Who’s Your Mama Bear?

July 2, 2010

Kelly Goose popped out to Gimme! Coffee the other day and came back with her caffeine fix and the inspiration for this blog post.   She’d witnessed a woman who needed to interrupt the barista in order to acquire a knife, ostensibly to cut something into child-sized pieces, though she hurriedly and frantically phrased her request, “Excuse me? Can I have a knife please?  It’s FOR MY CHILD.”

We’re going to call this the Mama Bear effect, and it takes shape many different ways on a daily basis.  There’s the “please don’t think I’m unreasonable I’m only behaving this way because I have children” tenor of the story above.  Then, there’s the “I am responding with what seems like completely disproportionate emotion because you have done something to harm the one I love” nature of the story below.

I was on a playground the other day with the two littlest members of my family.  The playground we’d chosen that day is great because of its combination of climb-on structures and the surrounding but accessible wooded spots.  The kids can move back and forth easily between the natural and constructed playspaces, all within view of parents.  During our visit, there was only one other family there, a mom with two playing daughters and a sleeping infant who were already on the playground when we arrived.  Things were fine — my older one was having a grand time exploring a small clearing right off the playground, until he was interrupted by a little girl from the other family.  She’d noticed where my boy was playing, and come running from clear across the playground screaming, “No!  That’s our place! You’re ruining it!  YOU’RE RUINING IT!!!!!!!”

Let’s be clear – she and her sister had not done anything to the spot — they hadn’t been playing any sort of imaginary game which required building or collecting or any kind of space rearranging that the little boy could mess up, nor was she implying that this was the case.  No, her point was clear — he had offended her by his mere existence and, I kid you not, I wanted to eat her.  I wanted to take this poor little girl in my teeth and rip her apart with my claws, because when you mess with my kids, no matter how small you are, I want to destroy you.

Luckily, a part of me retained some semblance of rationality, and I simply waited for the little girl’s totally appropriate mother to come over and deal with her unreasonable child.  She did, and I calmed down, and my little boy walked away unscathed.   I retracted my claws, and we went on with our day.

Mama Bear moments happen all the time – it’s the byproduct of being a parent, of experiencing an all-encompassing love so fierce that it has the ability to tear things apart.  Do you have a Mama Bear moment you’d like to share?  We’d like to hear about it.

-Meryl at the Goose


2 Responses to “Who’s Your Mama Bear?”

  1. Kelly Says:

    I remember a story that my aunt told years ago. Every day she had to go through a five-way intersection with no traffic light. She took her good ol’ time making sure it was safe to go while the motorists behind her honked and inched up to her rear fender. One day, she got out of her car and proclaimed to the line of drivers behind her: “I’ll go when I’m good and ready. I am a mother!”. Her kids weren’t even in the car.

  2. Val Says:

    Shortly after my first child was born, I had a major Mama Bear moment. I was walking out of the grocery store with a cart full of food and my new baby. In the parking lot, as I put the groceries into our trunk, I noticed a woman walking from her car towards us. Instantly, my claws appeared and I was in full Mama Bear mode thinking, “I’m watching you, lady. One wrong move toward my baby and I will take you down!” I felt hot blooded and ready to pounce when she neared and asked, “May I take that cart for you?” I felt so silly for getting all crazed… Since then, I am happy to say, I have domesticated my inner Mama Bear. Now, I am a bit more relaxed in the grocery store parking lot… just a bit 🙂

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