Mama bear instinct

I recently saw this cartoon that a friend posted on facebook and it had my wheels turning…


While most people who know me well wouldn’t dream of saying I’m quiet or reserved…this so fits me.  And for the record, if I’m in a new environment or not comfortable with the group I’m around yet, then yes…quiet and reserved suits me well…but not for long, lol!  It’s ok, I recognize and own it.

I used to tease about the Mama Bear instinct because I grew up with a Mama Bear.  I thought I understood what it was all about.

I did not.

I could not have.

Until you become a parent you cannot fully understand what goes on inside a parent when someone mistreats, talks about in a negative fashion, or teases your child.  I would say I don’t typically have a temper.  But mess with my child and I literally see red.

It’s like a bull in a pasture munching its hay and someone waves a red flag in their face and immediately you’re in trouble.

I find myself surprised at how quickly I can be upset by another’s words regarding my child, or actions…oh man little kids who pick on my child make me nuts…I realize at 2 1/2 its part of learning social habits and skills but it seriously works my nerves when it happens.  I wonder if my current state (8 1/2 months pregnant) has provided me with a shorter fuse for these issues or if it’s really just part of adjusting to being a parent?

Even the people closest to me will know that if you say something negative about my child I will not stand for it.  It does not matter who you are.  If it’s valid, think of an appropriate way to approach the subject, but if it’s not valid…if it’s said out of emotion or comparison…just don’t.

I’m amazed at how we all compare ourselves to each other and our kids to other kids.  I have to work hard not to compare myself to our friends.  To ones better off financially, or to a friend that has a great body after two kids, or for any reason.  It’s hard not to also compare our children.

Em is part of a small playgroup of roughly 10 other kiddos…they are all very close in age (birthday season is about to be upon us!) and there are times when we find ourselves comparing the kids to each other as if it’s apples to apples.  If I’ve learned anything thus far it’s that no two children (even siblings…especially siblings) are alike.  These little ones who are within weeks or months of each other in age are all completely and totally different.

Yes, I think my child is quite smart.  She counts to 30, sings songs, knows her colors, numbers, and ABC’s, she’s creative and imaginative, she’s sweet and empathetic, she carries on conversations, and plays well with others, (and alone).  But…she’s not potty trained, cannot remove her own clothes without help, doesn’t spell (although she’s trying with some words…come’on…she’s 2!), isn’t always the best eater, and is extremely sensitive.

But….the great thing about being a parent is that it’s on us to decide how to parent/raise/teach our children.  Other’s can have opinions and thoughts about it, but that’s all it is.

Their opinion.

And while I am glad to share my opinions with others, I think more people need to consider whether it is constructive or not to say what they plan to say. Otherwise, it’s usually just unnecessary…

…and that’s when it happens.

When Mama Bear comes out in full force.

And it’s not just words, it’s with behaviors and actions as well.  The greatest part of parenting is that I get to decide what’s appropriate for my child.  And it may be considered wrong by an outsider.

The fact that my child broke down into tears in the car after she asked for the cherry from my cherry limeade – and then DADDY ATE IT! because she wouldn’t take it – so Mommy promised and bought her an entire jar of cherries at the store may seem ridiculous to some.  But if knowing Mommy will fix the minor problem that’s hurting her heart at the moment will stop the tears, what’s the harm in a $1.25 jar of cherries??  Of course it if was a bigger item I’d not have as quickly just replaced the item but sometimes it’s important for Mommy and Daddy to save the day.  We don’t always have to “make them get over it”.

Of all the things I expected to deal with when becoming a parent, this is one I hadn’t really thought much about.  I never realized how someone else’s words about your child could break your heart, or how the hurt on your child’s face when a friend picked on them would affect you, or how someone else’s comparison’s or assumptions on how you will/could/should handle a situation could fill you with such negative feelings.

I think that’s where Mama Bear comes from.  We love these little beings so much that we cannot stand for someone to hurt them, in any way.  And the while I’m a full believer in forgive and forget…I find it much harder to forget the things said/done regarding my child than anything else.  I suppose that’s what makes us Mama Bears…is that we will always be cautious and protective of our young, and once given reason, we will be even more so.

I found these quotes that explain this instinct well…

“I cannot adequately explain how strong and how automatic and how fierce and how innate this protective sense is.  It’s power has surprised even me.” – blogger Anonymous8

“When a woman is in Mama Bear Mode, all else is pushed aside.  She cannot effectively function in any other state – as wife, employee, employer, lover, friend, when the mama bear part of her being has been called into action.” – unknown

“An incredible inner strength and sense of courage, often previously unbeknownst to the subject before having children, unleashed when any child, not necessarily his/her own, is considered to be at risk of injury or harm.” – the mama bear effect

Are you a Mama Bear?

What are your hot buttons when it comes to your children?

It’s interesting to read about how widespread this instinct is that just becomes a part of us as our children are born.

Will mine become stronger when I have two in a few weeks?  Will it be a different instinct between a little boy and little girl??  We’ll find out!!

P.S.– We won’t be posting Arts and Crafts today 😦  We have plans this afternoon and we’ve been too busy to get any done this week, but we’ll catch up!  Promise!


About gracedbyemilie

My world revolves around my little family, I am a wife…a mother…a christian…a designer…an Independent Scentsy Consultant...I'm just me. I'm crafty, a little OCD, a lot emotional, and occasionally funny. My life isn’t always very exciting, but its mine, and I’m excited to share it with all of you.
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4 Responses to Mama bear instinct

  1. GigiRM says:

    Love this especialy since I so know your “Mama Bear.” On an intimate level you could say, even a spritual one. You learned from the best or worse. Depends on if the cup is half empty or half full at the moment. But on a positive note; The Lord is merely preparing your heart with each little pain today for some of the most unforseen pains of tomorrow. He already knows them. You and child are yet to experience them. But with each one your both learning about how to handle the next larger one. Isn’t God good? Yes he is, all the time! Mama Bear #1

  2. Karaboo says:

    I’m a momma bear, but I have a long fuse. People tend to think im not one because of the long fuse. Once it’s lit then watch out!

    I struggle with the momma bear instinct for my step kids. The same feelings are there for them as my own son, but I’m constantly told the feelings don’t/can’t exist ( because I didn’t give birth to them) or that they aren’t as strong. Well, I’m sorry, I disagree! How I feel about my kids are how I feel and no one, not even their mom, can tell me differently!

    Off my soapbox now….sorry!

  3. eduncan says:

    I completely agree that someone can have a Mama Bear instinct towards a child whether they birthed that child or not. And I’d bet they are just as strong. I have a younger sister (15 years younger) and my instinct on occasion comes out to protect her…she’s not my child, but man…don’t mess with her either 🙂

  4. You are so right when you say “Until you become a parent you cannot fully understand what goes on inside a parent when someone mistreats, talks about in a negative fashion, or teases your child.” I asked my son yesterday if he wanted me to beat up the kid that was teasing him. Now, certainly I would not have done it. However, that does not mean a part of me wanted to.
    Call me a poppa bear.

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