I do not believe my kids are better than yours, nor do I think they can walk on water. I do not believe they need a trophy every time they just show up. I rather enjoy seeing them work hard to truly earn something instead.
Still, there are moments during parenthood when you want so much for your kids and you see something happening that is just not right, and out she comes—Mama Fucking Bear.
I think most mamas can agree that mama bear comes out during the following times:
This is when it starts. When I was pregnant with my first, someone threw a big rubber ball at me. She was only 6 and just wanted me to play with her (I had already politely said no; I had a dessert big enough to serve three), so she threw a big rubber ball at my belly. I yelled at her. What was wrong with me? What just happened? Was it because I hadn’t had a drink in eight months? I had never yelled at a child before. OK, that is a lie, but I knew in that moment it was my inner mama bear talking. Feeling the ball hit my unborn baby sent me over the edge.
2. When Someone Tries to Hold Your Newborn
Sometimes, no matter how bad you need a break, it is hard to let your delicious morsel be held by another. It seems like they are doing it wrong, not being careful enough, and why the hell aren’t they staring at your baby as they hold them?
The panic, the angst, the longing. What is this?
3. When They Sleep Too Long
This is what we want. This is what we need—for them to fucking sleep! But when they do, sometimes we can’t. The constant checking and worrying that happens if they sleep for an extended period of time makes it impossible to relax.
4. When They Don’t Poop
The baby has not pooped—shit, it must be something horrific! You worry, you Google, you call your husband, you pace, you call your doctor, you long for them to fill their diaper with a pile of crap so all can be right with the world. Just some advice here: Do not, I repeat, do not stuff their belly full of prunes because they have not pooped for three days and then put them in the jumpy swing that hangs from ceiling.
5. While on the Road
After becoming a parent, driving takes on a whole new meaning. You are careful; you don’t go over 25 miles per hour. If Daddy drives, Mama can sit in the back with the babe. Suddenly everyone else is driving like an asshole and should not be on the road. You suddenly start calling 911 on everyone’s ass.
6. If Someone Gets in Your Child’s Face
This is really just when a stranger gets in my baby’s face, and it is clear my child is sleeping, or trying to fall asleep, all cozy in their stroller, and I am in Target loading up on frozen vegetables and trying to finish my fantasy about Leonardo DiCaprio. Leave me and my baby alone unless you want a little slap.
7. If Someone Comments on the Way You Feed Your Child
Just try it. I fucking dare you. You don’t like my boobs in your face? Then get your face away from my boobs. You are against bottle feeding? Good, you look like you are too old to be fed from a bottle, but I can arrange to have one shoved up your ass.
8. The First Time They Are Sick
This is so hard on everyone. You camp out next to their crib, you worry, nobody sleeps. But you don’t care. All you want is for them to be OK.
9. The First Fall
All of sudden you realize you can run at an Olympic pace to try to break their fall. You hurt too, physically hurt. It is the same for the second and the third, but then it gets a little easier—well, not really. It is always excruciating to see your child get hurt.
10. First Day of School
If your child is nervous, you are more nervous. If they cry, you cry harder. If they are excited, you still sob. It doesn’t matter.
11. They Have Done the Right Thing But Gotten Shortchanged
Oh boy, this is so tough. Your child has waited patiently in line, but a little asshole cuts in front of them. Little asshole ends up with the last ice cream bar, and your child gets squat. So you take them out for a sundae the size of their head.
12. When Other Kids Get Aggressive With Your Child
If another child touches my child in an aggressive way, throws rocks at them, or spits sunflower seeds in their face, for no good reason, I won’t be talking to the child’s parents first (I will let them know after). I am going say something to that child. And it won’t be “let’s use our words about why we are angry.” Also, if my child does this to your child, I fully expect you to react in the same way.
If someone is lying to my child, or to me, that gets me fired up. I am not talking about a little white lie or a joke. I am talking about things like, “You can’t do that because you are a girl,” or “I did not just eat your last piece of candy, Mrs. Smith.” Watch the fuck out.
If my daughter has short hair, don’t ask her why she has a boy’s haircut. If my son has his nails painted, don’t tell him that is just for girls. If one of my kids does not fit your ideal criteria for what they should look like, or how shy they are, zip your lip.
If you are throwing my child 30 feet up in the air or swinging them around by one arm, we are going to have a problem. I am looking at you, fun Uncles of the world.
If we are at a parade and there is candy being thrown and you are 16 and stepping on my 6-year-old so you can reach a piece of fucking taffy, just know this, I know how to use my feet too.
17. When They Break Loose
When your 2-year-old suddenly breaks free from your grip and heads straight into traffic, your world stops. You scream and run like you never have before. I am pretty sure this is how the phrase “batshit crazy” came to be.
18. First Sleepover
Are they OK? Do they need me? Will they sleep? Are they getting enough to eat? I still go through this and my son is almost 13.
Do I even need to get into this? This is probably what unleashes mama bear the fastest. Zero tolerance.
20. Seeing Other People’s Kids Suffering
Mama bear does not come unleashed only for my kids. Since having children, I have had mama bear moments for other people’s kids, several times. I think all moms can agree: If you don’t want something done to your child, chances are you spring into action when you see another child hurting, sick, or looking lost.
We all know mama near. And when I see another mama unleash her inner bear, I always think the same thing: fuck yes. We have all experienced her, felt her, heard her. There is a reason for that—listen to it.