Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Mom Pheromone

The "Mom" Pheromone

Pheromone -- noun -- any chemical substance released by an animal that serves to influence the physiology or behavior of other members of the same species. [Thank you,]

I have 2 kids. I battle daily with laundry, dishes and bodily fluids not my own. I am clearly a mom.

But not so clearly. I remember when I first became pregnant with the Peanut. My assistant was very surprised. Shocked, more like it. Why? Because I didn't seem very "maternal." Over and over people are surprised to hear that I am a mom. Even more surprised if those people, usually people from work, hear or witness any exchange with my children. One coworker even exclaimed to me upon hearing me talk to the Peanut, "My lord, you sound so sweet and nice!"

Well that should be somewhat telling as to how I am the rest of the time. All business, matter of fact, sarcastic (can you tell?) and yes, downright bitchy at times. Hey, I'm not mothering my clients. I'm not raising my coworkers. They don't need the cuddles and kisses and cajoling. I'm nice enough (actually downright kind on rare occasions) but hey, let's be very clear on the fact that I'm not wiping their snotty noses for them.

I am clearly missing some mom pheromone. The one that says automatically to anyone in the vicinity of my Carol Brady aura that I am a perfect motherly type. That I have good maternal instincts and can keep living things alive and thriving. That I can nurture and care for a little being, while making amazing works of art using just pasta, glitter and homemade glue. I don't know where I was when they were passing the mom pheromone out. Maybe getting coffee at the career day festival.

But that leads me to another point -- I am eternally both bemused and baffled as to why people think my work personality and home personality must be one and the same. That if I am demanding and unyielding at work, that I must be the same way with those poor little tykes at home. That because I do not mother the people I work with or gush puppies and rainbows on the phone instead of getting straight to business or chatting with my usual sarcastic sense of humor in full bloom that I am not a motherly person. But I am -- to my own children. I fully admit that I am not necessarily a great person with other people's children. I'm hit or miss truthfully. I have cuddled my next door neighbor's daughter who is about my daughter's age but don't do so to her 6 year old son -- we tend to banter and tease more. But yet another neighbor's children I generally stay far away from. And I find the older the kids are, the farther away from my direct experience as a mom, the less sure I am of how to act, of what is expected, wanted or is "proper". I just wing it and hope I don't end up being hated or causing endless therapy sessions later on. Because that sure would put a damper on neighborhood BBQs.

But here's the thing people fail to realize: I have multiple facets to my personality. And I recognize my audience. I expect a 52 year old manager to understand the ramifications of his actions and do not think I am wrong to do so. I also expect that my 2 year old daughter may NOT understand the ramifications of her actions and that she must be taught some causes and effects and lead gently into this big world, careful not to let the experiences hit her full in the face.

End result? My kids are happy. I'm happy. Any one else will have to learn to get over it because I'm not potty-training them any time soon...

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