Last week my daughter came back from school and I asked her for her daily behavior report. This is an important part of her Individualized Education Plan, as she misbehaves quite frequently.
She gave me “that look” that I know better than anything in the world, so I repeated the request to her, adding a simple word. “Bring me your report, now.”
She got really upset with me and told me that I’m always mean to her. She started crying and complaining, but I didn’t stop asking for her report.
Finally she brought it to me. Not only did the report have a sad face but she did too. I told her she didn’t deserve to play with the iPad or to watch Curious George. She kept complaining while screaming, “Mean Mommy!”
Some minutes later, she came and said “Sorry Mom, I love you.” So I asked her to tell me why she thinks I’m mean to her. And in her limited vocabulary, she said “You love me.”
Those words kept going around and around my mind; can we really be mean to someone because we love them? And finally they landed in my heart, and yes, she’s right that I’m mean to her, to her brother, and to most of the people I really love.
– I’m mean because I expect them not to be the best, but to give their best every day.
– I’m mean because I don’t do stuff for them or for anyone. I can teach you how, but I will never do your job for you.
– I’m mean because I don’t lie. Sometimes that makes me rude, because not everybody likes the truth.
– I’m mean because I don’t over protect them or anyone in the world. I train them to be strong enough to face reality, as I know I’m not going to be here forever.
– I’m mean because I’m realistic and determined, and I don’t blink when I’m pursuing a dream. I’m mean many times because I want them to discover that light at the end of the tunnel that will guide them no matter what.
– I’m mean because I accept their limitations and my own limitations. I’m mean because I never fight for them to be like anyone else; instead I educate people to love them the way they are.
– I’m mean because they can’t have dessert if they don’t finish their dinner, and also because they have to help to set up the table and clean it up after they’re done.
– I’m mean because I push them to learn. I don’t serve them; I train them to do it by themselves.
– I’m mean because I believe that kids need to have responsibilities. I’m mean because I know children become adults and they reflect all the things they have learned through the years.
– I think I’m mean too, when I don’t use Down syndrome to justify their behavior. I’m mean because I know them and I know how much they can give, and how much they will miss out on if I’m not the first to believe in them.
In conclusion, yes I’m mean. I’m mean to my husband when I push him to work towards his dreams. I’m mean to my friends when I push them to believe in themselves. And I’m especially to myself when I refuse to accept that I can’t do more.
I know being mean is not the answer for all of us, but I haven’t been mean my whole life. I think I actually turned into a mean person when I found out that nobody gets what they deserve in life if they don’t fight for it.
So, “Mean Mommy?” Absolutely. And one day, my kids will thank me for it.