Friday, June 3, 2011

What It Means to be Instinctual

What It Means to be Instinctual
An instinct is an urge or idea to do something, and that instinct is a natural part of who you are... not something you have to think about much. Instincts can be inborn, or developed through the way you live. For instance, a man living in the woods might have developed better survival instincts than a tourist if both were attacked in the same woods.

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I don't know how many of you have been watching the Decorah Eagles online.  It is this live streaming video of a male and female bald eagle.  They laid eggs in February and, through the power of the internet, we have been able to watch the eggs hatch and the babies come into this world.  All live.  I was at a get together at the library last week and I was discussing this site with another mother.  She started going on about how she had been so worried about one of the babies last night because "the father" (we assumed it must have been the father since no mother would have acted this was ;-) was letting one of the little ones get close to the edge of the nest and then wasn't letting the baby back underneath to keep warm.  This mother and I joked that, not only do we have our own children to worry about, but now we are worrying about three eagle babies.  Why?  Because it is a mother's instinct.

It is the same thing when you are at the park where there are lots of other kids.  I know I always seem to keep my eyes on my own kids, but I am also watching some of the other little ones.  Just like the other day, I saw a kid, probably 7 or 8 years old hurt himself.  He was trying to act strong, but you could tell he just wanted his mom to be there so he could cry.  I don't know where his parents were.  I was holding my little one and watching for my son and I went over to the boy to find out if he was OK and if he knew where his mom was.  He wouldn't talk to me, which is fine, stranger danger and all, but I wanted to help him.  As a mom, we feel the need to help any child we can.  It is an instinct we can't overcome.

You may be asking, "Why is she writing about this?"  Because, as much as mothering is instinctual, I feel that, as mothers, we sometimes need a little empowering.  I wrote back in March about The Good, The Bad, The Facebook in which I discussed how we can sometimes get sucked into the information on Facebook.  What I want to emphasize here is that we need to follow our instincts. 

Remember in school when you would take a test and teachers always told you to go with your first answer, your instinct, because it was probably right?  I feel the same way about being a mother.  I look back at the decisions I have made with my children and I realize that I have made those decisions based off of instinct.  I didn't research to the end of the internet and back about breastfeeding my children, I just did it.  Why else do I have breasts?  It seemed self explanatory to me.  Did I have some issues?  Yes.  I had a breast reduction 2 years before I had my son which caused my supply to be low.  Since I was working part time and wasn't able to pump enough I did supplement.  Did I feel guilty about it?  A little, but I was doing what was best for my son.  I wanted him to thrive, so if giving him some formula because I couldn't give him enough breast milk was what I had to do, so be it. 

Think back to how you thought you would raise your children before you had kids.  Is how you thought you would raise them different than how you are raising them?  Why?  Are any of the differences due to what instinct told you to do or are the differences due to outside pressure?  Living things have survived as long as they have due to relying on their instinct.  Fight or flight, eat or be eaten, these are the instinctual decisions that have been made through time.  So why is it that we now question ourselves so much?  Information overload is trying to drown out the voice inside us that has lead us to be who we are. My personal belief is that I have no regrets on how I have raised my children as long as I have followed my instincts.  Now, if I based my decisions on just information that I have researched, then I feel I could have some regrets.  Why?  Who is to say that the information I am finding is the best there is?  You could spend hours, days, even weeks searching and searching for the perfect information to guide you in your mothering journey.  But what would happen if you shut off the computer and just thought about what feels right to you?

So, listen to yourself.  Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool that can help us connect to other mothers that parent similar to how we do.  It can also help us figure out if the symptoms our child has are something we should see the doctor about or wait.  Don't rely on it to be the main source of your information.  Follow your instincts.  They have gotten you this far and they won't steer you wrong!

Your mind knows only some things... Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything... If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path....
~Henry Winkler~

Mintee Mama is new to the blogging scene.  She blogs about store deals, crafts, recipes and life in general.  She is also planning to launch an Etsy site this year in order to sell a smorgasbord of items, including cute headbands, jewelry and some mosaic items.  She is the mother of two wonderful children, Wild Man 3 yrs 9 months and Sweet Pea 4 months.  She is a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, green cleaning mom.

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