If you’re still young, then today is your lucky day! You may yet become the best mother of all time. If your children have already grown, they can use the following information to raise for you great grandchildren.
The meanest mother
When we were in junior high school, we had contests with our friends to see who had the meanest mother. My brother and I would always win. It was never a fair fight because our mother was so extraordinarily mean.
Oh, you don’t believe me?
When I was about 2 years old we went to the beach. Mother told me not to go out too far, which I then immediately proceeded to do. A wave knocked me over and pushed my face into the sand. She did not come and retrieve me in my teary, distraught state, but made me walk back to her on the shore. How many mothers nowadays can do that?
When I was seven years old, I had trouble getting dressed for church on time. My mother lectured and spanked and punished me. Nothing she did had any effect. She finally told me, “The next time it's time to go to church, you will go dressed as you are." Sure enough, the next Sunday when it was time to leave for church, I was running around in my underpants. My mother said, “Let’s go.” I ran to put on my clothes. She let me gather them, but didn't let me put them on. We lived in a small, house behind another house. To get to the street where our car was parked, we had to walk down a long sidewalk past the house in front of us and then out to the street in plain view of the neighborhood. I had to carry my clothing in my arms as I walked to the car wearing only underpants. She let me put on my clothes on the drive to church. I was never late getting dressed for church again.
We’d have liver every Tuesday night. A big slab of it. You didn’t leave the table until it was gone, even if it took hours.
She never drove us to school, from first grade through high school. Ever. Rain? Heat? Darkness? Late to school? Arms loaded with materials? It didn’t matter.
When I was nine years old, my mother had me fly alone from San Diego to Grants Pass, Oregon, to visit my grandmother for a few days. This was wonderful. However, on the way back, while on a layover in San Francisco, the airline announced that the airplane had mechanical difficulties and could not fly, and that another airplane was not available until the next morning. The stewardesses let me spend the night in their apartment. The next morning (a school day), after returning to San Diego, while telling my mother my extraordinary stories of adventure and heroism, she drove me into the elementary school parking lot. “What?” I complained. “I can’t go to school today. Look what I went through! Are you even listening to me? And school’s half over, anyway.” My desperate pleading had no effect on her.
When I was ten years old, I started stealing money from my mother’s purse. I used the money to purchase candy to buy friends. I would get caught and punished by my mother. I would steal from her again and get caught and punished again. She kept increasing the severity of my punishments. Nothing worked. Then one day she told me, “If you steal from me again, I’m going to call the police and have you put in Juvenile Hall.” I never stole from her again. This was because my mother, without exception, always followed through on her word.
Mother was a juvenile probation officer. We could never get away with anything.
Our friends could not match these stories.
But I learned over the years that our mother wasn't the meanest, but the best.
You don’t believe this either? Do you have trust issues?
The best mother
If you have trouble reading all the reasons showing why our mother is the best, you can call her up and hear her tell you to “toughen up.” Believe me when I tell you I’ve taken out all the ordinary things mothers do, like give hugs, teach right from wrong, and occasionally buy ice cream treats.
Top 4 reasons
If you can't remember more than four reasons, here they are. Now, really, you should be more grown up than this. But maybe this is all you can muster given you weren't raised by my mother.
She was absolutely consistent.
She always, invariably, followed through.
She taught us responsibility and accountability for our actions.
She wasn’t a helicopter mom, but she had eyes on the back of her head. More than two of them.
Congratulations for reading this far. Your mother did a good job raising you. Your reward for reading further will be to learn valuable tips that will help you raise exceptional children.
We couldn’t afford baby formula during my first year, so she put canned vegetables in the blender for me to eat. I would consume entire cans of peas.
She sang opera to me when she tucked me into bed at night. She’d have me guess which opera the melody came from. This taught me to love music.
She taught me Canasta. We’d play cards for hours with her aunts who were cutthroat Canasta players. When I took too long to make a move, they’d all say in unison, “Play!”
When she had meetings at night, she’d always bring home a refreshment from the meeting for me as a treat.
One time in an airport, I saw a half-drunk glass of beer someone had left. I asked mother if I could taste it. She said, “Sure,” knowing I’d hate it. She was right. It was repugnant. Parents were tough back then.
She had an operatic voice, and sang in an atonal operetta called, “Christopher Sly.” Professional opera singers would quit because the notes were too hard to sing. But my mother stuck it out. When she practiced at home, I would sing the accompanying parts by memory (the parts that caused professional singers to quit).
As we got older, when we didn’t drink fast enough, she’d say, “guzzle!” When we took too long to eat, she’d say, “shovel!” And when we complained too often, she’d say “tough titties.”
When we threw fits because we didn’t get our way, she’d tell us with a smile, “You should sign up for drama.”
We used to play in the canyon behind our house all Saturday long and wouldn't come home until dark. The canyon went for miles in all directions. My mother never worried about us.
When I was eleven, I wasn’t doing well in school—either academically or socially. I was failing in every category. Mother became so concerned that she finally brought into our home a psychologist to interview me privately (without mother present). The examination went on for hours. It turned out there was nothing wrong with me, but that I had convinced my mother that I was not capable of doing anything. She wouldn't be fooled again. She encouraged me to play a musical instrument. I picked the trombone. The trombone taught me that I could do something better than the other kids at the time. It was a life-changer for me.
If I was ever late for school, or if I didn't complete my homework, that was on me. It wasn’t her responsibility to manage me.
For many years, she sent me to my other Grandma’s house in Salt Lake City (750 miles away) for months every summer. Grandma had ten children and one bathroom. This helped me get along within a larger family. My uncles became my heroes. My mother told me years later that during one summer I had told Grandmother that my mother didn’t like her, and had told my mother that Grandmother didn’t like her. They were mad at each other for months until they realized I had set them up.
When she’d send me to babysitters when I was young, she’d always pick homes with other children who were my age.
After 12-years old
She had us do chores on Saturday morning. They had to be done by ten o’clock or we could do nothing else until they were done. Until the deadline, she let us manage ourselves. Needless to say, there was a lot of activity in the house between 9:45 and 10:00.
My weekday chore for years was cooking dinner. Mother got to come home to a completed dinner and fully set table. Well, usually. Later on, my weekday chores switched to doing the dinner dishes.
My weekend chores were washing the white clothes for the entire family and mowing the front and back lawns.
One day we had a severe plumbing problem, so Mother purchased an expensive piece of equipment used to open drain lines. She asked my brother and me to fix the plumbing while she was at work, which we did. Years later, she told us she had worried all day at work that we'd hurt ourselves or cause significant damage to our home or to the equipment, which we hadn't.
We would often have baked chicken wings for dinner. Mind you that back then, chicken wings were very inexpensive because the American public hadn’t yet discovered them. They were the “discarded” part of the bird. Our mother was hip before everyone else.
We also had gizzard or cow tongue stew with potatoes, carrots, and onions. Very tasty! One of these years, the American public will catch up with our mother on those foods, too.
She’d tell us, “There’s nothing better on a hot day than a cold beer.” She used to tell us that when she was a teenager, she’d take boys to a cave near her home and make out.
When my brother and I bickered too much, Mother would sing at the top of her voice Let us Oft Speak Kinds Words or There is Beauty All Around When They're Love At Home.
At some point in my teenage years, Mother sat me down and asked me, “Why aren’t you rebellious like so many other children?” My answer to her was, “Rebel from what?”
One time I came across a tape recording of Mother singing in a nightclub kind of voice instead of her usual operatic style. She sounded really good.
After my Grandma (on my mother’s side) died, we found out that she willed us her car. It was the perfect grandma car, complete with bucket seats, automatic transmission, and power windows! Naturally, when we were sixteen years old, my brother and I asked Mother if we could—by ourselves—drive from San Diego all the way up California through Yosemite to Oregon, then east through southern Idaho to Salt Lake City, then down Utah to see Bryce Canyon and Zion, and eventually back to San Diego. Mother said, “Sure.” We didn’t have credit cards back then. By the time we got back to San Diego, we had $1.69 in our pockets. (While visiting Yosemite, we took the mule ride to the base of half-dome, then climbed the four-hundred feet of cables to the top of the dome. That was also a life-changer.)
They don’t make mothers like this anymore. This is why no other mother will be the best. It’s impossible for them to be nowadays because everyone is too delicate and tender, and getting more so. It’s a tragedy that children and adults today have for the most part lost their sense of responsibility for their actions and feelings.