Why I’m a hard-ass parent… and proud!


No, I’m not trying to toughen my kids up because it’s a cruel, cruel world and I want them to be prepared for it. I don’t think the world is all that bad, to be honest. Why would I want to send my kids into it as cynical pessimists?

When my family is out in public, strangers who overhear exchanges or conversations between us give us an array of different looks.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, the kids were pulling their typical a-hole act. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store, but it’s like it flips a switch inside all kids that makes them act a complete fool. They all go completely fucking nuts. NUTS. And in turn, we parents usually go nuts. Usually only on the inside, but sometimes it overflows and you crouch down and hiss at them that if they don’t cut it out, you’re going to melt their legos into one big multicolored lump and throw it off the nearest cliff. Doesn’t matter if there’s no cliff within 1,000 miles. You WILL find it, and you WILL throw it.

ANYWAY- so Parker was basically on the verge of losing his shit. I’m pretty sure me and Thomas were feeling the exact same. Whenever we do something Parker deems un-fun (which changes hourly), he whines about wanting to do something fun the. entire. time.

Parker: *in his most obnoxious drawn-out whine voice* I wanna do something fuuuuuuun!
Thomas: You wanna know what sounds fun to me?
Parker: What?
Thomas: The sound of you NOT whining
Store Worker: *laughs loudly* Dad: 1, Kid: 0!

Not all the reactions from strangers are quite as humored. We get stares, some with shocked expressions. We get THE LOOK, you know the one- “those babies are precious and you are so mean to them! You’re breaking their spirit!” kind of looks. Oh yes, we LOVE those. No one ENJOYS getting looks like that, but they don’t really bother me. Why? Because I truly believe in my heart and my gut that I am doing the right thing by my children by giving them a hard time. The heart might at times be an idiot, but the gut knows what it’s talking about. Or grumbling about… whatever! Either way!

Yes, I’m a hard ass. I call my kids on their shit when they’re being shitty and it doesn’t matter WHERE we are or who is around; they don’t get a pass just because we’re in public. I poke fun at them. I follow through with consequences. I’m not afraid to be mean when I have to be.

I call them on their bullshit because it’s my responsibility to teach them right from wrong. If I don’t do it, they will go off into the world feeling like they can do whatever the hell they want with no consequence.

I poke fun at them because I think it’s equally as important not to take shit so damn seriously all the time. No one can laugh AT you if you’re already laughing.

I follow through with consequences because if I don’t, how will they ever learn boundaries? Why would they ever respect laws? Or people?

I’m not afraid to be mean because, well.. kids suck sometimes. Sometimes being mean is the only thing you can be. Sometimes being “Mean Mommy” is the only thing that gets through their thick-ass skulls.

You know what? I truly believe that they are better people for it. They don’t always like my hard-assed-ness; I don’t even always like it, but they’ll thank me when they crap their pants in public and they’re laughing harder about it than anyone else instead of running off in shame leaving a trail of turds behind them.



Posted on July 28, 2014 by Holdin' Holden 8 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • I am proud to be a “hard-ass” parent, too. All children are different & some need it. Our boys are pretty well behaved most of the time out in public, but when they slip up we left them know that that shit don’t fly. Most people who meet us & know the boys tell us they can’t believe how well they behave & amazed that all I have to do is count to 1…2… & I never get to 3 & it actually works! It’s because that count is not an empty promise! I have grounded whatever favorite toy they had at the time to the closet (and forgotten about it, whoops) & it certainly did the trick. Strangers sometimes have given me looks for the tone of my counting, but I don’t care, they aren’t raising them, have no idea how bad they may have been at home or offering me a break, so they have no input as far as I am concerned.

  • I honestly don’t see the “hard-ass” part. I call it parenting. If I’m team parenting and one of mine forgets themselves? A parent and the offender go to the car and wait – for better behavior/control/calm/the rest of the family. My sister called my kids “the sleepingest kids in the Northeast” because when someone started to forget themselves I invariably responded with, “Oh I know you want a nap!” I also never noticed looks from others because I was shopping or watching my kids – ain’t got time for other’s b.s. 😀

    • For all those who think my kids should be free spirits and get whatever they want (basically everyone in public while they have a hissy fit)- I am the hardest ass of them all!

  • My latest Facebook status about misbehaving children in stores. 🙂

    While at Walmart, we passed by a lady toting three children who obviously hadn’t been out of the house all weekend. The kids were roughly ages 3, 4, and 7. They jumped on carts, tipped over boxes of detergent, and slapped at hanging mops.

    What seemed to be with the patience of a saint, the mother says in a very sweet teacher like voice, “Okay kids, you’re not making good choices.”

    Something happened in the time continuum somewhere. What happened to popping them on the ass and yelling, “Knock it OFF!”

    I fear for my old age. I really do. — feeling irritated.

  • That’s exactly how I am too.

    And the stares are awful, but I usually look back… and wait for the person to break eye contact (normally within seconds)… Because everyone feels the need to judge now a days.

    Keep it up!

  • I really liked this post. I have a little sister, well she is only 14 months younger than me. And when we were little it was pretty much like my mom having twins. And I know we were a handful. She never spanked us, never had to. She was a hard-ass mom and called us on our shit. I remember one day, and I am not exactly sure where we were leaving or going to, you have to understand we were five and six years old. But we held the door open for this old lady and her groceries. She was so appreciative she gave us a frozen pizza [why, no clue but hey…pizza!] when we got in the truck my sister and I were fighting over who could hold the precious frozen object and my mom just looked over and said “If you don’t knock it off I am going to take that pizza and chuck it out the window!” now apparently talking to your kids like this these days would get gasps of horror…but really we were being a-holes and needed to knock it off. I appreciate the discipline I received from her as a kid, most kids these days are pampered and get to do what they want and act how they want. I am pretty sure when I have kids, I am going to get funny looks and looks of horror too because I am certainly going to be a hard-ass.

  • I totally agree with you but once they become teenagers they come right back with some real zingers! Most of the time it’s all harmless fun and the point is made but every once in a while my teen boy uses his sarcasm to fight back. I know I’ve said more than once to him that I’m serious, while stomping my foot at him!

  • i too am proud of my hard assedness! I have 4 girls ages 8, 5, 3 & 1 and ALMOST all of them are very well behaved. I say ALMOST because 3/4 is pretty damn good in my book!! My 3 year old…. Oh my terrible, horrible, bratty, sassy, opinionated, shithead of a child (calling your kid a shithead isn’t too taboo is it!? lol) I am so not afraid to call my kids on their shit especially in public. My girls and I talk to each other in a way that makes old grannies shake their heads. I don’t talk to my girls like babies, I REAL TALK them. Also, my favorite form of punishment is what we lovingly in my house call “the shirt”. Again, with 4 girls in the house there are bound to be fights, well whoever the culprits are they are quarantined TOGETHER in an extra large tshirt and they don’t get to come out till they learn how to work together. I know that whatever permanent damage I’m doing them is greatly outweighed by the positive things that I’m teaching them. (At least I hope!!)