The Mom Gene--do you have it?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by IceAlisa, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/gene-motherhood-143651678--abc-news-parenting.html

    I can say I was nothing like these two little girls. All my dolls were instantly undressed as I was always trying to figure out what's inside, how they work and if they correspond to humans (I hoped they did but was always disappointed). It never occurred to me to feed or change them. :confused:

    I am a mother of one and do have the urge to protect, feed and raise my young. But motherhood wasn't my lifelong dream like it seems to be the case with some.

    Thoughts?
  2. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

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    I've always felt different in this regard. I never really played with dolls, especially baby dolls. When I did, I certainly wasn't concerned with being nurturing. I also never understood girls gushing over how adorable babies are. Personally, I find babies really ugly. And admittedly, my response during my elementary school's career day when another girl said she wanted to be a mom was "But that's not a real career!"

    I wouldn't rule out having kids someday, but I don't think I would instantly transform into a baby-loving person who's all about her children if I did. However, I knew quite a few girls growing up who did feel this way, and there's nothing wrong with aspiring to become a mother and have a family. To each their own.
  3. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I felt a lot like you. Never gushed over babies, never got the hooplah. However, it all changed once I had my own. Of course I considered him (and still do!) the cutest thing ever and felt all the right emotions and urges when it came to him. Also, after that I noticed that other babies are sort of cute too. :shuffle:

    Hormones are a powerful thing as well as the maternal instinct. Also, I've read that genes can be turned on and off. Perhaps I'd had mine off my whole life before Mini Ice.
  4. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    And in a separate yet related item from last week in The Atlantic:

    Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal: Why the ingrained expectation that women should desire to become parents is unhealthy

  5. ilovesalchows

    ilovesalchows Well-Known Member

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  6. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    My two nieces could be used as a study in contrast. Katie didn't care at all for dolls, no interest at all. Amanda loved them, played with them, dressed them, etc--my sister called her momma 'manda". Fast forward to now--both are in their early 20s. Katie is going to be a teacher, would love to work with special ed kids. She's been working/volunteering with young kids since she was teenager. Amanda has no interest in kids at all--she likes them, has helped out with church/scout things, but she's heading of a career in forensics, and was perfectly happy in letting Katie do "kid duty"
  7. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I have a hunch that the more you are around babies, the more likely it is to trigger the mommy feelings. I was hardly ever around babies growing up and never felt a call to be a mom or do the baby doll thing. And when I did play with fashion barbie stuff, I set up a business selling the barbie clothes. But I think if I had seen more pregnancies and babies and related stuff, I would have been more into it.
  8. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    I played with baby dolls as a child, wanted to be a teacher, volunteered with kids, and used to play school with my younger cousins... now that I'm an adult, I don't want kids, although I don't dislike them. I would like to have nieces or nephews, but unfortunately I'm an only child.

    I agree with snoopy about being around babies. I was never really around babies growing up. I haven't changed diapers or anything like that. In fact I can't remember ever holding one and I would be afraid to do it now because I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. :shuffle: I can't imagine how hard it must be taking care of a kid, so that's probably a big reason why I don't want any.
  9. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I did baby dolls. Obsessively. And I took care of all the babies in the family all the time. I changed diapers starting at about age six because my aunt (God rest her soul) preferred not to and would hand me her baby of the moment and tell me to go change him (she had six boys).

    And I don't have kids. Not for lack of wanting them. It just hasn't worked out. So I get talked down to by mothers I know and treated like I hate children and will accidentally injure them in my ignorance. The wife of one of my husband's friends made a comment to me recently about my (allegedly) having no idea how to change a diaper. I changed diapers before the woman was born. It is frustrating and hurtful to listen to that crap.
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  10. Kasey

    Kasey Loving on babies!

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    Never had it. But I'm a fantastic aunt!
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  11. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    I was never into dolls - horses and cars, yes. Dolls no. I never really wanted to have children. I'm not fond of babies at all. Give me a cute puppy any day - keep your baby to yourself.

    I have a son who I love to pieces - I cannot imagine life without him in it. When he was a baby? That was nothing but a chore. Once he got mobile, though, and especially once he started to talk - the whole ball game changed for me. Then he became interesting and fun, and still is to this day (he's 17).

    Bottom line is that I like other people's kids once they get to be about six. Before that, don't expect any gushing from me. :lol:
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  12. Cloudy_Gumdrops

    Cloudy_Gumdrops New Member

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    I never had baby dolls. Tons of barbies though. Well, I did have at least one baby doll, but I never really played with it.

    I've always been around babies. 2 of my brothers are 13 and 15 years older than me respectively. My first niece was born when I was 5.

    I go back and forth on the wanting kids thing. Sometimes (like after I've babysat and the kids were little terrors) I decide that I never want kids. But then sometimes, I'll be around an adorable little sweetie, like my niece Arianna, and it's like I get a yearning or something.
  13. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    I wanted race cars, guns and building sets. And I did love Barbie dolls, had a strong interest in clothes and fashion. Baby dolls left me cold.

    In my teens and twenties I declared I didn't want children, only cats. People who knew me took me at my word, I didn't seem to have a nurturing bone in my body.

    By age 26 I was mothering three half-grown stepchildren and at 29 I had my only child. (I wanted more and couldn't get pregnant.) So I ended up spending most of my adult life raising children and I was good at it, but in an idiosyncratic way. I know for a fact my daughter considers her dad more nurturing, and me the problem-solver, which is sort of gender role-reversal but I don't care...

    Now I am just done and won't get seriously involved with a man with small children, but as long as I could continue to work and have a life outside mothering and stepmothering I enjoyed most of it a lot.

    Moral: you never can tell.
  14. Aimless

    Aimless New Member

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    When I was between 8 and 13, my parents were very close friends with a younger couple, Bob and Annie. We lived in Connecticut and they in NYC. They spent almost every weekend with us for four or five years, while Bob built a fiberglass sailboat in our side yard. During the period they had an adorable little daughter, Wendy. I bonded strongly with Wendy but I also saw, very close up and at an impressionable age, just how much time and attention a child requires. That was it. Never wanted them and the wisdom of the decision now, at 57, resonates loudly. I do regret not providing grandchildren for my beloved mother, but I'm thrilled to be childless. It gave me a broader choice of men companions too--they didn't have to be father types.
  15. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    I liked buildings things, animals, cars, being outside, and sports. I had zero desire to be around small children. Even having my own, I was always glad when they got more interesting, which is walking and talking and definitely toilet trained. ;) Babies? nope. Someone comes to visit with a baby, I have zero desire to hold it, etc.

    I love my kids, enjoy them, and enjoyed them more once they got over the baby stage.
    I wasn't even sure I wanted to have kids. I had to really think about it. I don't regret having my children, I love them to pieces. But, I guess I never had the mom gene. My mom did in spades. Maybe it skips a generation. ;)
  16. leesaleesa

    leesaleesa Active Member

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    When I was five, I was convinced of four things: I did not want kids, wanted tattoos, wanted to live in a city, and I wanted to leave home as soon as I was financially able so I could have my own kitchen where I would melt and eat an entire stick of butter.

    Thirty five years later, no kids, two tattoos, live in a city and have since so since age seventeen, and I got through about a quarter stick of the melted butter.

    So, no kids, butter makes me a little sick, don't want any more tattoos, but don't regret the ones I have.
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  17. Aimless

    Aimless New Member

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    double post
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  18. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i LOVED doll clothes, loved changing the clothes, sketching new ones, taking material to the seamstress to see if she could make them stuff. but i never pretended they were my babies. sometimes i pretended we were fleeing nazis across the alps and they needed surgery on the way.
  19. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I think, like with most things in life, mothering instincts happen on a continuum. There is no on/off switch in humans, IME. Plus, it's way more complicated than mother/not mother.

    I, myself, loved kids at one point and wanted 4 of them. Now I'm kind of meh about them. And in some ways I'm very nurturing and warm and friendly and in other ways I'm fairly detached and clinical. I do know that I don't define myself by motherhood as some women do. But I'm 100% sure *that* is all about culture and environment and not about genetics at all. I do think genetics plays a lot into ones basic personality but things like how we define ourselves is a choice based on a combination of personality, experience and culture.
  20. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    MacMadame - you said it much better than I would have, I totally agree.

    There is no right or wrong - if you don't want children or if you do. We need to accept people to know what is best them.
  21. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I think it has something to do, too, with the way you were brought up and your own relationship with your mother.

    My own relationship with my mom is pretty fragmented, and I've eventually come to the conclusion that cutting her out of my life is the best thing to do for my own emotional health. Now that I'm 24 and in a serious relationship, although not ready for kids just yet, I find myself thinking a lot about our relationship, how we got into this mess, and how I would try to avoid going down the same road with my kids. I'm well aware that I won't be able to be the perfect mom, but I would like to try and avoid the mistakes that my own mother made.

    Sometimes, honestly, looking back at those times, I'm not sure I would be a very good mother, and I don't think I would feel comfortable bringing children into this world unless I could be sure that I could provide unequivocal love and support for them, regardless of how they turned out. I don't want history to repeat itself.
  22. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    When I was a little, I desperately wanted a baby sister. I liked playing with dolls (among other things) and I loved little kids. I babysat all the time.

    When I hit mid-teens, I decided I didn't want to get married or have kids and was quite vocal about it :lol:. Then I got married and gradually became ambivalent about having kids. My husband wanted four; I wasn't thrilled, but I finally thought, let's see what happens, and had one and then another, and then was told not to have any more, which suited me fine.

    I enjoy my kids and always have, but I think that if I hadn't had children, I would have been perfectly happy. I was perfectly happy before I had them and I don't think the longing for children would have eaten at me--but who knows?

    So, mom gene? I dunno. I'm certainly not the most nurturing mom in the world; OTOH, I loved it when the kids were little and required lots of care. I just don't miss it and have a been there, done that feeling about it.

    Dunno. Interesting question.
  23. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    It's one of those nature/nurture things.

    I did a lot of mothering with my little sister (4+ years younger than I) and tons of babysitting, although I didn't really enjoy it and didn't (and still don't) have much of an instinct (or memory, I guess) of how kids' brains worked. I almost never fantasized about being a mom, maybe because I was one of 4 kids in 8 years and life was majorly chaotic.

    So I had mixed feelings about having kids when I met my husband, and he was OK with that. Part of the "problem," if you can call it that, is that you get what you get. You can't divorce your kid--much as I feel divorce should be a last resort, at least you have SOME clue of what you're getting into with marriage, as you know the person at least somewhat!--you have no idea what you're going to get. Health issues, psychological issues, a kid you just plain don't like, a kid who loves all the things you yourself hate (I swore my kid would NEVER like baseball or American football!), the next Ted Bundy. . . Then 29-30 hit and I started having this "OMG I HAVE TO HAVE A KID" which I imagine was a hormonal instinctual sort of thing. We talked and prayed a lot about it before having that conversation about tossing the birth control.

    We took the plunge and I'm glad we did. The first year or so was quite difficult--HUGE adjustment, I hated being at home (I was much happier when I returned to working part time), I hated all of a sudden being defined solely by the fact that I was a mother (HATE), and we had major tough stuff going on elsewhere in life--but now dd is 11 and she's a gem. Yes, a moody one :lol: but a gem. I wouldn't have minded having another (for the sake of dd having a sister or brother) but I don't think my body could have handled it, and I'm not sure I could have handled two emotionally.
  24. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    I was the oldest of four siblings -- two sisters and a "baby brother" who was 5 years younger than me. While my sisters and I had baby dolls and I liked playing with them OK, I was much more involved playing with my Ginny and Barbie dolls -- making up all sorts of adventures for them was much more fun that playing with the baby dolls -- which just was feeding, changing, dressing, and then putting them to bed. I also had a fair share of informal "baby sitting" duties minding my younger sisters and brother, so by the time I had a serious relationship in college, I was pretty sure that I didn't want to have kids. I couldn't see much of anything positive about being a mother (and I was very sure that I would make a terrible one).

    However, once my friends began to have children in their mid-late 20's -- and I did some babysitting as an adult -- I began to see more of the positive things about motherhood. While I never did have any children of my own, I think I have been a pretty good aunt to my niece and nephew and I have derived a lot of pleasure in teaching "Sunday school" to 5-7 year olds the past several years. I still don't really care much for infants (less than a year old), though, so it's probably best that I never had any of my own. :shuffle:
  25. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I have the science gene. :p

    And I think this is another one of those poorly reported science stories. Generally, it is not considered that there is a "gene" for a particular trait. Science is much more complex.

    I do think there is a gene that causes people to respond to these kinds of stories by considering whether their personal experience matches the claims or not. :p
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  26. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    :lol: I don't know about the existence of a "comparing" or "how to I measure up?" gene, but sharing one's personal experiences seems to be a trait that seems to be pretty common among humans. Everybody has a story to tell -- some more than others. ;)
  27. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

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    When I was a kid I had no interest in dolls, playing house or anything of the sort what so ever. I did, however, have an obsession with stuffed animals of any kind. I'm now 26, childless with no desire to have children at all, but my two 100lb dogs are my babies.
  28. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

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    Someone somewhere is going to try to get massive amounts of grant money to prove that there is a "mommy" gene, but I'm not buying it until they include nurturing dogs & other assorted domestic or farmyard animals as well as nurturing dolls. :lol:
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  29. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Interestingly, when my mom bought a baby doll with a bottle for Mini Ice, he liked it a lot and "fed" it, took care of it, etc. I was very curious to see how he'd respond and thought it was sweet.

    He also really likes real babies and is a lot more "maternal" than I ever was at his age or older. He told me he wants to have 3 kids, 2 boys and 1 girl.

    I never wanted a baby sister or brother. I was :scream: at the idea. But I've always wanted a :cat:.
  30. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    When I was five, I wanted a puppy. I got a little sister. Since then, I haven't wanted kids. :p

    (the two other things that sealed it were babysitting two babies who were 10 months apart and watching a film of a birth in 9th grade. :scream: )
  31. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I never wanted kids, and now find myself dating a man who has two! Dogs have been my children as well.

    All my life I've been asked why I don't want to have children. At first, I tried to explain, as if I needed to explain. Then I started thinking that the question of why someone WANTS to have kids is just as valid as the question of why someone DOESN'T WANT to have kids. So, I started asking that question. You can imagine the looks I got! :lol: In any event, I was asking because I never felt that way (maternally-inclined) and was genuinely curious. Unfortunately, people think you're being a smarta$$ if you ask them why they wants kids ... it never occurs to them that they started the dialogue by asking me why I never wanted kids!

    O-
  32. Lanie

    Lanie Well-Known Member

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    I really loved babies until I had one :shuffle: I feel like I have no maternal instinct, but perhaps it's because everyone tells me I am incompetent.

    I never wanted to be a mother until I was older. (And I thought we'd have waited awhile longer. WHOOPS.) I always thought I'd have a career and a life and whatnot instead of being a stay at home mom as I am right now. I never wanted a sibling, but I loved babysitting. As an adult, oddly, I wish I had a sibling so I wasn't lonely or at least had someone to share the burden of taking care of my parents, which is probably the only reason I'd consider having another baby.

    I don't see why people fuss over those who don't want kids. What's the problem? Is it just because we're expected to have children? (I'm guessing that's it.)
  33. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what it is, but I've already been called selfish for saying that I don't want kids (even though I'm still in college, single, and clearly at a point in my life where I shouldn't be having children anyway). :rolleyes:
  34. susan6

    susan6 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there seems to be a certain expectation that women will have children. Both the Republican and Democratic conventions were heavy on the children and family aspect of woman-hood. And every time I'm invited to one of those "women in ______" (fill in the blank, any type of job where women are a minority) groups, I roll my eyes, since I've been to my share and they are ALWAYS predominantly about "work-life balance". "Life" is always family, especially child-rearing. If you don't have a husband and kids, you don't have a life, or aren't a real woman or something.
  35. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    I'm with you :)

    As a child I wasn't too fond of dolls which was probably for the best as I was the youngest after two brothers and there was a lot more hot wheels and lego kicking around. As I got older, I'd always volunteer to help my dad with fixing stuff and "man work" over anything remotely domestic. Somehow, I've always ended up working with kids though which I thoroughly enjoy.
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  36. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Exactly! I was never one who spent a lot of time dreaming about my future wedding, husband and/or kids. In fact, as a kid, I swore I wouldn't get married or, if I did, I'd wait until I was at least 35. Of course, everyone around me told me I'd change my mind when I discovered boys. Well, I was 32 when I got married ... is that changing your mind? :p And my kids are 7 years apart which tells you something about my ambivalence about having a second one.

    For some people, you making a different choice from them is threatening because it implies they could have made a different choice too.
  37. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    I wasn't the doll kid. When I was a teen and babysitting, I liked the preschool and up set and my best friend took the babies.

    I liked parenting MY babies but I don't feel warm and fuzzy with most other babies. They are a lot of work.

    As for the "mom gene", I'm not one of those women who claim their uterus flips when seeing a new baby so I must be lacking. I also need breaks from being "on". Motherhood is exhausting most of the time.
  38. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    ITA. There are certainly mothering instincts, but I don't accept that there is one gene that causes mothers to feed, care for and protect their young.

    That's just as preposterous as the "housekeeping" gene. Popular science put that one there some time ago to explain why men were no good at housekeeping. They were however good at yard work. They could see a weed that needed to be plucked, but couldn't see dust needed to be removed from the household because they lacked the "housekeeping" gene.

    I don't have much of a mothering nature at all. Have never had kids, nor been much around kids. I babysat exactly once as a teenager, and on that occasion concluded that the wailing baby had no interest in me but preferred his/his mother. End babysitting career.

    However, I was also the youngest child by seven years. So I had no little ones in my life as a child and even as a little kid, I didn't like little kids. My brother (seven years my senior) was my hero and I always sought out people older than me.

    So, maybe that's part of it. I haven't been around other people's kids growing up. My own nieces and nephews grew up elsewhere and while our nephew on Mr. Japanfan's side did grow up local, I was kind of excluded from their relationship as he was surrogate date to his single sister for some time.

    I do find I am quite motherly to my animals and that I am enjoying time spent with kids these days. So maybe I do have a mothering instinct to a certain extent, though I'd say for sure that I'm not at all the caregiver type.
  39. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Grump :p.

    Well, this study is about mice, not humans, and I don't think mice are too inclined to nurture barnyard animals :lol:.

    I never ask people why they don't want kids, but I did have people ask me why I wanted kids--and why on earth did I do something so old-fashioned as to get married?

    It is kind of disconcerting :lol:. Uh,..........
  40. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Or play with dolls. :shuffle: