Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


I'm a Mean Mami, And That's OK

Photograph by Twenty20

There was really nothing special about that Sunday. We had done the things that we usually do: run errands, go to the supermarket, take our 6-year-old son to the playground. It was one of those days that goes by very quickly; and it was very close to my son's bedtime by the time we got home.

Getting him to take a bath was easy. Getting him out? Not so much. I had to ask him to get out of the bath a lot of times before it actually happened. Every step that followed seemed to get harder. Finding pajamas was a mission, and getting him to stop running around pretending to be Captain Underpants was almost impossible.

As his energy level kept going up, my patience hit an all-time low. I started demanding and not asking for him to stop playing and start listening. His pajamas went on. I took him to his bedroom where he asked for a story, a long one, a song and a zillion kisses. I sighed and delivered a short story, an off-key song and 20 kisses.

I turned off the light and headed to my desk. I had deadlines and needed to get working. I could hear the giggles as he walked down the hallway. I ignored them at first but they kept getting louder and his little steps sounded quicker by the minute.

"Get in bed," I said.

The noise stopped for a few seconds but then he was louder than before. Giggles turned to laughter and walking became running. He stomped in the direction of his room and then I heard toys hitting the floor.

"I'm going to start counting, and when I get to three, you better be in bed," I yelled from my desk.

He giggled more.

"Mami," he said, "you are a mean mami and I don't like you!"

Sensing the situation was getting tense, my husband told me to work on my assignment and that he would take care of our son. It was all going great until I heard the cute little laughter and saw little feet getting closer to my desk. He was covering his face with his stuffed monkey, Chango. I stared at him and he just laughed. I called out my husband's name. My husband called out my son's name. He just stood there in front of me, smiling, hiding behind a little monkey.

I wanted to smile.

I wanted to play and laugh and forget it was now close to 10 p.m. I wanted to stop thinking about the rough morning he was going to have the next day. I wanted to have more patience and be sweet but instead I sternly asked him to go to bed. He did. He was wailing and running down the hall to our bedroom, to his father's arms.

"Why are you crying?" my husband asked.

"Because mami was mean to me!" he said. "She wants me to sleep."

I walked over to our bedroom and stood by the door.

"I just want another story…" my son said.

"Why don't you tell me a story?" my husband asked him.

"OK," he said sobbing. "Once upon a time there was a cute boy who had a mean, mean, mean mami!"

As I heard that, I was in tears — the good kind of tears, the ones that come from laughing so much your belly hurts.

"One day you are going to make a killing in Televisa!" I said, laughing.

"Mami," he said, "you are a mean mami and I don't like you!"

"Because I want you to go to sleep?"

"Yes!" he said.

"That's OK papa, I still love you!" I said. "There were many times when I didn't like my mom growing up. I get you!"

He finally went to bed. I walked back to my desk, still laughing and thinking about the many times I've doubted my performance as a mom. Hearing him tell me what I had once told my mom made me realize that I am doing a great job. Kids say things. It's not my job to be his best friend and let my son do whatever he wants, though. It's my job to be his parent, his mami. Sometimes that means being the tough guy, and I'm totally OK with that.

More from kids