What do you think of when you hear “mama bear?” Do you picture a mom ready to attack if anyone so much as looks at her cub the wrong way? Well, I don’t think any of us want to be that kind of mama bear, but we can be a good mama bear. You know, a mom who will do anything to protect her child and who will speak her mind when her child needs an advocate. That’s what being a good mama bear is all about.
So yes, sometimes we do need to go mama bear: When our son’s teacher is wrongly singling him out in class. When our daughter’s making friends with the kind of kids who will lead her down the wrong path. Or, when we catch our teen smoking pot. But before we get out of hand with our mama bear tendencies, take a look at 3 tips for how to be a good mama bear.
1. Be a wise mama bear.
A good mama bear knows when to growl and when to grin. Yes, we want to protect our children and stand up for them, but we don’t want to be a liability to them. If we get a reputation for going on the attack at the slightest provocation, that’s not going to help our children. So before you bear up, remember to think through your actions and words. You want to be a low drama mama—most of the time.
Yes, we want to protect our children and stand up for them, but we don’t want to be a liability to them.
2. Be a fearless mama bear.
Once you wisely assess the situation and have decided you do need to take action, go for it. A friend of mine felt like her son was not getting the right kind of instruction at school. As a teacher herself, her mama bear instinct told her that something was wrong. She strongly believed her son needed to be tested for learning disabilities. She asked the school to help, but they wouldn’t take action. So my friend “mama beared” up and demanded that he be tested. She wasn’t ungracious about it, but she was firm… and fearless. It turns out her son did have learning challenges, and now he’s getting the help he needs.
3. Be a protective mama bear.
Yes, this is the mama bear trait we hear so much about! Mother bears will do what they need to protect their cubs… so don’t mess with mama! And yes, we have that instinct too, don’t we? The trick is knowing when to go full-on mama bear and when to let our cubs fend for themselves. A good rule here is that if our kids can be their own advocate, we should let them develop their own survival skills. That doesn’t mean you have to let them go it alone. Just like any good mama bear, you can watch from a distance and step in when needed.
So, are you a good mama bear? Where can you stand to listen to your instincts a little more?