The Moral Obligation to Fellow Mothers
Nearly 4 years ago I was a first time mother. My newborn baby had the best car seat that money could buy, after all I wanted my baby to be safe. The problem was I DIDNT KNOW HOW TO USE IT. Sure you just lock it in to the base that only has to be tightened in and you just clip the clippy things around the baby and voila done. NO, JUST NO. I went on for about 3 months posting pictures to my Facebook account of my sleeping angel in her car seat with the chest clip down at her belly and the straps nearly hanging off of her shoulders. You want to know what I was thinking? Probably, "oh but her hat was so cute that day." Not one single person said a word to me, not one out of over 800 people that happen to view my photos. THAT IS NEGLIGENT!!!! I WAS NEGLIGENT!!!
Dear Fellow Mothers NEW and SEASONED,
You, yes you, have a moral obligation to share information with other people around you that may save a child's life. No you are not a sanctimommy. That is a term used by other mothers to deflect the responsibility they have to educate themselves on parenting, who cannot adequately defend their (shitty) parenting or come to terms with the fact that they're continuing unsafe practices, so they lash out. At you. The person trying to help. You are not perpetrating mommy wars; those don't even exist. It is a marketing campaign so skillfully dropped into society by formula companies targeting vulnerable mothers, because it helps their customers cope with choosing a less than means to feed their child. Think about it this way; you see a new mother with her child's car seat clipped into a shopping cart at target shopping her life away. You see the love she has for her children and her family but deep inside your stomach you know that the baby is in danger, you know car seats are not meant to be on top of shopping carts ever and that doing so can even damage the car seat making it unsafe to use properly in the car. You stand there debating if you should say something, if you do you are "sanctimommy" if you don't you are .... well what are you? Five minutes later you hear a crash and pray it isn't the car seat you had just seen on top of the shopping cart, but you peek around the corner and see it on the floor followed by a wailing baby and a frantic yet embarrassed mother collecting her child off of the floor. You, you could have prevented that, you could have saved that mother and child the pain and fright of what had just happened to them. Yes some mothers are too proud, stupid, or selfish, to take your well meaning advice and change their behaviors and actions. Some mothers honestly do not know these things. ME, it was ME I was that mother. Had my child been ejected out of her carseat because of my NEGLIGENCE I would have never ever forgiven myself. The love I have for my child is greater than my EGO. It always will be, and I believe that every good parent feels the same way too. Remember, if you know the dangers and implications of your actions and still do it, any negative results will not be an accident, they will be negligence.
Signed, ME (the previously negligent irresponsible parent)
I am ranting today. I know, and I am sorry for that. But I want to touch on the social media aspect of moral obligation and parenting. Today I saw a very well followed Instagram account post a photo of her newest baby's carseat on top of the shopping cart. I said something, nicely, but I said something. The comments from her followers were astounding. "The beauty of motherhood is that we all do it differently" well no honey, thats called darwinism. She acknowledged my comment, and the handful of similar comments to mine, and that was it. I raged inside. How can this person, who has a huge following of mothers, post a photo of a baby product being used not only incorrectly, but dangerously. Does she want to be responsible for a child cracking their skull into pieces in Target? I didn't think she would, so I said something again. I half nicely reminded her if her influence and urged her to remove her photo and acknowledge to her followers that what she did was unsafe. She refused. She declared that her decision was safe and that she was feeling attacked. Really? America? Someone tells you you are doing something dangerous and you get all butthurt? Target actually changed their shopping carts to discourage this practice and there are warnings on the cart like what the actual fuck? ISN'T YOUR CHILD THE PRIORITY NOT YOUR EGO? Please, if you post pictures on social media, please think about the new mothers who follow you and how your posted photos affect your viewers. I do. Every time I post. And in fact, I can speak from experience when I say I welcome the education and feedback. I posted a photo of Jagger in her car seat and the straps were loose. One of my followers pointed that out to me. I went over our carseat and realized that when I washed the padding and put the buckles back at 1am the prior evening, the strap was twisted in the back. Thank you random Instagram follower for HELPING ME KEEP MY PRECIOUS BABY SAFE! You aren't attacking me. You aren't a jerk. You are kind for taking a moment out of your day to help keep my child safe.