I think one of the greatest lessons I have learned as a mother over the last 9 months is how instinct kicks in. It is truly like a mother and her cubs. I always heard about maternal instinct and thought, but what if I don’t have it? But, from minute one, you are ready to protect your kids from vicious playground injuries or hang nails, from ghosts in their closet, from kids who pick on them, and from people who are critical of you or them. I think you need this instict as a mother of three adopted kids.
Before I had my children, I had two dogs and two cats. The love of those four pets got Brian through his PhD without having children and me through my masters degree. My maternal instinct clicked in a few years ago. We were told a year and a half ago that our dog Maui could not play with other dogs at doggie day care. The doggie day care said because she is a lab/pit bull mix she can’t be with the other dogs. They stated that this was new policy due to pit bulls being aggressive. Maui has never been aggressive and loves everyone. This policy made no sense to me. I went “mother on them” about this issue saying that this discriminates against a certain breed of dogs not based on the dog’s behavior. I wanted to say other things about their policy and fees, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew when to be quiet. I needed them to care for my dogs when we are away. At that point of time, I thought if this is my love for my dog what will my love for my kids be like.
In the last few months, I have learned to be an advocate for my kids, but also keep my mouth shut when needed. I am normally a go-with the flow type person, but critics have made me “go mother on them” quite often. As I stated in a post before, the preschool teacher commented on how my son couldn’t spell his name yet, and all the other kids could. I said to her, “He is not starting school for a year and half, he is from Ethiopia and has only been here 7 months, his name is Estifanos which is horribly long.” Of course what I wanted to say was, “You spend 7 hours a day with him why don’t you help him with this, since he can’t even hold the pencil right yet. I don’t think you should be comparing him to other kids. He never has behavior problems like other kids I see here.” I quietly kept my mouth shut though and stated, “We will work on it; why don’t you help him too?”
Then this week we get a note from my daughter’s teacher. “Her lunch bag is a little dirty.” She put a smiley face after it. I thought, first of all, it isn’t that dirty, I have three kids, 5 and under and work full time (got a few other things on my plate besides lunch bags), and I always make my kids luches everyday. Why don’t you go bother someone who doesn’t take great care of their kids and their house? The main thing I wanted to say though was, “She is with you all day why do you let her roll her lunch bag around on the dirt playground?” I again kept my mouth shut.
I guess over the last few months I have learned when and how to advocate. Yesterday, I went to pick my baby up and daycare, and her teacher told me “She says everything is hers and doesn’t let anyone near the toys.” Sorry Yordie, I can’t advocate for you on that one; I guess we are hitting terrible twos a few months early.