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"World's Meanest Mom" Speaks Out!

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Jane Hambleton sold her son's car after finding alcohol in it...and now she's our hero.

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This morning in "Moms Are Talking About...,"we told you about "World's Meanest Mom" Jane Hambleton, an Iowa mother who placed this ad in her local paper to sell her 19-year-old son's car after she discovered alcohol inside:

OLDS 1999 Intrigue
Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.

Don't you just love it? We sure do, so this morning, we called the "World's Meanest Mom" to get more details.

Mom•Logic: Tell me about your son, Steven...

Jane: My son is the world's most awesome kid. He's a good student. I never had any trouble with him. Usually, he's the designated driver when he goes out.

Mom•Logic: When did you buy the car for him, and what were the rules or conditions?

Jane: When we bought the car, we told him no alcohol in vehicle--and he broke that rule, so that's why we had to sell it. We bought him the car over Thanksgiving, so he only had it for three weeks when I found the alcohol. We bought him a 1999 Olds Intrigue. It was an awesome car.

Mom•Logic: What prompted you to search the car? Take us through the snooping process...

Jane: I had a feeling--that Mom thing--that something wasn't quite right with the car. Steven seemed to be acting a little weird, so when he wasn't around I went through it. I snooped... The car was parked in the driveway and I just felt something was odd, so while he was in the shower, I went outside and looked through it. I looked under the seat and the the first thing I found was a bottle of alcohol.

Mom•Logic: What was your reaction?

Jane: Immediately, I was irate. I went into the house and when he came out of the shower, I told him that there's no more car. He told me he didn't know what it was, it wasn't his, it must be someone else's, someone else put it there, blah blah blah... I told him the car has gotta go!

Mom•Logic: What prompted you to place the creative ad in the newspaper?

Jane: He's in college three hours away, and the thought of him driving in the car with alcohol...I can't have that worry. I don't want him to get hurt or hurt someone else. I am a copywriter for seven radio stations, so I kind of know how to get attention with words. I knew I didn't want this to be a basic 'car
for sale' ad. I thought it would get someone's attention, and they'd actually buy the car. There is obviously nothing wrong with the car, but the kid made a bad decision. It wasn't a lemon, and I didn't want people to question why he'd be selling a car he only owned for three weeks.

Mom•Logic: What type of reaction did you receive after posting the ad in the classifieds section?

Jane: I was starting to think I am overworked--no other parent would do this. I questioned myself on why I always take it an extra step and why I am the "Meanest Mom." But then, parents called me and said, "We're cutting this ad out and showing it to our kids and telling them that this is you if you do this"... they wished their own parents had done this to them. I received calls from hospitals, emergency rooms, nurses, doctors, lawyers, parents, all saying, "Way to go! You're doing the right thing no matter how mad your son is." That helps a lot.

Mom•Logic: What was Steven's reaction after you told him you were selling the car? And his reaction to the ad?

Jane: He was really mad we sold the car. There went his freedom, his ability to take off and go to college, and he was understandably upset. His reaction to article in paper--well, he was really upset about that. I told him I was sorry and didn't realize it was going to sky rocket like this. I remember when I was 19, and if I messed up and it was in the paper the next day...I would have been mortified. I apologized and he accepted, and he still loves his mama.

Mom•Logic: What have you and your family learned through all of this?

Jane: Even though this makes my son look bad (or maybe it makes him look
average or normal), he's a very responsible, intelligent, and nice young man. I said to Steven, "Maybe this is your purpose in life. You may have saved a young boy or girl who was going to get behind the wheel and drink, and now they won't because they were threatened by their own parents after reading the ad." I have received calls from all over the world.

Mom•Logic: Why call yourself the "Meanest Mom" in the ad?

Jane: He says I am the World's Meanest Mom. It's what he thinks, for no other reason aside from the car.

Mom•Logic: What kind of Mom are you?

Jane: I am a strict Mom, but not overly strict. As a Mom, I am a very fair Mom. I have two kids--Steven, and a 15-year-old daughter. I never give them a punishment unless they know what's going to happen beforehand. There are consequences--they can make any decision they want, as long as they know what the consequences will be, and I always follow through. I am surprised Steven has done this because he knows I always follow through, and so does my daughter. She's also surprised he did this, and she thinks it was pretty dumb. She takes me more seriously, or at least, she seems to.

Mom•Logic: Do you plan on buying him another car?

Jane: If he wants another car, he'll have to come up with money. I don't see that happening because he's in college and doesn't have a job. He's a freshman, majoring in business.

Mom•Logic: Did you sell the car, and if so, to who?

Jane: I sold the car for waaaaaay less than we should have. We just wanted it out of the driveway. It was a sore subject every time we looked at it. Believe it or not, a couple bought it for their 19-year-old son. It was kind of a coincidence. They knew why I was selling it, and I told their son on the way out, "Don't drink in the car, and if you do, don't hide it under the front seat!"

Mom•Logic: After finding the alcohol, what did you do with it?

Jane: Truthfully... I drank it, and it was awesome! It was called pomegranate fusion--and the next time I go to a bar, I am going to order it!


next: Sail Alert!
25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kathy Sanders January 9, 2008, 3:48 PM

This is great! Brilliant Mom.

Debra January 9, 2008, 4:05 PM

Good job Mom! I see I have a clone!
I have always been called the “Meanest Mom” on the planet but am so happy to share that wonderful name with a kindred spirit who obviously truly cares enough about her son to put ACTIONS to her love!
We “Mean Moms” MUST stick together and support one another against this tide of “do your own thing/if it feels good do it” permissiveness for the sake of raising responsible children who will accept accountability and consequences for their actions.

Mean Jeanne January 9, 2008, 4:29 PM

Jane,

I aspire to be as good of a Mom as you have proven to be.

I’m so pleased and proud to see a parent sticking to their guns and PARENTING! I too often see parents being buddies with their kids. I too love and think my kids are great, but they are kids and my job is to teach them right from wrong.

I know Steven is upset, but please tell him this has saved many lives. By your example, many other parents will take a stand when they would not have and the effect will be lives saved. Your actions are very heroic.

My co-worker and I are considered “The mean Moms” and she showed me the article about you. Thanks for being an inspiration. I’ll be sharing your story at the dinner table tonight!

Thanks!!!!!

“Mean Jeanne”
Columbus, OH

marilyn January 9, 2008, 4:32 PM

I had the same contract with our son.
Any alcohol or anyone drinking in the car then the car would be sold the next day. Fortunately I never had to enforce that rule. I did have to enforce a drinking rule when our son was at college 500 miles away. We signed a lease on his apartment and told him he was not to have any underage drinking parties.
We found out he was having one from an instant message that showed up on our computer so we called the police and shut down the party and refused to sign on anymore leases. I am a high school teacher and I know first hand what really goes on. I wish parents knew what I hear from their children.
I am proud to report he graduated college and is a successful young man.
More power to Jane!!

June January 9, 2008, 5:07 PM

This woman is great. There should be more moms like her.

bethe January 10, 2008, 12:57 AM

Way to Go Jane! You are an inspiration.

mom of many January 10, 2008, 9:23 AM


It has to do with rules. She made one, he broke it. I have 7 children. I raised them and
a couple of foster kids. Kids are not granted the right to a car. It is privilege. The young man did not consider
the rules. If the booze had been openly visble and obviously a gift, one thing - under the seat, that is hiding something. Whether it be him or his passenger, it was his responsibility. If it was a passenger, how come
did he allow drinking in a car? It is against the law to drink in a car. It is against the law to have open containers - in a car. It is agaist the law to drink under age.
This woman did the logical and smart thing. She removed the means for the boy or his friends to drive
drinking. By advertising the incident, she then removed the possibility of Social Services telling her she
was an abusive mother. Poor boy! Mommy took away his car because of booze in it! Prime time for some
Social Services wonk to butt in. Good for her! My kids were not even allowed a car unless they took
drivers ed, paid for the car themselves and the insurance. If I found out they had been drinking,
I took the keys. If I found out they smoked pot, I took the keys. Once too often at the drinking and they lost
the car and gave mom the license.
Funny thing, my kids respect me for those decisions over thier father who let them do anything.
When they started having thier kids, thier attitudes took a very different change. I heard one of my sons
talking about his child and how he did not want his child to make the mistakes he made. He asked for ideas
on how to handle the situation. I said, “set rules, set punishments, put your money where your mouth is and
follow through.” Kids understand rules. In thier own way, they like them. It is simply good parenting and follow through.
She probably saved someone’s life. The ad gave the son a chance to really look at the situation and learn
the lesson - do not drink and drive or let others drink while in your car.
I know about prisons and prisoners too. One son has been in a few and I work at one.
Prisoners are people who broke society’s rules.
Better the son learn this lesson now instead of being responsible for drinking and driving.
It is much better that he learn it now instead of going to a prison for DWI. It is much better he learn this before he hurts someone. We have laws for a reason. She had rules. He broke the law and the rules.
He loses the means to break the law again. As for her asking forgiveness - not hardly.
Someday he will be glad for this lesson.
Trust me, been there, done that, got the t-shirt and shrunk it in the wash.
When my son (who had gone to prison) told me that he was glad I had had the stance I had on rules,
I was paid for all of the heartache and name calling I had received back when.


nicole January 10, 2008, 2:11 PM

The ad in the paper gives me goosebumps. Hats off to you!!!
I don’t have the pleasure of being a mother. Though I am a step-mom which is way worse, in my opinion.
I was the only parental-figure suspecting that drinking was going on in my step-daughter’s life. So I took it upon myself to search her car. I found a large bottle of Vodka.
I was shot down by both of her parents and accused of invading the daughter’s privacy.
It was a hard situation, though I had to resort to understanding that I was not her mother nor her father.
But again…hat’s off to you!!!
If I get the pleasure of having a child of my own, I want to be just like you!


Mark Roy January 11, 2008, 7:09 AM

Did she take away the ability for her son to complete his college degree? Only the future will tell, but if he ends up dropping out over a bottle that a well raised son claims was not his, and the inability to get to classes/jobs, who is going to say “way to go mom” then?

Mark Roy January 11, 2008, 7:09 AM

Did she take away the ability for her son to complete his college degree? Only the future will tell, but if he ends up dropping out over a bottle that a well raised son claims was not his, and the inability to get to classes/jobs, who is going to say “way to go mom” then?

mean_sis January 12, 2008, 9:23 PM

Good for you—way to set consequences and follow through. I’m not a ‘mean’ mom (yet) but I am a mean older sister, since I’m always checking up on my younger siblings, making them call from the house phone of wherever they claim to be to verify their location on caller ID, etc. I would rather be called ‘mean’ any day than have to face the horrible consequences that arise from not setting clear expectations for children’s safety and following through with those expectations. Way to go!


Giselle January 13, 2008, 11:09 AM

Mark Roy,

No, she did not take away her son’s ability to earn a college degree. Just because he doesn’t have a car doesn’t mean he can’t get to classes/job interviews. I don’t have one and I get around to my classes just fine. He can take the bus, or walk, or get rides from friends if he has any that will give him one. If he whines about how “harrrrrrd” it is to find rides and such, well boo-effing-hoo. He should have thought about that before drinking in his car.So really, it’s his own fault now if he can’t finish college, not his mom’s. I love that she set a rule and enforced it. A rare thing to see in a parent nowadays.

G. Joerg January 13, 2008, 5:04 PM

If only the whole world parented this way, what a wonderful place this would be. GOD BLESS YOU!!! You did the right thing!!

Fast Eddie January 13, 2008, 10:23 PM

Way to go Jane! Way to humiliate your son on the national stage. I, too, wish every parent was as irresponsible as you.

That’s EXACTLY what every young teenager needs the most. An apathetic mother who shames her children in pubic.

In fact we should all go on national TV and debase our children every time they make poor choices.

And way to go for your excellent parenting skills in developing a trusting and loving relationship with a son who feels he must hide his activities from you.

No wonder he’s choosing alcohol. This is a classic example of why our children become addicts.

Mary Linn January 14, 2008, 7:13 PM

Good for you. I am a senior Mom .I think you are 100% right. When my son was growing up he got hold of some alcohol I ask him where he got it when he did not tell me I told him if you do not tell me I will take you to the police station and they will find out where it came from. Well guess what I did and they did. He said coming out well your own son. Yes I told him if I can’t handle you there are people that can.
So you did the right thing. Some day when your son is older he will look back on this and thank you for caring so much for him. God Bless you keep up the good job of being a great mom

Deborah January 15, 2008, 1:24 AM

Hey Fast Eddie- You are a loser! Jane brought this to a national stage to drive her point home. Kids don’t get it, much like you, they need rules drilled in, and if he’s going to suffer embarrassment from being headline news for a silly little ad, think how he’d feel if he was headlining for vehicular manslaughter.

Why don’t you extend some of your overindulgent, pussyfoot parenting tips to the mother on long island who was riding in a limo with her 7yr. old daughter, after celebrating her sister’s wedding, and a drunk hit their vehicle, and killed her baby. Images still haunt me of her holding her daughter’s decapitated head, crying that she wants to go with her. You can’t sugar-coat DWI…the consequences are way too deadly!

Thank you Jane, hopefully your example will toughen up a lot of these spineless pussies before their kids, get on the roads and kill our kids!

Deborah January 15, 2008, 1:25 AM

Hey Fast Eddie- You are a loser! Jane brought this to a national stage to drive her point home. Kids don’t get it, much like you, they need rules drilled in, and if he’s going to suffer embarrassment from being headline news for a silly little ad, think how he’d feel if he was headlining for vehicular manslaughter.

Why don’t you extend some of your overindulgent, pussyfoot parenting tips to the mother on long island who was riding in a limo with her 7yr. old daughter, after celebrating her sister’s wedding, and a drunk hit their vehicle, and killed her baby. Images still haunt me of her holding her daughter’s decapitated head, crying that she wants to go with her. You can’t sugar-coat DWI…the consequences are way too deadly!

Thank you Jane, hopefully your example will toughen up a lot of these spineless pussies before their kids, get on the roads and kill our kids!

waytogetonoprah January 16, 2008, 7:52 PM

Ellen, Good Morning America, the Today Show, Oprah……it’s sickening.

Did her son drink any alcohol? Did her son know his friends had it in the car? She followed through on her threat, yes, but the punishment is a little ridiculous. Is that what “do unto others” means? Humiliate them? What’s she gonna do when he becomes a crack addict? Shoot him?

Bizarre…totally bizarre!

Debra R January 19, 2008, 10:58 PM

I love it! We had rules and consequences for our 4 kids, too. Today all 4 are resbonsible adult members of society. Did they ever break the rules and NOT get caught? Yes, indeed they did. But they’ve told me they could hear and see their father’s and my faces and voices as they were breaking those rules. It took complete “pleasure” out of all of their “fun” and they never forgot how blessed they were not to have gotten into any serious trouble because it. I have every confidence that their children will be brought up the same way! When they were small and wanted to run away because I wouldn’t let them do something that “all the other kids” were doing and I was the meanest Mom ever, I gave them permission to leave. They were allowed to take only clothes, toys and suitcases they had purchased themselves. No one ever left-at least not after they figured out they would be walking down the street naked with absolutely no other belongings. The other thing that we would tell them is, if God had thought kids were smart enough to raise themselves, He wouldn’t have given them parents! We didn’t try to be their friends when they were younger, but now that they range in age from 25yrs-33yrs, they are our best friends!

stacy January 31, 2008, 6:40 PM

that’s so freaking stupid. dear god, i hope i’m not a pissy snoopy mom like that.


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