Have you heard about Nebraska's safe haven law? Parents have been leaving children as old as 17 in designated safe havens because they no longer felt capable of raising them.
The law was intended to protect infants, but they're now having to call a special session because the law as written did not specify an age.
We mommy bloggers can joke, or even write seriously sometimes, about how much our children can drive us crazy, but this whole thing begs the question: where is our support?
I've talked about this in terms of educating our children, but it also needs to be dealt with in broader terms.
I know someone who felt much like the mother in the article above did. The mother in the article states, “I ran out of fight. I ran out of hope.” I know someone who knows exactly how she feels.
The mother I knew looked for resources. She thought about one of those boot camps, but that's when the stories started coming out about children dying there, so that was a no go (not to mention, she couldn't afford it). When her son was arrested, she hoped that the juvenile court system would have resources available that could help. Instead, he just met more hardened criminals, and even seemed to prefer life behind bars where nothing was expected of him. She took away his freedoms - took away every luxury item he owned. She took him to counselors - there was nothing they could do for him.
All parents could use a little help now and then. Why do you think a show like Supernanny is so successful? Because we see that so many parents feel as lost as we can sometimes. Most of us are horrified by the parents' and the children's behavior, but on some level, we can relate to feeling like we just can't do this anymore.
Now, of course, I would never abandon my children. Of course, I would never attempt to drive to Nebraska before they change the law. But I also have to honestly admit that there are times that I think, "wow. I have no clue what I'm doing, and I can't do this anymore." There are times when I have looked for courses in parenting - and found that they're usually only available by court mandate.
Sure, there are 1,000 books I could read, but none of them speak directly to my children and me, specifically, as a mom.
I do go back to therapy once in a while, mainly for the sole purpose of having an expert help me. But I know that's not available for everyone.
It's so easy to place the blame on parents - and usually deserved - when children go wrong. But should the child really suffer for the parent's ignorance? Shouldn't there be somebody there to say, hey, here's another way to handle this.
It usually only happens in the cases of severe abuse. But what about simply screwing up?
No, I don't think we should mandate it. No, I don't want our government raising our children.
But I would like to see more support out there available for parents. And I think that what's happening in Nebraska is an indication that more of us feel desperate more often than what we'd like our neighbors, family, friends, and yes even readers, to think.
People like to make fun of Desperate Housewives, and I wish it would go back to what was originally great about it. My favorite moment - ever - from that show was when Felicity Huffman's character was down in that field, crying, and telling her friends she had no idea what she was doing as a mom. Her friends all comforted her, and relayed their biggest fears and moments of inadequacy. She looked at them (I'll never forget this), and said (and I'm paraphrasing of course), "why didn't you tell me these things? We should tell each other this stuff!"
We should, but we don't. It takes us a long, long time to feel comfortable enough that our friends won't judge us as terrible parents. Luckily, I have Kori now - and others - that I can be that honest.
And, btw, if any of you want to email me your deepest fears, I'm here without judgment. In fact, I defy you to confess an emotion that I haven't felt as a parent!
But I know this isn't the norm.
I do think that mommy blogging is opening that door for us, though. I think that the longer we blog, and the more supportive comments we receive, the braver we get to confessing our downfalls, our missteps, and then we can all breath a deep sigh of relief..."yes! She's felt that, too!" Such power in knowing we're not alone.
Not all (or sometimes any) of us will have all the answers, but the greater we build this community, and the more open and honest (withOUT JUDGMENT) we are to sharing, just think of all the great things we can learn, and how much stronger our families, and our children can be!
But alas, looks like we'll not be able to threaten that trip to Nebraska much longer!