Motherhood is a funny thing. You can study the books, read the articles, think you are preparing yourself but, until that first moment when see your baby, you have no idea what being a mom really is all about.
What is it that turns an ordinary woman into a mom? Is it experience? Is it training? Is it pure instinct? Is it, perhaps, a combination of all those things? Experts around the world offer advice and theories but, reality is, motherhood was around long before expert advice was and, amazingly, it all seemed to work out.
The other day I was at the gym, busily enjoying my workout when I saw the cutest family of Canadian Geese making their way across the parking lot. Two adults and four yellow fuzz balls out for their morning stroll in search of breakfast.
Problem was that this sweet little family was heading right for the street and a whole lot of danger. Sadly, wildlife doesn’t always have a safe place in this busy world and while the best food was likely across the street, the safest place during rush hour was back into the water in the opposite direction.
It didn’t take long for this nature loving mom to spring into action and decide it was time to rescue the whole group. Seemed like a smart idea, right? Run dangerously close to traffic myself and try to hustle the little family back to the safety of the nearby water.
Ok, perhaps this was not the smartest choice I’ve ever made.
Fortunately, traffic was cooperative and I didn’t end up a “foolish mom” statistic in the local police reports. What I didn’t count on, however, was just how ticked off momma goose was going to be at me. Yes, I had great intentions and truly was saving her babies from almost certain death but she simply didn’t see it that way.
As a matter of fact, like any new mom, momma goose was absolutely not going to trust her babies’ wellbeing to a total stranger. She hissed at me, squawked at me and made it very clear that I wasn’t welcome anywhere near her precious goslings.
Honestly, in retrospect, I think she would have known to turn back on her own when she saw traffic but, alas, I would like to at least think of myself as a hero for a little while.
Now, it goes without saying that momma goose has never opened up a parenting magazine. She has never read an expert’s book and, obviously, she has never seen a “Life in the Mom Lane” column. The only parenting class momma goose ever took was likely watching her own mother take care of her.
All that being said she still knew exactly what she needed to do to keep her babies safe from me, a potential predator. So how did momma goose manage to learn this lesson without anyone’s advice? Well, my guess is that she learned very fast to trust her instincts and simply do what she already knew was right. Without a doubt a solid lesson that all moms need to take to heart.
From the first moments that you announce your pregnancy you begin to get bombarded with advice and information. Some of it is good, some of it is great and some of it, frankly, is just terrible. All of it is overwhelming. The sooner you, as a mom, begin to trust your instincts and follow your heart the better off you will be.
While sharing advice and learning from others is a great tool we also need to realize that just like momma goose we moms have a built in set of training and instincts that can help get us through the rough patches.
Yes, books, magazines and even mom columns can make suggestions but, as the old saying goes, mother knows best.