How Fierce Is Your Mama Bear Routine?

The mama bear routine.  Have you embraced it?  Have you snapped at strangers who have tried to impose idiotic ideas on your children?  (Think: little boys don’t cry!)  Have you told the childcare workers at the gym that you would rather not see your child festooned with princess paraphernalia after you ran your ass ragged on the elliptical?

I may or may not have done some of those things.

You say longhorn steer, I say bear.  It's my blog.  (Image credit:

You say longhorn steer, I say bear. It’s my blog. (Image credit:

I had two major fears about my status as a Mama Bear before I had any cubbies.  My first fear was that I would be an over-the-top jackass imposing my will  on the whole wide world in the name of “protecing my kids.”  My second fear was that I would be a pushover who let other kids bully my kids and other parents bully me.

The truth is that I am somewhere in the middle.  I’m not terribly fierce, but I speak up when someone talks down to my kids or tries to shut them down emotionally.  I pick and choose when to intervene between my children and the other people they encounter in the world.  (I am still mulling over an interaction where a caretaker went to great lengths to tell Sadie she didn’t want to be like her “because she’s fat and no one wants to be fat.”)

It’s mighty hard to know when to jump in with all my mama bear gusto.  But I am crystal clear on one thing: It’ll be a frigid day in hell when I correct my children’s grandparents.  Like Kelvin zero.

Wanna know why?  Click here for my latest on about why the grandparents get a pass.


20 thoughts on “How Fierce Is Your Mama Bear Routine?

  1. Good lord, I tell my folks to shut the fuck up all the time! I suck at parenting sometimes. In my defense though, they are around a lot so they can undo my fine parenting moreso than yours can. That and my parents are sort of hippie imbeciles. I take a more passive aggressive approach in situations like your Target friend. I’d have turned to my daughter and said no, you don’t want to become a fat ass dear or you may become lazy and find yourself working as a cashier in a Target store one day.

  2. You are on fire – writing all over the place, all the time! I shared your philosphy until recently. Since my mom has the kids two nights a week and she doesn’t believe in bedtimes, it’s really been screwing with me. I try to explain that because of her I have the worst sleep habits of all time and how detrimental they were to me until I could finally change them in my early 30s but that doesn’t usually go over well. It’s such a big deal to me that I have to figure out ways to say it. It’s hard though because I generally agree with you.

    • I fully realize that my situation is as it is because we spend less than a week per year with our grandparents. Now if they had the influence over my kids’ sleep and fucked it up, well that woudl be a blog post called “Five Ways To Tell Grandparents to FUck off.”

      On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM, Outlaw Mama

  3. Great post, and one that really made me think about how I react to comments others make around my 3 kiddos. Grandparents don’t get a pass from me and I have a really unfortunate 4th of July experience to prove that. But, your post made me think if I am too protective. Our kids do only get a little bit of time with their grandparents, and if I place parameters around that do I ruin the experience? But when a grandparent blatantly disregards a truth I hold dear, my claws tend to come out.

    • It’s tricky. Totally. Now I am realizing I am super duper lucky that nothing fundamental or sacred has ever been defiled by the grandparents. If it was, that would be way different. Sounds like your 4th of July was a doozy!

      On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM, Outlaw Mama

  4. Oh my goodness, this is so hard for me. For one thing, we lived just a few blocks from my in-laws for most of my children’s life until we moved a year ago. So they had a really big influence on my kids. And as much as I would explain my reasons for not wanting my kids to stay up late or watch inappropriate things on tv, they remained mostly oblivious to my requests. But I think if I were in your situation I would give them a pass, too. I’m willing to have a confrontation, but if there is no positive outcome, what’s the point?

  5. That’s a hard one. I don’t know in your position if I’d be holding back out of respect for the grandparents or the need to not create an uncomfortable situation or the instinct to take care of my parents’ feelings at perhaps my own expense. Nothing’s ever easy, is it?

  6. I can relate to your free-pass idea for grandparents. Mine live on the opposite side of the country and i respect their parenting enough to let little disagreements slide. Like you, I can do “damage control” later. Plus, I’m lucky enough that my mother-in-law is so passive agressive that she rarely demonstrates acts of parenting on anyone. Even if she disagrees with my methods, she’d more likely not come around untill she forgets why she was irked in the first place. i never get a chance to argue with her, let alone know when something upsets her to long after the fact. You can’t fight what you don’t see! LOL

  7. My parents– it’s a delicate balance as they live in town. Sometimes I agree with what they do 100%. And other times… well, they just have to be negotiated and talked out (my father is good at that– my mother, no way, she’s just straight solutions/answers, not really diplomatic).

    The in-laws: they use a light touch and they don’t offer advice generally unless asked, or they state very specifically that they are speaking on opinion.

    Granted, I’m a SAHD, and so I generally don’t do the mama bear thing. My BIG pet peeve is society’s overemphasis on Mom-mom-mom-mom is The Parent, especially in advertising. Totally different topic, of course.

    • jaklumen, my husband agrees with you. Advertising is the worst. “Great for busy moms!” “Mom-Approved!” It’s ridiculous. He is a very involved dad and feels like society does not acknowledge that. Actually I think society does, but advertising surely does not. It’s all aimed at the mom.

  8. I don’t tend to challenge my kids’ grandparents either. But we don’t disagree on big issues. If we did, that would be another story. I like that you have conversations with your kids after the visit about issues that you and the grandparents disagree on. It’s good for kids to learn that adults don’t have to agree on everything to still love one another.

  9. I wish I shared your sentiments, but I disagree with a lot of the things my parents did while raising me. So, therefore, I feel extra protective when they are around. They do live on the other side of the country, and we do see them rarely, but the way I raise my kids better be different than the way they raised me because I like to think that each generation should get a little better than the last. Now, I keep my mouth shut when she wants to buy them an ugly outfit I hate, and I don’t control the type of gifts she gives them even when my kids already have PLENTY of crap, but it just took living by them for two years, and seeing the manipulation and control put into action that made me move across the country and learn to set boundaries. But, I also try to respect their thoughts on some things seeing as they have a broader perspective than I do. It’s a balancing act though every time we are together.

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