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Monday, March 05, 2007

Mean Moms

On the week of Women's day, I publish the below piece as I believe to be original and unedited, originally composed by Bobbie Pingaro (1967) . While many of you would have already read it, I would like to place it on record on my blog so that I may remember and easily refer to. Also, I add my own notes to it in orange within []

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you enough . . . to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.
[Infact Mom used to fix what time I need to be back 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 me just 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 am sure mine will have plenty of chances to see my anger & tears!]

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.
[It could mean no to too much of ice creams or excess of toys or packed chips, too much of pocket money. Infact we used to crave for packed chips and my mom would slave and make 10kg of potato chips every summer and now how I miss that. Any thing that was bajaar se khareeda hua meaning packaged food was avoided and instead we had home made equivalents- from mithai to sauce to snacks to jam to pickle to our own version of aerated drink- lemon juice/ squash with soda! I don't know if I can ever match in the meanness of my Mom in this respect]

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.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.
When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie 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.
[A cousin of mine used to comment that he would love to have parathas for lunch box instead of bread and we used to complain that we never get sandwiches like our friends but only parathas everyday. In fact Maggi never gained entry to my home. It was always chowmein that were cooked with a whole lot of vegetables ]

Mother 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 not allowed to skip lunch at our place and have it at our friends place without prior permission rather without prior invitation from our friend's mom. Infact we never even stayed over at a friend's place as my Mom believed that if she allowed once, the requests would continue.]

We had to wear clean clothes and take a bath. The other kids alwayswore their clothes for days. We reached the height of insults because she made our clothes herself, just to save money.
[She still does for me and makes little kurtas for my kids out of the extra bits. Infact I would believe that depending on the cloth required for my kids' kurta she decides whether she should make a sleeveless kurta or even a short kurta for me]

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor 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.
[Apart from the above, making tea was the most hated and dreaded job given whenever a guest came or even if we went to our grandma's place. And worse of all we had to clear the plates after food and even pick up others' plates/ cups and put it in the kitchen. We had to separate and place the raw vegetables in the fridge/ rack in an organised manner. We even had to iron our clothes and clean our cupboards]

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 was really tough!

Mother 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 have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.
[Forget the above, we were not allowed to snatch or even ask toys of our friends but we were expected to share ours. Infact sometimes she even used to give away something to other children]

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!


Ganesh Ranganathan said...

me first...

all our parents have to take decisions which they know we wont like but still are good for us...

unfortunately we realise this after a long time....

R.E.B.E.L said...

ooooooooooh tat was really nice.. i nearly cried .. *sniff*

plush said...

:)...all mammas r sooper-humans...yep....10kg potato chips....i wld lov to meet ur ma itw!

artnavy said...

that was very very nice and very true

Orchid said...

I am glad my mom is still mean when she has to be...I don't trust myself just yet, not even being a parent has let me grow up and you are right, I am goign to be one mean mom too :)

priya said...

Mean mom?? Oh boy!!! Rather saying mean, I will put it they are being totally secure in their childrens world.

Mean can be in education and with whom you go out. We make choices, but wat if they go wrong right and its the age we always ry to do things negative against their wishes.

Fuzzylogic said...

Oh yeah!you are so right,they just don't have enough mean moms nowadays,I have a pretty meanie one back home too:)I am glad she was one.I sure as hell will try to be as mean as possible to my kid too:)Loved this one ITW,this post made me call the meanie one:)

Has to be me said...

Yup read that b4 & it is so damn true....its quite nice to have mean moms! and guess v tend to appreciate it all the more after v r moms ourselves!!:)

Lavs said...

A very good post....Quite touching...

Sunita said...

An interesting article and I am coming aross it for the first time.

Minal said...

lovely post.

How do we know said...

i love it.. all moms and grandmoms in India and all aunts and their sisters are mean moms. And Boy, do i love that! I love it as much as i hated it as a child.

Kalpana said...

A good post.

Just like that said...

Had read this before, but it still doesn't fail to make me feel so very thankful I had a mean mother.