Is it just me, or is there negativity associated with being a protective mom? It’s a label that I would certainly give to myself, though mama bear is much cuter sounding.
I’m that mom who requests visitors be up to date on their shots – and even though I could feel the eye rolls by some, it matters so little in comparison to risking a life-threatening hospital stay.
I’m that mom who doesn’t have a babysitter on hand, and I don’t plan to until he’s much older and independent from me.
I’m that mom who calls the pediatrician over little things, and I don’t hesitate to take him in when something seems off.
“I’m sorry, once again, it ended up being nothing. Mommy’s just crazy, huh buddy?” I said at one of these visits.
“Stop apologizing, and stop saying you are crazy,” our doctor said. “You are not crazy. You are doing all the right things.”
These words stuck with me, and they meant so much to me at the time – navigating those early fragile months. She’s right. There is no reason I should ever be apologetic for making a decision in the best interest of my son. That’s what mothers do, we protect. We protect as best we can, and sometimes that protection crosses into the lives of other people.
But there’s hesitation to embrace Mama Bear. We all want to come off cool and collected, confident and together.
We get told things like, “You really shouldn’t worry so much.” “You know you can’t protect them from everything!”
And so you have this awkward notion of being apologetically-protective, which is a very conflicting place to be. Control your kids, but don’t be controlling. Protect your family, but don’t be overbearing. Keep them safe, but don’t worry about a thing.
Certainly there are times when I should worry less, and times when I should worry more. There will be situations I could have handled better, and others that I will handle like a boss. There are things I will inevitably “helicopter” over, and others that I will let go.
But at the end of the day, each and every one of these judgment calls is mine to make. When someone suggests that I should do something with my son a different way, they’re not actually talking about my son at all. They’re talking about me, mama bear.
Maybe the solution for us apologetically-protective moms has nothing to do with our babies, and everything to do with us. We cannot protect our babies from everything in the world, but we can protect our role as mothers.
Being Mama Bear may not always be popular, but it will always be a role that is sacred to me.