There are certain traits I believe a woman acquires when she becomes a mother. It doesn’t really matter what you were like pre-children, you give birth and become rewired in a subtle but profoundly different way.
You take on multi tasking, you become really great at thinking on your feet. But top of the list, I think is, not forgetting ANYTHING.
All mothers I know are a veritable encyclopaedia on their children. This is a double edge sword – the milestones and lovely memories are wonderful to recall. But everything is in there; illnesses, cheekiness, naughtiness…and woe betide anyone who has done my child wrong. Even if you are friends now, if you have ever made my child sad or cry, I will never forget. Just like an elephant.
I remember the tears, the sadness and the drama as if it were yesterday. And this is a dreadful admission, but once someone has had a negative interaction with one of my kids it completely colours the way I think of that person, even if it was five or ten years ago and my child is over it and they are really good friends with said person, or the person is a distant memory and no longer in their lives.
This is of course awful and hypocritical as I am endlessly telling my kids to forgive and forget, be kind and compassionate…maybe this falls into the parenting category of “ do as I say, not as I do”??
It’s not that I am never forgiving, or compassionate and I really hope I am kind – it’s just in certain instances – where my kids are in involved my primal instincts take over and forgiving becomes selective. And I simply can’t forget.
I could even recount an event or conversation of a particular altercation that one of my children told me, word for word, if you wanted me to. This drives my kids crazy. They will just say, “If I’m over it, you should be over it!”
And though I try I really can’t seem to let those visceral feelings go.
I realize I am not painting myself in the best light here, but maybe a realistic light? I am not perfect, but like most mothers I will go above and beyond to look out for my kids whatever the instance – big or small. Am I a nightmare? Should I just forget stuff and let it go? Or can you relate?
PS: So, me being me, I had to look up where the phrase “elephants never forget” comes from, as it is weird to compare a person to an elephant. It turns out that apparently studies have shown elephants do have strong abilities to recall people, places, and behavior. They can recall people who trained them when they were young, whom they haven’t seen for over 20 years. So I guess this ability to keep track of information for many decades that has generated the phrase – an elephant never forgets… just like your mother!