Embracing Your Mothering Instinct

You see it in young girls.

A little girl is holding her baby doll to her chest and talking to it. Something distracts her and off she wanders. Soon she notices her brother tossing her baby off the picnic bench where she had so carefully placed her. It seems her brother wants the doll’s seat. Indignation rises in the small girl and she marches over to her older brother and starts demanding he treat her baby nicely. Doesn’t he know he has hurt her baby?

“She’s not even real,” he mutters.

“She is too!” the indignant little mother shouts, pulling the baby close. “And you hurt her by tossing her on her head.”

“Fat chance. She is plastic,” he says. “I could kick her all the way across the field like a ball and I wouldn’t hurt your silly old doll.”

The girl’s eyes widen in horror just imagining her brother’s remark and the cruelty he could inflict. “She is real, and you would hurt her,” she frowns, her eyes filled with tears. “And if you did that I would . . . I would . . .,” she pauses, trying to think of the worst punishment she could inflict on her older and meaner brother. “I would kick you down the field.”

Not wanting to hear anything more from her brother, and to provide some finality to her pronouncement, which she is not sure she could really do, she turns and flounces off. Her baby is safely protected in her arms.

The boy sniffs and starts reaching for the crackers and cheese. He thinks his sister is overly dramatic and a bit crazy. That doll is no more real than a rock. And rocks are for throwing.

You see it in grown women.


“You really think that is a wise thing to do,” a 30 something lady questions her brother about buying a motorcycle. “When are you ever going to grow up and quit acting like a little kid?”

You see it in old women.

My pre-teen son and two neighbor boys are outside playing basketball in the chilly winter wind. Two are in short sleeves tee-shirts, the other in a long sleeve tee-shirt. My 90-year-old neighbor sees them and asks them where their coats are. She tells them to get their coats and put them on. They shrug and keep playing.

Several male neighbors have seen them and have not sent the boys inside for their coats. Only the female neighbor is concerned. So concerned, she asks my husband, who is also outside, why the boys are not wearing their coats.

You see it in women of all ages. This nurturing, protecting, preserving, sacrificing, mothering instinct.

This instinct to:

Care for the weak and helpless.

Sacrifice for the overlooked.

Protect the weaker and smaller ones.

Nurture and provide for things that need it.

Fight to right the wrongs of injustice.

This mothering instinct is something we women are born with. It is wrapped into our DNA and it comes out in various and numerous ways.

We pull up the zipper of a small child whose coat is not zipped.

We offer our sandwiches to the hungry at the park.

We rescue mistreated animals.

We lecture others on justice and fairness and then start an organization to help those in need.

We shut down the bully who is picking on someone weaker, younger, and different.

We rush outside to rescue the bird who has just flown into our sliding glass door. And then we cry when it dies.

We coddle dying plants back to life.

We become a teacher to make a difference in the lives of others.

We become like mother bears and wolverines when our children or loved ones are in danger, need help, or are being mistreated.

We nag and lecture our spouses, brothers, neighbors, and co-workers when their actions are deemed insensitive or wrong.

We grieve with those weeping.

We take dinner to those suffering a loss of a loved one or the joy or a new baby.

We start companies and become attorneys and doctors to change things and help others.

We run for office and make legislation to make the world a better place.

Like a mother hen gathering her chicks to safety, we care for and try to protect those around us.

This mothering instinct is in our blood. Our habits. Our mannerisms.

It is a part of us.

You may not be a mother in the traditional sense, but in a way, we are all mothering animals, organizations, children, or people around us.

Use your mothering skills for good. Help the weak and needy. Sacrifice for the necessary. Nurture and protect those who need it.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Let it be a reminder of that wonderful and awesome mothering spirit that resides in you. Celebrate it. Embrace it. Use it and share it with others.

Join the Discussion: What are some ways you use your mothering spirit and instinct?

Have a lovely day and keep remembering what’s important,


This post first appeared on Theresaboedeker.com

About the author : Theresa Boedeker

Theresa Boedeker

Theresa Boedeker, a lover of life and grace, likes to write about this crazy, messy, and wonderful adventure called life. She unwraps life with words to encourage, provide hope, and bring froth laughter. Her blog, Things to Remember, and entertaining story podcast, Life as it Comes, can be found at TheresaBoedeker.com.

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