the one about how she'll thank me later

Right now, my oldest daughter is three years old, but really she's more like three & three-fourths, which really means she is about thirteen. Not a day goes by (it seems) that I don't hear "You're the meanest mom ever!"

The first time she said it, it hurt. I cried. I thought, "What am I doing wrong?" "Why would she say that?" "Look at all I do to love her and help her grow, and that is what I get?"

The second time she said it, I found it annoying.

The third time she said it, I wore a smirk on my face.

Now, since I have stopped counting how many times she has said it, I simply fist pump the air and adjust my mom jeans because yes, I have arrived.

I am now the meanest mom in the world.

By simply asking her to put away her toys when she is done with them, to brush her teeth, to eat vegetables, to, you know, get dressed, I have earned the highly coveted title.

It was just that easy.

But, I know it is only a matter of time before she will be thanking me. Thanking me for all of the chores I made her do against her will. Thanking me for teaching her manners and respect. Thanking me for not letting her wear Crocs with socks (my gawd).

When she wants to be "cool" and hang out with the girls who party and drink underage and dress like rejected Bratz dolls...and I say absofreakinglutely not...she'll thank me later.

When she tries to wear a shirt to school that is too short, too tight, too see-through, too profane, too adult, too juvenile, too wrong...and I pull out my Ugly Christmas Sweater party attire for her to wear instead...she'll thank me later.

When she thinks that the only things that define beauty are make-up and her bra size (sorry, Child, but you're doomed)...and I tell her that beauty is defined by the image of her soul...she'll thank me later.

When she thinks she has done the best she can do...and I push her to run just a little further, to work just a little harder, to dream just a little crazier...she'll thank me later.

When she falls in love with the bad boy, the rude boy, the loser boy, the apathetic boy...and I tell her to wait for the man who treats her like his equal and not his princess, like his gift and not his prize, like her father has treated me...she'll thank me later.

When she calls me in tears, stressed out because of money, because of work, because of life...and I tell her this, too, shall pass...she'll thank me later.

When she has a daughter of her own who gives her grief over the smallest little request, who challenges her like she never thought possible, who calls her the meanest mom in the world (!!)...and I try my hardest not to tell her "I told you so"...she'll thank me later.

For now, I'm the meanest mom in the world, and I plan to stay that way...

until she thanks me later.

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