Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mama Bear

I recall taking a trip once with my family down to the Smokey Mountains. We parked the car at one of the scenic areas to look around. Shortly after getting out of the car, we spotted a couple bear cubs. How cute! That was when my dad demanded that we rush back to the car and get out of there. Why? I wondered. Dad explained to me that while the baby bears were very cute, where there are baby bears, there is likely to be mama bear and that she was NOT going to be happy when she saw the mass of people quickly gathering around her babies. As he explained, a mom’s job is to defend her babies, and we would not stand a chance against a huge black bear.

I’ve really been understanding how that mommy bear might have felt lately. I’ve probably mentioned before that my daughter has the tendency to be rather difficult. I know this and will admit it. However, there is something about someone else pointing it out that is hard for me to accept. I immediately want to defend her or make excuses for her. Although, maybe the reason that I become defensive is that I then frantically think there is something different I should be doing in raising her. Probably the only thing worse than feeling like other people think that your child is a pain in the butt is feeling like a bad parent.

So this, like many other parenting situations, I now fully understand. You know those parents that defend their kids when they are being absolutely out of control? While I don’t want to become one of those parents, I do understand. You love your kids through and through, even if they are awkward, rough, lazy, etc. I don’t want to become a parent who sticks up for my child even when she is wrong. I will do her no favors by not correcting her when she’s wrong or letting her get away with everything. However, I do understand how, as a parent, you believe your children are perfect. Nothing puts a bigger grin on my face than when people compliment her big blue eyes, her look of contentment when we dine together, or her cheerful smile. Equally, nothing pisses me off more when someone points out her flaws (as if I don’t know about them already… HELLO, people, I live with the girl 24 hours a day.)

Perhaps this post will encourage people to more creatively label children’s more negative aspects. Like when we were at the hospital after Amelia’s delivery and the nurse said “You’re baby is beautiful!“ I laughed and said that she probably says that to every new mom. I mean, what kind of witchy nurse is going to say, “Boy, your baby hit every branch on her fall from the ugly tree.” She told me, “Well, when they are less than cute, I tell the mom that he or she is very healthy looking. I don’t lie about cute babies!” This kind of line of thought has led to me calling Amelia ‘spunky‘ and ‘determined’, and I plan on extending this same type of courtesy to other moms as well.

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