Thursday, January 19, 2012

Calming the Inner "Mama Bear"

Before I had kids, I would hear friends talk about how when they were pregnant, it was kind of like pregnancy "woke up" their mothering instincts.  Suddenly they were doing things like "nesting," all because of their pregnancy.

When we decided to adopt, I wondered if those mothering instincts would come alive.  I wouldn't be pregnant, so would it all still work out?  Or would I feel the same as I did before?  Would I have kids, but no mothering instincts to help me figure out what to do with them?  Maybe it sounds weird, but these are but a few of the fears I had before we adopted.

But now I have two kids.

And I am here to tell you that the instincts came.  And not always in a well-balanced, rational way.

Sickness still freaks me out, so maybe that mothering instinct of being able to treasure hugs from a vomit-covered kid in the middle of the night is still developing (I did give him a hug and comforted him, but almost threw up with him in the process).  But one instinct that's very much alive and well is the inner Mama Bear.

It is very, very well developed.

It may be a little too strong.

Earlier this week, I got a phone call from school, and Andy's glasses had been all bent up at recess.  When I got to school, he said that a girl pushed him to the ground from behind, and I found out she then bent his glasses so badly that they were unfixable, and we had to get a whole new pair.

He was really upset, because this girl had been his friend, but was really proud of himself (as was I) for just going and getting a teacher instead of fighting back.  He had welts on his cheek and a cut on his nose from the glasses getting pushed into his face, and he looked really sad.

I felt something akin to rage.

Then, as we were leaving the school office, he pointed out a girl in the hall, and told me that it was her.  And something inside of me wanted to just take her aside and slap her.  To be perfectly clear, I did not actually slap a 2nd grade girl, and never would (ever).  But I was mad.

As it turned out, the kids had been running around at recess, and another girl had run into the girl who knocked Andy over so hard that she fell into him, and then he fell over.  She then tried to "help" him with his glasses, which completely broke them.  And, while she should have left his glasses alone when he asked her to, I could see that nothing had been done with malice.

Probably should have taken a moment to figure out what all had happened before getting so upset.

So I thought about it, and decided I probably needed to calm down the inner "Mama Bear," and resolved to think through situations before having urges to slap 2nd graders.

Yesterday, we were at the Y, and the kids were playing in the open gym while I ran (ok, ran and walked) around the track upstairs.  The track goes around the gyms, and looks over them, so that I could see into the gym where the kids were, which I liked.  There was a smaller basketball hoop that had been pulled over for the kids to play with, which was nice, especially because there were a lot of middle school and even junior high kids there, and Andy and Isaac were by far the youngest and smallest in their gym.

The only problem was that the track goes around two gyms, so I could only see them half of each lap. Things had been going really well until I came around the corner, and saw a scene that made the inner Mama Bear roar to life.

I saw Isaac completely surrounded by 7 or 8 older, bigger boys who looked like they were in junior high, and it looked like he was trying to make a basket with the shorter hoop.

I froze, and quickly tried to figure out how to save him.  Did I yell and get the attention of the guy watching the two gyms?  Did I yell at the boys, hoping they would listen and leave him alone?  Or just run down there as fast as I could and take them all on myself?

But before I could overreact, I saw Isaac finally take the shot.  He missed, but the boy closest to the basket "helped" it in, and all the boys started cheering for him and giving him high 5's.  By the time they left to go play their own game at the bigger court, he was grinning like crazy, and I was a little embarrassed.

One of the lessons I am going to have to work on is the same verse that the kids are working on in Sunday school.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20
Whew.  I do think there are times when it's ok to be upset about a situation.  I think if I had taken time to really listen and see what was going on, and it had turned out that the boys really were being mean to Isaac, or Andy's friend really had knocked him down and broken his glasses on purpose, I think it's perfectly fine (and part of my job) to look out for them.

There are many verses in the Bible that talk about defending the weak, and I think that it's a good and God-honoring thing to stand up for people when they need someone stronger to stand by them.  That could be my kids, a friend, or a stranger.

But I think that "man's anger" can also be understood as "instant Mama-Bear rage."  I wasn't taking time to listen and understand.  Even though I didn't take action either time, mentally I was flying off the handle at the first sign of distress, without taking time to understand the situation.  I want to stand up for my kids, and I want them to know that I will always have their back, but I want to do it in a way that brings glory to God, not in a way that leaves me looking like a crazy woman.

Now that I've seen this verse, and understood it in light of these crazy instincts that apparently appear with kids (whether you've been pregnant or not), I think I have some work to do.

I want a righteous life, and I want to grow closer to Christ by honoring God with my actions.  And I think that calming the inner Mama Bear is going to be the first step.
A little less of this.  | Source

Perhaps a little more of this. | Source

1 comment:

  1. This was so good, Kelli. Thank you for sharing! That mama bear instincts does rear its head quickly...been there! ☺