Monday, January 28, 2013

What an Elephant Taught me about Motherhood.

Ever since we went to Thailand, I obsessed with elephants. They are so remarkable. Did you know that scientists have found that elephants are capable of complex thought and feelings such as love, grief, and joy? 

I am especially fascinated by mother elephants. 
 Did you now that Elephants live in Matriarchal families made up of other female and calves and are headed by the oldest mother?  A mother Elephant is pregnant for 22 months! Yikes 22 months!! Mother and child remain in constant touch with one another for many years as the baby still suckles milk until 4 or 5 years old or until the tusks become a problem! If a calf strays too far from his mother- she will retrieve him and keep him close. She is often found hugging and wrapping her trunk around her little one, carrying him over obstacles, bathing and gently scrubbing her calf, dusting him with dirt, and protecting him from predators or the hot sun. Isn't that so cool? There is a great deal more info on this elephants emotions here if you want to know more. 

Well, while we were in Thailand we got to get up close and personal with the fascinating creatures. 

 Please note that Little Man sorta froze during his first encounter with the elephant... 

But he got a lot more comfortable as time went on and loved feeding them sugar cane and bananas!

Going to our local zoo will never compare to this day.    B E S T   D A Y   E V E R !!!

 I have learned a lot from a mother elephant. 
Recently, I have heard several comments from family members about how my son is a "mama's boy" and needs to get over it. I admit, it is true...he is. But is that so bad? 

 He wakes up every morning and crawls into bed with me where he showers me with kisses, hugs, cuddles, and "I love yous" until we are ready to get up. He prefers being with me to most other people... but loves playing with his friends and family members that he has a relationship with. (Many of the comments were from people he doesn't see very often) 

What do you think? 

Is it so awful to have your son actually enjoys to spend time with you and shows affection towards you... okay maybe a lot. But what if it DOESN'T stop him from exploring his world with others and friends. He loves his friends.

My personal and processional opinion? First, I want to hear from you.

In a book I love called: The book of Nurturing by Linda and Richard Eyre- and in one of their chapters they talk about parenting like an elephant's trunk- it has the ability to be firm and set limits yet be gentle and flexible. That is how I want to be as a mother. 

So in summary:

An Elephant taught me:
 Our love needs to be nurturing with hugs and cuddles each day.

Our love has to set clear limits and firm when needed.

Out love must shower them with approval and dust them with confidence regularly. 

We must be protective and alert and warn them loudly and clearly of danger.

Our love should remove barriers in their path and pick them up when they need us to but also let them walk the path under their own power when they are ready.

Our love must be versatile and flexible, seeing children’s needs and willing to be sometimes tough and sometimes tender.

What are your thoughts on having a "mama's boys?"



  1. I don't think he comes accross as being a mommas boy. He is a happy loving child that loves his mom and dad.
    He has been exposed to many cultures and is interested in the world around him which in my opinion is healthy for a boy his age.

    1. Well, thanks for your kind words...I sure love that mama's boy.

  2. I have had the same comments from my family. While I would love for my boys to have a closer relationship with them, it is not to be right now, since they live a day away. Before I had children I wrote a thought..."When you hold your children closer, the rest of the world can be closer." Your thoughts are spot on in my experiences. I know it is difficult and the comments certainly don't make it easier, I have a really hard time being alone most of the time, but I wouldn't trade it.

    1. I love that quote! Thanks for sharing- it's so true!

  3. What an amazing experience - I love all the things that animals can teach us about ourselves!

    I too have a "mama's boy," but I think it's great that he has a trusting relationship where he can learn, be understood, and experience the world but still feel safe and nurtured when he needs to. I also think those things help him to be a more independent and confident person, and actually help him to relate to other people in a more trusting and confident way. Just my amateur opinion - but it's a mother's intuition to nurture her kids, and that's important!

    1. I love everything you said Jess. I feel the same way. I don't think I would do it any other way.

  4. I remember getting these comments too with Little when she was about a year old ( right when they are in the stage of life when they start to cleave to you as an important and necessary person in their lives!). It always seemed derogatory and I don't know that it needs to be as long as they are still socializing as normal. Does he refuse to let you leave him and refuse to play with others? If not then let it roll off your back.

    1. He absolutely loves playing with friends and is always asking to have friends over or go and play with other friends... but he loves to constantly hug and kiss me and say "I love you"- in fact he is right here with me right now and just kissed me on the cheek...I mean it's a little over the top...but he wants to be close to me when we are home. I'm cool with it- what mom is going to deny a cuddle or a kiss?

      Granted, many opinions come during circumstances like being in another country with people he sorta knows from photos but doesn't know super well...and yes, of course he would rather sit and cuddle with me on a long bus or plane ride- he doesn't know what to expect from moment to moment when traveling 2 weeks away from home. So whatever.

      I think people forget that it's a stage of life and doesn't have any correlation to being a "needy" man in the future.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. The heck with everyone else! You know what your little man needs. Sometimes people's "helpful" comments can be so annyoing. I feel as if more men(and girls) had loving, and affectionate parents, the world would be a far different place. Life is too short. He'll grow up and move away before you know it....

    1. Donna- it is so true. In a blink of an eye he will be embarrassed to hug me in public- I will take whatever I can get now!

      Don't you love when you get parenting tips from people who don't even have kids themselves or do but...never mind- let's leave it at that.

      Gotta love it.

  6. that's where I go to Elephant Camp !!!! I go and stay a week and take care of the elephants and perform tricks for the tourists, I feel your obsession with elephants. :) We'll have to talk sometime.