"Watch kids around water!!!"
I see this everywhere. Or maybe I don't see it everywhere, but when I do see it, I'm extra sensitive to it. It's as if it appears to me italicized, bolded, underlined, with three exclamation points.
Probably because when I see it, I'm reminded of that day and I feel like it's someone yelling at me, specifically.
Remember? Watch your kids! We don't want to have to tell you again!
It's warmer this year and the warmth came earlier than usual to some parts of the country. I've unfortunately already heard about near drownings and drownings, which are actually not weather specific but they do tend to increase during the warmer months for obvious reasons.
When I see these tragic stories online, I've ventured to the comments section and I'm reminded of what people think of mothers like me.
Why wasn't she watching her kid?!
She should be thrown in jail!
Where was his mother?!
She should burn in hell!
What kind of mother doesn't keep an eye on her toddler every second of the day?
What kind of MOTHER IS SHE?
And I've seen worse. It's not surprising, but it takes me back to that time. I used to be that person. The person that rationalized why it wouldn't happen to me and my child because I took precaution xyz so that would never happen to us. It's a coping mechanism and I get it.
But then it happened to me.
The comments don't sting so much for me anymore because I've dealt (am dealing) with my guilt. I'm totally stealing this from a good friend who said having her accident happen on her watch was a gift. I don't walk around with anger toward anyone else. I know exactly what happened, there is no question. And I have no one else to blame but myself. That is, ironically, a gift. It's manageable. It's something I have worked on.
"What kind of mother is she?!"
Well, let me tell you.
I take my oldest to football practice and my youngest to ISR so she'll know how to save herself should she fall into a pool (and she does know how to save herself). I exclusively breastfed all of my children and started them on their first solids - a banana - at around six months old. I covered all of the electrical outlets with plastic covers and the bottom cabinets are also baby proofed. I put my kids to sleep on their side or back without stuffed animals or blankets in the crib to avoid suffocation. I took all my babies to baby gymboree classes and stayed home with each one of them for at least some portion of their babyhood. I questioned vaccines, refusing to consent to the chicken pox vaccine twelve years ago.
I'm not trying to prove that I'm a good mother, but I'm trying to point out that I don't consider any of the above within the definition of neglect. I did everything other mothers do to take care of their babies. I don't take comments on random articles to heart so much for myself, but I do get protective of other moms. Moms just like me. Moms who love their children, but made a mistake. Maybe there was distraction involved, maybe miscommunication, whatever the cause, it is a far cry from neglect. And to reason away the fact that something like this could never happen to you negates that there are accidents in this world. You get comfortable with your surroundings thinking you know the layout and cause and effect at every turn in your own home. And then you're proven wrong.
The worst mistake you can make is to think an accident of great magnitude will never happen to you.
13 hours ago