mama bear syn⋅drome –
The act in which one’s inner beast releases itself on its prey to show dominance, stemming from protection instinct.
Basically, I am going to show you who is boss.
I am writing this post without any permission from one of my subjects. Yikes! Don’t worry, I know her well. I think she will laugh at the topic and realize very quickly who she is. I bring her up because she is the first peer within my circle that I recall seeing signs of what I like to refer to now as “Mama Bear Syndrome.”
Sometimes Mama Bear is sly, as she mumbles under her breath about a child at a birthday party who keeps pulling on her child’s new shirt, and other times, I have point blank seen her attack the situation growl on, swooping in to take charge and save her child’s day.
I do not think I necessarily realized where this sense of pride and protection came from, because she has always been the protector of situations of wrong against family or friends. In fact when I know I need to complain to customer service, I just call her and she pretends to be me. We have literally sat giggling and listening, sure there was a grown man crying on the other end of the phone. And, once I actually saw her leap over sand dunes at the beach to confront another relentless Mama Bear looking to pick a fight for get this… something we were in the wrong for.
For years, us childless folks have chuckled in amazement at her ability to remain dominant in situations that would seem to most, out of their control. I have on many occasions wondered where she gets her fierce need to protect from.
Then I became a mom.
Mama Bear Syndrome. It is really, friends. The first time I experienced it was when Baby Lo was less than a month old. It was winter and cold and flu season was running rampant. I was super cautious and overly protective (rightfully so, though) and, when a snotty nosed child, or stranger in the Grocery Store reached their hands into the car seat carrier I would pull back and firmly say, “Don’t touch.” The words would easily come out of me and there would be no remorse. I even recall being in the waiting room of Lo’s Doctor’s office waiting for a check-up and when a hacking, child kept inching closer to my little baby, I literally extended my leg, foot out, to keep a barrier from my baby, all while giving the mother the ultimate stink eye.
Here is what I believe, Mama Bear Syndrome lives in the inner depths of your belly where it has been burrowing or hibernating for years. It is waiting for its awakening which typically occurs the moment labor pains kick in. Then, only, then is the beast ready to claws its way out.
As Lo starts to get older and interact with more children, I find myself always near by. Watching, waiting, lurking in the woods for the moment Mama Bear needs to come out.
I look back with my own Mom and finally understand. When I was in middle school (by the way – worse years of a young girl’s life) and I would come home crying from being picked on or left out, my tears would turn to pleas as she would pick up the phone to call the other girl’s Mom. “No. Don’t!” I would yell but it would be too late. Mama Bear was already growling into the phone.
When I was in High School and my competitive nature caused nights of stress and tears when I was not always the best or number one. She was always there to tell me I was and why. And, when my heart was broken for the first time… woo wee, my mother did not hold back her ill will words. I actually felt sorry for the guy after she was done with him.
Mama Bear Syndrome. There you have it.
I am sure some days it will come to Lo’s advantage and other days not too much. But I hope she and all our children know that one thing is for certain, this inner bear comes from the pure love for our cubs.
Attack on, Mama Bears, attack on.