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  • Writer's pictureWork & Play

Mama Bear Activate

Anyone else feel that rush of “mama bear” when it feels like our little one is in the hot seat or on the receiving end of negative attention?

Maybe it’s a phone call from a teacher, an extra-rough playdate or a story our kiddo shares through tears? We’ve been on the “mama” side of all of these scenarios and we will admit we felt that rush to defend and protect.

In today’s world, responding is so easy and quick…sometimes too quick. In the heat of the moment we’ve wanted to send off an email full of questions and emotion. We’ve itched to text another parent to get information. And we have, indeed, done just that. 

And yet, we encourage parents, and us, to instead WAIT to respond. Not endlessly wait. Not mindlessly wait. But wait with intention and purpose.


Childhood is packed with moments of growth and experience. There will inevitably be upset, disappointment and hurt feelings. There will be blurred lines and messy, unclear stories. While we know it is our job to advocate for and support our children, we also strive to find a balance of being an “in the middle” parent. Where can we find connection and build trust? 

When you’re facing a struggle in the moment with your kiddo, try to:

Stay present It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves. Do what you need to so you can take a beat and stay curious. Listen and ask questions. Take a moment to vent to a partner or friend. Give your kiddo a hug and a supportive ear. In order to know how to respond, we have to get all the information we can in the moment.

Find perspective. After listening, take time to get perspective. Is your kiddo safe? Is your child calm? Did talking about it help? Are there safety issues to consider? Take the time to gather the needed information and reflect on the issue at hand. How much of an impact will there be? Who would benefit from knowing about this situation? Will this be on your mind for days, weeks, months or moments? Is this typical for the age? Sharing with others (ie. friends, other parents, teachers) may help.

Focus on the goal. Once you’ve listened, vented, reflected…consider what needs to happen next. What’s the goal here? Is it a learning moment for you or your child? Is it a time to partner with a teacher? Is this a moment to gather information about your child as a learner or a friend? 

After all of this…then decide how to respond. (And if getting it all out in a heated email helps, do that! But wait to send it. Maybe in the morning, it will feel different and your goal will change.)

All of this sounds simple enough and nearly impossible at the same time. We get it. That kinda sums up parenthood! There will be bumps along the way. Our job is to navigate them and keep moving forward with our amazing, lovable little one.

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