Whatever, Mom | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Culture » Culture Features

Whatever, Mom

Maternal Adaptation

by

comment

Adaptive.

I can't think of a better word to describe a mother's role.

From the time her belly starts to show to the day her child leaves the nest, a mother is constantly adjusting to new conditions—always molding to her (and her little one's) environment.

Take the attachment theory, for example. For those first few years after the cord is cut (that initial physical separation), we moms typically remain the closest in proximity, keeping our attention and energy focused on the precious little lives we just created. We are their primary safety nets, their go-to comfort zones, and sometimes the only ones allowed in at all.

"Maternal availability is particularly important within the first two years of life," said the late child development psychologist John Bowlby, who was widely recognized for his ground-breaking work in attachment theory. "Even [experiences of separation] as brief as a few hours in duration can result in distress."

But as the kiddos begin to learn more about mama as a person (and not just as a baby-doting slave), the crying, skirt-pulling, separation-anxiety-every-time-Mom-leaves-the-room behavior begins to lessen.

"By the third or fourth year of life," Bowlby noted, "the child increasingly understands that his or her mother has motives and plans of her own, and their relationship develops into a 'goal-corrected partnership.'"

Suddenly, the physical distance isn't so feared anymore; thus, we must begin to let go—a little more each day.

"I can do it," my five-year-old son frequently reminds me these days. "I don't need any help, Mom."

It's an enthusiasm for independence—perhaps a bit similar to that skateboard he's been riding so much lately (at speeds faster than I care to watch). And as his newfound freedom shines more and more each day, I continue to move a little further to the back of the bus.

Who Moved My Cheese? has now become the story of my life. But personally, I find the changes to be quite exhilarating. Besides, he still turns to me for certain amounts of love, comfort, and protection (and the occasional "Mom, I actually do need your help"). For now, anyway.

Like Bowlby said—the attachment process is necessary for survival, and a mother's responsiveness is crucial. But yes, there will come a day when, much like the clothes in my son's closet, that need for maternal proximity is outgrown. There will come a day when the bedroom door is slammed in my face. And there will come a day when my son's independence actually translates to "I'm way too cool for you, Mom, and I have my own life now."

But it's okay; I'll adapt. Because that's what moms do.

Add a comment

More by Taylor Thompson

Latest in Culture Features