The Mama Bear Effect

by Leslee Stewart

Claws out. Teeth sharp. Hair on end. Ready to fight. This past week a new side of me came out in full force. Her name is Mama Bear and she is not to be messed with. Ever.

I’ve heard about the Mama Bear Effect from other mothers. When her cubs (kids) are threatened, whoa, Nellie! Watch out! She’s on the attack!

This past week, my son came home from his baseball game. Happy about the team’s win, he shared play-by-play how they sealed the victory. Then in passing he said, “Oh, and so-and-so told me that his parents don’t like me.” Then he bounced off to his room to get ready for bed.

“Not like you?!” I immediately thought? “My precious cub…I mean, son?” Surely they had it all wrong.

I followed him into his room. “What do you mean, ‘Not like you?’” I tried asking it without too much steam pouring out from my ears.

“Oh, he said they just think I act too crazy or something,” he said, literally shrugging his shoulders from not caring (or understanding, or both).

I kissed him good night and got out of his room as fast as I could. As soon as I shut his door, hot tears poured down my face. I was M-A-D!! I began replaying over and over in my head what I was going to say to that boy’s mother at the next game. She wouldn’t know what to do with the scraps I was going to make of her!

My anger then moved into fear. Would my son always struggle to make friends? Was life always going to be hard socially for him? Why couldn’t he have some “explainable” reason for his behavior instead of just being a very passionate and rigid personality? Will people always judge him at face value instead of really getting to know him? Should I pull him out of school and keep him home to protect him from the pain of others’ opinions?

Before I knew it, I was a hot mess of tears and snot. Not sure how to get myself out of the emotional tailspin I’d gotten myself into, I went to my room to fall into bed. But before I could cry myself to sleep, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit tell me to get up and get my bible.

God instantly led me to Psalm 4:1-5, 8:

Answer me when I call to you.
O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
How long will you make groundless accusations?
How long will you continue your lies?

You can be sure of this:
The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent.
Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.

In peace will I lie down and sleep,
For you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

As I read through these verses, I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit speak to me to let God be my son’s defender.

There will be circumstances time and again when my Mama Bear wants to growl, roar and fight over gossip, hurtful behavior and assumptions made about my son.

My job isn’t to constantly defend him, but to allow God to reveal his truth about my son’s heart through his actions, and mine. I also recognized I need to allow my son to see that his confidence and self-worth doesn’t come from the opinion of others, but rather it comes solely from the Lord.

After reading the verses and praying about it, I realized there won’t be a showdown at the next ballgame. Instead, I’m going to keep my words to myself, forgive the other family, extend grace and relax. (Deep breath…..)

So, simmer down, Mama Bear. Your Papa Bear – God the Father – has got this covered.

 

lesLeslee Stewart is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She and her husband love the adventure of parenting and sharing their journey with others. When she’s not cheering her boys on at the ball field, you can find her in the aisles of HomeGoods adding to her throw pillow addiction. She loves cheap jewelry,  junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  

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