Thursday, November 24, 2005


Okay, I've decided I really must address this issue of being motherly!

Today, I got a very nice pm from an online friend who spoke about how she views me as being 'motherly'. This isn't the first, or even second time, that someone has told me I'm maternal. So, what makes me seem so motherly?

At first, I didn't think too much of it. Now, I'm wondering why I come across this way. It's certainly not intentional on my part. Not that I mind being thought of as motherly - just a bit disconcerting when people keep mentioning it. I can't help the fact that I am a mother, but not to everyone!

I've racked my brain over this because even when raising my own, now adult children, I never talked down to them. I never used cutesy-poo babytalk or dumbed-down language. I spoke to them in a rather adult manner from a very young age. If they didn't understand, I'd explain. So, it can't be in my manner of speech or writing. With the exception of parental discipline and teaching responsibiIities, I treated my children the way I would treat anyone else. (Gawd, I hope I don't come across as a teacher and disciplinarian to others. If I do, someone tell me quick and I'll go out and buy a gag.) Ack, I'm no further ahead with this!

And it's not like I had a role model to copy. My own mother died when I was very young and I have no conscious recollection of her. The closest mother figure I had was my grandmother. But I don't think I'm anything like her.

When I became a mother, I just wanted to do a good job and not produce screwed up adults. So my approach was pretty simple: be supportive, treat them with kindness and respect, teach them to treat others the same way, get them to think for themselves and find a way to contribute something positive to the world. This is my 'goody-two-shoes' approach, I guess. I know this kind of positiveness makes certain people gag, but I can't help it. Even my own son tells me I'm naive at times - though he's the true idealist in the family!

Sheesh, this hasn't gone the way I expected and now I've rambled on and ended up talking about my kids. I'm no further ahead figuring out why I seem so motherly to perfect strangers.

Maybe someone who comes upon this and/or knows me can enlighten me. Because I don't really get it.


jane said...

hi ell. i was over at rk's and noticed that your name was highlighted and thought hey she has a blog!!! a good one at that.

i have met a few people on line who i would describe as motherly, and you are one of them. i think it is because you are nurturing and warm, you have a way of offering advice that doesn't come off as, "I'M GOING TO ADVISE YOU NOW AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE BETTER FOR IT!"
and you offer comfort without judgement. there is a sense that regardless of what someone has been up to or done, there will be understanding. all of these things are qualities that even if our own mother's did not possess them, we would still identify as maternal and be drawn to.

ell said...

Hello, jane. :)
Thank-you for your comments. The warm, I can see. Nurturing? I'll have to think about it some more.

Hay said...

You represent the image of the mother people would like. You sound like you really care when you say things and you do this with a lot of wisdom in your words. As Jane says you come of as warm, don't know about nurturing as I'm not sure of the exact meaning.

I did however get that feeling pretty fast.

jane said...

i mean nurturing in the fostering an environment for growth or learning, not the foodie one. LOL.
i think when we hear motherly it implies something matronly and older and so it can seem almost like a back handed compliment. but i don't see it that way, i have met children who have motherly qualities.
to venture into celeb examples, drew barrymore is very motherly to me, whereas martha stewart, not so much.

ell said...

Yeah, I don't like the connotation of 'matronly' because I sure don't view myself that way - not yet, anyway!

I still picture myself as a not-too-bad-looking babe of 25! I can dream can't I? D:

It IS rather hard to view Martha as motherly. You'd think with all her advice and tips about the home and cooking, she'd seem maternal. Strange.

Sugar said...

Hi ell, thank you for stopping by my blog and making it a point to revisit. I like what you've done here as well and will bookmark it.

I have a friend who is "motherly" and she knows it and makes no apologies. The only explanation I can come up with is she is a "straight shooter" who shows care and concern for others. The straight shooter part might scare some off tho... :)

M. said...

Hi Ell,
Exciting to see that you're a blogger now. I have to agree that you have a certain motherly vibe to you. This is of course coming from someone else who has never met you in real life. You just come off as a kind but realistic person. You also seem to have this "I'm used to mediating disputes among teenagers" thing about you.

ell said...

Hello M. Thanks. You're not too bad at mediating either. Maybe it comes from the professions we chose - or did they choose us?

M. said...

I think my profession might have bashed me over the head with something hard when I wasn't looking. It would certainly explain the feeling that it has taken me hostage. :o)