Essays and Such

Irish Cultural Society

of San Antonio Texas


Promoting Awareness of Irish Culture

The Meanest Mother
by Bobbie Pingaro
A Tribute to All Mothers

The Meanest Mother

by Bobbie Pingaro


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. 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. I am nearly ashamed to admit it, but she actually 
struck us. Not once, but each time we had a mind of our own 
and did as we pleased. That poor belt was used more on our 
seats than it was to hold up Daddy's pants. Can you imagine 
someone actualy hitting a child just because he disobeyed? Now 
you can begin to see how mean she really was. 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 

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 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, 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 15 and 16. Fifteen, that is, if you dated only 
to go to a school function. And that was maybe twice a year.

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. Our marks in school had to be up 
to par. Our friends' report cards had beautiful colors on them, 
black for passing, red for failing. My mother being as different 
as she was, would settle for nothing less than ugly black marks. 
As the years rolled by, first one and then the other of us was 
put to shame. We were graduated from high school. With our 
mother behind us, talking, hitting and demanding respect, none 
of us was allowed the pleasure of being a drop-out.

My mother was a complete failure as a mother. Out of four 
children, a couple of us attained some higher education. None 
of us have ever been arrested, divorced or beaten his mate. 
Each of my brothers served his time in the service of this 
country. And whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we 
turned out? You're right, our mean mother. Look at the things 
we missed. We never got to march in a protest parade, nor to 
take part in a riot, burn draft cards, and a million and one 
other things that our friends did. She forced us to grow up 
into God-fearing, educated, honest adults. 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.

Written by
Bobbie Pingaro (1967)

I wrote it in 1967. It was first published in the, 
Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic weekly newspaper 
and again in Guideposts, a magazine by Dr. Norman 
Vincent Peale. It has a copyright. I do not mind 
that you use it on your web page, as long as it 
is non-profit, that you use the original copy 
and use my name as author. Bobbie Pingaro
This is the ORIGINAL version, written in 1967.
I thank the author Bobbie Pingaro for providing it
and allowing me to present it here.
Contact the Author at