“Mom, you are so unfair!” “You are a mean mom.” “Mom, you are embarrassing me!” 

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? As a mother of four school-age children, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been called unfair more times than I care to admit. I’ve been told I am the meanest mommy in the world. I receive exaggerated eye rolls and dramatic sighs in response to my questions regularly. 

I’ve embarrassed my children by hugging them in front of their friends at school, and I am not ashamed of it. I’ve left playdates early because of my child’s behavior. I’ve even walked out of a birthday party because my child was having a meltdown and being disrespectful. I make decisions for my children with their best interests in mind. However, this occasionally means I am the mom who says no when other parents say yes. Does this make me mean and unfair? Maybe, but I can live with that.

Motherhood is hard—even on the good days. It’s especially hard on the days when your child says you are unfair, mean or embarrassing. Glennon Doyle wisely said, “Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong, it's hard because you're doing it right.” I think her words apply to motherhood as well. Motherhood is hard, even when you know you are making the right decisions for your child. 

Related: Viral cartoon nails the unfair way society judges moms vs. dads

Those occasional comments about being mean or unfair hurt. As hard as it is, I try to take their comments in stride. Why? Because I can handle being the unfair, mean or embarrassing mom because I know I am doing everything I can to raise four respectful, kind and healthy little humans. I know they can never accuse me of being selfish. I know they will not question whether I love them enough. 

My children might not see it today, or even tomorrow, but I hope one day they understand why I make certain decisions.  

I often tell my children that I love them more than anything in the world. However, giving our children unconditional love does not mean we cannot disagree with them. Love does not always equate to happiness. Giving into your child’s every demand will not bring either of you happiness in the long term. 

As mothers, we need to trust our judgment—even if it means disappointing our children. 

As mothers, we try to model positive behavior and guide our children. We are loyal supporters and enthusiastic cheerleaders of our children. We teach them about manners, respect, work ethic, responsibility and countless other topics. The role of a mother is all-encompassing, and we are all doing the best we can. So as moms, we need to be confident in the choices that we make for our children.

Parenting is a privilege, but for many mothers, this privilege comes with self-doubt and guilt when our children question our choices. For example, does your child complain about the food you buy and serve? Does he consider you unfair when you say no or limit a certain food, especially when other children bring it in their lunchboxes? Many parents struggle with the balance between raising a healthy child and pleasing their child. If you know you are making the best decision for your child, be firm and stick to it. Go ahead and serve those green vegetables, even if it makes you unfair.   

Related: How to set limits with your kids that actually work

I do not think any mother enjoys reminding her children to complete homework, practice instruments, and do chores any more than her children like hearing those reminders. So why do we remind and nag our kids? It’s not because we want to be mean and unfair. We do it because we want our children to understand the importance of responsibility. We want our children to succeed, so we encourage them to follow through with commitments. We teach them accountability and respect for others (such as their teachers) by reminding them of assignments and practice sessions. Wouldn’t you rather be “unfair” and receive some complaints than regret not helping your children learn responsibility and respect?  

Managing social situations and friendships can also be challenging and often leaves us doubting whether we made the right choice. Trust your judgment. It is OK to decline a playdate invitation with another kid who has a negative influence on your child. Although your child may feel your decision is unfair, you are helping her seek out friends who are positive, supportive and kind. By saying no, you are guiding your child to develop friendships that are built on respect.

Related: How to respect your child’s emotions—even when you don’t understand them

Balancing the demands of activities and sports can take a toll on us. It is OK to say no to one more activity because you know the commitment to practices, games and rehearsals (let alone the driving) will have a tremendous burden on you and your family. There will be other seasons, sports, clubs and teams. Saying no to the extra activity may seem unfair to your child, but you are making a wise parenting choice for your family. 

Whether it is clothing selection, electronic device usage, junk food or friends, our children often disagree with the limits we establish for them. However, setting boundaries is a necessary part of parenting. Although some parents may disagree with me, my role as a mother is to be a parent. It is not to be my child’s BFF. When my children are older, I hope they will consider me a friend and their mother, but for now, my primary focus is on being a parent to my four young children. If there is no distinction between parent and friend, it is difficult to enforce limits, and respect for parents can diminish.    

Motherhood tests our limits daily, but it also pushes us to grow in ways we never imagined. What seems unfair, embarrassing or mean in your child’s eyes is usually sensible, thoughtful parenting on your part. As mothers, we need to trust our judgment—even if it means disappointing our children. 

To all the beautiful, brave, exhausted and devoted mothers, continue on your path of raising your children to the best of your ability each day. As their mom, you know better than anyone what is best for them.