The Meaning of Mother’s Intuition

by Lesley on June 17, 2013 · 7 comments

in lessons learned,motherhood

SF golden gate

I’m still learning the meaning of mother’s intuition. I suppose the hardest part of being a new mom is that intuition doesn’t arrive with a baby—it comes with time, and it’s refined through mistakes.  There were so many moments during Anna’s first year when I exclaimed, “Is this normal?!”  or “I just wish I knew whether I should _________(give her medication/let her cry/put her to bed earlier/keep her up later/take her to the doctor/discipline her sooner/etc.)

While my mother’s intuition is certainly improving, I think I’m still running about a C average. Half of me thinks my intuition will be better the second time around, but another part of me is convinced that each child has their own needs and quirks making it a constant learning process.

My mother’s intuition was put to the test last weekend. Aunt Sarah came to visit on what just so happened to be the hottest day of on record—108 degrees! At 35 weeks pregnant I had no patience for triple digits. We decided to escape the heat by driving to San Francisco.

That morning Anna woke up happy, but she’d left us something icky in her crib. She seemed like herself so I figured we’d given her too much Pinkberry the night before.  I dressed her in a new outfit from Aunt Sarah and we happily embarked for the day. An hour into the trip she got very quiet, then whiny. We’d seen the signs before—the girl has a very weak stomach—and both Jonathan and I became worried. Sure enough, before we could pull off the freeway Anna was covered in throw-up.

(Sidenote: besides Mother’s intuition there’s something else that doesn’t arrive with a new baby— patience for throw-up. Over the last year I’ve gotten better at hiding my disgusted/horrified/gag reflex but let’s just say it’s a work in progress.)

We pulled over at Chipotle for a bathroom clean up, and Anna quickly seemed like herself again. A choice had to be made. We were a half hour from the city. Continue on? Or return home to hot weather?  I desperately wished intuition would kick-in but I felt nothing but indecisiveness.

We stopped at Target where I bought Anna a new outfit, and by the time I got back to the car she was glassy eyed and quiet again. Every part of me thought we should probably turn around and go home, but none of us were willing to toss our plans. So we pressed on, with promises to turn around when/if she showed any more sick signals.

And you know what? We had an incredible day.  Anna snoozed until we got off the freeway, then stayed awake the rest of the day, giggly and talkative. The car smelled awful but we rolled down the windows and let the salty air rush in. We ate incredible grilled cheese sandwiches on the water, gobbled down gelato, took photos at the Golden Gate bridge, walked on the beach, found a carousel in Golden Gate park, ate Salvadorian food for dinner, and capped off the day at Tartine for cookies. By lowering our expectations and taking plans one hour at a time we were probably more delighted by the day than we would have been had Anna not gotten sick.

SF sisters

My mother’s intuition failed me on our drive to San Francisco. Every part of me thought we should turn around and go home, and yet we would have missed so many sweet memories had we done so.

I suppose that even more important that mother’s intuition is flexibility, expectation management, and the ability to not sweat the small (and smelly) stuff.

Oh! And one more thing! Every day is made better in a new, cute outfit. Evidence:

SF beach

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Wow, I live 20 minutes away from the city yet never do any of this stuff (unless friends/family are in town). Funny thing, in my opinion it's been HOT these last couple of days. You know, like in the high 70s.... ;)


love this Lesley. Such a good reminder that maybe the first year is really about just admitting-- I have no idea what to do. Maybe that should be my motto. P.S. you and the baby bump look beautiful! Super cute grey tank : )


Which one's wearing the cute outfit, Jonathan or Anna?

OK, it's Anna. We've done the stop-at-the-store-and-buy-new-clothes-so-we-can-keep-going-with-our-plans too. Once when our son was young and fell into Folsom Lake, so we went to GAP at the outlets to get him some clothes on our way to dinner with friends at Old Spaghetti Factory, and another time when I need a T-shirt because I ended up sweating like a pig on a hike with our daughter at the Coloma Gold Discovery Site and I wanted something dry before sitting down for lunch with her at Old Spaghetti Factory. (Is there a theme here?)

On another similarity between families, Lesley. Liz just asked me about taking a day trip to the City to walk along that same path where you're standing in that top photo. We did it a couple years ago, starting down by Fort Point and walking to Fort Mason and back. This time she want to go all the way from Fort Point to Fisherman's Wharf. I think her plan includes walking up into North Beach to hit Victoria's Pastry for the best almond cookies on the planet. We'll need them if we're supposed to make it back to where we parked in the Presidio!




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