Embrace 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 mother 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,


Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement) and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).

16 Replies to “Embrace Your Mothering Instinct”

    • Yes it does. It’s exciting that we are all gifted and can use our gifts to serve our family and others. Our mothering instinct are like transferable gifts that can be used in so many ways. Thanks for your thoughts, Becky. Blessings.

  1. Oh, Theresa! Thank you for this post:)
    I smiled and said “You go Mamma Bear!” when I read of your advocating for your daughter.
    I had to chuckle at the mention of your sons playing basketball in the winter with just tee shirts on. That would also be true of my sons and me pleading at least for a sweat shirt. Now, in their twenties I have to stop myself from saying “Wear a jacket.” when the weather warrants.
    Also, whenever I see suffering people on the news, especially children, I am apt to tear up. My husband although not quite comprehending this has come to abide and even appreciate my sympathy. The Newtown tragedy still tugs at my heartstrings. I can remember just bawling at the reports of the shooting. That year I was tutoring 2nd graders at our local school and it just really saddened me so deeply.
    I’m thankful that God gave us these fierce and tender hearts:)

    • Oh Katie, it is hard not to nag about coats. Each year I buy my son a winter coat (big enough for two years) and I am lucky if he wears it 3 or 4 times all winter. I have finally realized he will use it when he is really cold and about to freeze. LOL. We are different than men and sometimes they don’t understand the deep sympathy we feel for others and tragedy. But that mother instinct helps us change and better the lives of those around us. You are so right. God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave us fierce and tender hearts.

  2. I’m so thankful for this reminder that that mothering, nurturing, protecting, loving instinct is a gift from God. This makes me more grateful for my mommy.

  3. Like most women, I too have had Mother Bear come out. Living in Mississippi, I have heard it stated “The red neck in me can come out!” Same thing. Defending those who need defending (at least in our opinion they need defending.)

    Love the story and reminder that our Mothers and “acting Mothers” have stood up for us and defended/taken care of all of us.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and all who read your blogs.

  4. I’ve often seen my mothering instinct in contrast to my husband’s or son’s since I raised all boys. It feels very lonely and misunderstood at times, but I love how you’ve illustrated it here, Theresa. It truly is a beautiful and God-given wiring and much-needed in our cold, harsh world. Thanks for this reminder and Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • God did wire us women a little different than men. And it is a good and beautiful thing. Sometimes I tell my young son, who is becoming more male every day and doesn’t always understand why something upsets me or why I am different than him, that this is the way women are wired. And then I tell him to remember this because girls like to be treated this way or not that way, and so will his wife. Thanks for your comments and Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the readers!

  5. As a teacher, I use my mothering instinct all the time when kids do things that make me believe they haven’t been parented, or when I see a young girl striving for attention. Sometimes we just can’t help but turn into a mama. Happy Mothers Day, Theresa! Glad to visit from the Grace & Truth linkup.

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