A Tribute to my "Mean Mom" - Happy Mother's Day!

My sister and I and some of our kids with our mom / Grammy in the centre...a position she maintains to this day :) 

My sister and I and some of our kids with our mom / Grammy in the centre...a position she maintains to this day :) 

Years ago, I found this awesome letter about "mean moms".  Because I was a new mom, I found my appreciation for my own mom and her tough love ways increasing every day.  The letter resonated so much with me, I placqued it and gave it to my mom for mother's day.  To this day, it hangs in her room at the cottage.

I'm going to post the letter below. But before I do, I just want to express a word of gratitude for you Mom.  You were the original "working mom" - serving your patients and your family tirelessly.  Now that I'm a wife and mom, I can only imagine the tough stuff you and Dad had going on raising us...mostly with a smile on your face.  You taught me what it means to have grit, to work things out and to see things through. You taught me what FAMILY means.

I didn't like your "mean mom-ness" when it limited my freedom, but I'm so thankful you had the cajones to draw your line in the sand and stand by it.  I was stubborn, but you were wise.  And still are.

Oh, that we could all have a mean mom like mine...

Here's the letter:

“I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs or toast. When others had Coke and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich and an apple. As you can guess, my supper was different than the other kids’ also.

But at least I wasn’t alone in my sufferings. My sister had the same mean mother as I did.

My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were on a chain gang! She had to know who our friends were and where we were going. She insisted if we said we’d be gone an hour, that we be gone one hour or less — not one hour and one minute.

The worst is yet to come. We had to be in bed by nine each night and up at eight the next morning. We couldn’t sleep till noon like our friends.

So while they slept, my mother actually had the nerve to break the child-labor law. She made us work. We had to wash dishes, make beds, learn to cook and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she laid awake at night thinking up mean things to do to us.

She always insisted upon us telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it killed us — and it nearly did.

By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser, and our life became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the horn of a car for us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates and friends come to the door to get us. If I spent the night with a girlfriend, can you imagine she checked on me to see if I were really there? I never had the chance to elope to Mexico.

That is if I’d had a boyfriend to elope with.

I forgot to mention, while my friends were dating at the mature age of 12 and 13, my old-fashioned mother refused to let me date until the age of 16. Sixteen, that is, if you dated only to go to a school function. And that was maybe twice a year.

Using this as a background, I am trying to raise my three children. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my children call me mean. Because, you see, I thank God, He gave me the meanest mother in the whole world.”

Happy Mother's Day to all moms! 


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HI! I'm Dr. Shawna Dingman and I am the co-owner of Elevate Health Centres with my husband, Dr. Craig Dingman.  I operate Elevate Women's Health Centre in Sunderland, where our family lives.

Speaking of family, I'm a mom of 3 amazing kids: Jackson, Jenna and Cole.  I've always been passionate about the care of women and children, probably because I began my career as a pediatric and pregnancy chiropractor as a young mom with an infant!  Aside from clinical practice, I also co-host a podcast for women chiropractors and coach women chiropractors who want to have practices that are a great fit for their families.  In my "spare" time, I love to cottage with my family, hang out with the kids, read a book, catch a great show on Netflix, go for a run or have coffee with friends.