I would never do that.
Therefore YOU must be WRONG!
Not only are you WRONG, you are the worst kind of mother who should never, ever have ever been allowed to have children.
Or so it seems.
Whenever there is some news story, especially those ones where everyone freaks out, there’s always someone that will respond with an “I’d never do that!” and rant about how terribly, awfully wrong it is and how some people should never be allowed to have kids.
A woman allows – not leaves mind, but allows her kids to stay at a shopping centre on their own and rather than listening to their mother! they go to TimeZone or one of those really annoyingly loud places that mothers tend to avoid because it makes their left eye twitch, but don’t tell her.
She has a mild freak – because mothers worry! – and eventually all is resolved with no issue. The kids are found, looking somewhat sheepish and now grounded until they are 35.
She is, of course, touted as being neglectful, and why did she have kids if she’s just going to “dump” them and leave them to “fend for themselves”.
A mother allows – not forces mind, but allows – her boys to venture into the men’s public toilets for a wee. She stands outside the door, frantically pacing until they return, safe, happy, and with an empty bladder.
She, apparently, is subjecting her children to the risk of sexual abuse and is irresponsible. Not to mention “forcing” her children to grow up before they are ready.
Some mums, for all sorts of reasons, do such things as allow their children to walk the short distance home from school on their own; to cook the evening meal; to go and post a letter or walk up the street to buy bread or milk.
Some kids are allowed to catch the bus – that’s public transport – without adult supervision; or chat to their neighbours.
Some kids go to the local playground and do this incredibly amazing thing called “play”. Whilst they are there they’re doing this other incredible thing called “having fun”.
The point is, many people actually do consider it to be horrible, neglectful, irresponsible parenting. They also have no qualms in saying so.
For whatever reason and I am not particularly interested in hearing the justification of the reasons, because we ALL have our own quirks, fears, likes, dislikes and beliefs and they are all as valid as everyone else’s, effectively the logic is “I would never do that, so you must be wrong”.
“Wrong” may be substituted with those other words used; like irresponsible, neglectful, bad mother, et cetera
There’s no real issue, per se with “I would never do that” or even “I could never do that”, so long as you’re owning it. They issue is when the parent who does choose to do it is being judged based on your view of what is right and wrong.
Look, when the behaviour affects the wellbeing of others in a negative way, like kids running through a restaurant, screaming, or even throwing rocks at ducks or something, then, yeah, it’s probably not a great thing.
If the kid is learning important skills, having fun, and not putting themselves or anyone at risk of harm or significant inconvenience, disruption or anything like that, then that’s when the problem of stating another parent is wrong is, well, wrong.
Everyone will have their reasons for allowing their kids to do, or not do, certain things.
Each of those reasons is pretty well valid and acceptable.
They are, however, subjective and owned by the person who holds them. Which is cool in itself. It’s when they are forced upon others in such a way that is effectively bullying that is the issue.
It’s the words “never” and “ever” that make me quietly giggle to myself. The more vehement the “never” from the mouth of a person, the more likely it is they will be thrust into a circumstance which is very much beyond their control that places them in a position where the “never” becomes a necessity.
Subsequently, which is no giggling matter, the necessity causes a piling on of excessive guilt, over-justification of the action taken, and a bunch of mums who have to eat their not very nice words. They stuff them down, and seethe, churning up on the inside.
All because they said “never” and made the very strong implication, or outright statement, that they would “never do that, and you are wrong for doing it”.
I could go all “be nice to your fellow mums and dads” because that hasn’t been stated enough times over the last thousand or so years.
Personally, I’m more a fan of “Never say Never” …