A lot of women wonder whether or not they have maternal instincts. If you’re reaching an age when you’re considering having kids, you naturally want to know that you have “the right stuff” to raise children. In addition to having a little living under your belt (so you feel ready to settle down) and having some financial security (so you can pay for the diapers through karate classes through college), you want to know that you have the emotional components necessary to make a great mom. Some women know instantly, “Oh yeah – I have maternal instincts.” Some feel for certain they don’t (though they’re often wrong, and surprise themselves once kids arrive), and some women really just don’t know where they fall in it all. While many of your maternal instincts will hide until you actually have babies – because nothing quite brings them out like a little cooing cutie who has your eyes – there are ways to know if you have those instincts now. You can identify them in some of the things that come up in your social life and work life, or even your current home life, even if there aren’t kids there. Your so-called “maternity” pops up in little ways if you pay attention. So, do you have maternal instincts? Here are some signs.
You care for a sick roommate
If your roommate is sick, that becomes a part of your life until she’s better. You stay home a bit more. You check on her. You make her soup. You pick up supplies from the pharmacy. You feel obligated to help her get better. You don’t just go on about your normal life and say, “Bummer for her!”
You help out a struggling coworker
If a coworker is going through something difficult, personally, like a breakup or a sick relative, you help pick up some of her slack. You don’t want her to get in trouble with your boss for doing a sub-par job, but you also know she wants this thing going on to remain private. So you just take on a bit of her work while she picks herself back up.
You aim to alleviate fears
When you see that someone is afraid of something – maybe it’s a coworker afraid she’ll be in trouble over something or a roommate afraid a guy hasn’t called because he didn’t like their date – you jump on the task of alleviating those fears. If someone is frightened, you don’t just shrug it off. You feel compelled to chase away those fears.
You know when someone needs something
If you have friends over, you’re always acutely aware of others’ needs. You see someone shifting on the couch, and know they need an additional back pillow. You see someone clearing their throat, and know they need a glass of water. Someone is squirming. She needs the bathroom but doesn’t want to interrupt the conversation. You always notice these things, and do something about them.
You hate when others are uncomfortable
If someone is uncomfortable in a social setting, you feel that. You take on their discomfort. Like if you have a group of friends over, and one keeps talking about money, and you know another, who recently lost her job, is getting anxious. You change the subject. You can’t stand it if people you love feel uneasy.
You’ll share your food, even when you’re hungry
When you come home with pizza you picked up, you’re starving, and you want nothing more than to chow down, but you see your roommate staring at an empty fridge, you share your pizza with her. When your partner is eyeing your leftovers in the fridge, and you know he’s in a hurry, and needs something to eat fast before a meeting, you tell him to just have your leftovers.
You’ll give up sleep to console someone
If a friend calls you, crying her eyes out after a breakup or a work disaster, you’ll stay up talking to her, even if you have an early morning. If your partner really wants to go over his presentation with you for tomorrow, but you’re exhausted, you’ll stay up and help him, so that he can go into his meeting with confidence.
You shop for others
When you grocery shop or go to the pharmacy, you’re always thinking about what others in your household may need. Your roommate said she was out of face wash. You’ll grab her some. Your boyfriend gets low blood sugar. Those protein bars are on sale. You’ll get him some and put them in his laptop and gym bags.
You love a good snuggle
You’re very physically affectionate. You love to be physically near your loved ones. On girls’ night, you snuggle up with your friends to watch a movie. If there is a dog around, you instantly sit with it and pet it. You love cuddling with your partner for hours. You get those feel-good hormones when you cuddle your loved ones.
People feel they can talk to you
People often tell you that they feel they can tell you anything. They say you aren’t judgmental, and you’re a good listener. They feel like somehow, you’ll have all the answers, and you’ll make everything okay. They always feel better after talking to you.
You’re very forgiving
You’re quick to forgive. You don’t let people walk all over you, but if someone clearly tried their hardest and just messed up, or they meant well and made the wrong choice this time, or are generally a good person who did a bad thing, you forgive.
You’re tough but fair
You’re good at giving tough love. You’ll tell someone when they’re in a bad relationship or when they need to stand up to that coworker or when they need to finally nut-up and go after their goals. But you aren’t intimidating when you do it. You boost peoples’ confidence when you do this, but you also won’t take excuses.
Your capacity to help is nearly limitless
You feel very satisfied by helping others. You actually get energy by multi-tasking and somehow helping as many others as you can throughout your day while also accomplishing the things you need to accomplish for yourself. You have a “Give me what you got” mentality towards life and other peoples’ needs.
You’re often thinking of others
You often find yourself thinking of others. That one friend just moved – is she okay? Does she need someone to talk to? Maybe you can put her in touch with a friend you know in her new city. Your neighbor hurt her back recently. Should you see if she wants to borrow your lumbar support pillow?
You’re a cheerleader for your loved ones
When someone you love is going after something, you’re fiercely in their corner. You’re sending motivational texts. You’re at the game/performance/presentation. You brag about them, in front of them, to make them feel good about their pursuits. You’re really proud of your loved ones, as if their achievements are your own.