I never realized how my work as a camp counselor would someday come back to haunt me as a mother. Many moons ago, I had a camper who refused to play sports. Any time we were headed in the direction of a field or gymnasium, she suddenly felt sick to her stomach and couldn’t participate. Because I knew to play by the rules (and I certainly didn’t want the camp director reprimanding me for any bad choices), I let her sit on the sidelines. But of course, once the end of the day rolled around and ice cream time was upon us, her stomachache mysteriously seemed to disappear. Well, one day, rules or not, I was not allowing this manipulative child to have even one lick of a Popsicle “so as not to jeopardize your health,” I explained. No matter how much this child begged and pleaded, I refused to budge…only to be met with tears and cries of “You’re going to be a mean mother someday!” Today as a mother of two, I recall those words every so often–when my 3-year-old demands dessert even if she hasn’t eaten much dinner, or my 7-year-old makes a desperate plea for wearing a T-shirt when it’s 60 degrees “because everyone else is but me”–and it is without regret. I take pride in the fact that I don’t back down too easily with my girls and that after nearly 8 years of parenting, I’m slowly realizing which battles I can pick–and actually win. Maybe that’s why the new parenting book Mean Moms Rule called out to me when it hit my desk one afternoon. Author Denise Schipani is my hero, as she divulges just how you can be a good parent without losing yourself (and your mind) in the process. She breaks down her witty, yet insightful book into 10 easily digestible Mean Mom Manifestos that aim to help you through the days when it feels like you’re ready to toss in the towel. Caution: this is not reading for the parent who’d rather pal around with her kid than parent her. As Schipani divulges, there’s plenty of opportunities to show your child how much you love them…but love doesn’t have to mean picking up their socks when they can easily do it themselves. While I wouldn’t call her a Tiger Mom, Schipani is a master at conveying why parenting can be difficult…if you choose to let it be that way. For any mom who’s feeling backed up against the wall, it’s time to put down the gloves, open this book and find out how to make your job as a parent a little less frustrating–and a lot more satisfying. And if that means refusing ice cream, then so be it. The camp counselor in me salutes you.
In a Nutshell: A modern-day parenting bible, Mean Moms Rule proves that you don’t have to be a pushover to be a decent parent.