By now you have probably seen the video of the two year old who pushed a fallen dresser off his trapped twin. It has been on all the news channels and the video has gone viral. It is amazing to watch and the video is below if you’ve been in a dark hole the past few days. The obvious take home is secure your furniture to the wall and baby proof your house. Baby proofing companies everywhere are rejoicing this incident was caught on camera, as parents of young children are rushing out to ensure this doesn’t happen to them.
My takeaway is a little different. As many times as I have seen the video, which is both horrifying and awesome, I have seen a clip of the boys’ mom saying, “I felt like the worst mom.” It forces me to wonder why the heck are moms so guilty all the time. I guarantee the dad felt really badly it happened, I am sure he was scared and relieved, but I would be willing to bet he did not feel like the worst father.
Recently, a friend of mine left her 3 year old under the care of her husband for a short time. The little girl woke from a nap, cried, couldn’t find her mom or anyone on the first floor of the house, walked out the front door, and stood on their lawn crying. She was so scared she wet herself. A neighbor found her and brought her to her father who was doing work in the back of the house. He is a great guy and a great father, and he felt badly for his daughter. He did not feel guilty at all. My friend, the mother who was NOT home at the time, had so much guilt I had to talk her off a ledge. What is wrong with us? When accidents happen, as they will, do we blame ourselves because we think we could have stopped it? Do we have a God complex, believing we can actually protect our children at every moment? How can we have guilt over things we cannot be expected to control.
Studies show woman experience guilt much more frequently and strongly than men. It starts early in life and continues. The difference between the sexes is seen most prominently in the 40-50 year old age range. Guilt increases stress, can lead to depression, can weaken the immune system and influence poor decision making. It is one of, if not the most useless emotion, and yet as women and mothers, we let it possess us. Perfect parents of course took to social media, blaming the parents, I am sure crushing a mom who is already punishing herself.
ENOUGH! We need to support one another, and build each other up. We are all good mothers and we are doing our best. To the mom un Utah with the twins and the unattached dresser: You are a great mom. Thank you for sharing your story. I have five kids including twin boys, I’m a doctor, I’ve moved several times, probably purchased dozens of large furniture pieces in my adult life, and I have never once anchored one to the wall. We have got to start letting go of the blame.
“Feel no guilt. Getting married and giving birth does not mean that you have sold your life away to perfectly healthy people who can get their own damn socks.” ― Jennifer Crusie