This article has been around the web for a number of years and is perhaps one of the first examples of a viral message. It’s taken on a host of different forms and variations over the years, and keeps popping up as either an article, an adapted poem or even (in one instance that I’ve come across) a rather pithy and poorly executed PowerPoint show.
Sadly, in many cases, I’ve seen credit claimed for these adapted words by completely arbitrary people. The original article on which the version below is based was written by Bobbie Pingaro in 1967.
It was first published in the Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic weekly newspaper and again in Guideposts, a magazine by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. If you’d like to read her original words please visit this page at the Irish Cultural Society of San Antonio website. (~and we’ll have no clever remarks about the combination of Irish and Cultural thank you! – ed.~)
This version I got from my wife who occasionally sends it to our daughter especially at times when her “9 going on 19” attitude surfaces…
Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mum told me: I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home. I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep. I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren’t perfect. I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I’m glad I won them, because in the end you won too. And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them the same thing.
Was your Mum mean?
I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate lollies for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a soft drink and a Twisties for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had too.
Mum insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.
We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labour Laws by making us work! We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then life really got tough!
Mum wouldn’t let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.
Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us was ever been caught shoplifting, vandalising another’s property or was ever arrested for any crime.
It was all her fault.
Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. And we are doing our very best to be mean parents just like Mum was.
I think that is what’s wrong with the world today – it just doesn’t have enough Mean Mums!
[Making this post was partly inspired by the comment left by Aussie-Rocks on my Our Heritage photo post last week]