I recently had a conflict situation that left me feeling a little bit raw and hurting. In my younger years, I was most definitely a peacemaker. I was happy to let my twin sister or friends take the lead, and didn’t speak my mind whenever I felt conflicted. I genuinely wanted other people to be happy, and was happy that they were happy. I continued my people pleasing tendencies into my 20’s and early 30’s. When any conflict was involved, I literally went the other direction. My friends knew my “fight or flight” tendencies, and would try to lightheartedly tease me about running out of the room when I was the least bit uncomfortable.
However, something changed in me as I transitioned to my mid-30’s. When I became a wife and a mother, instead of my “fight or flight” responses being flying away, they began to become more of “fight” responses. When my first born child suffered from reflux, I fought with doctors about managing it with medication and diet. When my second born stopped gaining weight at 6 months and suffered with terrible ear infections and tummy troubles, I fought with doctors about searching for the reason. I was not willing to let him continue life with pain. It took time, specialists, and finally an elimination diet to determine the cause.
Much to my surprise, motherhood turned me into a mama bear, but those survival instincts haven’t gone away when my kids weren’t involved. As I have entered in to my early 40’s, I seem to have continued my “fight” responses, and while I sometimes have not had my finest moments while working through conflicts, I am not sorry that I have found my voice. I feel like motherhood awakened an inner strength that I never knew I had.
Motherhood helped me work harder, love harder, and fight harder to protect those around me. Motherhood certainly has a learning curve, and I am not quite sure that I will ever have full confidence that I am making all the right choices. While fighting doesn’t come naturally to me, I have learned to mama-bear it. I have observed my children’s natural tendencies to see if they fight or fly away. I definitely have a fighter on my hands. My advice to him is to stop, take a deep breath, and relax (thanks Conscious Discipline) prior to responding. Admittedly, I need to work on taking a deep breath before I respond in some conversations, but I am thankful that I have discovered my voice.
As I have reflected on the conflict that stirred me up, I have come to the realization that I don’t need to regret protecting those in need of protection. I am thankful that motherhood introduced me to the fighter within. I fight because I care, but maybe next time I will remember to take a deep breath.