Saturday, 21 July 2018

She comes with claws: The good and bad of inner 'mama bear'


By Janet Lund

Hello,  there!  

“Joyful”  and  “difficult”  are  words  that  best  describe  my  daughter’s  birth.  We  were  so  excited  for  the  arrival  of  our  miracle  baby.  But,  “Whoa,  Nelly!”  Her  9  lb.  7¼  ounces  was  a  bit  much  for  my  small  frame.  There  were  some  scary  moments.  Her  heart  rate  started  going  up  after  multiple  attempts  to  assist  her  arrival.  Once  I  heard  the  words  “neo-natal”  whispered  from  the  OB-GYN  to  a  nurse,  I  found  a  whole  new  gear.  This  baby  was  going  to  arrive  NOW!  We  weren’t  going  to  the  urgent-care  delivery  ward  if  I  could  help  it.

My  inner  mama  bear  had  emerged.  This  strong,  protective  creature  inside  awoke  and  was  ready  to  protect  my  cub.  “Roar!”

The  awakening  of  your  mama  bear  is  part  of  the  process  of  becoming  a  mom.  She  arrives  with  claws  at  the  ready!  

A  mama  bear’s  job  is  to  keep  her  cub  safe.  But  this  job  is  one  that  evolves  as  her  cub  matures.  She  can’t  forever  guard  the  entrance  of  her  cave.  Mama  must  let  her  cub  go  outside  and  explore.  

Just  like  you,  mom.

As  your  child  grows  and  matures,  your  mama  skills  must  grow  and  evolve  too.

Mama  Bear  Insight  #1

When  your  child  enters  the  pre-teen  and  teenage  years,  she  wants  to  explore  like  never  before.  This  may  cause  your  fur  to  stand  up,  but  you  must  pause  and  be  mindful.  If  you  aren’t  aware  of  your  thoughts,  your  anxiety  will  churn  up  your  mama  bear.  Being  afraid  makes  you  reactive.  Which  in  turn  makes  your  teen  pull  away.  Your  overprotective  mama  bear  can  cause  your  cub  to  react,  get  angry,  and  take  risks.

That’s  why  it  is  so  important  to  grow  your  relational  skills  for  parenting  your  teen.  If  you  don’t,  you  will  find  your  mama  bear  running  wild...and  your  cub  running  away.

Learning  the  tools  necessary  to  become  confident  and  calm  will  help  tame  your  mama  bear.  Here  are  some  basics  to  get  you  started.  Use  your:

1)  ears  to  listen  quietly

2)  eyes  to  observe  body  language

3)  mouth  to  ask  open-ended  and  neutral  questions

4)  teeth  to  daintily  bite  your  tongue,  allowing  your  cub  to  speak  freely

5)  arms  for  hugs  when  they  are  desired

6)  paws  for  high-fives  to  cheer  them  onIt  takes  time,  effort,  and  support  to  build  up  your  skills,  but  it  is  so  worth  the  work.

Mama  Bear  Insight  #2

When  you  are  anxious,  your  mama  bear  complicates  your  relationships  with  those  who  want  to  support  you  (spouse,  teachers,  coaches,  pastors,  community  leaders,  etc.).

1)  Your  anxiety  keeps  you  from  listening  well.

2)  You  jump  to  conclusions  and  make  assumptions.

3)  Your  fear  handicaps  your  ability  to  think  clearly.

4)  You  growl  instead  of  asking  neutral  clarifying  questions.

5)  You  swipe  at  your  allies  instead  of  giving  them  a  high-five.

When  I  did  youth  ministry,  anxious  moms  would  angrily  unload  on  me.  They  lost  sight of  the  fact  that  I  was  on  their  side.  It  became  clear  that  these  moms  were  swiping  at  their  kids  at  home,  too.

Doing  this  made  their  situations  more  complicated.

A  mama  bear  must  be  tamed,  otherwise  her  insecurity  causes  her  to  growl  at  everyone.

Mama  Bear  Insight  #3

How  to  tame  your  mama  bear:

1)  Get  equipped  with  parenting  tools  to  nurture  your  maturing  cub.

2)  Get  support  from  friends.

3)  Get  connected  with  teachers,  pastors,  counselors,  a  relational  coach.

4)  Get  on  your  knees.  Invite  God  into  your  life  and  your  relationship  with  your  child  every  day.

5)  Get  bathed  in  God’s  Word  daily,  read  devotional  materials,  and  listen  to  Christian  music.

Being  a  mom  can  be  difficult,  but  you  don’t  have  to  do  it  alone.  In  fact,  you  can’t  do  it  alone  very  well.  Tame  your  mama  bear.  Invite  God  on  your  journey.  Get  the  support  you  need.

Equip.  Empower.  Enjoy. Mom  Keep  Calm.

Janet  Lund  is  a  relationship  coach  who  specializes  in  nurturing  the  bond  between  moms  and  their  teen/pre-teen  daughters.  She  leads  moms  through  coaching,  speaking,  and  songwriting.  Janet  has  spoken  and  performed  in  Canada,  the  United  States,  and  Norway.  Follow  her  on and  visit  her  website for  parenting  tools  and  words  of  support  to  be  a  calm  mom.


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