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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. 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 cake 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 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. 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! 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. 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.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing out 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!


How do we become the people we want to be for ourselves and others?

1.Find examples of role models, that is, name people who you would like to be like. You may know these people personally or from a distance. Write yourself a list of these peoples' names.

2. Recognise the qualities you admire in each person. To do this you will observe the way they are with others, take note of  the things they do and listen to what they say and how they say it. Remember how they make you feel when you are with them. List the qualities you admire in these people.

3. Listen for the intention behind their words and actions. Make another list of the intentions or values that the qualities listed above highlight This step may even require you to ask the person questions about how or why they do the things they do.

4. Use your three lists to get really clear about how you would like to BE as a person in any given situation. Think about the following:

When someone spends time with you and thinks back to that time what will they remember

- seeing you do

- hearing you say

- how you made them feel

- telling themselves?

5. Surround yourself with people who have similiar value and intentions and you will be supported in your journey to become all you can be.


As Mothers' day approaches I am reminded of all the special times I have spent with my Mum over the years. My Mum taught me to cook and sew - often staying up late at night to help me finish a school project. I would listen to my Mum's LPs, learn all the words and sing with her, the songs from South Pacific or Buddy Holly.

I remember especially the turbulent teenage years and it was the little things - particularly the times when she didn't know what to say - that stand out for me most. Yes at times I thought I had a mean mother - because I didn't always get my own way. Yet at these times, it was then that the best came out in Mum. She would write me a letter to tell me how much she loved me and the qualities she admired in me. She would then explain why she had approached the matter the way she did. She knew fighting about the differences verbally would only end in shouts and/or tears, instead she gave me the space to come to a greater appreciation of the distinctions I needed to learn for myself, in my time.

Sometimes words were not needed either. Sometimes a hug said everything.

Washing up the dishes with my Mum is always the perfect opportunity to have the best heart to hearts.

Where ever you celebrate Mothers' Day this year, I invite you to acknowledge your Mum for being a role model for you. Recognize the qualities and values that you admire most about your Mum and you will have recognized the qualities and values that she has passed on to you.

Keep shining!