There is a significant difference between mothers and fathers. This probably comes as no surprise. We have known since we were children that moms do things completely differently than dads. Moms care for us, dads push us to move forward. Each can switch it up and some can do both. However, I find that moms tend to be more on the protective side…it is built in, and from the time you see the + sign on your pregnancy test you cannot help it. Everything in you screams to protect that little life growing within you. Once the bundle of joy is born, it is an overwhelming urge that manifests in many ways.
- Boiling pacifiers, to avoid germs.
- Child proofing the house, until you cannot get into any of your cabinets or drawers.
- Adding only one kind of baby food at a time to ensure little stomachs make the adjustment.
- Buying special laundry detergent to protect the newborn skin from having to endure rough fabric.
- Bumper pads around the crib so they do not hit their little soft heads.
- Chopped up hot dogs so they do not choke to death.
- Helmets so they do not have head injuries.
- Knee pads and elbow pads too.
- Winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves until they can barely move.
- Car seats until they are old enough to drive.
- Only wholesome television/movies…and in limited quantity, to protect their minds.
- No violent video games.
- No gun toys.
- Knowledge of all plans and activities, resumes of all friends and their parents to ensure safety.
I could go on and on and on…but I think you get the idea. We moms are a protective lot. We do most of what we do for the safety and well-being of our kids. We can be extreme in our quest to make sure our kids get the best. The love we have for them is overwhelming and it cannot be contained. But sometimes we overthink things a bit and our imaginations run wild. Dads try to rein us in as best they can…key word…try. Let me give you some examples.
Your child calls dad while traveling around the world. They get cut off. He says, “She made it to her destination.” Mom says, “She said that? That she is on the ground?” Dad says, “No. We got cut off. But I am sure that is why she was calling.” Mom says, “Or she could have been calling from the plane to tell us there are terrorists on board and they are rerouting the plane!” Dad says, “I am sure that is not it. She’s fine.” Mom says, “She is flying from Malaysia to China…on Malaysian Air. She might have been trying to get us a message!” Dad walks away.
Or your child texts you from his school, to tell you they are on lock down but that he is fine, and that all is in control. You text him back. Your texts do not go through. You think that the communications have been cut off. You think he has been shot, or that the swat team has stormed the building. Dad says, “He’s fine.”
Your son tells you he will call you when he arrives. He doesn’t call. You figure the time it takes. You add in bathroom and meal stops. You add more time to that. He still doesn’t call. You call and the phone goes straight to voicemail. Mom says, “Something has happened. I’m calling the state patrol to see if there have been accidents.” Dad says, “He’s fine.” Mom says, “I’m calling the hospitals.” Dad says, “He’s fine.”
I think from my own life examples you can see what I mean. Moms minds just go to the worst case scenario. We are aware of this. We try to change it, but it is our default. Most of the time we know that it is ridiculous. We don’t really want to be this crazy, honestly we don’t. We pray to be able to trust God more and worry less, but somehow we always come back to kidnappers, horrific accidents, or plane crashes.
I have come to the conclusion that in trying to squelch these protective feelings I am actually trying to squelch what God has put into me. That is why it is so hard. I am wrestling with him. Protective feelings are NORMAL for a mom…they are part of being a mother. GOD MADE US THIS WAY. (Probably to protect them from fathers. Haha) Seriously, the protective nature we have is not bad…it is by design. It is the motivation behind it that I think we need to look at. Fear or love? You would think it would be easy to tell the two apart wouldn’t you? When it comes to our kids the line is not clear. We love them so we protect them. But when we are trembling for our kids, and cannot shake the worry, lose sleep over it, and generally obsess…it does not bring life to us or to them. Fear demands control. Kids force us to release it.
There is one day a year…one…where we rest and let all of our worry go. I never thought my children would burn the house down while they were “secretly” making me breakfast on Mother’s Day. I didn’t concern myself with if the marker would come out in the wash, or if anyone would trip over toys in the floor. They were all home, in my nest and safe from harm. (kind of) I rested from fear, and relaxed in love. Now to try to grasp that feeling every day…the idea that the world will not fall apart without me, to know that God has us all, both me and my kids, in the palm of his hand. It’s a happy day indeed when the Father says, “You’re fine.”
Happy Mother’s Day!!