The other morning on a run I was chatting to a friend about parenting. She was wondering how adoptive single dads, for example, know what to do with their children when a) they aren’t women and therefore “mother’s instinct”, and b) haven’t had nine months to connect with a baby.
I got quite upset with the assumption that mothers are born knowing what to do, because I felt quite differently. Despite lots of previous experience with kids and babies, when my own was born, I felt I had to “learn” not only a connection with him, but what to do. And in fact, Max’s dad was often way more attuned to what he needed than I was.
Mother’s instinct? I’m not sure I have that or even know how to harness it. I’m figuring that mother’s instinct is based on the premise that moms have a “sixth sense” when it comes to their kids, and are attuned to their needs, or when something is wrong. I must be honest that I don’t know of a time when I felt this, or harnessed it. Most of the time I’m fumbling in the dark, relying more on logic or experience or my parenting style than a gut feel or instinct.
I know this subject can be argued, and that we all feel differently. What are your thoughts? Do you have “mother’s instinct”? Did you always have it, or did you have to cultivate it?