17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Overwhelmed

Did you see Oprah today?

Well, if you aren't an Oprah fan, you have to read about the episode anyway. My heart broke for this mother and her family. There were tears in my eyes for the poor little girl who lost her life. What a tragic story. I did feel grateful that this mother chose to share her story.  It reminded me to slow down and take inventory of my life. To try to live in the moment with my children. That every moment with them is a gift.  It was also comforting to hear the stories of other women who oftentimes feel overwhelmed with motherhood, trying to "have it all" - whatever that means. It reminded me of the importance of being whole for myself and my family, and that "me time" needs to be a priority, so that I can be present for myself, my husband, and children. I thought it was an interesting point that there is no such thing as multi-tasking.  That as women we think that we are trying to get all these things done at the same time, when in reality that is impossible. I think the overall message of the episode was to just slow down.

I am in by no means a "perfect" mother and I have had my share of close calls.  Living in an apartment building with an infant and two-year-old has its challenges. Just the other day a girlfriend and I were discussing the how-tos of getting your kids, groceries, laundry, diaper bag, and library books (or what have you) from the car into the apartment.  It seems like a recipe for disaster, but somehow we get it done and have done so safely thus far.  But I can't take for granted the safety of my children.  I don't think any mother does necessarily, but it is easy to forget how quickly life can change and turn a normal day into tragedy. This woman's story is a reminder of that.  

One reason I love this blog is that it is an opportunity for women to support each other in our journey through motherhood.  No matter your circumstance there always seems to be someone out there who relates to your story.  Did anyone else see this episode or read the article?  Any thoughts?  Did it make you reevaluate your priorities or how you spend your day?  I know it made me hug my kids a little tighter today.



15 Comments:

  • just finished watching, and I would totally do that. I mean, fortunately the worst I have done in that particular arena is forgotten to strap one of my two children in their seat, this happened for several months after I had the second one. I also had a hard time remembering to keep track of two while I was out. But man, especially now with my altered brain, I could have EASILY done that...what a sad tale, I am surprised if anyone can NOT relate to her.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 10/01/2008 05:44:00 PM  



  • I'm not going to lie... I have a hard time relating to this mom... maybe because I only have one child. Who knows, it could change when there are more of them! But at this point in time, I cannot for the life of me imagine leaving my daughter in the car... forgetting that she is even there!! I'm very sad for this mom... what a horrible thing to have to live with.

    -C
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10/01/2008 08:10:00 PM  



  • I can't relate to the first mom, though my heart breaks for her. The other mom whose child was choking with the cord from the monitor? We're at a point with my 8 month old where she doesn't want to sleep and all I want is a break. I think tomorrow I'm doing a double check around her crib.

    For the past week, as life settles down after moving, I have been spending more and more time playing on the floor with my daughter. Despite the lack of sleep and the dirty house, I have been happier this week than I have been in awhile. Playing with her and talking with her and seeing her grow and learn and be happy - That's what makes my day.
    posted by Blogger Erin Marie at 10/01/2008 08:49:00 PM  



  • Erin Marie - I totally agree with your last paragraph. When I am plugged in with my kids I am really happy. Sometimes I get into this detached world when I'm home with them... this pull between "my" world and "their" world, and not necessarily seeing it as ours (if that makes sense.

    I do think what this family has lived thru is an absolute nightmare. I don't want to even imagine... I can see how it is difficult to relate to her. "I would never" is so easy to say. But I have to agree with Kage that on some level I do relate to her.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 10/01/2008 09:29:00 PM  



  • Actually, I can't relate to this mom. Knock on wood, but I've never been this careless with my kids. And there have been plenty of times where I was frazzled, didn't get enough sleep and had A LOT on my mind. I'm sorry, but to forget your own child is in the car with you? I just can't imagine doing that...

    But I really feel for this mom and appreciate the ugly pain she felt/feels. What an awful burden to carry...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 10/01/2008 10:17:00 PM  



  • I remember hearing about this when it happened--a little over a year ago I think? It's interesting to see where the family is now--I mean how, for instance, forgiveness plays into the whole thing. That would be a hard thing to deal with as a co-parent/spouse. I'm very interested in that dynamic. I don't know what I would do or what my husband would do if either of us were in that husband's situation.

    I can't relate specifically because I am a SAHM and only have one child (for the next week or two anyway). But, being a bit of a scatterbrain myself under the best of circumstances, I completely see how it happened. She wasn't used to dropping the child off in the first place, and because she worked all day she wasn't used to having the child with her. Those are two huge things. And she did the extra errand in between.

    Not to say that this is something that could only happen to a mom who works outside the home, or that that is to blame, because it's not. It's being overwhelmed, too much else on her mind. There's no way she would have done that in her right mind. We all do things to which we say later, "Phew, I got lucky on that one."

    Also, you don't have to be _that_ negligent to put a child in danger. Things like backing up in the car, blind cords, open windows, or even a daring child with access to a stepladder or chair, or who's recently learned how to open doors, can all turn into tragedies. Speaking of overwhelming, I feel overwhelmed sometimes when I think of all the dangers that could be awaiting my child if I turn my back for 2 seconds. All I can do is try to get the rest I need, try to be a little more Zen about my life in general (not get too stressed out), try to be a little more in tune with the Holy Ghost.

    And lastly, keep an open heart so that if forgiveness of that husband's magnitude is ever necessary, it won't be completely out of my reach.
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 10/02/2008 07:10:00 AM  



  • eliza has a really good point --you don't have to be *that* negligent to put a child in harm's way; it's tragically easy sometimes.

    A friend of ours accidentally backed over his daughter (she had darted out behind the car at the last possible second) and the forgiveness and love that he and his wife had for each other (see, the daughter was outside tending the flower beds with her mother; but he was the one driving, etc.) was amazing.

    But they also had the Gospel of Jesus Christ, an eternal family, and a perspective that usually transcends tragedy.

    When I read about this yesterday, the one thought that kept replaying in my mind over and over and over were Prayer and Faith. I think it's because without prayer and without faith, I don't think most mothers could get through the day. For women all over the world, regardless of their religion, I really think this resonates: A sense of divine help and hope that we'll get through this, our kids will turn out okay (physically, emotionally, mentally), our mistakes can be rectified, and we can be happy.

    Such a sad story. So sad. I cannot even begin to imagine her grief. I have forgotten my kids at school before; or to take them somewhere --how far removed from something tragic like this is it really?
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 10/02/2008 11:18:00 AM  



  • I am in the "can relate" category here. I know when I have a ton going on my mind is all over the place.

    I didn't see this Oprah so I don't know the exact situation, but I know that in similar situations around here, the parent is usually prosecuted and end up serving some time.

    I never get that. Don't you think their personal hell is punishment enough? I just don't know how I could go on...but I hope that those who have gone this find some peace.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 10/02/2008 11:45:00 AM  



  • I think it's wonderful that people are continuing to evaluate their lifestyle after watching this show, it's so important that we don't overlook the 'mundane', 'routine', or 'normal' things in life just because we're in a hurry, or multi-tasking, or whatever it may be. I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my head while watching the show was "Wow, I would never do this". But after thinking about it, this is SO something I would do. I think all of us mothers like to think that we love our kids SO much that we would never get in too big of a hurry, or too stressed out, to forget about them. But in reality...isn't that how most tragedies happen? Something is overlooked and someone pays the price for it. I don't think any of us are 100% capable of being immune to tragedy, or mistakes, or accidents...in whatever case.
    I also was interested in the husband-wife dynamic going on in the story. It got me thinking...Could I forgive my husband if something like this happened to our family? I honestly don't know if I could. I think the forgiveness and grace demonstrated by both parents was astonishing. All in all, I have done my share of negligent things. Thankfully, they have all been virtually harmless and there have been no consequences involved. Unfortunately, though, I don't think any of us are beyond the possibility of a tragic accident. Sad and scary, but true.
    posted by Blogger Evie Parks at 10/02/2008 12:48:00 PM  



  • As a (brand) new mom, this episode made my physically sick to my stomach. Mostly because I am--was--guilty of so much multitasking that it resulted in never really getting anything done, and often unintentionally acting dangerously. I actually blogged about this very thing recently. I now daily have to remind myself to sloooow down...it's hard, but I have a daily reminder from my beautiful son.
    posted by Blogger HHRose at 10/02/2008 08:56:00 PM  



  • I'm a mom of four from age 10 to 6 months. They go to three different schools. So now I'm used to sometimes having one, having two, having three, having all four kids with me in the car, at the store, or at home.
    I got in the shower yesterday at about 2:00 pm and I suddenly couldn't remember where my baby was. It was so scary. I knew I had gotten in the shower and I couldn't remember him being around either upstairs or downstairs. When had I seen him last? What if I had left him somewhere? The gym? Preschool pickup? It was a horrible, frightening feeling for those few seconds trapped naked and wet in the shower. Where was my baby? I finally remembered that he was asleep in his crib.
    (I'm lucky to have a garage because I didn't stress out about whether I'd left him in the car).
    He has only recently started a napping schedule (with all the coming and going I had to get it figured out) and he takes a longish afternoon nap. So I had put him down around 12:30 and then did some housework and relaxed and did stuff on the computer (my four year old was entertaining herself) and then I headed to the shower.
    I am a really good mom, but how can I possibly be thinking about each of my children and what they are doing every second of the day?
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10/02/2008 10:52:00 PM  



  • The problem with the show (I read the article write-up) is that it tells you that if moms just slow down then no bad things will happen. We are still placing the blame on the mothers if an accident happens. This puts even more pressure on us.
    Moms can't prevent every bad thing from happening! Life happens. And sometimes we drive to the store and get hit by a truck. We shouldn't tell ourselves that we shouldn't have gone to the grocery store that day. We can't stop living and we can't stop accidents from happening even if we are extra diligent all day everyday.
    Everytime a child dies we want to hear the story so we can blame the parent (or someone else).....it is our society's way of taking control of the situation that is beyond our control....death or harm to our children. We blame the parent "He should have been watching his son more closely" "I can't believe that mother would really let her child walk home from school alone at that age" "There is no way I wouldn't know that my child could open the front door and walk out" "She should check to see if the friend's yard is fully fenced before letting her child play there."
    As long as we make it someone's fault we can prevent it from happening to our child. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
    Please, please don't blame other mothers and fathers for accidents. We are making this problem worse for ourselves.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10/02/2008 11:12:00 PM  



  • Anon - I actually got a different feeling from the episode. I felt like there was a lot of support for this mother from the audience/viewers at home. It seemed like even though her particular situation seemed "extreme", that mothers really related to her because of what people like Cheryl and Eliza said -you don't have to be "that" negligent to put a child in harms way. That being said, I do think there are a lot of people out there who blamed this mother or would blame other mothers in situations similar to this. I just felt like the Oprah episode in general was coming from more of a supportive angle. And I don't think that any of us would think that simply slowing down would keeps bad things from happening. I just think it's important as mothers to do what we need to do to insure that we have our wits about us when we are taking care of our kids. Slowing down is part of that.
    posted by Blogger beth at 10/03/2008 09:48:00 PM  



  • All my mother's friends say this is completely possible from even the best of moms. All my new moms say, 'I can't imagine...I would never do this.'

    I tend to side with the older moms. I think all of us could easily forget our children, and I don't think there is anything to forgive (although I'm sure many people would have a hard time forgiving). It is a human mistake. We all make them. On occasion the results are disasterous. That is life.
    posted by Anonymous Tally Girl at 10/03/2008 10:29:00 PM  



  • Overwhelmed is the perfect word to descirbe my feelings after reading about, hearing about or watching stories like these. I have been feeling lately like even if tragedies don't occur in my family I still feel like life is moving by too fast and I don't want to take a single moment for granted.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 10/07/2008 02:17:00 PM  



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home