iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Toni Nagy

GET UPDATES FROM Toni Nagy
 

The 'Mother Instinct' in All of Us

Posted: 05/08/11 05:09 PM ET

I'll be the first to complain that Hallmark holidays push needless consumerism, but now that I have a child and potential presents are on the horizon, I am a big fan of Mother's Day. Being a mom, I am more empathetic to the idea that a mother should be acknowledged and even celebrated, because so far my 10-month-old has yet to say "thank you" for anything I do for her, but maybe Mother's Day isn't just about the individual experience of mothering. Although I hate to direct attention away from me, why not also honor the "mother instinct" that resides in all of us?

I did some extensive research on the subject of "mother instinct." I looked up "mother" and "instinct" on dictionary.com. What struck me was that the verb "to mother" is defined as "to care for or protect like a mother." Although that is very ambiguous for a "definition," causing a slight panic on my end thinking I might have to go to Wikipedia to prove myself as thorough, I think we all have a visceral understanding of what it means. Even if your own mother was as frosty as "dairy queen," you still have an image of what it looks like to mother someone if you have seen Bambi or Dumbo. Combine this idea with instinct, which is a "natural or innate impulse," and you see the potential for all of humanity to relate to the "mother instinct" as long as we have the Disney Channel.

So why is this important? You know when you hear statistics about the future that make you want to start everyday with a double martini? You imagine how a half of all animal species will be extinct in the next 50 years, or how the world's population will double in the next 30, and do the math to see how old you will be when these things happen? The panic sets in, and you have to lie down and watch a Judd Apatow movie to get your mind off all this "thinking" you have been doing.

I had one of those moments and I called home in a state paranoia. I told my dad, who was lucky enough to answer the phone, about my apocalyptic vision of how we will need to genetically modify humans with cockroach genes in order to survive the pending catastrophes.

"So? I will be dead by then."

Touché.

So I ask you, is my dad just totally insensitive, or is there an inherent difference between mothers and fathers? Now that I have a baby, I not only care about my future, but also the future of my child. I don't want her living in a house made of trash and surviving off oil-infested, plastic-coated salt water and toxic sludge. No, I want her to have one of those fancy silver suits and travel to other galaxies for the weekend.

So how do we get to that George Jetson future and avoid the doom of Terminator 4?

I think it is fair to say that men and the male psyche have been ruling the world as long as written history is concerned. You guys did some great things, but I don't think we can deny the fact that there hasn't been enough concern for the long-term impact. Oh, and there has been a lot of violence, rape, pillaging, enslaving, but those are just details. Now, I know there have also been women who have political power so this is not exclusively a man/woman argument, but a masculine/feminine one.

Point is, people have been making decisions that serve them best in the interim, but what about the world we are handing down to our children? Maybe it is the feminine impulse, the mother instinct, the maternal side in all of us that needs to become the more valued force? The mother considers her children, and cares about their survival -- unless she is a reptile and eats them. We really need to focus, as a global society, on the nurturing of the mother, and less on the dominance of the father. Or, maybe I just have daddy issues.

 

Follow Toni Nagy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonibolognamind