Momvo: Mini Mommies

It’s fascinating to me that from the time little girls can walk and talk they already have the mommy gene. It’s so natural to them to want to be mothering and nurturing. Stella, from such an early age, was obsessed with holding her baby, changing her baby, pretending to feed it, and putting it down for naps. I often hear her calmly yet firmly reprimanding her baby doll for acting up. After she gives her tough love I see her hug the baby and tell her “I love you.” It’s beyond beautiful!



So, as women, is it just in our nature from birth to be mommies? Do your daughters play Mommy too? I’d love to hear your take below.


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  • Elissa Lerma

    When my Phi was little she did the same thing. And now that my Lulu is 2 she is obsessed with her “babies”. I don’t think that the mothering thing is something you are born with. I think these little girls love thier own Mommies so much and are copying what they see thier Mom do.

  • Delilah Dedrasse

    Yes, I think girls are born with a biological need to carry and give birth to a child. It’s nature mainly and a bit of nurture thrown in. If daughters see us being nurturing then they want to replicate that. If not, they may be less so.

  • Crystal Howard

    awww. my baby girl is already into her doll. She bathes her, it’s adorable.

  • Jennifer Grajczyk

    My daughter hasn’t ever been attached to one thing over another. But, she always, and I mean always, needs at least one baby near by!! She does the same thing with disciplining them and they gives them a big hug and kiss when she’s done! Since she could get around on her own, she’s been caring for her babies – diaper changes, feeding, rocking, swaddling, etc. For medical need, she has been getting intermittent catherizations since she was about 4 months old. Recently, (with her increase in fine motor skills – she’s 2yr), she’s done it, correctly too, to her annatomically correct dolls! It’s so beautiful to see those “little mommies” in training and makes me so excited to add another baby to our family!

  • Sandy Fenner

    I think females and males are predisposed to their gender roles from birth, but nurture has a lot to do with it! Little girls mimic their mommies and other women they see. I think some girls grow up and do not have a need to have a child or “mother” in any way, and that is fine. They are the exception and not the rule. And some boys like to play with dolls! Some is genetic make up, some is environment. Either way, I believe showing your daughter how to be a mommy and showing your son how to be a daddy is great, even if they choose not to do so when they grow up.

  • Amber Hubbard

    I’m 20 years old and as far back as I can remember I’ve always shown my mom gene. All of my friends refer to me as the momma bear. Got a cut? I’ve got a Band-Aid. Tummy ache? Maybe you should lie down. Hungry? Let me whip up an entire three-course meal. I can’t help it; it’s a natural force greater than myself. Even when I was very young I remember being the one to clean up my best friends cuts and scraps. It gives me a great feeling and let’s me know I will be a great mom one day.

  • Lemon Meringue

    That is such a cute picture!

    I recognise my own daughter in what you tell about Stella. Mine (8) is still completely into her dolls, ever since she was little, and so are her girlfriends. Despíte the fact that she is a complete tomboy in every other way (you know, the ones you have to yell out of frightingly high trees and have a subscription to the first aid office in our local hospital because of the heavy duty outdoor games she plays). On the other hand, her big brother (10) when he was younger, used to play like that with his stuffed animals. And not just as playmates, but like a gentle caring father, putting them to bed etc. He is in every other way a ‘manly’ man, with toys and games of the like. But still …

    I think it’s part nature, part nurture. They copy you in a lot of things, bring in their own character and a bit of genes. Allthough in the case of our youngest boy (4) I might reconsider: he doesn’t even want to say the word ‘pink’ out loud because it is too ‘girly’. I guess in the prehistoric days he would be the one who single handedly brings in the baby mammoth!


    I have a little boy, but I will tell you he has a host of little girls that want to take care of him at school. If he pulls a shoe off, which you know toddlers love to do. They try to put it back on him and become all upset when he starts to cry.

  • JennySue Makeup

    I don’t know if it’s something EVERY female child is born with, but with my 19 month old daughter, the mom gene has definitely kicked in already!! I have 2 older boys, 4 and 6, who never once cared to give a doll or stuffed animal a bottle or hold it and love on it like a mom would their own child. My boys would’ve rather tossed a baby doll in the air like a football!

    My daughter will hold a baby doll correctly, give it a pretend bottle, try to diaper it, and give it kisses. Occasionally she’ll draw on it’s face with a crayons (I think she’s emulating my makeup artist skills though:)), but that’s out of love for wanting the baby to look “pretty!” Ha!!

    I know you’re a busy lady/mommy, but would love to hear your take on my recent post on what your blogging environment looks like, and how you pull it off during your crazy hectic schedule. Thanks Tori! You are a huge inspiration to this mom of 3 in Georgia.

  • Amy Woods

    I always knew at a young age that I wanted to have children. One of my sons since the age of 7 (now 9) has mentioned many times, “I want to save these toys for my kids.” He just absolutely knows he wants children at some point in his life. My youngest hasn’t really said much about it at this point, but I think, boy or girl that you know from a pretty young age whether or not you want children.

  • Ashley Elizabeth

    I think it has a lot to do with what the children are raised around. From the media to the imprint (or lack of imprint) left by a parent figure, everything around them will create an idea of how women are ‘supposed to be.’ I think that television & many things young girls see growing up is women being mothers. Think of how little girls will play ‘House’ or like myself, as an elementary schooler I coincided my 90210 viewing with Barbie play, recreating the scenes of a primetime drama series. Stuff like that certainly can make it feel like it is just ‘natural’ for little girls to want to be motherly when all of their toys are babydolls & that is just what they’re accustomed to in life.

    Of course, there is a diverse side where little girls do not have babydools, do not have positive parental figures, etc. & that is why I do not find it to be simply a natural trait, but rather a trait you grow into & develop.

    love ya
    atlanta ashley

  • Amy Dowell

    My daughter does the same thing with her babies. She spends all day making sure they are cared for and loved. It’s gratifying to know that in her own little way she understand what it is to be loved and to love. In a way I think it’s inherint for girls to be loving and nurturing, but I also see my son being caring in his own way. He doesn’t usually show his nurturing side to dolls or babies, but to his mommy and sister.

    Great topic!

  • Jean Varga

    My daughter is 7. I found a little list she wrote next to her bed of things she was going to do the next day. It looked something like this,

    1. Wake Up

    2. Eat breakfast

    3. Get dressed

    4. Put bears back to bed

    5. Get on bus

    I then began to notice she tucks her bears in before she goes to school and kisses them goodbye. It is the sweetest thing.

  • Kelly Wills

    I agree that it’s a bit nature and a bit nurture. My 21-month-old daughter just got her first baby for Easter, and she can’t stop tucking her in, feeding her, or putting her on the potty chair! All the things I do with my daughter!

    She was like that with her stuffed kitty, too, before she got her baby. I would hear her making crying noises, and when I’d ask her what was wrong, she’d inform me that it was Kitty who was crying, not her. Then she’d pick up Kitty and pat her on the back to make her feel better. So sweet!

  • Jennifer Marcus

    I really think it is how you are raised that gives you the instincts to be a parent. Getting training of any sort will make you a better parent. So playing with baby dolls as a child, whether your a boy or girl, must help somehow. I do feel it is just naturally in our nature to be Mommy’s, some just choose not to be. My daughter plays with dolls and soon when my son is able to play, he will have baby doll too.

  • Jessica Lowery

    I have no desire to be a Mom. However, I think the nurturing thing is very much a woman thing. I’ve noticed most men I know don’t really have it, at least not to the level that women do. I think their rationality takes over more than nurturing. I think with kids playing with their dolls, they’re probably just mimicking their own mom. My Mom was very much a nurturing caregiver and so I learned it from her. But I’ve gone on to be a nurse and am very giving to my loved ones.

  • LKm

    How about this for your theory: my 6 yr old daughter has never really cared for dolls, something I didn’t exactly push for my own selfish reasons (hate that girls get to play with vacuums, babies and washing machines, yet boys can play doctors, how’s that for defining our society). She only has maybe 3 dolls that people have given her and she never once played with them. She likes to sometimes change one doll’s outfits to match her dresses, but I think that’s more of a clothes thing than a doll thing. She always talks about getting married, especially since our recent 10th wedding anniversary, but when I ask or mention her having her own babies, she says she’s not having any because they’re too much trouble and they cry a lot. I know she’s really talking about 21 month old brother, but still, I think it’s an interesting statement. I have a feeling that one is going to stick. My 21 month old boy however ADORES babies and always want to hug and kiss them (real ones, at daycare) I haven’t seen him play with baby dolls yet, but i have a feeling he will. he loves cuddling stuffed animals and calls them “bebebaby.” If you ask me, he’ll be the nurturing one with the house full of kids and she’ll be the single, wild one who will live life to the fullest sans kids. I think there may be a stronger tendency for girls to do this on their own, but our social structures greatly influence that and the nurturing will come or not regardless of their gender. Or at least I hope so.

  • Kristie Visser

    I have 4 boys and I really think it’s in their personalities! My oldest was very nurturing, my 2nd and 3rd not so much, and my little one who’s just turned 2 sleeps with a little baby boy every night! He hasn’t had much experience now with having a younger sibling but he has been so gorgeous when we’ve been around other little babies…

  • Sharon Curtis

    Firstly I just love that photo you have shared of (and I am assuming here) Stella in the bath hugging her babydoll. So sweet. My children are 17 and 21 now however they both carried babies around. My son had a baby doll and a ‘dorothy the dinosaur’ which he used to insist on pushing around in a little stroller throughout the shopping centre. We got a lot of looks!LOL By the time my son was 4 however (and it was the same with my nephews who also had dolls and showed that nurturing side and pushed them around in prams) they then moved on to mimicking daddy and I believe it is just a natural progression of emotional maturity. My daughter played with dolls for much longer – up to the age of 10 – but also used to mimic her daddy in the garden but the instinct wasn’t as strong. It would be interesting to know if children with only daddy carers still have that strong instinct to hold a doll. So my take on this is that in those early years where the mother role is so strong up to the age of 4 both boys and girls copy what they are getting and receiving in their care from their mothers, then the boys change to cars and trucks etc and the girls continue on being nurturers. Having said that – my daughter is the least nurturing person now at 21 and my son has a much stronger instinct to nurture.

  • Silje

    Yes i think so :) Dont have a daughter but i was like that when i was a litel girl :)Have a boy and plays with the teddy bear.He give the teddy bear a blanket and pacifier. Thats so cute.:) LOve the pic of Stella :) LOve from Norway, have a nise Friday the 13 :)

  • Tiffany C.

    Oh my gosh, YES!! I think it is how God designed us. I mean, who else can conceive, carry a child in their body for 9 months and nurse it afterwards?? At least for me and my mom & sister that is so true. All I ever wanted to be “when I grew up” was a mommy. I grew up babysitting, worked as a nanny, taught bible school for toddlers, worked in the nursery, basically everything I could do to be near little ones. I went to college and all that, but it’s like I never had any real career goals other than to be a mom. I knew that I would work for a while until I had kids, but never had any desire to have a career path.

    So, now that my husband and I have been unsuccessfully ttc for 3 years now, (After waiting until he was finished with grad school, and had a good steady job, and we’d been married for “long enough”) it’s been such a blow to my ego and life plan. I’m trying to figure out why I have such a strong desire to have children and it’s maybe not possible after all. Not trying to be a downer here, but I think the PRIVILEGE of being a mom is so special, a lot of people unfortunately take it for granted, when some would (and do) give/try anything to be able to be a mom.

  • Betsy Manos

    Yes a really big yes! My 21/2yr old daughter takes her baby”lily” everywhere she goes. The doll has been her baby since she as a 1yr old. She does act like a little mommy!

  • Jeanne Tutt

    I really feel like it isn’t in everyone’s nature when they are born. I told my mom at a very young age (like 8) that I wasn’t going to have kids. It doesn’t mean I hate kids, I just didn’t want any myself. My body solidified that with all sorts of complications having to have a hysterectomy a few months after I turned 29. Now, that’s not to say I’m not nurturing to children etc. I love my 4 nieces to death and would give my life for theirs, but at the end of the day I can always give the kidlet back :)

    I have a neighbor that when they moved in said they were to be “kid free” as well. Not long after that we noticed she was pregnant. After the birh she had BAD post partum depression and you know that kid can feel that it wasn’t planned or wanted due to the way they are towards her etc.

    My sisters 2 daughters have had baby dolls since they were under 2 cuz they loved them. the now 10 year old is autistic and adhd but still loves dolls.

    I am thankful for those women that know they don’t want kids or wouldn’t be able to be the parent a child needs, sticks to their guns and takes measures to ensure that.

  • Meghann Wymer

    I recently had a very similar thought as I watched my two year old daughter play with one of her dolls. She was rocking her “baby”, rubbing her back, pretending to tuck her into bed. She does the same things with her five month old baby sister. It’s one of those moments I think I will always cherish.

  • Jackie C

    Yes!! When I was a kid I of course had my baby dolls but I played favorites, which I’m sure has scarred them for life. lol Anyway my favorite doll was my Cabbage Patch Kid named Derek. I brought Derek EVERYWHERE. I had a baby stroller for him and brought him to the grocery store where he fell out into a puddle. (Guess I wasn’t a great mom lol). No it got to the point though where my mom had to sew Derek’s arm back on, he had stains all over him, I just loved the hec out of that doll. It’s so funny how little girls just have that instinct in them. I remember going through ads for baby stuff with my friends and we would pick out the stroller, car seat, etc we would want for our kids.

    So anyway, I still have Derek. When I went to college my younger brother and his friends thought it would be fun to bash his head in. Boys will be boys I guess?? I FLIPPED out when I came home. Derek’s head was in pieces. A few years ago (I’m in my 30s now) my mom sent me Derek, she had glued his head back together and bought him a new outfit. He now sits in my closet with some other stuff from my childhood. I hope if I have kids one day to pass Derek along, but I’m sure they will want a baby that is not stained with a cracked head. lol

  • Pardon My Poppet – Joy Oo

    My 16 month old Poppet is very much a little Mummy. If she wakes before we do she will roll over and kiss us on the nose and smooth our hair. She is always “parenting” us!

    Warmest regards,



  • Suzanne Brown

    Yes! They even breastfeed their babies, though they hold them up to their bellybuttons not thier nipples…pricless 😉

  • Dee Carey

    I never played with baby dolls, I remeber my Grandmother commenting on it when I grew older and I never wanted children. So perhaps you can tell when children are very little if they are going to want children or not. It would be nice btw if families supported your decision either way.

  • Kimberly Purdue

    My 3 year old loves to play dolls and it is so funny and she just knows how to nurture them. She will tell me to be quiet because the baby is sleeping and I have to buckle her babies in the car when we leave so they can “be safe”

  • rashana Wells

    My Khloe just turned 2 and she is so cute to watch her hugging and kissing her dollies, putting them to bed, etc. Precious

  • Ashley Taylor

    I do think girls tend to have that instinct. My girls play family all the time! It is the cutest! :)


  • Kelly Bridgeman

    Stella the cute little bug that she is watches her mommy. She learns from you what mothers are supposed to be like. Having younger siblings helps in that as well. They learn what it is to love a “baby” by the way we love them. If Stella is a loving affectionate “mommy” to her dolls then she has a great role model in her own mommy. Liam is such a thoughful insightful person and that has come from his loving parents. Your kids take with them what you teach them, and so far you are doing a great job with your angels.

  • Calli Fritcher

    Tori, i know this is for mom’s and i’m only 14, but i decided to comment on it anyways. i definitly think all girls are born with the “mommy instincts” i have 4 nieces and nephews, and i’m suree you’ve noticed this before feeding your children, but like whenever you are feeding them like babyfood and you say “open your mouth” and as you put the spoonful of food in their mouth you find yourself opening your mouth. I asked my mom why i did this oneday and she told me it was my motherly instincts. i just lovee watching little kids interave with baby dolls and even their younger sibilings, i think it’s so cutee(: Just thought i’d share, my expeirence.(: