m not waiting on him anymore, he’s waiting on me.

    • Natasha

      Hmm, that’s interesting…although I certainly hope he’s in a car in the garage with the car NOT running! Sometimes I’ll strap my kids in the car in the driveway & then realize Ive forgotten something and run back in but the whole time I’m panicking to get back to them, even though we live in a good neighborhood you just never know who’s walking by…I dunno.

      But I can certainly relate to your point that this kid that was SO awake that they had to wake up the house asap is suddenly too tired when it’s time to go to school, that is SO relatable!

  7. stephanie

    i have mean mommy moments all the time. like rip my hair out, lock myself in the bathroom, cover my ears and say lalalalallalala until all the whining, crying, demanding, tugging stops. it never does. but in the bathroom, one can dream.
    i have tried to make a concerted effort to try and enjoy this time in my kids life. one day, my three boys will be grown up and will want nothing to do with me, won’t need my help to do anything, and won’t be sitting on my couch snuggled up. and i also think of this post – it’s a post from a mom whose daughter was at sandy hook. http://theparkerfive.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/back-to-school/
    i hesitated sharing because of the gravity of the situation alissa is in, but it always puts me in my place. i hope it’s not taken the wrong way….it just always reminds me to cherish the moments i have and i’m not implying AT ALL that you aren’t. i just always think alissa writes so beautifully and really makes me think about how i live my life with my kids. apologies if it’s taken the wrong way.

  8. Kellee

    I totally feel the same way. I have 3 midgets (10, 6, 3) and work at night so im super grumpy in the morning. I always drop all but 1 feeling like they got “yelled” instead of hugs and kisses. I usually get up 15-20 min earlier then the kids just to have some non chaotic time…which still somehow ends up chaotic. This school year I have vowed to have them pick out clothes before bed and make their own lunches. We’ll see how that goes. Its just all part of the mommie hustle..no matter what your day/night profession is. Hang in there ;)

  9. Karin

    Oh my goodness I totally feel you on this. I am not only mean mommy but that’s what my daughter calls me on a regular. I have a 6 year old (in 3 weeks) and a 17 month old. I typically wake up at 5:40 every day. Lucky you for 7:00. I would die to see 7:00. Not even on weekends sadly. Then I usually wake my daughter up around 6:15. Goal is to leave the house by 7:30 or earlier (if lucky) to drop them off at daycare. Once their dad leaves for work which is about 6:30, mean mommy makes an appearance. Just to get night clothes put away, bed made up, using the bathroom and brushing teeth it’s quite the ordeal. The baby thinks everything is funny so running away when i’m trying to dress him and get him ready does not work. My daughter is so easily distracted and it’s so hard for her to focus and get everything done in a timely manner. By the time socks are on, its another waiting period as she gets her shoes on and ties her shoelaces which she just learned how to do. I swear I always think the neighbors must think I beat them in the mornings because either i’m yelling or she’s yelling or the baby is crying. I tell you by the time I drop them off I am so tired and not in the mood to go to work at all. I need a vacation just after the morning craziness. I totally get where you are coming from. I hate becoming like that but they just don’t listen or they just can’t focus. It’s hard. Don’t beat yourself up. You are not alone.

  10. Melanie

    Mean Mommy for me was in full force on yesterday (Wednesday). The trigger: my all boy and all energy 4 year old laughing at my anger and frustration. I think I snapped and blacked out for a second. Needless today, we both went to time out and fell asleep. I think part of it was being exhausted and then part of it was him doing something bad and then laughing at me when I told him what-for.

    There are moments where I feel like I am the worst parent in the world. They all seem to coincide with the moments when I am Mean Mommy.

  11. Janelle

    I don’t have children so I’ll encourage you from the other side. My mom said something along these lines lately of being a “mean” mommy, or the things that didn’t go as she planned because of my brother and I being problematic and, well, children.

    I don’t remember any of that when I look back. I remember a loving mom who taught me to cook and took my brother and I on all kinds of adventures. Your daughters will remember the great times with you and how amazing you are.

    You are wonderful.

  12. Wendy

    Mornings at our house are also electronics-free; no tv, no nothing. It is all business; get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush hair/teeth, shoes, out the door. Our biggest struggle is getting the 6 y.o. out of bed; on one hand, we were blessed with a kid who likes to sleep. On the other hand… It is not such a blessing when we actually need to get her out of bed. Which is every weekday.

    I definitely have my mean mommy moments, though mine tend to correspond closely with the calendar, and seem to occur around the same time each month…

  13. Rose

    You pretty much just explained almost every weekday morning for me, minus the dog. I have two girls 3 and 5 and feel like and endless nag all morning: “please finish your breakfast”, “times up, let’s go get dressed” followed by whining they aren’t done with breakfast after 45 min, asking “what do you want to wear” roughly 15 times without answer, “please brush your teeth”, “how do you want your hair” also asked 15 times without response. Some days this doesn’t seem to bother me but other days I think my head might explode and I end up yelling. I seriously hate yelling, and am sad when I think what it must sound like to them. So, when it happens I always apologize for yelling, tell them I love them, and explain why I was upset, but again that I always love them, even when I’m upset.

    It would be even better if I could not yell to begin with . I’m always trying to remind myself that they are kids, they don’t really understand schedules, they really just want to enjoy the moments, they want to play, etc. When I feel myself getting frustrated i walk away and start getting myself ready and take a deep breath to put things into perspective.

    I appreciate you sharing this, it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not the only one, and in turn I responded to let you know, neither are you.

    • Natasha

      Ugh, I so get what you mean. I like to “ask” first, “What do you want to wear today?” but it seems like at some point it always flips to “BRUSH YOUR TEETH NOW!” Oh well, if we’re all doing it, it can’t be that damaging right??

  14. Mean Mommy indeed! :)) I’m sure getting serious with our kids is something every mom understands, but we each have common and unique issues, right? Mine is simply getting my 13 year old daughter to read a book. Yes, simply reading a book for 20 minutes a day is comparable dragging her to the dentist for a root canal every afternoon. Funny thing is, I am a book-a-holic and would bring my daughter with me at least 3 times a week to the bookstore since the day she was born. Now, I have to do whatever I can to get her interested in a book to read….I’ve even tried buying kindle and nook apps on her iPhone so she can read without having to put her phone down – God forbid!!! Any way, I intend to go forward in my efforts since I do believe in the outstanding benefits of reading on a regular basis. I am thinking her trouble may be that she has a hard time focusing for more then a few minutes, so I’m targeting that element of the issue, but we’ll see. Good Luck to all the other mothers out there striving to raise great kids….as they say, it takes a village!!

  15. Miranda

    I also love my bed and don’t usually like to exit it until at least 8:00, so mean mommy happens when I’m forced out of bed, then met with the demands of 3 (some days 5) kids who all need stuff now, now, now and refuse to be patient about anything. Trying to get out of the house on those days is a whole different level….thankfully this summer we have been on a relaxed schedule. Mean mommy came out yesterday and only some forced quiet/nap time calmed her. We all have our days and this stage of independence (where it can be helpful but often times more of a hurdle) does not help!

  16. Sam

    I don’t do the morning routine, because I have to leave before my husband and boys.
    But our evening routine is just as bad. It starts the minute I pick them up “Ok, so when we get home, it’s homework, dinner, shower bed. In that order”
    “awe mom!! we won’t get any play time” and from there it’s just downhill, we can usually get through homework and dinner with only 50% of the time spent on each dedicated to complaining. But then, come bed time……….
    “WHY do we go through this every single night? You have had the same routine for 8 & 6 years, NOTHING has changed. WHY can’t you just come up, take a shower brush your teeth and get into bed?” Nightly this happens.
    From there it’s just a jumble of threats and “mean mom” I dislike yelling at my kids, it makes me feel really bad, and most times, it doesn’t faze them anyway, cause really it’s just me saying the same thing I just said, only louder. I especially dislike it at night, night is my time with them, daddy does AM routine, I do PM. I cherish the nights where for whatever cosmic reason everything goes smoothly, those are the ones I tuck away as memories.
    There’s not much I can do in my case, but in yours, I wonder if getting up a little earlier would help. You’d get a few really nice “me” moments with some coffee and your thoughts.

  17. BBB

    I don’t have children but I can relate to Mean Wife, which is something maybe women don’t think about as much because a man doesn’t seem as fragile as a child but I think it’s just as important, if not more so, to watch out for being Mean Wife. Anyway, while a spouse (or child) can certainly do things to trigger you, I think Mean Wife/Mommy comes from your own stresses. If I wake up anxious/annoyed/stressed about my own things and someone else inadvertently annoys me, then I can become mean. So I think it’s important to start the day on a positive note for yourself, then encounter others. I don’t mean getting up 15 minutes early to do yoga (although I’m sure that would help) but just take 5 seconds upon waking up to breathe and tell yourself this is going to be a good day because YOU are going to look at things positively (even if things around you are not so great).

    Secondly, it’s all about perspective. When I’ve become Mean Wife it’s generally over something that in the big picture isn’t that important. So learn to let things go and realize that little things don’t matter: made breakfast a different way than you would, didn’t clean X or Y, forgot to do Z…honestly, who cares? It’s not really worth snapping and having the person look and feel like I killed their puppy (and then have those emotions transfer to me because I feel guilty for lashing out). As a type A person, it can be hard to give up control but I have to because life will go on whether things are done right or not and at the end of the day what will stick is the love, not the imperfections.

    Once things calm down, say the evening or the weekend, explain to those around you why certain things are important to you and they’ll fall into line, even kids. If I snap at my nieces and nephews for misbehaving they would recoil from me, but if, at a clam time, I tell them what behavior I expect, they are actually more prone to listen, especially with positive reinforcement. Hahaha I’ve even used money as an incentive (I wanted them to do something, if they were able to keep that up for a day I would give the one to do it best 5 cents–haha, I love kids, such a small amount of money but they competed with each other to be the one to earn the 5 cents)!

    Lastly, preparation is key! You mentioned that you or P put the breakfast together the day before, PERFECT! Do that for clothes, backpacks, anything and everything you can do to make the morning easier because that’s crunch time.

  18. Christy

    I turn into mean mommy when there are half eaten snacks and wrappers all over the house. What is so hard to understand about, “Eat at the kitchen table?” Needless to say, our carpets are now disgusting from all the spills and messes. Thanks boys, you just cost me $7,000! I think I need to put a padlock on the pantry.

  19. I turn into mean mummy when I forget to have low expectations, or wishing things were different. I manage to keep my voice almost doing the right tone, but my body language screams “c’mon get the hell on with the program”. I slam things and almost throw stuff instead of putting it. My girl is only just 2, so of course she picks up on it and there’s always tears – she will miserably want everything and nothing – and I feel terrible because it’s my fault. When she was smaller she didn’t notice my grump, but in the last few months she has. I have to stop, sigh and look at the horizon, remap the day, shift the goal posts. Luckily, being very difficult hasn’t met days when we have to be somewhere – usually she wants to be where we’re going :) oh, that’s my other strategy: I don’t work right now.

  20. Lily

    It is the most difficult part of the day – early morning with little ones.I like to wake up 1/2 earlier than the kids, so I can have a cup of coffee and get dressed for work. It helps to have the kids clothes picked out the night before.To have a peaceful( what I must be dreaming)!! -breakfast – dress before breakfast. No tv or devices in the morning really helped.umm, bad behavior needs some discipline. Hate to have to say that. Oh , life is never easy with kids.

  21. Mo

    My daughter also can create some struggling times in the morning, but I think you’re on the right track by having a routine with the sippy cup. Having a routine and schedule makes me more calm and in turn shows my daughter how to manage in the morning; she doesn’t know I need order and coffee in the morning to function. And regarding the iPad time? My daughter gets to watch something on the iPad AFTER she’s done her morning activities like getting dressed, brushing hair and teeth and “making” her bed. It’s not always done the way I’d do it, but it’s amazing how quickly she gets ready when she has Paw Patrol waiting on demand. Bribery? Yes. Controlled chaos? Yes.

  22. Jay

    Pheew! Reading your blog kind of exhausted me! I can soo relate to what you go through not only in the mornings but I’m sure throughout the day as well! I have a three year old boy and 5 month old baby girl! My 3 year old (like yours) loves sleeping in bed with my husband and I, carrying him to his bed after he falls asleep in ours is a constant nightly routine that is somehow only interrupted when I am way to tired from tending to my 5 month old at night. Waking up with a cramped arm has been so worth it if it meant I got some extra sleep! To answer your question, there’s no way of escaping having to be the “bad guy”! As a parent we all struggle with that. Tell them in a stern voice before they run upstairs to get ready what you expect of them and how much time they have to get out the door (that way when your rushing them they already know why). Offer an incentive to keep their attitudes positive! Remember If you find yourself getting to that place just know its perfectly normal and deal with it the best way possible! Another huge thing that helps is time! If you find that they’re isn’t enough time, don’t give them those extra minutes in the morning to finish up their shows. Hope this helped, I know your doing a great job, keep it up! From one mom to another!

    • Natasha

      That definitely does help! Especially the time part, starting this school year I’m going to insist on giving us more time by getting going earlier so we don’t end up rushing…rushing is when mean mommy comes out!

  23. Ashley

    Omg are you sure you’re not me?! You just described every morning in our house. The only difference is that my 3 year old is a boy. I always feel bad when I have to start yelling but it seems like that’s the only time they get into gear.

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