Mean mummy or good mummy?

Are you a mean mummy or a good mummy? Léna, our 9 year old daughter, is constantly telling me I’m a mean mummy.

I’m a mean mummy because I don’t give her a packet of biscuits when I collect her from school (she gets a piece of fruit and a cereal bar / crackers).

I’m a mean mummy because I don’t buy her every little thing that catches her eye when we’re out.

I’m a mean mummy because I make her tidy her room (and don’t do it for her).

I’m a mean mummy because she has to lay the table and clear the table for the evening family meal.

And you know what? It’s hard when your child is upset with you and you can do something to make her feel better but you don’t.

So why don’t I?

Because I’m trying to be a good mummy.

It would be oh so easy to give her a packet of biscuits after school (less messy and probably cheaper than a piece of fruit too!).

My life would be far less stressful if I bought her what she asked for when we are out shopping, and we can afford it as she’s only asking for little bits and pieces.

We have a cleaner who could tidy her room, so it’s not even a question of me not having the time to do it.

I’m there when she lays and clears the table and I can tell you now, it would be infinitely easier and less fraught for me to do it, rather than her.

So why do I make my life harder by not giving in to her?

I was brought up to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and whilst I hated it growing up (I used to tell my friends that my mum was a health freak), I’m so glad of it now. Having had junk food restricted as I was growing up – we were allowed one sweet and one biscuit a day – I now consider these foods as treats. We are often still eating Christmas chocolates by the time Easter comes round!

So I’m trying to instil in our girls a sense of eating well and treating yourself occasionally – everything in moderation and all that.

But it is hard. I’m up against the media, I’m up against what her friends are eating, and against what she herself wants to eat.

I have four brothers and sisters and whist we were far from poor growing up, my parents budgeted very carefully, so we didn’t get what we wanted. We got what we needed (clothes, shoes etc). We got 1 main present / a few small presents for birthdays and Christmas, and anything else had to be bought with pocket money.

Unsurprisingly most of my siblings and I got part-time jobs from a very young age to supplement our meagre pocket money – I started delivering newspapers and babysitting when I was 13, before working Saturdays in a bookshop aged 14.

This is also something I want our girls to learn and understand. The value of money. The appreciation of saving up and the anticipation of then getting what you want. Not to mention learning to equate receiving money in exchange for work.

As for doing chores at home. I hated having to do this growing up. Hated having to tidy my room (although I’m quite a tidy person), and hated having to wash up after 7 people (without a dishwasher) when I’d finished eating.

BUT then I left home and moved in with various friends for 5 years and I was so glad that my mum had made me do all these things growing up, which meant I was ready to stand on my own two feet when the time came.

I knew how to cook, I knew how to clean, I knew how to iron, I knew how to wash up. It never ceased to amaze me the little that some of my friends at university knew how to do for themselves – males and females alike.

So I hope to teach our girls good housekeeping ;-), and to lift a finger when they’re in other people’s homes too.

Whilst those are my aims, and that’s what Ben and I try for, it’s not always easy.

I’m not sharing this to be all “look at me, aren’t I such a good mummy?!” but to share the reality of how hard it is to be a good mummy. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be called a mean mummy, and see their child upset.

But for now I’ll settle for mean mummy as I’m pretty certain that fast forward a few years our girls will be calling me a good mummy. In the same way I went from calling my mum a mean mummy and started calling her a good mummy.  So thanks Mum for being strong (and mean) and here’s hoping I manage to keep it up with our girls too.

What about you? Are you a mean mummy? If so, do you find it hard too? Do let me know in the comments below.

I’m going to run a free webinar soon and it will be for you if any of the following applies to you:

  • you struggle to make decisions
  • you’re afraid of change
  • you don’t know which risks to take and which to avoid
  • you have fears around all of this (fear of making the wrong decision, fear of change, fear of other people’s opinions of the decisions you make, fear of failure etc).

A little bit of background for those who don’t know me…

10 years ago I had just moved into my forever home, which we’d seen go from architect’s plans to our family home, I was pregnant with my first child, and in a good, well-paid job. In the last decade we have sold the forever home, moved country twice (including to one where we know no one and have never visited, in Africa), I have given up two good, well-paid jobs to set up on my own and known failure and success.

I get emails from you, my lovely readers, every day asking me how I / we made those decisions, and asking for advice. So I thought I’d share how I’ve done it, the thought processes I go through and more. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in please drop me a line with your time zone and what time/day would suit you:


2 Responses

  1. I’m definitely a mean mummy. I’m the one who makes her brush her teeth properly, who won’t let her watch utter garbage on the TV, who insists she helps me do little jobs etc.

    And you’re so right! It would be so much easier if I said hell to it and gave her what she wanted or let her have our own way. So like you I’m happy to be mean mummy in the short term, because in the long terms it’s for her own good. (And mine).


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