I love my children. I have no doubt that they love me, that they need me, that I give them the warm embrace of a caring mother. I want to spend time with them. I miss them when we are apart. Despite all of this excellent mothering I do, however, I do not possess the mom gene.
Though this is something I have suspected for quite some time, perhaps from age 11 when our baby golden retriever threw up on my lap on the car ride home from the breeder, I knew for sure when I was having drinks with an old friend recently. We were talking about kids (other people's kids), and I shared an anecdote about a friend's baby, who was 3 months old at the time. I visited this friend, and she gave me the baby to hold. As I held him, I knew. I knew that I did not want to have any more children. I knew that, despite having reared two infants successfully into toddlerhood, I would never feel comfortable holding a baby. I would never coo and ahh like women are supposed to do. I simply don't have the gene that sparks warm fuzzies when babies are near, the gene that makes me know automatically how to soothe, how to connect, how to relate to any child.
As I shared my story about holding this baby with my friend, she proclaimed, "So you don't have the mom gene either?!?!" I knew in that moment that she was right. I have two beautiful children that I adore, but I don't have the mom gene.
Luckily, since I do have two children that need to be mothered, I have other genes that make up for my deficiency. I am efficient, and perhaps it was this gene that enabled me to conceive b/g twins, getting our perfectly balanced family with one pregnancy (which I hated) and one stage of infancy (which I hated nearly as much). I am good at compartmentalizing, which helps me to keep my stressful professional life away, for the most part, from my mothering duties. And speaking of duties, I have a nice dose of a guilt gene that keeps me focused on the things that should be done, even when my mothering conflicts with my personal desires for freedom and quiet relaxation.
When I think hard about it, the qualities that make up for being "not-a-naturally-born-mom" are those that have led me to never question, never doubt, never waver from the path of career woman. And that makes me wonder whether the mom gene is in conflict with the professional desires I face. Perhaps all career women have a mom gene; but perhaps we feel we need to keep it in check. Or perhaps, as my friend and I assumed, it really is possible not to have it at all.
As I ponder this question, I will continue to be the best mom I can be to my kids. I will make them smile, soothe their hurts, and do my best to do the same for my friends' kids. I will work hard at these tasks because I don't have a mom gene - or it's so far buried that I don't recognize it. But being the over-achiever I am, I'm sure I can succeed without it. And I'm sure I'm not the first mom to have done so.