Never judge a book by its cover and never judge another person until you’ve walked in their shoes. We can all be self-righteous and feel that our way is the only way, the best way to handle life. Unfortunately, every situation is different, every family is different, every child is different, with dynamics that many of us have never imagined possible. Unfortunately, I have always been one of those individuals quick to pass judgment on other parents, especially moms. Moms always seem to hold the true weight of my judgment. After all, the mother should be protective, the mother should sacrifice for the health and well-being of her child(s).
This week, I saw two news stories that have hit me hard. The first was about the mother who covered her children with a blanket, high-tailed it into the family basement and basically laid down on top of her children as the horrific tornadoes ripped through their neighbor. Their entire brick house was completely demolished (I always thought brick could withstand so much) and ripped from its foundation. This mother saved the lives of her children but ended up losing a portion of her leg and foot in the process. Her children came out physically unscathed. I was moved to tears watching the news story, but I was bit upset about her being dubbed a “hero” for this act.
A mother is a “hero” every single day of her child’s life. In my not so humble opinion, this mother did what was to be expected as a mother. If she had not of sacrificed herself for her children, I would have judged her for this. Children are innocent and unable in a lot of cases to protect themselves. They deserve a chance and a mother helps to make that chance more precious. It reminds me of the days when my brother was suffering through leukemia. My mother sacrificed every part of her life to take care of my brother. Her world revolved around him and what he needed to continue to maintain some semblance of a normal life, and yet so many people, mothers included, uttered the following words: “How do you do it?” Are you kidding me? What else was she supposed to do? Let her son suffer through this debilitating disease on his own? No way! Her job as a mother was to try to give him a chance at a life. There were still bills to pay, a house to maintain, a job to do, but as a mother you find a way to do it.
I get a lot of my personality from my mother, something that I never thought I would say I was so grateful for. I’m overprotective, I worry a lot, and I want to sacrifice every part of myself for Davey. I want so much more for him and my love keeps growing bigger and bigger. It’s a love and a devotion I’ve never experienced in my life. I find myself waking at night, especially if I’ve been sleeping deeply, and rushing into his room to check on him. I’ll hover over him, my shadow casting an ominous figure over him as I watch for the signs of his breathing. If I find that I can’t see his chest or side or stomach or something moving, I’ll touch his face to make sure it’s warm, even at times putting my finger just under his nose to feel his breathing. During the day, I don’t leave the room when he’s playing, he’s constantly in my view, so I can’t understand how this next news story could happen.
A three-year old was suffering from what was assumed as the stomach flu. She wouldn’t eat and was vomiting. The mother claims her instincts kicked in and she knew something was wrong and she immediately took her daughter into the doctor. I would question why her instincts didn’t kick in sooner. At this point, they found that the little girl had swallowed 37 little bead type magnets that her parents had kept on the refrigerator. The mother claimed that you can’t judge her or her husband because they can’t always watch their child, but that they were overprotective. Not overprotective enough in my opinion, but I’m trying not to judge as I’m not exactly in their shoes. A couple of things…why were these magnets on the refrigerator within the little girl’s reach and how did she manage to swallow 37 of these without the parents hearing her cough or choke?
Part of being a mother and a parent is that you have to work hard at it. You can’t allow yourself to be distracted, never let your guard down and always assume that if it is an impossible feat, your child will find a way to conquer it. You have to always keep a watchful eye on your kids. When I’m writing, Davey is sitting right in front of me in my range of sight so that I can be aware of something bad he may get himself into. Even when he’s napping, I have the baby monitor on, and yet I still don’t trust it. I find myself going upstairs every few minutes to check on him. Overprotective? Maybe. Sacrificing my life? You betcha. Regrets about it? NOPE! It’s my job as a mother, and I’m guilty as charged by all the more laid back moms out there.