Thinking Yogi

The intersection of two loves: yoga and writing.

She's baaaack.....an interview with Mean Mommy

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Mean Mommy was back for a quick visit to our house over the past few days. Fortunately, this morning it became clear that her residency was coming to a close. Before she skipped town, the Thinking Yogi decided to sit down with Mean Mommy to find out what makes her tick.

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Thinking Yogi: Mean Mommy, I'd love to pick your brain, to find out what exactly it is that puts the mean in the mommy. Can I ask you a few questions?

Mean Mommy: Yeah. But I'm busy, so make it quick.

TY: It had been a while since your last stay with us, but when you breezed in last weekend it was like you never left. What was the reason for your latest visit? Was it the fact that the kids were fighting and whining incessantly?

MM: Kids are brats. They fight and whine as a matter of course. The timing of my visit had nothing to do with them.

TY: What then?



MM: After all these years you still don't get it? Let me spell it out for you: If you're not getting enough sleep, I'll be there. If you're too busy at work, I'll be there. If you're feeling stressed, if you don't make time to eat well, move your body, and sprinkle in enough rest, I'll be there.

TY: But weren't the kids being especially difficult this past week? I mean, it can't all be about me, can it?

MM: You don't believe me? Try this little experiment next time I come to visit: change just one thing about your self-care routine (go to bed 30 minutes earlier, squeeze in a quick yoga session or get out for a run, spend some time sans kids), and see how much easier it is to tolerate the kids, stress at work, and other everyday irritations. I probably won't be around to see the results of your little experiment, but just know that wherever I am I'll be saying 'I told you so.'

TY: I'll definitely have to try that.

MM: Don't sass me!

TY: Talk me through what you were thinking in our final showdown yesterday when the kids were screaming, you were screaming, and I was trying to wrap my head around how to get us all out of the cycle of anger.

MM: My goal in that showdown was to make sure no one else got a word in without me coming down like the hammer. I want to promote an environment in which there's no reasoning, just reacting (and overreacting). I knew that everything the kids would say would be a challenge or a complaint, so before they were even done talking I was ready to dole out a snappy comeback and a punishment.

TY: I always thought the expression "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" was a vindictive take on mothers, that it was like saying "If I can't be happy, I'm taking all of you bratty kids down with me." But I now realize that it's just a pure statement of fact. Mean Mommy, this past week when you were the one running our household, your every interaction provoked conflict. The kids fought more while you were here, they tried to manipulate each other with threats and ultimatums, they mimicked your bitter tone of voice, they assumed the worst of each other (and therefore got it). You're like a cult leader. I had to really work to pull them back out of the meanness after you left. Why is that?

MM: There's a certain addictive thrill that comes with meanness, and it is highly contagious. Once the volcano of meanness starts spewing, it's hard to plug it up. Each time you yell at the kid who poked her brother or forgot to say please or whined about watching another tv show, you feel like it will vindicate you, like your kids will be recognized for the brats they are, and you will be acknowledged as the saint you are, and your meanness will be justified once and for all. But meanness.....well, it just begets more meanness. And vindication never comes.

TY: Are you crying, Mean Mommy? Do you need a hug?

MM: Shut your mouth and go to your room. This interview is over. I'm out of here.

Kerry is the Founder & Director of Bloom Yoga Studio, voted Best Yoga Studio in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, and Citysearch. As a practicing yogi, writer, and mother of three, Kerry is all about making the principles and philosophies of yoga real and accessible for day-to-day living. You can find Kerry on Google+.

Comments

  • Carrie Waller Thursday, 26 April 2012

    Oh this is so funny and thought provoking. Thanks for helping expose the mean mommy in all of us. It makes me want to try harder to pacify that side of me.

  • ariella Thursday, 26 April 2012

    great article, Kerry. Thanks! (and hi!!)

  • Kerry Maiorca Thursday, 26 April 2012

    Thanks so much, Ariella. Glad you liked it and great to hear from you. Hope you and the family are doing well.

  • Kerry Maiorca Thursday, 26 April 2012

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Carrie. It definitely is therapeutic to know that Mean Mommy visits all of us.....and it helps me to put it in perspective and remember that with a little effort I can escape from the meanness.

  • Scott Baltic Thursday, 26 April 2012

    Kerry, very nice column, though I admit it's hard for me to envision Mean Mommy!

    FWIW, I gave one of my FBFs, a fellow martial artist who often posts about being a mom, a heads-up about this piece. She linked to it right away, and now there's a growing thread of comments there.

    My friend's lead-off comment: "My mean mommy is a complete bitch... and always shows I when I don't eat well."

    Later!

  • Kerry Maiorca Friday, 27 April 2012

    Thanks so much for forwarding this to your friend, Scott. I think most of us have had a visit from our inner Mean Mommy, Mean Friend, or Mean Partner, or Mean Spouse. Like your friend mentioned, the key is figuring out what triggers these visits and making concrete lifestyle changes to lessen their frequency!

  • Lela Saturday, 03 August 2013

    i love this.

  • Kerry Maiorca Tuesday, 06 August 2013

    Thanks, Lela. Much as I struggle with her, Mean Mommy has taught me a lot of great stuff about self-care....looking forward to exploring further with you in the Householder Yogi.

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