When my daughter was 5, we lost her at Universal Studios Hollywood for about 4 minutes. It was maybe the scariest 4 minutes of my life. We were walking to sit down at lunch, the four kids were following me—and for whatever reason—she didn't stop at the lunch table with us. The kids all sat down, and all of a sudden, I was down a child. I wasn't being inattentive. I wasn't being neglectful. My child simply wandered off, because like most children, she got easily distracted and didn't stay focused on the task at hand. At this moment, the task at hand was following me and her siblings to the lunch table. My heart dropped to the pit of stomach; my fight or flight mode kicked it. And yeah, I panicked for a moment before I set out to find her. Fortunately, she had just kept walking, and it was only a few moments later a staff member saw her by herself and stopped her. She was a panicked I was. She knew she had been separated. Fortunately, it was a happy reunion and only a few short minutes from the time of separation to the time of reuniting.
I'm certainly no helicopter parent, but I'm pretty attentive. I also have four kids, so there's that. No matter how attentive I want to be, no matter how often I count “1-2-3-4” to make sure I have everyone accounted for, someone is bound to run off. Someone is bound to go do their own thing. Someone is bound to be a curious child.
I'm not perfect, but I sure try. These are my babies and they mean the world to me. I'm also not a judgmental witch.
Yes, a gorilla died this week. It's tragic. No one wanted the gorilla to die; it wasn't the gorilla's fault. But it wasn't the mom's fault, either. And have you seen the enclosure? I'd be nervous taking a small child there.
If you even for a second try to tell me that you are the world's most perfect parent, that you have never lost sight of your child for even a hot second at a playground, at a grocery store, at a zoo, at a theme park, never needed a trip to the ER, I'm pretty sure you're a liar. Yep, I call BS. And if for some reason you actually have multiple kids, and by some miracle you have never lost sight of your child for even a split second, consider yourself lucky and consider it a miracle, because kids are slippery and curious and lightning fast.
The mob mentality, the judgment, the sanctimonious and self-righteous behavior, the inhumanity of what some mothers have said about this mother makes me want to throw up. And the fact that some of these people are my so-called “friends” have behaved like this? Just no. I can't even. I lost my kid at a theme park once for about 4 minutes because she wandered off while we were walking to lunch. While she didn't climb into a gorilla pit, I don't believe it makes me a neglectful parent, either. The way these witch hunters carry on, I should have been lynched and had CPS take my kids away. What happened to supporting one another? What happened to lifting each other up? What happened to the village?
It's a disgrace the way people, women and mothers in particular, jump on a social media bandwagon and vacuum platform to judge one and other. We weren't there. And even if we were, have a little compassion. Because there were people who were there, at it was terrible and shocking. The incident was HORRIFIC. Every single person who commented about how the mother should have the same fate as Harambe needs to CHECK THEMSELVES and go to sleep tonight praying that their kid never wanders off because Karma is a b*tch. You never know when I child will do something unexpected—or maybe it is expected because they are a child.
And what about children who have special needs? I have one with sensory issues and mild spectrum disorder. She tends to be a runner. Legit, she runs when she's feeling threatened, and sometimes she runs and hides. She's often a big fan of hiding under tables, too. Fortunately, it's never been in a place where it really mattered or has been concerning; it is always somewhere that we can see her. But what if it happens to be in a situation someday that becomes dangerous? Is the internet mob going to deem that I should be shot because my child makes a split second decision that endangers an animal? Most likely based on the atrocious comments I've seen this week.
It's not to say that we can't all make different parenting decisions. There are no guidebooks for parenting. It's something you learn as you go along. Believe me, I'm personally a fan of natural consequences. I've had plenty of days where I've made parenting decisions like letting my child go to school—GASP—without a jacket because they'll be cold and they won't make that decision again. We've all been there.
But what I do know is that parents and moms need to support one another and lift each other up. We need to be less judgy, and especially be less judgy over things we know absolutely nothing about, things that don't matter to us, and things that are none of our damn business. Be kind. Maybe if we spent more time worrying about ourselves and our own lives and less time signing petitions to have children taken away from complete strangers the world would be a kinder, better place.