A Couple of Updates, and A New Feature: Ask the Mean Mom!

It’s been a busy month.

In case you have not noticed, my book was released last month (no! what’s that you say!?), and since then I’ve been consumed, for at least part of each day physically, and all of each day mentally and emotionally, investing in its (hopeful) success. It kicked off with the first-annual Local Author Fair at my library, which was a great success and a lot of fun.

I’ve been working the publicity front, with some decent success (though I’m hoping this is just the tip of the iceberg) with guest blog posts, like this one on Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids; newspaper pieces, like an excerpt that ran in the Toronto Star; reviews, such as this one on Daily Worth; interviews, such as this one with on Where Parents Talk TV; and a live chat with a consortium of Canadian newspapers, which you can read here.

And here’s what’s happened — I’m finding, in a small way that I believe will grow — my tribe. My other mean moms. I knew y’all were out there! I am getting comments like the one below, that came through here on a day I was stressed to my eyebrows prepping for my son’s First Communion (my younger guy — remember him from this post?) Mr. Jealous from his brother’s big day two years ago was on top of the world for his own, as you can see:

But back to this comment, which made me just glow, inside and out:


I am almost finished reading your book … I have to tell you that I was relieved to know that there is someone out there who feels the way I do about a lot of the issues that our children face and that we face as parents. I get a lot of pressure from other moms to let my 5-year-old play Modern Warfare! …. Anyway I have been mucking along in this parenting world and feeling like I am a little lost at times but your book has been a God send to me.


I share this with you not to pat myself on the back so much, but to point this out: This reader (bless her) says she’s been “mucking along.” She was feeling lost, which is something I can relate to. Oh, sure, I talk a good game about being this no-nonsense Mean Mom (In fact, I talked about it to the tune of 10 chapters, yuck yuck yuck). But I have had moments, many of them, when I feel like this whole swimming-upstream thing is just too hard, that I’m just too alone. When my son tells me, wistfully and in that “why not me, too?” way that kids have, that his best friend has a computer (and apparently unlimited, unmonitored privileges on it) in his room, I want to gloss over it, distract him, or ignore it, rather than repeating, for the umpteenth time, in my sort of hard-ass way: “That’s what their family does, perhaps, but it’s not happening here, sweetie pie.” It’s tiring — and I know it doesn’t get much less so. It’s hard, and I understand that it doesn’t get easier as they get older. And the rewards aren’t necessarily always clear.

I got asked during a radio interview last week if I thought my subtitle – “why doing the hard stuff now creates good kids later” — was “true.” Was I sure I’d get the “good kids” part, after all the “hard stuff now” business?

Well, no, I’m not sure, to be honest. I’m hoping I will be. I think I have a very decent shot.

But what I’m most happy about is this: I’m not alone! There are more of you, hopefully many more (hopefully many more with Amazon trigger fingers!).

And that brings me to the second part of this post, which is this: I want you all to ask me questions, keep me on my toes. So I’m introducing, and plan to continue if it works out, a weekly “Ask the Mean Mom” feature. You ask, I’ll do my level, honest best to answer, or ask people smarter than me (come on, as my husband might say, is there anyone smarter than you? Good man).

So let’s start here, in the comments or, if you prefer, in a direct message. Ask me (almost) anything.