Five Reasons You Might Think I’m A Mean Parent

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen38 Comments

I know not every parent has to agree on how best to parent. There are some things I do with my children when explained that get a few head shakes, but they work for us. So here are a five reasons that you might think I’m a mean parent.

I Don’t Film Every School Concert or Play

I admit to having had a laugh or two at the expense of the parents who jostle and bump each other in order to get a good picture or video of little Susie singing in the school choir with 75 other children. Even though little Susie looks mortified and doesn’t open her mouth the entire time the choir sings. I am sure that someday little Susie is really going to enjoy that video…

I just don’t do this with my kids. Sure I snap photos and may try and catch on film any solos or special parts they may have, but I imagine that my kids will not want to sit and watch hours of school video montages in which they are only featured a handful of times.

I Don’t Buy School Photos. EVER

With three school aged children, school photos these days are super expensive. Not to mention that they almost always turn out crappy. I loved the year the photographer took the picture of one of my children with their eyes closed and didn’t notice that my child was also falling out of the chair, but that didn’t matter because the photographer still happily snapped away that picture. That was a keeper photo for sure….

What I do instead is make sure to purchase the yearbook so that my children can have a keepsake from that year and of all of their friends, plus whatever picture the school photographer ended up taking of them. Hopefully it was a semi-decent one!

I also make an investment every year of good family photos with a professional photographer that catches timeless moments like this.

I Don’t Pay My Kids An Allowance

I believe kids should contribute to the running of the household. With the expectation that they do chores within the house that are age appropriate. I don’t think they should get money for doing this. I pay for all of their food, clothes, activities and more. To my thinking that is enough.

I will however allow my children to do extra chores for which they can earn money to save towards special purchases they would like to make.

I Don’t Deal With Fighting Children

There is enough junk that we all have to deal with outside of our home. I don’t want to bring any of that back to our home. Sure there are disagreements and upset feelings, but we talk about it and resolve it without screaming, yelling or slamming of doors. My husband and I have told the children that slamming their door will result in them no longer having a door to their rooms.

I expect my children to be respectful and kind to one another and to support each other, because I want our home to be a safe place where we can be who we are and be loved for who we are.

I Don’t Buy My Kids Every Thing They Ask For

My children have everything they need, but not everything they want. And I am OK with that as I don’t want them to get caught up with owning “things”. Because things are just things and not really the way to ensure lasting happiness.

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!



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  1. I SO agree with all of these. 1. We tried allowance, and we very quickly saw that all it resulted in was spoiled, materialistic kids WITH money. Aughhhhhhh! So we cut them off, and they get money if they do something extra really well and earn it. 2. School pictures. Oh my goodness! Me neither. The boys’ were always unbelievable. I’m not a photographer, and I could have done a better job.
    April recently posted…How to Spend Less Time Cleaning and Still Have a Sparkling HouseMy Profile

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      Glad I am not alone in all of this! I was at an acquaintances house recently when she asked her kids to please take out the trash and one of them responded with, “How much are you going to pay me?” Oh my, if that had been my child I think they would have really come to regret that quip!
      Jen recently posted…Five Reasons You Might Think I’m A Mean ParentMy Profile

  2. I agree with all five of these! And if you’re mean, then I guess I am too!! School photos never look good and the backgrounds don’t match for my kids. I’d much rather have pictures of them all together.
    My daughter has a friend who has been over at hour house a few times and casually mentioned that she doesn’t have chores, or limits on her screen time. I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling her that explains a lot! LOL
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted…Facing Your FearsMy Profile

  3. No, you aren’t a mean parent, you’re a great parent. I agree with every point you made here. You and your husband are raising your kids to be great parents as well.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Funny QuotesMy Profile

  4. I’m laughing because I did buy school picture this year and my son’s are just ok. So it was sort of like throwing $30 away. Oh well, at least the grandparents will have a new portrait to swap out of their frames for the year!

    I’m not big on filming stuff either. I don’t sit around watching my school plays from my childhood and my parents don’t either. I can’t imagine re-watching stuff. I do have a few special things I recorded, though.
    Katy recently posted…Checklist for a Midwest Halloween CostumeMy Profile

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      Thirty bucks is cheap! For all of my kids to get pictures this year at even the cheapest packages we were looking at like 150.00!

      My family when I was a kid bought a camcorder when they were brand new. You know the huge honking ones that sat on your shoulder? I think we have an entire closet full of tapes no one has ever watched!
      Jen recently posted…Five Reasons You Might Think I’m A Mean ParentMy Profile

  5. I agree with you and don’t think you’re mean at all (though our kids probably think we are especially with #5). We have only recently started buying school photos for my daughter who until now refused to cooperate for her individual pose. Now it’s a pleasure to see how she’s grown along with her classmates. Plus our school photographer always throws in a freebie sibling shot — which is always a nice touch.
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  6. haha, the school photos! They’re so bad, they’re good. We didn’t get them last year and I only regretted not getting the kindergarten class picture. This year, there was no a la carte option for just the class, so we bought the cheapest package. I can’t wait to see what it looks like.
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      Oh that’s a bummer! We have had options where you could get just a class picture and I know the kids like having that. Although, how often do I go and look back at my old class pictures? Let alone even remember the people in those classes… Food for thought there.
      Jen recently posted…Five Reasons You Might Think I’m A Mean ParentMy Profile

  7. “I believe kids should contribute to the running of the household. With the expectation that they do chores within the house that are age appropriate. I don’t think they should get money for doing this. I pay for all of their food, clothes, activities and more. To my thinking that is enough.” <—– THIS! My husband and I have been having a lot of convos about this recently.. I'm more in line with your thinking… my husband thinks the world will stop spinning without a childhood allowance…
    Gingi recently posted…NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible – Book ReviewMy Profile

  8. Sign me up because I’m a ‘mean’ parent too lol! I can’t believe the photographer didn’t double check that shot. Wow, that photo really is a keeper if only for that reason! I buy the cheapest option there could be, which is still pretty expensive! Great idea about the yearbook though.
    Nina recently posted…9 Things to Do Before Baby Is BornMy Profile

  9. Oh Jen I love you even more! Amen, amen, amen, amen and AMEN! I am 100% with you on all of the above.

  10. I am with you on them all, except the school photos. So far I have bought them. And yeah, my husband can take better ones than they do, but it’s almost like a rite of passage. Everyone needs their crappy school photo to laugh at later on in life, right? Okay maybe not everyone. :)

    I definitely agree on the allowance. That is my exact viewpoint. I grew up that way too – on a farm. We did inside chores and were expected to help outside too: bailing hay, loading cattle, vaccinating hogs – all that. In return my parents gladly paid for my sports team t-shirts and bought us each old, used cars to drive when we turned of age. It seemed like a pretty good deal to me. If you’re part of a family, you pull your weight. I don’t get a dollar every time I take out the trash and neither do you!
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      That might be a side effect I did not consider. Keeping them humble and also for bringing those bad pics out for use in bribery cases…. Although there are some fairly terrible ones I could share that we have taken as a family. Those might do!

      It sounds like you learned how to work and not to shy away from it. That is exactly what I am hoping to teach my children!
      Jen recently posted…Avoiding Skunks, Wasting Time And Other StoriesMy Profile

  11. Great post Jen!

    I’m terrible at filming events. I snap a couple photo books for the album but otherwise I dislike viewing events from behind a screen. I don’t enjoy it as much.

    I pay my oldest an allowance but it isn’t related to her chores because I, too, believe children should contribute to the family and the operation of the household.

    Thanks for sharing… I don’t think you’re mean at all!
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…What It’s Like to Live With AnxietyMy Profile

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      Thanks Jennifer!

      As an adult sitting and watching videos of me belting out Annie when I was 5 is horrifically terrible! I hate it and I don’t think many people really do enjoy watching such things. So I am hoping to really reduce the trauma I inflict on my kids with that particular rule/plan. There are other things to traumatize them with. Like driving to school with 80’s music blaring and the windows rolled down. Love that one!
      Jen recently posted…Avoiding Skunks, Wasting Time And Other StoriesMy Profile

  12. Hi Jen, being a parent is never easy and making what we think are the right decisions is hard enough, without having someone roll their eyeballs. I’ve always suspected that I am a terrible Mum and your post has confirmed it! I have very few photos and videos of the children doing their bit in school plays, I’d rather watch the play properly than snap away and have the film gather dust before disappearing somewhere.

    Our children have rarely fought (disagree, yes, fighting, no). Not sure how that happened, could be down to the fact we never entertained it or that no one in the family is just that passionate about anything.

    I honestly thought we were the only meanies not to give our two regular pocket money. They live in the house, so they can pull their weight. They don’t go without, They clothes, food, access to fresh water and we pay for the main things. Like yours, if they want money for something they have to work for it by doing extra chores. This summer Catherine wanted to earn some money, so she helped me out at work and I paid her. I enjoyed the company and I learned she’s a good little worker.

    Mums should be mean! The meaner the better!

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      Hooray for our mean mum club! I have several friends who just seem shocked by the whole no allowance bit, but I just can’t see paying them when we buy everything they need. How does that teach proper work ethic or to appreciate what you have?!

      I have found working with my kiddos like you did with Catherine this summer is fun and it is a whole lot more fulfilling than just giving them money!
      Jen recently posted…Avoiding Skunks, Wasting Time And Other StoriesMy Profile

  13. My parents always make me feel guilty for not buying school photos…but they’re SO BAD! The worst is that now the schools are making us buy packages before the picture can be taken. Those pictures are used for the school ID and the yearbook, so if we don’t buy a package the kids’ pictures aren’t in either of those. That’s why we buy the cheapest package and that’s it. I get better pictures of the kids with my iPhone than those school photographers do with all of their equipment. (can you tell you hit a hot button of mine?)

    Also, if we bought our kids everything they asked for, we’d have to be on an episode of hoarders. They’ve officially got too much stuff as it is!
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      I love you! Hoarders!!

      Oh that is terrible about the pictures! They should still include the photos even if you don’t buy a package! Luckily our school doesn’t do that or I would be mad!

      Tell your parents to spring $100 for a photographer for good pictures they will actually like:)
      Jen recently posted…Parenting With PurposeMy Profile

  14. I think I’m a mean parent. My kids have to do lots of chores at home. They only get stuff (aside from clothes) at their birthdays and Christmas, and I think I’ve bought them fast food about twice in their lives not counting times we were on road trips (not because I’m super health-conscious, because I’m cheap.) They are, however, delightful to surprise. Taking them to a movie theater is like a trip to Disneyland for them, and when grandparents come they like to take them to McDonald’s because it’s a special treat that they talk about all week. Go mean moms!
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