February 28, 2013

Reality Check

A few nights ago Chris, Evie and I had supper with Chris' dad. After debating Italian, Mexican and Chinese we finally landed on IHOP. There's nothing better than breakfast for dinner and the food at our IHOP is outstanding. Once Evie heard pancakes there was no stopping her. She was hollering Supper! Cake cake! so off we went.

I felt very guilty feeding my kid pancakes soaked in strawberry syrup, eggs and bacon for dinner. I promised that the next night I'd make up for it with plenty of green veggies.

Later that night after Evie was in bed I ran up to the gas station. When I pulled up there was a scuffle going on. I went inside to pay and no sooner had I set foot in the door than another lady in the store said, "Oooh, there's a screaming match going on outside!".

The attendent went outside and told them to leave the property. They refused and screamed at her, so she came back in and called the cops. While we waited for the police (because there was no way I was walking back out to my car with that nonsense going on) she told us the full story.  

Apparently this couple pulled up to the gas station and started asking customers for money for gas. They were clearly inebriated. They'd been sitting there for an hour before I got there screaming at one another and asking for gas money. Just before I arrived another lady gave them some money for gas and told them to go on home. They continued to scream at each other, and that's when the attendant called the cops

Now, not that extrodinary of a story. It's typical small town drama.

There's one factor I left out though. There was an infant in the car. A baby, driven to the gas station by her drunk parents. A baby who sat in an unheated car for AN HOUR in the freezing cold listening to her parents scream at one another until the police arrived and arrested her mother for drunk and disorderly. Possibly they arrested her father too; I'm not sure I left shortly after the police arrived.

Now let that sink in for a minute. Did your heart just break a little too? I know mine did.

Here I was hours before feeling like a bad mom for feeding Evie pancakes for supper. My child was warm in her crib with seven or eight of her favorite lovies in bed with her. She was snuggled in her feetsie jammies and cuddled under her favorite wookie. She had a full belly from dinner, and loving parents who checked in on her twice before going to bed themselves.

So I stopped feeling guilty. This was a reality check.

This is the war we really need to be fighting. We don't need to be quibbling about breastfeeding, cloth daipering etc. We need to be fighting a war for the children who don't go to bed in a warm bed at night, who don't have full bellies and clean diapers and clothes.

I hope this is a reality check for you too. I refuse to feel guilty for any of my parenting choices because I know no matter what they are done with Evie's best interests in mind. I hope you refuse to feel guilty about any of your parenting choices too, because I am sure they are done with your children's best interests in mind.

So let's fight a new mommy war. Let's revolt against guilt and judgement for good loving mothers and start fighting for the children who don't know warmth and love. It's time we all had a reality check.