Dr. Kenney shares why women should listen to their parental instincts and provides a concrete example.
You know, as women, sometimes responding to your gut is actually trained out of you in childhood and right here today we are going to really encourage you to get back connected with those feelings in your gut because when your mommy alarm goes off or your gut says,
“Whoa, stop, this is something I need to pay attention to and possibly respond to,” you’ve got to trust that instinct. Always trust your gut.
Now where does that kind of create a problem for you? Well the problem is that in this society we women want to be polite. We want to be kind. We want to not overreact. We don’t want to be histrionic, all right? So sometimes things happen and your mommy alarm goes off or your gut says, “Whoa, watch out for that,” and then you talk yourself out of that – don’t do that anymore.
If your alarm goes off and you hear something that makes you nervous or somebody interacts with you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, just stop and thoughtfully decide how to respond. Your alarm and what your gut says to you really matters. It’s there instinctually for a purpose and it’s okay to respond.
I have an example in my own life when my mommy alarm went off and it was very embarrassing and I was like kind of embarrassed and ashamed for a few weeks but upon reflection I had to say to myself, I really did do the right thin’.
This is what happened – I was at an outdoor, like a block party, with a lots of people who I love and adore and all sorts of families. Well I was the designated driver that night so I wasn’t drinking and the children were all playing in the street in a like a little col-de-sac, but the challenge was that as it got darker the cars weren’t recognizing early enough that we were having a block party and they were driving right through, okay?
So that was okay as dusk came, but as darkness came I said we’ve got to put up pylons, alright? So that’s mommy alarm number one. So I am already kind of separating myself from the crowd. They are happy. They are having a fun time and I am going we need pylons, okay?
All right, so then evening goes on. It’s now like 10 o’clock at night and I see a car barreling down toward the pylons. There are at least 30 children in the street and my alarm goes crazy.
I jump up out of my seat and I go running into the street. I know enough not to yell and scream because hopefully I’m a reasonably, kind of successful social animal, I know not to scream and freak out but I am definitely going to protect these children, and I go running out and I step right in front of the car and I say ‘three year-olds present’ and I smile, and everybody kind of looked at me like ‘well, that was kind of nutty’, but then if you turned around there were all these children right in the street and if I hadn’t gone and stood in front of that car and made him see that we were having a block party somebody would have gotten hit. But it was embarrassing. It was really embarrassing. Even though you are doing the right thing and you are trusting your gut, it’s still embarrassing.
We are talking here about trusting your gut and how important it is to trust your mommy alarm when it goes off and I just want to remind you that sometimes intellectually you are going to question yourself, on a feelings level you might even be embarrassed or ashamed, but your gut’s there for a reason. It’s instinctual and you’ve got to trust it.
About Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D.:
Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method (St Lynn’s Press, Sept 2009). She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert for Momtastic.com and Parentsask.com.