Finding Your Mama Bear
Warning: you do NOT want to be around me during an emergency. I’m notoriously awful in panic situations. I’d say at least 3 times a week, I let the water boil over on the stove while I’m cooking. My husband thinks I’m ridiculous because I just kind of - stand there? Instead of fight or flight, I FREEZE.
If we are ever in this situation together .. good luck to you!
But for real. For a while, I was so self-conscious about this because I thought, how am I going to care for a child? If this is my response to pasta boiling over, how am I going to respond if he gets hurt? Do I have that “mama bear” instinct that everyone says kicks in when their child is in danger or needs protecting? On more than one occasion, friends have laughed at me and said I would be “that parent” who accidentally leaves the baby on the roof of the car. I laughed back but I guess it affected my confidence more than I let on.
As I’ve become more confident in my motherhood role - and thank goodness the confidence is finally setting in, it’s only been two and a half years!!! - I realize now that this is not the case. When it comes to Eli being hurt, in distress, or in trouble, I don’t freeze.
My mama bear comes out, and when she does, she comes out with some Beyonce level intensity.
For instance - the other day, Eli got stung by a bee. First of all, I’ve written blog posts and done videos before about how I hate bees, so this should have been an issue for me - but it was a non-issue for me. Eli cried, he didn’t know what was going on. Now, if this was anything like the pasta water situation, I’d be just staring at this crying child, in awe of him, not really sure what to do, totally frozen and waiting for someone else to take the wheel, but..
I hustled and stayed.. totally.. chill.
I mean, I’ve gotten more stressed out trying to cut this kid’s pizza before he freaks the freak out on me. It’s like I’m more calm when my child is hurt and in distress than when I’m simply anticipating him being hurt and in distress. I’m calmer when he’s crying and stung by a bee than when preparing dinner when he’s hangry. What the what!?
Then, yesterday, Eli had a surgery which required him to get a COVID test beforehand, and the surgery itself required him to be put under anesthesia. In anticipation of these events, I was so nervous, I wanted to puke. But as soon as push came to shove and it was time for him to get the test, I was right there with such intensity and somehow simultaneous calm that it totally surprised me. Fast forward to the surgery, and as soon as he needed me, I had tunnel vision for this little person and there was absolutely nothing in the world that would get in between me and my ability to take care of him and make sure he was okay, comforted, and safe.
Ahh. There she is.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s honestly so unlike me and how I respond in normal emergency situations that it feels like it’s almost something spiritual that takes over. Like this is just my normal, inner workings and my higher self, I guess? And when it comes to something and someone as important to me as my son, nothing else supersedes it.
If there’s a mama bear in me, there’s a mama bear in you, too.
If you would have asked me a few years ago how I’d be at this motherhood stuff, especially the emergencies and the cuts and the boo-boos and the surgeries, I would have told you to look to my husband because I’d be useless. In fact, I assumed that only one parent could be present for Eli’s recent surgery, which made me relieved in a way. In preparation of that being the case, we arranged for my husband to go with Eli - not me. Instead, the doctors allowed both of us back there. I went and took the lead because… Beyoncemamabear.
I know so many new moms right now and so many women who are expecting their first baby. A lot of them seem so worried that they’re not going to be able to find that mama bear side or that they’re not going to know what to do in certain situations.
When I hear this, my heart totally swells, because I know they’ll figure it out just like I did. And I also know how it feels to worry if you’re ever going to be able to fall into this role with the grace and ease you see so many other moms possessing (which is total crap by the way). If any of this worries you, be assured in knowing that there is a deep part inside of you that is going to take over when it needs to. If you’re reading this, you already have everything in you that you need to be a great mom.
You may still forget your keys, let water boil over on the stove, run out of diapers or wipes or your kid’s favorite snacks, and a million other things that make you feel forgetful or behind or distracted or not enough. But don’t worry. You will get to the point where you feel confident in your motherhood role and you'll know your mama bear is fierce and ready to go.
You don’t have to spend 2.5 years trying to find your mama bear like I did. She’s already there, and she will take the wheel when you need her to.
You’ve got this, mama. More than you know.
Xo - Jenna