Monday, December 23, 2013

The Cry of the Mama Bear...

…or lack thereof.

You know how people talk about being mama-bears?  Although sometimes I feel a  deep sense of defense for my children, more often than not, I am on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Can I tell you a story that has stayed with me so deep in my heart that sometimes it makes tears sting my eyes? 

About a year ago, this awful thing happened.  We were at this place and there was this dude (side-note- I am being purposefully vague, but I am quite certain if you are reading this blog, you weren't at this place and you weren't the dude). And the dude started rough housing with little Aaron.  The dude was an adult.  And the dude was hurting my son, I could tell.  But for some reason, I didn't speak up. I didn't speak up when lil’ A looked at me, and I saw pain in his eyes. I didn't speak up even though my stomach was hurting and my palms were beginning to sweat.  The whole thing probably lasted around 3 minutes, and then someone else said, ‘it doesn’t look like he is having fun, it looks like you are hurting him’.  And, praise God, the man stopped. 

But I didn't’t stop him.

I didn't stop him because I was afraid to embarrass this adult. I was afraid to be ‘that mom’ who jumps to fast and defends too quickly. I didn't stop him because I am a new mom and kind of insecure .I didn't stop him. 

And it still bothers me that I didn't.

You see, I don’t think I am a ‘people pleaser’ by any means.  But, I do try to my hardest to make people feel comfortable.  And I do fight against some of the coddling trends I see in current parenting.  And sometimes, I do it to the detriment of my kids.  Sometimes I yell at them first in a crowd of kids, just so we are not ‘those people’ who let their kids get away with anything. 
Sometimes, I am quick to make a sarcastic comment about them in response to a compliment.  Sometimes, I forget that my job, second only to getting my children to heaven, is to protect them.

And, I am trying to get better at it. I really am. I am trying to remember and find courage to speak up against people when they are making my kids uncomfortable or going against my wishes. I am trying to not put us in positions that aren't good for our family, for the sake of not hurting other’s feelings.  But damn. It’s hard.

I know it’s not a "Talk to me Tuesday", but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  However, right now, thoughts or not, I am writing it out. I am writing it out because it is 10:04 pm at night, the day before Christmas Eve and I was just getting ready for bed.  As I was,  I thought about the look in my son’s eyes when that man was hurting him.  And the tears stung once again. I thought to myself, ‘you need to be a bit more of a mama bear’. 

Hopefully, for the sake of my children…I will.


  1. Oh man, the regrets of our newbie days. At some point this worry stone we were given when we became parents will be worn smooth and we begin to remember to trust ourselves, to follow our instincts, and above all, FORGIVE our mistakes. God knows I already have a library of regrets, but some times I remember He loves them more than I can, and i remember to ask him to heal the wounds I caused and redeem the mistakes I've made so my kids can say, "My parents did XYZ, and I'm okay."

  2. I love you. The End.

    Wait, no, one more thing. Thank you for being real. It's an inspiration.

  3. Echoing Barbara, asking God to make up for all the ways we have failed is crucial to our not going nuts with the enormity of parenthood. Thank God for grace and then let that regret and that memory motivate you to that mama bear boldness in the future. Love you!

  4. I cannot say 'it's ok' because, obviously it is not, or you would not still be hurting by this. However, I can say, 'I understand, and it will take a bit for you to forgive yourself', just keep working at it.'
    As you know, we are always the hardest on ourselves. I could have written this post many times over the past 20 years as a mom. I am getting better, but am STILL working on being a better mama-bear.
    Huge hugs for you and Merry Christmas

  5. Mary thanks for sharing your life. I love your blog and I'm filing this all away. Expect calls when I get there too!!!

  6. I think we have all had somewhat a similar experience where we just don't know what to do sometimes...I have been in this situation too in which I felt the urge to say no and protect my child but at the same time I feel like its a difficult place to step in. So I didn't and just hoped everything would be ok--it was Ok in the end but still I feel like I should go back in time and tell people how I really felt and say--no--I don't want that for my child. I guess I was feeling like others would think I was crazy or that others would think I was trying to be mean or accusatory. Well, I guess the situation shows me that you should never feel others needs are more important than your child. You may feel this was terrible--but perhaps it had a purpose...one day something bigger will come along and you will know what you should do and then you will act because you know how it was when you didn't interfere quicker.