I shoved the note into my coat pocket, absentmindedly, as I much too loudly herded my children out the door for school.
I tried to think of it as a badge of honor, but at the time, the words in that note just hurt.
In angry nine-year-old boy scrawl: “You do NOT love me and don’t try to tell me you do because if you did you would not make me go to school today. You are the meanest mom in the whole WORLD!”
Ah yes, THOSE words. The words any parent who has ever said “no” to their child has emblazoned on their heart at some point or another.
They’ve been said before and rolled off of my shoulders without a second thought.
Enforcing chore duty when they whine about it doesn’t feel like love to them. Neither does a “homework first” rule after school. But it’s what you do in order to raise kids with the fewest bratty tendencies possible, right? You teach them that the hard thing is often the right thing—and the only way through it is through it. And sometimes, on days when you are very tired and very weary of arguing about every teensy little thing, you do it louder than you meant to.
And then you get a note.
That damn note needled me all day. I fretted that I had been too harsh in my words. That my raised voice started his day off terribly. That I would kick myself if, God forbid, a school shooting occurred and our morning had been angry. Crazy, huh? Not so much. These are just the thoughts of a very human, tired mama.
I fretted that I would be a grandmother who saw him impatient with his children—and it would be all my fault. And I rehearsed what I would say when I picked him up to reinforce my actions, but apologize for my demeanor that morning.
When he got into the car, bubbly and smiling, I asked how his day went. He prattled on happily. I said, “So I guess it ended better than it began?”
He looked at me quizzically. “Our day started with a disagreement,” I said.
“Oh, that. Really, Mom? I’d forgotten it even happened until you just mentioned it.”
Ah, yes. I had forgotten the most important lesson of all.
That children with “mean” mothers know they’re loved. Even when they think they’re not.
Go easy on yourself today, ladies. I mean it. Or you may just get a note from me. And I’m mean. We all know that. I have it in writing.