I know you see him. That boy who had to change out of his swimsuit right after he screamed at me at the pool. Yes, we just got here. BUT this is the time of year where I turn up the Mean Mom. Approximately thirty seconds after I asked him to stay on the shallow end of the pool, the yelling began. Having him change and sit on the sidelines was not even a question.

We do A LOT of fun things over the summer. Go to Ottawa Lake. Catch a Brewers game at Miller Park. Head to Hoyt Pool. Eat tacos at Belair Cantina. Hit the Milwaukee County Zoo. Festivals. Parks. Parades. You name it. We do all the fun things. So, why am I being a mean mom to my kids? Let me break it down.


Early summer is the perfect time to leave…well, everywhere. When someone isn’t acting right, bust out the mean mom, and leave. If you leave the zoo and the park a few times over a kid’s fit in early June, you know no one is going to test you and then have to leave the 4th of July Parade. If you follow through and leave a couple times when the kids are being awful right away in summer, they learn that what they assume is an empty threat no longer is.

Skip the extras. Yes, the kids may cry about the train at the zoo or ask seventeen times about cotton candy. But, if you do all that extra stuff at the beginning of the summer, they expect it. Saying no to the kids now may end in meltdowns, but consider how much less they will demand if you draw the lines in the sand now! And the money you will save? Worth a little mean mom time.

You need have at least one “remember how it felt” moment. You know they are going to meltdown. It is important to have memories of when we had to leave or they lost privileges to use as examples. “Hey Bella, please stop screaming at me. I don’t want to leave the zoo like we had to a couple days ago.” Or “I want to stay at the pool. I hope your bad attitude can leave so we can stay at the pool.” Warning them to work it out themselves has made my life so much easier.


My kids may not be the best behaved at the beginning of the summer, but by the end of the summer they are amazing. They come to understand boundaries. It is much easier for them to hear and accept the word “no.” Plus, it becomes so much less stressful for me. 

So, if you see a mama with a kid throwing an epic fit over popcorn tell her kid they need to leave Betty Brinn– congratulate her. Maybe a standing ovation is in order. We need each other’s support to know that drawing a line is a good thing. We can’t worry about being judged. Let’s support each other so we can react well with the whole summer in mind.

Give the kid some love, and if they can’t pull it together: LEAVE. You must give yourself permission to not be screamed at. Your kids should not feel free to be rude or mean to you. Get those kids back in the car. Those of you that have a membership, you can always try again tomorrow. If not, life lessons are more valuable than an hour at the pool. 

Good luck through this hard part of parenting- the saying no and creating boundaries and being mean mom. I won’t judge you – and I hope you won’t judge me when I’m the mean mom at the pool…


  1. This isn’t being a “mean Mom”. It’s being a smart, consistent parent. Prefaced with an age appropriate conversation about the consequences for bad behavior, and done with love, this is dead on good parenting.

  2. I love this so hard! I’m the “mean mom” too. I often feel like maybe my expectations are too high, compared to some other parents. Then I remember, I don’t need to make comparisons. This is our life and these are OUR kids, I call the shots and decide where our lines are drawn. Because of that, I’d say out kids are turning into some pretty awesome little humans. Thanks for the support mama! If I see you peeling out of a restaurant because of a tantrum, meltdown or disrespect behavior; I’ll raise my Arnold Palmer to you. ❤️


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