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To hate the term 'a natural mother' ?

(48 Posts)
Cleebope Thu 11-Aug-16 17:49:26

Just had visit from Mil, who is sweet natured but very old fashioned and traditional. She described in conversation the daughter of one of her friends as 'a natural mother'. This really got my back up as I know she would never describe me like that. She went on to say her friend's daughter had a baby at 18 but it turned out okay as she is a 'natural mother' who always loved babies as a child. Does this mean those of us who didn't love other people's babies in our youth are not natural mothers? Am I over reacting to hate this phrase? I would never use it in any context, except maybe as a synonym for biological mother, and even then its usage can be offensive. Does anyone else use this term?

DerekSprechenZeDick Thu 11-Aug-16 17:53:28

My mums a natural mother, I am not. I'm ok with it.

Just a term for the more maternal I suppose.

Amelie10 Thu 11-Aug-16 17:55:31

Am I over reacting to hate this phrase?

Yes. Yes you are. It's used all the time, on here a lot too by people describing themselves. It's not a personal attack on you unless you make it to be.

sooperdooper Thu 11-Aug-16 17:58:21

I've never thought about it before but yes it's irritating, and nobody ever says someone is a 'natural father' do they?

heateallthebuns Thu 11-Aug-16 17:58:53

Well it sounds like she meant it like someone might say 'natural athlete' for someone sporty or 'naturally academic' or some other talent. I don't think it's offensive, she means that some people are naturally good at things to start off with and other people have to put in a bit more effort?

hazeimcgee Thu 11-Aug-16 17:59:42

Perhaps your upset comes from not feeling like you are one? I'm not sure what really constitutes one or that it makes any difference. I had a friend, married, who fell pregnant unexpectedly. It was not on her plans. She did not want one and guessing she'd consider herself not overly motherly.
Well she got two in one and is contemplating more and is an awesome mom.

Don't let it upset you x

whattheseithakasmean Thu 11-Aug-16 17:59:56

I think it is an odd phrase. I am not really sure what it is meant to mean - does it mean a hippy type, sling using, breastfeeding til they are two, bed sharing, stay at home mum type? If so, I am note sure I consider that any more 'natural' than women who decide to mother in other ways that are more natural for them.

Surely we are all natural mothers?

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Thu 11-Aug-16 18:00:27

I've heard natural mother and natural father used loads. The same as 's/he's a natural' when someone is playing with kids.

It's not an insult to you, it's a descriptive phrase for someone else.

BapsOfSteel Thu 11-Aug-16 18:03:54

I think her point was 'despite being a teen mum'. I'd say she was being a bit judgy but not about you.

Some people are naturals at parenting l. I'm not.

whattheseithakasmean Thu 11-Aug-16 18:08:20

What does being a natural at parenting mean, that is what I don't understand?

heehaaw Thu 11-Aug-16 18:09:51

Lots of people have said this about me. I always thought it was because I had DD relatively young & they were meaning that they were surprised by how well I was coping, better than they thought I/someone my age would.

Cleebope Thu 11-Aug-16 18:10:57

No I'm not upset about it but I realised how much I really hate the term because it implies that most women aren't natural mothers and surely we all have our good points and bad as parents? I wouldn't use it as it does irritate me. But I can be a touchy DIL! What does it mean anyhow... A woman who loves her babies? We all do that in our own ways.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Thu 11-Aug-16 18:11:43

YANBU - I don't think there is such a thing as a 'natural mother' (or father for that matter)

The people who are good with children are those who have had practice with younger siblings, friends' or relatives children or their work. They make it look easier than those of us who have had limited contact with children.

Cleebope Thu 11-Aug-16 18:12:49

Yes heehaw maybe it's used more for young mums who don't have life experience to help them parent but just great instincts. I will let her away with it then,

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 11-Aug-16 18:13:05

It's not an insult to you, it's a descriptive phrase for someone else

Yes, this.

SoupDragon Thu 11-Aug-16 18:15:15

I'm absolutely not a natural mother and don't mind admitting it. Not every one is.

Gottagetmoving Thu 11-Aug-16 18:15:21

I think it means taking to be a mother like a duck to water. Not being stressed about it and just instinctively knowing what to do and how to cope. I know several women who were like that. I wasn't like that with my first by I felt like that with my second.
It doesn't mean that not being like that is inferior or wrong. We probably.all get there in the end....and some maybe not.
I had heard grandmothers say they love having grandchildren because by then it all feels so natural.
Maybe that's why some drive their daughters and dils mad with advice. grin

SoupDragon Thu 11-Aug-16 18:16:54

The people who are good with children are those who have had practice with younger siblings, friends' or relatives children or their work.

I disagree. Some might be but others just find it comes naturally.

Absofrigginlootly Thu 11-Aug-16 18:32:04

I think there is a place for calling someone at natural mother.

I would never say it out loud because it sounds a big smug or boastful but on an anonymous Internet forum I will say that I consider myself a natural mother.

I think it just means that I naturally posses the skills needed to make a good mum. Lots of patience and a naturally loving and caring nature I suppose.

There are a million things out there that I categorically do not posses the skills to be a natural at! I could never work with numbers or anything requiring long periods of prolonged concentration for example!!

I know several people (DM,DMIL) who are not natural mothers. My DM tried hard in her own way and dedicated herself to us to a fault, but just doesn't have it in her to be a 'natural' mother, because she was always emotionally unavailable. I think ultimately she's too self absorbed and superficial I guess. Ours is a very complicated relationship sad

My DSis would also make a terrible mother which she would freely admit. She has the patience of a 2 year old and is quite open about not wanting children.

Only you know your MIL well enough to know if she was having a dig or just innocently passing a comment about someone else

Cleebope Thu 11-Aug-16 18:38:05

Oh it was definitely innocent. Now I'm thinking my hatred of this term is because I haven't been a perfectly patient or unstressed mum. It's nice to hear so many of you do consider yourselves natural mothers, I mean that sincerely not sarcastically! Maybe it can be viewed as a special gift or talent that not all of us have. It's easier to be like that if you can choose to be less stressed by not working perhaps? I felt jealous when mil described this girl like that. It is obviously meant as a compliment. But behind closed doors, who knows how natural mothers behave?!

VitreousEnamel Thu 11-Aug-16 18:39:24

Yes. You are being unreasonable...except i suppose yhe context it was used in.

Buy i agree, mothers are not alwys naturally the best parent and that is why fathers should have equal parental rights so, if an unmarried father is more suited he can exercise equal responsibility for the child.

FullTimeYummy Thu 11-Aug-16 18:39:28

The difference is, a term like "natural athlete" means something like "has natural athletic ability well above the norm".

Natural mother is often used to mean "always wanted children", which is really quite different from being a good and responsible mother.

I can think of women who would be described as natural mothers, and who no doubt love their kids more than anything, but are appalling at day to day admin and discipline, and have put their own needs above the needs of their children.

For example "natural mothers" sometimes have more kids than they can support, have kids with men they don't like etc. because they "always wanted" 3 (or however many) kids.

Obviously many, many natural mothers do a great job, just as many die-hard sports fans can also run and kick a ball

ArgyMargy Thu 11-Aug-16 18:47:03

Being good with babies doesn't mean you will cope well with toddlers or teenagers.

Absofrigginlootly Thu 11-Aug-16 19:02:00

fulltimeyummy I wouldn't necessarily describe those women as natural mothers though. I agree you though that some people use the term as synonymous with always wanting children, which is not the same thing. You can be a natural mother of one child or a terrible mother to 5 children.

And i personally (for me) think it's definitely easier to be patient and less stressed as a SAHM.

But I think some other people would find that going to work gives them more life balance and an outlet that makes them less stressed and more patient with their DC?

PinkaColada Thu 11-Aug-16 19:19:13

My mum is a natural mothering my opinion, as is a friend. It's that utter delight in their and other children, they can spend all their time with just the children and be completely and utterly happy. They don't really need or want time out and are happiest just being with their children and other children.

I adore my DD. She is an utter delight, but I need time out and am not as constantly playful and patient as them.

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