In 1967 Bobbie Pingaro wrote an article titled “The Meanest Mother in the World.” On this Mother’s Day, these words may remind us of mothers we know – or have known – and should be again.
“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 cokes and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. 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 and two brothers had the same mean mother as I did.
Our 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.
We had to wear clean clothes and take a bath. The other kids always wore their clothes for days. We reached the height of insults because she made our clothes herself, just to save money. Why, oh why, did we have to have a mother who made us feel different from our friends?
The worst is yet to come. We couldn’t sleep till noon like our friends. 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.
Through the years, things didn’t improve a bit. We could not lie in bed “sick” like our friends did and miss school. If our friends had a toe ache, a hang nail or serious ailment, they could stay home from school, but not us.
By the time we were teen-agers, 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, she checked on me to see if I was really there.
She forced us to grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults. And whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You’re right – our mean mother.
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.”