Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More on the Mother Hen, or Rather, the Mother BEAR!

This may be hard for men to understand, but God gives moms a fierce sense of protection when it comes to her kids.  This sense, when activated by any type of threat, obvious or subtle, becomes a force to be reckoned with. Even the most quiet, humble mom who rarely says a word will quickly create a resounding boom when it comes to her kids.

Unfortunately, since men do not understand this sense of protection, they tend to minimize it, which leads to attempts to calm it, or make it disappear altogether.  My husband is not among that group of men. He has grown to respect this in me and support it when it arises.  Not all men are so secure in themselves.  Minimizing this God-given sense in women is a dangerous practice.  Women ought to be encouraged to act on it, not minimize it. When young moms, especially, are supported when this arises in them, they develop a strength they, themselves, didn't know they had.

My first lesson in this came when my oldest son was a baby.  By the time he was 16-months-old, he had a baby sister and I had my hands delightfully full.  My oldest was a rambunctious child, always curious and full of energy - even in church.  And in church was where my very first Mother Bear appearance happened.  He was making noise & acting up. I was trying to calm his baby sister.  My husband was preaching and was going to be baptizing some people soon.  Just as I gave up and decided to take the kids out (our church had no nursery at the time), a lady in the church turned around and said to my son, "If you don't settle down and be quiet, I'll put you in that water in the baptistry!" And the Mother Bear was activated.

My response:  "Mark, she will not put you in the baptistry.  That's ridiculous. She will not lay a hand on you." And I said this right in front of her.  Then I turned to her and said, "Please do not lie to my kids."  And I took the kids to the back room for the remainder of the service.

I was not going to have my kids lied to.  I was not going to allow my kids to think that someone else, not one of their parents, had any authority over them in that way. I was not going to have my kids think that putting them in the baptistry was in any way okay under those circumstances.  It might not seem like a huge deal, but I was a very young mom and this was an older woman who had raised kids, and she was a member of my husband's church, so I was thoroughly intimidated.  However, I did not stop to think about being intimidated. My fierce protection of my son overtook my feelings of intimidation and I did what I had to do.  That woman did not speak to me for a few weeks (as women in the church often do to the preacher's wife) but she eventually came around, apologized, and we are friends to this day - nearly 30 years later!

Young moms, listen to your inner, fierce voice when it comes to your kids - or yourself for that matter.  A worse case in point is this article, which describes how a Minneapolis mom left her toddler at a day care, only to get a "funny feeling" when she was pulling away in her car.  Her funny feeling came from seeing a man on the sidewalk.  That's all. Just a man on the sidewalk. But, she got that funny feeling, so she called the day care from her car.  While she was on the phone with them, the line went dead, so she turned her car around and drove back.  What she found was shocking - 3 people shot to death, people she had just left her child with.  Fortunately, her child was unharmed.  This mom deserves praise!  She listened to that inner voice, that funny feeling, that sense that something was not quite right.  She did not minimize it.  She listened and she acted and she did the right thing.

Moms, if someone in your life tells you that you are making too big of a deal over something to do with your kids, ignore them.  If someone tells you that you need to calm down when your Mother Bear has been activated, ignore them.  That inner voice is a gift from God, it is meant to be there. I find it interesting that it's always been men, in my experience, who try to minimize that voice in women.  Perhaps they are intimidated by it, I'm not sure, but listening to our inner voice rather than to a man who is telling us to calm down is, by far, the better choice.


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