Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Worst Mother In the World?

Not me.

And I don't think Alicia, the mom who was on Dr. Phil yesterday, qualifies either.

She won't be making Best Mom Ever anytime soon but there are worse candidates out there.  She made headlines as the World's Worst Mom after her four children (all under 10) were found home alone while she was at work.  She explained that she didn't get a chance to talk to the babysitter, only to wave as she rushed off so she wouldn't be late.  The babysitter never went into the house and someone called the police to let them know the children were unattended.  Child Services confiscated the children and she was arrested and jailed.

This was a bad judgement call, no question about it.  But I don't think she deserved to be criminalized for it.  I'm betting a lot of single moms have made that call to get to work rather than chat to the sitter but most of them have been lucky enough to not get caught out.

Good for whoever notified the authorities that the children were alone.  They didn't wait, they didn't say it was none of their business.  They acted.  It would have been nice had they called the mother to let her know first but in a crunch, something had to be done.

I didn't get to see the whole episode but I felt really sorry for the poor woman.  It's horrible to realize how vulnerable you are to the goodwill and reliability of others.  People entrust their children to virtual strangers all the time: teachers, day care workers, babysitters.  When the relationship is new, they are still strangers and most of the time, you don't know what's happening when you're not there.

It's a frightening concept for today's paranoid parents (which includes me).  No matter how much we're told it takes a village to raise a child, we're also told to never trust anyone because anyone can be a predator.  Someone interested in helping you with your child is on the warning list for predator behaviour. 

Sometimes I wonder if the generation raised on stranger-danger will ever be able to accept the village concept.  Accepting that you have neither exclusive control nor omniscient knowledge when the current standards demand you have both.  It's a horrible situation to have put parents into.

"Trust no one" may have worked as the X-files motto but it doesn't work as a parenting strategy.

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