The Mom Gene--do you have it?

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

  1. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    That's a rough age for sure, and two does not make it better. My mom had four or five kids under the age of five at one point, and I don't know how she managed. We all think we had the greatest childhood ever, but I'm sure we have no idea what my mom went through to give us that!

    I want to tell you what I want to tell my friends who have kids in that difficult 1-2 year age, that it WILL get better. Because it does. But I know better than to say that because it's so not helpful at this present time. ;) But, sometimes when you're drowning in a sea of dirty diapers and grubby hands and toys everywhere, it's hard to remember that there IS life after babyhood!

    Anyway, I think having a maternal instinct can possibly be genetic but I think it's also largely influenced by how you were raised, how you view kids in general and how comfortable you are with them. I'm the third oldest of eleven kids and I like to say that I've done everything regarding raising a child except physically birthing one. So motherhood is something that I know I will be reasonably equipped to handle when the time comes. But there was a couple years where I was so burned out on childcare that I didn't want to have my own kids for a very long while. I've found that as our youngest has gotten older, though, I've started to miss having babies around. Thankfully our church has a lot of new moms who keep me supplied with my needed fix of chubby cheeks and dimples. Now that I've had some time to think it over, I'm pretty sure I'll end up having kids as soon as I get married. Whenever that blessed day may come. ;) Can't say I'll have 11, but a couple would be nice!
     
  2. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    I had a friend tell me that she desperately wants to stay home with her baby, but her husband wants her to keep working so they can retire at 50. The compromise? She gets to have three children instead of two.

    :eek: :slinkaway :scream:
     
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    My coworker still has this expectation hoisted on her by her traditional husband and family. She gets NO downtime at all, with work and school and two kids. She's only 30, so the mindset still exists. She loves her kids to bits, but it's so hard for her, every day.

    Babies are indeed temporary. :) I'm not a mother and the most baby time I've had was at my goddaughter's baptism. She's one of two identical twins, and even though my friends (the parents) had hired help because they're wealthy, they still had to wake up and feed both babies every few hours for the first few months. :lol: So it's not necessarily the fear of babies that keeps me from having children currently - it's the volatile lifestyle I lead right now. Fiance and I are not settled in, we're in between careers right now...having a baby is definitely out of the question for the time being. :lol: Plus I'm rather selfish and I still need my "me" time. :saint:

    Babies are temporary, the same way toddlers are temporary, and even teenagers. If you weather the first 18 years well, hopefully you'll have cool kids to hang out with for the next 40+ years. :) My mom is having SO MUCH FUN with me and my sister, now that we're older and she can do stuff with us, instead of having to discipline us all the time. :lol:
     
  4. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    :huh: What does performing arbitrary social conventions have to do with motherhood?

    Bill Sears says that mothers should follow their own instincts and not worry about what other mothers are doing. Which is the opposite of the Mommy Wars.

    Now that's a load of bullshit. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Badams

    Badams Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely! I have 3 kids, 3,6, and 10. And it makes me sad for the people who posted here that think they aren't good mothers and feel suffocated etc...because we have ALL been there! Sometimes it helps to just have that one person you can talk to about things who HAS been there and who WON'T be judgmental and will just be honest. Then you don't feel so alone or terrible or inept. Because, I will be honest...it wasn't true love and instant connection with me and ANY of my kids. It was more "FINALLY! Here they are! No more swollen everything and having to pee every 30 seconds and, oh yeah, they are cute in a newborn way but I can't wait till they REALLY get cute!" followed by about 6 months of getting used to this new person with a whole different personality and none of that fantasy world of perfection that people like to brainwash women with. But that's exactly what it is. Birth is the first introduction to a brand new person in your life. With a mind of its own and its own personality and likes and dislikes...and you have to get to know each other and each others habits. :lol: Nevermind a mom gene.
     
  6. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I had every baby doll, carriage, cradle, kitchen set, etc. ever made as a child (thanks to being the oldest grandchild, the only girl and half-a-dozen doting aunts and uncles) and plyed with them constantly and devotedly. Yet I've grown up into the least maternal and domesticated person you'd ever meet. I don't cook, clean only when necessary for hygene, andhave had absolutely no desire to have or raise kids of my own. If there is a mom gene, then mine mutated into something else along the way.
     
  7. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    :lol: My outside observer POV is my POV. I'm just not a voice that you agree with. :D

    Now here's what I'm calling bullshit on...this idea that people without kids are selfish and parents aren't. Just because a person chooses to invest their free time and energy into themselves and their own development instead of starting from scratch and channeling it into a kid that they created out of thin air doesn't make them selfish. It simply means they are allocating their energy (and money) differently. Parents get a payoff from the child rearing transaction. If they didn't you wouldn't hear how much they love being parents and couldn't imagine their lives without their kids and how becoming a parent has made them a better person despite all the drawbacks. Well, I'm doing a lot of things that are making me a better person, too. It's just that kids aren't part of my self-actualization plan, just like playing basketball isn't or even eating sushi. Doesn't make me any more selfish than a parent, though. It just makes me...different. And isn't that what parents are telling their kids all the time? That's it's OK to be different and to follow your own path? Why yes, yes it is!
     
  8. Badams

    Badams Well-Known Member

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    I became a mother because I got pregnant. Not because I wanted to channel my unfulfilled dreams into a new person or because I felt like I owed the world another human or because I wanted to be a better person or any of that other crap. I got pregnant. I became a mother. End of story. My kids don't owe me or the world anything other than one day becoming a productive member of society. Anything more is up to them.
     
  9. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Depends on your approach, I think. I consider it selfish because right now I'd rather be able to sleep when I want instead of getting up every 2-3 hours to feed a baby. :eek: I also consider myself pretty lazy at times, but I'm likely comparing myself to the wrong people. Like my coworker who get NO time to herself like, ever. :lol:
     
  10. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    :cheer: I'm sure your kids will be very grateful for your philosophy and one day they'll get on the Interwebz and say "My mom's AWESOME!" instead of "My mother is driving me NUTS!!!!"
     
  11. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    But how on earth is it selfish because you'd rather spend your time sleeping than feeding a baby? Who are you harming by sleeping? I think selfish behavior is something that benefits yourself while taking away from someone else. You're not taking anything away from anybody by snoozing. You're minding your own business is what you're doing. And maybe your fiance's. ;)
     
  12. Badams

    Badams Well-Known Member

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    :lol:I can only hope. I'm sure I'm doing something that they will determine has completely ruined their lives for ever and ever!!! :drama: I still have to make it through the teen years...
     
  13. TygerTyger

    TygerTyger New Member

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  14. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    That dude thinks he's Holden Caufield.
     
  15. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

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    Late to the thread, but if there is a maternal gene I am most definitely missing it LOL. I had some dolls when I was little, but was never really that interested in them and far preferred climbing the nearest tree and imagining I was in a spaceship. (Yes, a nerd even as a young child. :lol: ) My mother told me once that she never expected grandchildren because I "didn't have a nurturing bone in my body." (Kind of harsh...but kinda true...)

    I didn't get married until I was 33 and never heard my biological clock ticking and never longed for children. I had a close friend who was almost clinically depressed over the fact that she was not yet married at 30 and thought her chances for motherhood were ticking away. She couldn't understand why I wasn't anxious about it like she was and I couldn't relate to her desire. My husband never wanted children either, so it was a match made in heaven. And have I ever heard the "you're selfish" from "well-meaning" commentators...

    However, I am the honorary "aunt" to my close friends' children and love to spoil them. I really enjoy spending time with them. And I really enjoy giving them back at the end of the afternoon. :D
     
  16. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    Between my 5 siblings, I have a combination of 15 nieces and nephews. I myself am not married and I'm in my early 40s. I didn't want to bring a child into this world without a husband to help. (My respect to all single parents out there- don't know how you do it). At this point though if I do get married, I won't have children. Once I hit 40 y/o, I just realized I didn't want to do it. And I waited for my clock to start ticking at an unbearable volume. But instead - nothing.

    If any of my siblings passed and I had to care for my nieces or nephews, I'm confident I could do it well. I have the mom gene in the sense that I think I'd be a good mom. But I have no desire to have children.
     
  17. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    If this thread and the responses to the OP prove anything, it shows how we are all individuals with our own experiences. Some fell into parenthood. Others chose it. Others fell out of it (by not getting married and not wanting to be a single parent). While others decided against it. And everyone's experiences are really all over the map. Parenting isn't easy. Period. I don't think any of the above makes anyone good, bad, better, worse. If I had decided to parent, I hope I would have been a good one -- I am a true nurturer -- but who knows. That was one of the reasons I decided against having children. I knew I'd be obsessed and neurotic. Didn't want any child to have to put up with that and didn't want to drive myself crazy in the process.

    I enjoy being an auntie to my nephews and my friends' kids. I love it, actually. And, like NancyNC, I enjoy giving the kids back :)

    Just another point about the whys of having children and selfish vs. unselfish. In pre-industrial times, family planning was very different. Couples often had children to "man" the farm and share the labor, and usually had more children because of the higher mortality rate. I don't think anyone criticized that reasoning. Nowadays, we don't have the same considerations. People are criticized for just about every choice they make ... working, not working, having kids, not having kids, age of having kids, how many kids to have, breastfeeding or not, how long to breastfeed, and the list goes on and on.

    We've become a very critical society, I guess, because we're not busy working on the farm ;)

    O-
     
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  18. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

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    IA with you. If you're not harming anyone then your actions aren't selfish. I'm also pretty lazy and I love to sleep in. I know at this point in my life, I would be so cranky and pissed if I had to get up every two to three hours to feed or change someone. I have read blogs by moms where they discuss this and I feel so happy that's not me. I also read blogs by Muslim mothers and they talk about giving up going to the mosque for Ramadan prayers because they have to care for babies (who make it virtually impossible to do the night prayers that last for hours). I think that sucks. I also wonder what the hell the fathers are doing. Then I realize there is no way I should be having children right now. Maybe when I get older, my feelings will change but right now, the idea of interrupting my sleep, prayers or anything else and constantly bonding with a little one who is completely dependent on me makes me :scream:.
     
  19. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    Read: "Couples in the good ol' days had a lot more sex for fun than they cared to admit, so they said they had a lot of kids in order to help out the farm."
     
  20. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    And years ago if a man worked in a coal mine and was killed on the job the oldest son was sent into the mine to take his place so that the family could continue living in the mine housing. So having children was an act of self-preservation for the people in control of the situation, ie, the parents. As long as they kept providing workers then the mine kept providing shelter. I don't need to have children to assure my housing - I pay my rent to my landlord and if I were to die he'd be sad and he'd miss me terribly :wuzrobbed, but he'd eventually move on and simply find a new tenant to take my place to help pay his mortgage and finance the lifestyle to which he's become accustomed as property owner. I'm pretty sure my employer would easily be able to find a new ass to plunk in my seat, too. So how some people could think that I am selfish for not creating a replacement for myself is beyond me. Now, I suppose the argument could be made that I'm not replacing my tax-paying debt-incurring self with ANOTHER tax-paying debt-incurring entity, but anybody who thinks I'm going to put myself into jeopardy in the present just to bankroll a man-made economic system that has run its course and is in its death throes, well, they can kiss my grits is what I have to say about that. :kickass:
     
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    That doesn't mean you're a good mother. Some people are so organized and good at remembering things. I am terrible. Not with my immediate family, but I don't want to admit how many times I've had to call a friend with belated birthday wishes. I lose track of what day it is, even when I know the birthday date. I'm terrible at sending thank you notes, but good at calling. I was militant with my kids about saying please and thank you, holding doors for people, etc. I think being polite is really important. But, loving your kids and nurturing them makes you a good mom, not social graces.

    I don't know that I would agree that it would be Siberia for the kids. But, I do agree that the kids are judged by the Mom's behavior in play groups. That is why I never went that route. Couldn't stand the cattiness.

    What I call selfish are people who really do not want kids, but feel they are "supposed to". Not having kids, if that is not what you really, really want, is the most unselfish thing you can do.

    That is our most important job! :rofl: I tell my kids that if I don't embarrass them, at least once a month, I'm not doing my job. they tell me I'm doing a splendid job :p:D
     
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  22. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    You must get on very well with your landlord. ;)

    He would also probably take the opportunity to give the place a re-vamp once they removed the body.
     
  23. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    Let's just say that some people find my landlord stories rather amusing, while other people are rather perplexed, while other people are downright disturbed by them. It all depends on who my audience is. :lol:
     
  24. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    Read: Not as much as one might think, but no reliable birth control.

    O-
     
  25. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    I'm certain that Ma and Pa Walton got really freaky every night after they said good-night to John-Boy and the dozen others.
     
  26. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    olivia could have been hot if she had ever been able to shake all those losers
     
  27. Hedwig

    Hedwig Rarely here anymore but I try to be better!

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    Your comment reminds me that it is not only mothers who have mommy-wars but there is a sort of war sometimes between women with kids and women without kids as well. You sound very dismissive of mothers in general in this thread and that is a behaviour that I witnessed in a couple of women without children as well. Maybe because society is sometimes regarding women without babies as if something is missing? Maybe because they feel like they have to justify that choice?

    In general I often find that women tend to make things harder for themselves among each other. Not all of them of course but a lot of them.


    About the instant love: Just last week I was at the introductory talk at the hospital I will likely give birth in. The mid-wife that gave the talk there said that in her 30 odd years experience the thoughts that run through the mind of the mother when the child is put in her arms for the first time are seldom pure bliss. They are more along the lines of:
    "Finally, I thought I would die."
    "I will never have another child."
    "Gosh, I am tired and sweaty."

    I loved her honesty. :lol:
    Being pregnant I find that even complaining about pregnancy aches is not something that a lot of women do. Even pregnancy has sometimes a sort of sainthood attached to it that goes on my nerves. People are often surprised when I moan about things I cannot do or that I am constantly tired and spend half my day peeing because they rarely hear complaints from other pregnant women. And I as well thought before that pregnancy would be more romantic than it is. :lol:
     
  28. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Except your "outside POV" is not based on any knowledge of the social circles of the kids at all. As far as I can tell, it's based on distain for mothers and your imagination of their motives.

    In reality, kids are friends with who they are friends with at pre-school and elementary school independent of what their moms do. They are mostly oblivious to the friendships of the moms in fact and two moms being friends will not force the kids to be friends no matter how hard those moms try to force the friendship and believe me, if two moms like each other, they will try to get the kids to be friends, but if the kids don't want to be friends, they won't be. Likewise a mom who never hangs with the other moms will not stop the kids from being friendly to her kid if the kid has an okay personality.

    The moms who hang out together even though they appear to not like each other are hanging out together because it serves some purpose of their own, not to make sure their kids are popular.
     
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  29. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I don't know, I never had any issues doing AP parenting and working. And holding oneself to an impossible standard seems to be a common pitfall of many moms no matter what parenting guru they subscribe to. It's much worse, though, if your guru is telling you that yo must do things to a certain schedule or you MUST do X, Y and Z than if they say "follow your instincts" and "take what works for you and leave the rest."

    I never thought pregnancy would be romantic but people were shocked when I told them that being pregnant with my first made me feel like that guy in Alien who had a baby alien shoot out of his chest. I was convinced a baby alien was growing inside me. :lol: It was better the second time because I knew more what to expect and felt more harmony between me and the kidlet.

    Though in my circles telling horrible stories about pregnancy and trying to one-up each other with the inconveniences was pretty common. Maybe you should hang with my friends so you can compare who had to pee more or gets up more at night. ;)
     
  30. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure why people think being selfish means doing something that harms others. Selfish simply refers to making decisions based on considerations of only oneself. The more one is actively involved with other people, the more likely it is that one's actions are determined in part by the needs of others. When a person functions as a caregiver, the necessity of framing one's actions by another's needs rather than one's own is greatly magnified.

    The point isn't whether sleeping in harms someone else. It's that the basis for choosing that shifts when you become a parent from "I'd really like to do that" to "my child needs me to take care of her now." In day to day life, there are a myriad of things you decide differently because there are others to now consider (eg. I can't choose to eat all pretzels out of the Chex Mix bc then no one else can eat any, I can't just eat ice cream in my bed Friday night while watching movies bc the rest of the family also needs to eat, I can't just take off for the weekend bc there's no one else to watch the kids, I can't just not do laundry bc the baby's clothes all got pooped on and can't be reworn, etc). When you're single, sleeping in doesn't necessarily impact others. In a family, everything you say and do, including sleeping in, impacts others bc you live with others in an inter-dependent fashion.

    That doesn't make parents more saintly--but it does mean they often have very different frames of reference bc parenthood rather forces that.