From One Mama Bear to Another-

“You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about the business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way.” -Elizabeth Taylor

Previously I wrote about “fierce mama bear” mode kicking into overdrive.

I’ve been running on fumes for awhile now. My thoughts are all jumbled and scattered. My sleep is not restful. When I finally quiet my mind and my heart, something sneaks in and starts it all up again.

Being the parent of adult kids is not easy! I’ve always said, “Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems” and I didn’t fully appreciate how big those problems could get when a child grew up and had adult problems.

And while I fight my own inner battle of wanting to counsel him, give him my opinion, (do something!!!!!), I am going to share some favorite quotes. I believe that there is a lesson in this experience for me and the message that keeps scrolling across the bottom of my mind is PATIENCE and LETTING GO.

  • “Anything you can’t control is teaching you to let go.” -Jackson Kiddard
  • “Patience is power.  Patience is not an absence of action; rather, it is “timing”; it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”    -Fulton J. Sheen
  • “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” -Leo Tolstoy
  • “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” -Dalai Lama
  • “Raising your child well is hard. But learning to let them go out into the world and prove that you did your job right is even tougher.”  – J. Craine

It feels like there are so many parents struggling along side their children right now. Regardless of how many parenting books, websites, videos are available, it all comes down to each of us doing the best that we can for our children. Every family, child, parent, situation and problem is unique and there is no easy button to push that will give us the proper solution. Sometimes we know instinctively what to do. Other times we are at a loss.

This post was prompted by an emotional conversation I had yesterday. Listening and hearing everything I was being told- those words that were spoken and even louder, the ones that weren’t, watching him pace back and forth with short agitated steps, the sound of his voice- so familiar to me and yet foreign with a tightness and emotion that gripped my heart, waves of stress just rolling off of him with his every movement- forced me to stop what I was planning on saying and sit down to quietly hear him out.

I realized that he did not need someone ready to jump into battle beside him or in his behalf.  And although my mind had been swirling with a million different thoughts just seconds earlier, I was surprised (and maybe just a little not surprised) at how quickly I was able to set those turbulent emotions and thoughts aside trying to figure out how to help him and how clear it was what he needed from me. He needed me to be there- calm and solid and there. And I believe that I was…. and I am.

fierce mama bear thereIf I’ve learned anything from being a mom (and I’ve learned more than just a little from this experience), it’s that there is no right and wrong- only trial and error. If, as you watch your children continue to blossom and grow, you feel a tiny bit of that change inside yourself, too, then maybe- JUST MAYBE you are on the right track…..at least for this time!

If you are one of the struggling mama bears, give your kids a hug and yourself a break!

-Kat

 

Don’t Poke the Bear

fierce mama bearI remember the first time someone pointed out my fierceness as a mama bear. Oddly enough, it was my oldest son, Michael. He was 15 at the time. There was a problem scheduling his classes and he warned the counselor, “You don’t want my mom to come in to get this fixed.” What flashed through my mind was, “Who was this mom and could she give me some pointers?” It was with shock that I realized it was me.

I have always advocated for my children since the day they were born. I didn’t consider myself fierce. I just did what I needed to do to get my children what they needed. It was as natural to me as breathing. Upon hearing that Michael saw me in this way, I was overcome. I feared that I could never live up to his expectations or whatever this image of me was. I scoured my memory for times he might have seen me acting in this way. I needed examples. I felt overwhelmed.

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m quite reserved, quiet, shy, private. I tend to not have a huge presence in a room and that is by choice. I don’t speak up in large groups. In fact, social anxiety tends to grip me by the throat and render me speechless at times, ensuring that I remain silent.

Except when it comes to my kids. But I guess I need to clarify- I’m not one of those vocal, loud, pushy parents. When I’m fighting for my children, I do it the same way I do everything else- quietly but persistently. I won’t make a scene but I will press the issue. I won’t attack but I will come to the battle armed with enough ammunition to take out an army, if needed. And if I need to use force, it will probably be so under the radar you won’t know what happened. It’s not that I’m being sneaky or deceitful- I just function much better one on one. This is one time when being an over-thinker comes in handy. Since I’ve probably thought up every possible outcome, I will come prepared with counter arguments.

The thing about being a fierce mama bear is that when your cubs grow up you need to step back and act in a way that goes against every parenting instinct you have. When they are struggling, any advice you offer has to be done carefully so as not to appear to be implying you think they cannot handle things. And sometimes it can’t appear to even be advice, depending on the level of independence of the child.

Helping our children stand on their own is something we begin doing the day they are born. It’s part of the end goal so it’s not a huge surprise when it happens. BUT it doesn’t lessen the sting…. especially when it’s your cub.

As I found out recently, even though your cubs might be grown, maybe even with little cubs of their own, that doesn’t stifle “fierce mama” mode when your cub is attacked- especially unprovoked….. double especially with whipped cream on top when your cub is attacked while going above and beyond what the average person would do to be there for another person.

I’m finding it difficult to hold back that uncontrollable desire to protect my child. Once again, by friendly fire, one of my own has been attacked- completely unfounded- and all I can do is stand by and let him fight his battle. He knows that I’m standing there, just in the shadows…. waiting. It’s one of those parenting moments when I have to stay still and let him pick himself up, but once he’s standing again, I will be there in a flash to help. And if he flounders and needs a hand up, he knows that I’m within reach at all times.

Thinking back to those days when he was a small child and he fell, I remember that instinct to cry out, rush over and pick him up. After the first few times of doing exactly that, which resulted in him crying (caused by my reaction- not the fall), I quickly realized that he needed to get himself back on his feet and determine if this was worth the tears or not. It might be considered tough love by some but I’ve stood by this belief- always close by if the situation warranted assistance and if all was well, calling out “You’re okay!”

It’s not that simple these days. The tumbles are much bigger with higher stakes at risk. My cub is hurting and this mama bear is on high alert.

“Every mom has a mission to love,, guide and protect her family.

Don’t mess with her while she’s on it.”      -Vicki Reece