Tuesday, May 31, 2016

In the Blink of an Eye: Are You a Perfect Parent?

If you've been in the internet at all since Saturday, then you've probably seen a story or two (or hundred) about how Harambe the gorilla had to be put down by the Cincinnati Zoo so they could rescue a 4 year old boy who had fallen into the gorilla's enclosure.

You've probably also seen how the parents of the little boy are being violently ripped apart on the internet.  I was going to share some of the comments being made about the family, but I can't.  They're just too awful.  Phrases like stupid kid, worst parents ever, neglectful, and things too harsh to be printed here are being thrown at the family.  People are calling for prosecution of the parents and for CPS to get involved.

Before we go any further, I want to tell you a few experiences my sister and I have had as parents.

When Davy was an infant and Anna was around 18 months old, I took them to the store because we were out of milk.  I had the infant carrier and diaper bag on one arm and was trying to grab Anna's hand so we could walk into the store when she bolted out into the street in the path of a oncoming car.  Thankfully, the car stopped in time.

While home alone with the kids, I went to use the bathroom.  When I came out, less than 2 minutes later, Nano and Anna had dumped a whole can of very expensive powdered Alimentum formula all over the shag carpet and were spreading it all over.  Sidenote: do you have any idea how sticky formula is?

When my sister was walking to my house a few months ago, her 3 year old daughter was walking right next to her on the sidewalk on the side farthest from the road.  Her 8 year old son asked her a question, and while she was answering him, she realized that a semi was slowing down on the road next to her and her 2 year old was standing on the edge of the road.  

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/110690103320268628/The point of these stories is that no matter how careful and vigilant we are as parents, things happen.

Kids move fast, and they don't have the self-preservation skills to avoid dangerous situations.  They are curious and energetic, and they can get in trouble in the blink of an eye.  The best parents cannot have their eyes on their child 24/7, and they shouldn't.  Kids need room to explore and grow without parents hovering over them, policing everything they do.  

So many people are jumping to conclusions about what happened that day at the zoo, but the only ones who can truly comment on it are the ones who were there, such as Deirdre Lykins.  You can read her account of the incident here.

Instead of insults and condemnations, that little boy's mom needs a hug.  Seriously.  She stood by helpless and unable to do anything while her precious little boy was in danger.  The trauma of that and then the virtual public flogging...I can't even imagine what she's going through.  I'm just so thankful that her son is going to be okay.
Anyway, I'm going to just go ahead and say this...



Stop the parent shaming! We're all doing the best we can. 

Yes, there are definitely instances of abuse and neglect, but for the most part, we're all just trying to do the best we can.  We're human, and we make mistakes

Instead of passing judgment on each other as parents, let's give each other a little grace.  Lend a helping hand and let other parents know that they're doing a great job.  No matter how much we try to pretend we're perfect, we've all screwed up at some point.

This post from Busy Mommy Media really struck a chord with me.  In her post, she says "It is not a good feeling to have your worth as a mother judged by one mistake," and I couldn't agree more. 
How do you feel about the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo?

This post is linked up at: 1. Cornerstone Confessions 2. Rich Faith Rising 3. Sweet Little Ones Blog 4. A Bountiful Love 5. Coffee Shop Conversations 6. Olives N Okra 7. Coffee With Us 3