The Potions Master

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Last year, I started a new project.  Quite by accident, I assure you.  I was suffering with pneumonia and a friend suggested I try to use some essential oils to support my immune and respiratory system.  I was no stranger to the medicinal benefits of plants.  I’d studied how to brew medicinal teas back in the day while fantasizing about a life filled of herbs and brews and helping people like the town healer/wise woman, so I figured oils were just a natural progression using the same, basic skills. I had been looking into it for nearly a year at that point, and, being super crazy sick, I was willing to try anything to help me get well.  Out of necessity, I was ready to take the leap with the company I felt was most closely aligned to my personal beliefs and needs.  I purchased a membership and a kit with ten oils.  I also purchased a diffusor.

When the pneumonia finally subsided and I was ready to get back to my daily activities, I began sharing my story with friends and family.  I was learning to use these tools for all sorts of issues. I learned how to blend, apply and administer them which gave me a spectacular feeling of being that wise woman potions master I’d always wanted to be!  I also began to share them with people who needed them and as I did that, people around me began to take notice.  Eventually I decided I could “officially” offer what I knew to people, but only if they asked…

Now, I am what they call a Wellness Advocate (even though I do prefer Potions Master) for this company and I use my tools to help my own family, as well as others to find care options that work for their own families.

I did not come into this business by choice, but it suited me to a T.  Meaning, I didn’t say, “I’m signing up with the intention of building a business!” I said, “let me try some for me and the family… and no, I’m not really interested in doing the business side.”  The thing is, when something works, people take notice.  I’ve never had to host a class or convince someone to try them.  All I had to do was, when people asked, tell them a little bit about how I use them:

When I use the ones for anxiety, focus and attention, my son with Autism and ADHD is able to sit and attend for much longer.  When I use the ones for histamine response, my daughter’s seasonal allergies and reactions to things that give her hives are never nearly as challenging.  When my husband (who works on the road) uses the blend to support immune system, he doesn’t get as sick as often and when we use another specific blend, even if we do get sick, the time in which we STAY sick is greatly reduced.  In essence, I can be the master of my own fate and no longer have to give it entirely (but will still go when necessary) over to someone in a lab coat after paying $40 for a co-pay to see them for 10 minutes.  It’s not magic, it’s science – but it sure feels like advanced potions up in here!

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Okay, okay, so I can’t bottle fame, brew glory or put a stopper in death, but I CAN make my own anti-bacterial soap, cleaning products, scented candles, immunity support, emergency first aid kit supplies, cold and flu aids, singer’s relief spray, hair products, tension relief, things that help calm my migraines, ease anxiety, even my insomnia, my son’s bad dreams and growing pains and so much more I haven’t even gotten to yet!  I can utilize all the knowledge I already had in herbalism and medicinal teas and apply it all directly to this study and application of essential oils – all without having to grow, pick, dry, distill and make my own!!  Now, it’s not that I don’t love the DIY concept of herbs, serums and teas, believe me I do- I still have an herb garden and I still make teas.  But man oh man, with small children and absolutely no extra time… oils provide me the freedom and the security of a safe, reliable product to safeguard and support myself and my family while on a time limit AND a budget.  And that, my dear friends… truly IS magical!

So, now that you know, I know you have questions.  Let’s cover a few.

How can I be sure they are safe?  I’ll tell you, it was not easy finding a company I trusted.  I spent over a year researching and comparing before I chose the one I felt was the right fit for my needs.  I considered sourcing, distillation process, sustainability, altruism, cost per drop, reliability of product and scientific transparency.  The oils I purchase come from a company who provides 100% transparency in their product and their manufacturing process, as well as the science that goes into ensuring the quality and accuracy of claims.  Most oils offered, unless the plant itself is dangerous for consumption, can be taken internally.  Meaning, if it’s something you should be able to eat in nature, you can consume the oil.  This was the major difference I found between oils in the store and oils from this company.  Oils from a store, even from plants that SHOULD be eatable like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint or cinnamon… they would say on the label that the oil was “100% pure”, only, you couldn’t take it internally.  There would be a giant warning in all caps, “not for internal use”.  Now, listen guys… if you buy something that says it’s 100% pure cinnamon and you CANNOT eat it… reason should tell you, IT IS NOT CINNAMON.  It’s something else and they are lying to you.  So, the oil I buy IS okay to consume and most of it gets used in cooking, baking, bath time, before school, after school, to prevent sickness, to reduce symptoms of sickness, to ease discomfort and to just be a security blanket when you need one.

But what about the people who call it all “snake oil”?  I know so many people who are wary of using oils becuase they are not FDA approved or folks just think it’s a bunch of crazy, hippy, new-agey talk.  Many of my “because science” friends (those who use the rules of science, fact and verifiable studies to make their decisions) don’t trust essential oil use for medicinal purposes.  They prefer their treatments to come in pill form, handed out by pharmacists rather than a bottle from a friend.  I completely understand that and I even agree… if you don’t get the right kind of oil, if you don’t use the right amount, if you don’t know what you are doing you can make mistakes.  It can be useless, and yes, even detrimental to your wellbeing when done incorrectly or used irresponsibly.  But that’s why there are scientists in charge at this company making sure everything they sell is not only as pure as they promise it to be, but offer back up and verifiable, documented research that can be reviewed at anytime by anyone.  Oh, and as far as the FDA goes… seriously, friends – the FDA has approved many, many things that are cancer causing, dangerous and inappropriate. They’re not gods and they are not the end-all, be-all of what is good or bad to consume.  They make mistakes just like every other industry and just like every other industry, it’s all about profit.  It’s a well known fact that the FDA does not want the competition of essential oils in the ring with pharmaceuticals. This is not conspiracy, there’s been papers written on it and you can find them if you search for them.  My point is, don’t allow the lack of government support of oils to it scare you away from this amazing resource.  Their lack of support is not becuase oils don’t work, it is becuase they can’t make a profit on them.  Just do your research.

Do you need education or a degree first?  Well, here’s the thing.  Anyone can be an advocate.  Anyone can share a personal story and convince a friend to buy a product based on something awesome that happened to them.  But, as an advocate, if you want to know that what you are doing for yourself and others is actually, realistically working and is duplicatable for everyone, not just for you, you have to study.  You have a moral obligation to know what you are talking about, so hit the books and get ready to fill your brain with an understanding of plants you never thought you even wanted before!screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-4-06-43-pm

As an advocate, you must be willing to learn the details on the oils, safe formulas for various issues, combinations and portions that make sense and are safe before you can share them with others.  You must ask questions and gain insight into someone’s history, make sure that an oil used to help one thing isn’t going to hurt them in some other way. As a consumer, you should always find someone who has been willing to do the work to learn the hows and whys before they tell you to try x for y reason.

Side note about the sciencey folks; Essential oil use in today’s world is not going against science.  Essential oil use is USING SCIENCE to ensure purity, potency and value, as well as consistent, reliable results in every bottle and combination.  It is becuase of science, not in spite of it… that we have this incredible tool.  Science is the reason we can trust essential oil for so many needs at home.

Do people who do oils reject standard medicine or antibiotics?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  Think of it this way; if you had an ear infection, would you just randomly take someone’s bottle of antibiotic and never go in and get it checked out?  Probably not.  Nor would you use oils for self-care at home and then never follow up to make sure the virus/infection/malady was gone!  The world of holistic health and home-care is often mistaken for witch-doctoring and superstition, one that bashes Western Medicine and that simply is not the case.  Truly, they can and DO work hand in hand! Regularly used by doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners, essential oils, when truly pure, can support healing and help maintain good health.  Western Medicine and the tools of modern science are the reason oils are so successful now, and they are not fighting against it, they simply walk alongside it as another option.

So, now, I admit – it’s not all as glamorous as I’d hoped, no shimmering cauldrons and sparkling vials of brews that change our hair color or give us super strength, (not yet, at least- I always hold out hope).  But the tools I have through these oils in my kitchen (now called the potions room), are powerful items that allow me to be in control of my family’s health and well being throughout each and every single day.  There truly is an oil for everything and the more I learn, the more I feel compelled to share with others.  I share samples with people all over the nation and beyond.  Not because I am trying to build a business, but because they work.  Becuase I want to help people.  Becuase I know these can be awesome support and yeah, maybe a tiny bit of that is also because it helps me feel like the healing lady of Avalon I always wanted to be when I was young.

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What are some things you have wanted to know about essential oils?  Do you use any now to support your family’s well being?  Can I help you find anything?  I’d love to know how I can better support the mamas in this community!

 

I Am Not A Mom Like You, But We Can Still Be Friends

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Okay, so…. I’m gonna be honest.  I’m not a mom like you.  When people talk about parenting and they say, “moms like us” and they wish they had more moms like them to talk to, they’re not talking about me.  Not because I’m trying to stay on the outside, it’s just… I know that while we may have some things in common, common isn’t same.  Now, I’m no stranger to this world of being an outsider, it’s pretty much where I’ve been living since birth.  It all started when I was a child… *que dreamy flashback music*

No, I’m not actually going to tell you my life story.  But, I will quickly sum up to tell you I related more to Sally Stitches than Barbie, my dream house was on 1313 Mockingbird Lane, not in 90210, and yeah, the “two Coreys” were super dreamy and all, but I actually spent an entire summer crying over the death of a vampire with a faux-halk from Santa Carla.  Yep… weird.  Toldja.

The thing is, now that I’m a parent, I’m STILL weird.  I realized it pretty early, when my friends couldn’t understand that I didn’t want to take my child with me to parties where there would be alcohol and loud music.  I realized it when they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that I didn’t want to pay a babysitter to be able to go out and drink with them.  I realized it when their eyes glazed over as I told them we were co-sleeping and that my baby wouldn’t take a bottle, so I didn’t make him.  When I chose to stay home instead of returning to work, I was set apart once again… when I filtered what they watched or what WE watched around them, once again, I was one step farther away.  I’m a conservative parent for the purpose of bringing up children with innocence, compassion and inner strength.

Before children, I was just a weird person, a liberal-minded woman who was part of a few different subculture groups.  Now, I’m a conservative parent with liberal-minded ideals and absolutely no one has a clue what to do with me.

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After laboring over the reality of my lack of “mom tribe” for some time, I’ve finally come to an important realization about being the weirdo of the group.  When it comes to family, I spent a whole lot of years pretending to be something I wasn’t to make others more comfortable even though it made me miserable.  I kept that up for years and I fight the tendency to swallow my words, hide my true self and allow people around me to believe it really had all just been a “phase”.

But guess what?  It wasn’t.  (Yeesh, that’s actually hard to type!)

So, now that my children are old enough to pick up on things and learn from my actions and words, I’m catching myself and internally cringing every time I’m purposefully not being honest about who I am.  Do I want them to learn that?  Do I want them to feel ashamed of their interests when they are around people who don’t like those things?  Do I want them to learn that I cannot risk disapproval becuase I’m lonely and need friends, so I pretend to be something I’m not when I’m around certain people, or that I leave out huge parts of who I am becuase I worry that I will lose people if I don’t?

No.  I cannot teach them these things.  I understand that the needs of my own, tiny family are more important than the opinions of those who do not live under the roof I pay for. What they need is a mom who won’t be afraid to be honest about who she is, what she believes and wants out of life. They deserve a mom who is okay with standing up to people and doing the right thing, even if that makes people uncomfortable.

What I’ve realized is I don’t have anyone in my life who is just like me, who actually agrees with every facet of my parenting style or is completely open to all the research I’ve done to back up the choices I’ve made, but here’s the thing, guys…

That’s okay.  My children deserve a mom who doesn’t need a tribe to survive if lying is the only way to get a seat in their circle.  What’s more; I deserve to feel good about who I am as a parent and not rely on the opinions of others to validate me. What’s even MORE important here, was the realization that those women who are different are still my friends!  I can still respect them even if they’ve chosen options I wouldn’t have for myself. I can still enjoy their company and I can love spending time with them.  I can have real, lasting relationships with them as friends – even if we don’t both put our kids in school or to bed before nine or whatever else.

Everyone is a weirdo in some way and we all worry that no one will accept us if we are honest, but I just wonder… maybe if I were honest, I’d find there WERE actually others more like me than I expect.  Who knows, right?

I know we all do this, though.  Every single one of us, even the ones we look at and think are the super popular, trendy moms with loads of friends and stroller buddies… even they worry about someone finding out just how weird they are.  I bet as you were reading this, you were considering all the ways in which you are kind of a weirdo parent, too.  Maybe you were considering the differences between how you and your best friends manage your households and maybe you realized, possibly for the first time, just how different you really are and… Wow, isn’t it amazing you can still be friends?

We judge a great deal in the mom world – we see parents who do things differently.  We assess their skills and choices by evaluating a 10 second interaction in a grocery store or on the road and we think about all the ways we would have done things differently.

The mommy wars are born out of these differences and how we react to them.  We make the choice to condemn without context.  We make the choice to assume we know better before we even ask them if there is some way we can help to better understand.  We offer suggestions and advice before it’s offered and we blanket-solve problems that are unique per child, per year, per household, per culture… We assume if someone gives us advice, that must mean they think we are stupid and we misunderstand the rejection of our advice by taking it personally when a mother says, “thanks anyway”.  We allow the rejection of unsolicited advice to affect our egos and we retaliate with further judgment.  It continues the cycle, only making things worse when it doesn’t have to be this way.

The reality is, we are all weirdo parents.  Honestly, I promise that we are, it’s just that no one wants to talk about it because everyone is afraid of being judged or cast out by friends who don’t understand.  I guarantee you there is something your friends won’t share about themselves because they fear your reaction.

Working moms, bottle feeding moms, breastfeeding moms, baby-wearing moms, co-sleeping moms, un-schooling moms, private school moms…We are all outcasts in one way or another and none of us are safe from the scrutinizing eyes of every other person out there.

Can you do it? Can you be honest and accept the honesty of another mom without feeling the fire of judgement build up behind your eyes?  Can you do it and calm your desire to fix or teach or correct them and just give them support, or a hug or a latte if that’s what they need right then?  Can you watch their baby in THEIR parenting style, not in your own because you respect their differences?  See, it’s the judgement that makes us feel like a tribe of one – not that we don’t have people nearby.  We HAVE to be willing to not only honor the weirdos in ourselves, but honor the weirdos in others.

Being the best at being who we are as women, as parents, as humans, being open to always learning, growing and changing as we move through each year of motherhood is something that should be easy… but cannot be until we make it safe for mothers to be honest without fear of judgement.

So, let’s share confidence by being confident.  Keep doing what you know is right for your family and don’t be afraid to share what that looks like to others.  If they don’t agree, so what?  You already knew you were an outcast anyway, right?  So, no loss… just keep moving on and doing what is right.  Becuase it’s not about what the other adults in your life see in you, it’s about what your children see.  What they need from you as a mother is always going to be more important than what some other, random mom might think of you.  (I learned this the hard way, when my baby was watched by a friend who didn’t respect my parenting style and he was treated in a way I did not approve of… I was too afraid to speak up and disagree, to speak up for my baby and to honor what HE needed most.  I still regret that.)

So, please mamas – Revel in your weirdness.  Honor the weirdness in others.  Find strength in your unique version of motherhood and never forget the one question that should always be asked above all others; “What does the smallest voice, the one who cannot answer for themselves, need most in this moment?”.

All my love and support to you on this wild and defining journey called motherhood.

Love,

An un-schooling, extended breastfeeding, attachment/natural parenting, essential oil using, anti-sleep training, co-sleeping, goth/hippy, ultra-geek, glitter loving mama tribe of one who loves you and your babies.   I promise to support the choices that are best for your family, even if I don’t understand and yes, even if I don’t agree.

 

 

 

The Unwelcome, 3:00am Mom Brain

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Ever wonder what it’s like inside the mind of a mom who is awake with anxiety at 3:30am?

I drank too much wine at dinner. I hope I’m not hurting my kidneys. I’m glad my kids aren’t old enough to notice when mommy is a little tipsy.

I’m thankful for my family- more than I tell them and I aught to do that more becuase you never know

I am thankful my children are not yet aware of the world’s evil

I am terrified that one day they will be faced with that evil and I won’t be able to save them

I feel guilt for being worried about the unlikely possibility the terror many children and mothers face as a daily part of life will one day be at our doorstep

I am avoiding my email because there are notices reminding me not to ignore my student loans and it makes my stomach turn

I feel shame for being anxious about things in my life when others have it so much worse and would love to only have the problems I do

Does anyone ever even read the things I write?

I’m pretty sure I’m failing at life

Homeschool starts on Wednesday… Am I really ready for this?

I need more music students so I can contribute to my household

Why is finding reliable childcare so hard?

Why does our culture hate children so much?

My house is a mess and it makes me look like a bad mom and a wife who doesn’t care.

No one knows how much laundry I do before noon every day. Not even me… But it’s loads. (Hahaha! – 3am makes things funny sometimes)

Being a mom is hard and terrifying and sometimes down right sad, but shut up because; hooray life! and there are people who are dying and losing all that matters and whatever I think is almost too hard to bear is what those people eat for breakfast, so suck it up, buttercup. Things are rough all over.

I’ve not stepped foot in the gym since June and it shows- I’m such a hypocrite and my pants don’t fit anymore and I feel pretty awful about it.

I secretly worry that every parenting choice I’ve made is wrong and that I’m going to ruin my children. When that happens, everyone will laugh and say “toldja so”.

I worry I’ll give someone bad advice and it will be harmful to them and their families

I hate disappointing people, so I haven’t called Verizon to cancel our internet yet, but time warner is coming to install our new system tomorrow. Another fail. I’m so lame… LOL

I let my kids eat hot dogs for dinner. Again. I suck.

When I get super depressed I can’t tell anyone because mom doesn’t have time to be sad and again, things are tough all over. Suck it up- you’re alive, you have a house, family, car and groceries. Get some perspective, sheesh.

I hope nothing bad happens to the dog.

I hope the cat doesn’t get hit by a car.

I hope I don’t have a disease that I just don’t know about yet. *considers every off feeling or random unexplained pain I’ve experienced for the last month*

I hope my children are as healthy as they seem to be… I’m so thankful for their good health

I’m gonna be late paying for dance class this month and I don’t even know if she really even wants to go anymore

Should I have gone back to work after all?

I hope that pain in my head isn’t something dangerous…

My kid’s favorite show is about a family who fights monsters. Super cool except when the little one tells people all about the one-eyed demon who gets in your mind and then you begin to rethink your choices…

I hope I am helping people. I hope I matter and that I am making a positive difference in someone’s life.

I really am happy most of the time… but at 3am, it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.

*sigh* I am soooooo tired.

I look over at my sleeping family and I know all of this is worth it.  All of this is okay.  I will be okay, and so will they.

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The idea of actually sharing any of this with people I hardly know kind of terrifies me, but I’m gonna do it anyway because I’ll bet someone else needs to know that these, and many other frustrating, scary, sometimes debilitating thoughts are not unusual.

Waking at 3am questioning your life’s decisions is actually a lot more common than you probably realize and if this happens to you, please know you’re not alone. This is just the stuff going on in my head right now, but your version could look much different. I know mine did a few years ago…

Panic, anxiety & depression are real and terrible things and often creep in like long shadows on the wall at twilight and grow more terrible the darker it gets. You don’t often realize just how dark it is until you can no longer see your fingers when you hold them up.

Even if it only happens once in a blue moon, it still matters and you still deserve to know that you are okay.

Just remember; it will be morning soon and there will be smiling faces and coffee (or tea, if you prefer) waiting to be made to chase away the shadows.

There is faith, love, and things to do and you are okay. You will always be okay because you know there is no choice. Most importantly, there are people you can talk to- family, friends, and beyond that- people who spent 8+ years and several thousands of dollars to learn how to help you and most of them actually, genuinely want to.  There are resources to help, natural ways to deal with this (I just put my oil blend for anxiety on and I already feel much better).

Don’t be afraid to share the 3am madness and don’t be ashamed for having it. Most people do, they just don’t want to admit it.

Most of all, sometimes you just need to hear this and believe it- You are stronger than you think. You are braver than you feel. You will be okay. You are not alone.

*yawn*

… I’m going to try and go back to sleep now, you should too. Tomorrow will be here soon.

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Farewell To The Falls @ Gallery Nucleus

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Every so often, geeks get a chance to have an epic experience meeting their heroes and idols.  If we’re lucky, we accidentally bump into them at conventions and have a brief, flustered moment where we blurt out things like, “OMGILOVEYOUYOUAREMYHEROPLEASESIGNTHISICANTBREATHEWHATSMYNAMEAGAIN!?!?!

Oh …maybe that’s just me?

ANYway…

Rare is the moment when a true fan is able to immerse themselves in the culture of their favorite thing in a small room where the creator can be seen casually wandering around, the voices of your idols are willing to take photos and listen to you no matter how flustered you sound, and the friends and family of cast and crew are hanging out as though they’re just regular folks, totally approachable and kind to everyone.

Guys, my five year old got to have that moment.

That’s right, my five year old had that golden experience most fans wait lifetimes to have.  It took place at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra last night at the opening of the #FarewellToTheFalls exhibit, dedicated to the two-season hit on Disney😄; Gravity Falls, created by Alex Hirsch.

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Read the rest of this article and see all our photos and videos from this incredible event on my column at forbiddenpanel.com; Lessons From the MotherShip!!

Dear Matt & Melissa, A Letter of Apology

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I am not a perfect parent. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. My children have bruises and scratches from falls and silly injuries that could have been prevented. They eat junk food at times and occasionally, I let them watch tv that is much too old for them. Last month, I “lost” my 5 year old son at a renaissance faire when he ducked into a child’s maze as we were talking to a vendor 10 feet away.  I thought my husband was watching him, he thought I was watching him. I was horrified when I realized neither of us had eyes on him.  Within about 40 seconds, I realized he was less than 10 feet away, in a child’s maze – but that 10 feet and few seconds… it feels like miles and hours when you are faced with all the potential dangers. Your sweet boy… he was about that distance from you when this happened, right?  See, I have no room to judge. I am not a “pitchfork wielding” mom who casts stones from my perfectly clean, organized, glass house with perfect children who never stray.

You don’t know me, but now, because of this, I know you. I can’t possibly imagine the horror that you have witnessed, the fear that you endured, the loss that must be eating away at you like a black hole, threatening to suck you in. I can’t possibly fathom the level of grief that you are having to breathe through to carry-on, to wake up in the morning, to be willing to open your eyes and get out of bed, to care for your daughter in spite of no longer having a son. I can’t imagine the strength of will that it must take to do the most simple of things; eat, smile, even blinking your eyes takes effort and the sheer force of some kind of magical power to be capable of doing it.

I don’t know your pain, your sorrow, you’re sweet, beautiful memories of pregnancy, birth and those two, precious years, now clouded by a sea of tears so bitter that it’s hard not to choke. I know that you have been through something that I will never understand. I also know many who jumped to judge you the second they heard about what happened.  For many reasons, they jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst of you.

I want you to know I was one of those people.  I said this was a result of “hands-off” and complacent parenting trends. I said parents feel shamed for caring too much about “tiny” rules, so they just don’t follow them.  Rules like don’t let a toddler eat whole grapes, or play with money they could choke on, or sit in a car booster instead of a carseat before they’re ready.  They ignore the dangers by letting a baby who can’t swim splash in a pool without a lifejacket and ignore signs that tell you to stay out of the water, because- what’s the harm? Other people and children are doing it, why should my child be left out? I drew connections between you and the parents of the boy who fell into a gorilla cage, and another that occurred at a park nearby… All situations where the parents of a young child didn’t make certain their children were 100% safe and the child got hurt. When I read your story and saw phrases like, “child splashing in the water where a no swimming sign was posted”, and “two year old playing at 9:30 at night in a foot of water where no swimming signs were posted”, I assumed it was a similar situation to all the others… a parent who allowed their child to fall victim to the complacent parent trend.

After I learned more about your story, how the evening went on and what was happening, after I saw photos of the surroundings, it became crystal clear to me – this could have happened to anyone, including me.  I am so, truly sorry for adding to the noise of judgement.

I want you to know that I don’t blame you for what happened. I never blamed you, not directly – but if you’d read what I wrote that first morning after, it probably would have felt that way as I searched for some kind of root-cause for this terrible accident. I actually don’t think any of this is about blame and this is not about shaming an individual for a mistake that I am certain thousands of people have made before you.  It is about us all trying desperately to wrap our minds around this and to find some way to control an unfathomable, horrible situation.

I want you to know, too, that I see more than this mistake when I read your story and I see your photos. I see loving parents who provided a beautiful life for your babies. You protect your children, you honor your children, you gave life and birth and milk and a home for to your children that kept them safe and warm and secure. You celebrated the small milestones as though they were as big as mount Everest and you posted pictures of them on social media pages brimming with pride sharing these incredible moments with your friends and family. You took dozens of pictures all seconds apart from each other filling your available memory with moments captured that were just too beautiful not to have, didn’t you? Yeah, me too. You researched, right? You studied what was best, you asked questions, you did what you could to make sure your baby was healthy and happy… I did, too.

You and I are not that different and I want you to know that I know it could’ve been me. I want you to know that you are not alone and if anything is to “blame”, it isn’t a person, a parent, a single ideology… it’s much deeper than that and lies within our faith that everything will always be okay.  We can’t fathom something that terrible happening to us, so we don’t prepare for it. It’s human nature to do that and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you and it does not mean you did anything most people wouldn’t also have done.

After spending 2 days thinking about this, I have realized a few super important things, mostly about my reaction and perception of the situation from the outside and I wanted to share these realizations with you, as they may help you to feel a little better about the judgement that you will undoubtedly see. The thing is, my inability to understand the “why” here, has much more to do with me than with you. See, I had several miscarriages before my first son was born. Throughout my pregnancy with him and beyond, there is a part of me waiting for the axe to fall. My anxiety trigger is their safety because, I think… part of me still doesn’t believe I deserve them and every day, I feel like I’m fighting against everything just to keep them alive and healthy.

The reality is, I don’t think I would have wanted my children to go anywhere near that water no matter what time of day, but that is because of me and my level of crazy, not because I think I’m better than you.  I guarantee you, my husband totally would have let them do id and would have laughed at me for being anxious about it.  He’d have said, “honey, look at all the other kids in the water, it’s fine- this is DISNEY, it’s not a big deal”, all the while, I’d be covering myself in my essential oil blends for anxiety, praying he was right and trying to keep myself from crying with worry. (Can you tell things like this have happened before?) I can’t expect every mother to look at every single scenario from a Final Destination perspective the way I do, seeking out the elements of every situation that might kill my child while taking measures to prevent those things from happening. See?! Crazy! I mean, maybe people should think this way a little bit more, but I can’t expect anyone to do it to the extent that I do because they are not me and their thoughts are not colored by the experiences and fears that I have.

All of this aside, many are asking – what do we do now?  “If we can’t blame the parents, who or what IS to blame?”  Well, I think it’s pretty easy what has to be done now and it has nothing to do with blame.  Let’s just remove the term blame altogether, okay? It’s about taking ownership, learning from what happened and moving ahead. Let’s not take another step backward or even glance behind us one more time with this to consider what anyone (including you) could have done differently.

Let us instead, move forward with the facts we now have and look at what we CAN do:

In the parenting world, we can advocate for parents to speak for their baby’s/toddler’s/children’s needs, to remind people how important it is to focus on them, always, and to let them know that disaster can happen in a flash. We can encourage them to never take their babies for granted and to spend every second we can with them. We can ask parents to stop taking unnecessary risks and consider the reality that rules exist for a reason, and even if you don’t personally see the danger, a danger may exist.  We can all do better at not taking chances based on a false sense of security.  Broken bones and skinned knees are one thing, but there are acceptable injuries and there are unnecessary ones and we need to have the maturity to know the difference BEFORE we place our children in those situations.  This is not about judgement.  It’s about facts and keeping our families safe and in tact.

To the topic of vacationing and local wildlife, there is also much work we can advocate for.  All over the nation right now, stories are coming in.  Stories about how tourists thought they could handle situations in the wild that hurt them, hurt the animals, that hurt the environment simply because they didn’t know better.  At this resort and probably many other public vacation areas, we can demand better signage, better initiative taken by staff and rangers to ensure guests get a proper education of local wildlife as they orient themselves with their surroundings. Also, let’s encourage tourists to research their vacations locations for more than just “where’s a great place to have dinner”.  They need to research and learn all they can about worst-case scenarios, wildlife, natural disasters, etc.

This is not to cause them to live in fear or to accuse them of doing anything wrong or being stupid.  The point is to empower them with information and tools that could prevent such a tragedy as yours, from happening a second time.

I am truly sorry for your loss. I know that doesn’t even remotely cover it, but I’ve thought of little else in the last two days and my heart just hurts for you knowing that, as much as I may try, there is no way I can know how this must feel for you.

As a member of the mother’s circle, please know we are all grieving the loss of precious Lane and that we have and will continue to surround your family in love, light and prayers. You are not alone.

In respect, love and with deep apology,

The Cautious Mom

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Responding to Toxic Death Cream

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If we loved like we judge, our world would be so much happier.  If we accepted others as often as we condemn them, things wouldn’t be nearly so complicated.  If we gave praise to those we love as often as we shamed strangers or our children, I truly believe we could cure so many of the world’s problems… and yet, here we are, still in the thick of it, still fighting for our scrap of justice we feel we are owed.

This afternoon I read a blog by a mom who was making a very public statement about how she needed to break out of the healthy mom loop because she’s done feeling bad about her parenting.  There’s just “too many rules” the author said, and every mom who read it cheered on “YES THIS!”, “OMG SO MUCH THIS!!”  My response?  Well, my response was a pretty clear, “NOPE – Can’t get behind that.  Sorry.”

I was the only one who didn’t jump to love it.

See, I get it, the frustration and overwhelming expectations and as I was reading at first, I was totally with her- excited for her self-liberation!  Well done, mama!!  But then, something shifted in her writing…  Even though I understood her anxiety because I’ve felt it before, too… I’m not going to cheer on a mom who rants about how she’s tired, so she should just get a pass to do whatever she feels like because she is sick of feeling bad for not being perfect.

Mama, no one is perfect and I am so, truly sorry you felt this way for so long!  Please know we all have been there, we all know what you are feeling – but there’s no need to toss out every piece of good advice as trash just because you feel overwhelmed.   The thing is, voicing these feelings here on the internet, in such a public and sarcastic way is not just taking a stand for yourself and you have to know that, right?   You are encouraging others to follow you, just by writing it and that isn’t fair to you, us, or anyone’s babies.

I’m so sorry you felt like you were being forced onto some unnatural and unattainable scoreboard.  I’m one of those moms who cares about those things and through your writing, I and every mother who does opt for the safer options are all now a part of the problem making you feel bad about yourself.  Because our very existence makes you feel bad, it’s almost as though you are asking us to stop trying so hard.  When we’re all the same and we all equally don’t try, then everyone can feel good about themselves, right?  Well, no.  That’s not right either, is it?  I just don’t think you are being very fair.

Mama, look- I’m sorry you “hate life” because irony sucks, and oh man, believe me I get it- irony laughing in my face is a daily happening here.  I hate life sometimes, too.  I don’t know a single mom who doesn’t.  Also, yeah, I know all about being too tired to care about the ingredients in sunblock.  Or bath soap, or granola bars or whatever else for that matter, but just because I’m tired of caring doesn’t mean I don’t actually care and it certainly doesn’t mean I have the right to stop doing the right thing.

The sunblock thing… that actually does matter to some people (especially those of us who have translucent children who are allergic to the toxic death cream, just happen to live in California where sunblock is a 365 day part of life – because, magical fairy angels are indigenous to these parts, apparently).  It should be acceptable to feel that what is in your sunblock matters, but now, because of your blog, mamas might question whether or not they should care because it’s just trivial and doesn’t matter or it just makes them look like they care too much.  Wasn’t that your point?  “I’m gonna go play with my boys and you can all stew over whatever stupid study comes out to tell me what I’m doing wrong and I don’t care”?   See, that just doesn’t feel right to me – your liberation should not have to include the condemnation of a different way of thinking or a lack of consideration for how your not caring might affect your children.  I’m certain there is a better way than this.

See, I care about that stuff, but it’s okay if you don’t.  If it’s not for you- that’s cool, whatever, I’m totally not going to judge you.  There is absolutely no need to rope everyone else into your comparison games.  There’s no reason to bite at the way others like to do things because it doesn’t work for you, that’s just bad form.  What you are doing is like hating Hermione because she studied more than you and you failed potions, so now studying is stupid because it’s overwhelming and Hermione reminds you of all you can’t live up to so you hate her and books are lame so, now you want to quit school.

Mama, it’s not you, really.  This post is long overdue and directed at the entire culture that has emerged recently, you know the one.. the one that says ;”let’s go be bad moms who do whatever we want and not care about our kid’s needs because they’ll be fine and those studies make me feel bad”.  It’s the trend that defiantly chooses to not be careful.  It’s the trend that deliberately gives their kids junk food JUST to spite the natural parenting world – not thinking that perhaps it is the children who will suffer from these choices, not these other parents you seem to be waging war against.  Also, I’ll freely admit most of my frustration with this is actually because of that new movie coming about about this very same topic which glorifies not caring. I don’t get it and it makes me sad.  It’s polarizing and unhelpful.

I’m even more super tired with this sense of defeatism and please know it’s not just you. It’s like there is this perception that, if a mom can’t manage to be perfect all the time, well then why bother at all and screw anyone else who tries.  (Psst- NO mother is perfect all the time – not ever) If you do something wrong, you do better next time.  It’s no sweat and not really that big a deal.  You may not make the right choice every minute of the day, (like the time I told my five year old he could watch Gravity Falls because it was on the Disney channel, not realizing it was WAY too old for him and now it’s too late- he asks everyone he meets, “have you heard about the demon Bill Cypher with one eye?” while I shrink into my worst parent of all time shell and try to disappear) but I, and every other mom, in spite of our mistakes still make the right choices the majority of the time, right?  Well, that still counts and that should be enough!

I get the tired part, too.  I’m tired ALL.THE.TIME and I’ve only got two children!  So, when I hear about mamas who are exhausted with 4 or more babies under 7 years old, I marvel at their ability to even be upright and speaking coherent sentences!  I wanna give them a trophy for making it outdoors!  I want to say; “Bravo to you, mama!  You’ve got a shirt on and each of your children have their shoes on the right feet!  Well done!!”

I get it.  If I only have two children and I feel like this, I know I’ve got nothing to complain about, but things are far from perfect in my house.  My carpet looks like I raised a herd of wooly mammoths from the tarpits then paraded them through my living room.  My kitchen sink looks like I’m conducting some kind of creepy science experiment involving radioactive superpowers because the disposal is broken.  There’s more, but that’s not the point.  The point is, that’s my house.  That’s my life.  It’s clean, polished, vacuumed and smells nice when I teach voice in my living room, but the carpet stains are still there and there’s still holes of dead grass in the lawn.

Now, I could feel devastated anytime another mom who appears to have her act together better than me comes through my door, but why?  Why would I do that to myself?  Should I be frustrated with moms who live in bigger houses with the extra money to get their carpet professionally cleaned when their toddler spills red and blue food coloring or grinds modeling clay into the fibers while I’m doing dishes in the other room?  (that’s a real story, by the way)

I applied this same principle you wrote about to my life, I should get angry that my street doesn’t have any magical unicorn lumberjacks who build perfect homes that never get dirty and be bitter that I don’t get to live in one of those.

(Dang it, I just realized the mom who wrote that article probably has a way better, nicer house than I do… *sigh* I guess…I don’t know, am I supposed to feel bad about myself now, or something…?)

See, when moms write this kind of stuff, it causes me to question if maybe I’m not judgmental enough, but I’m not going to live that way.  I’m not going to compare myself to other families because theirs are not mine and they don’t have to sit at my dinner table.

Speaking of food… Good lord, I am so over the food, let me just side track for a moment here.  My five year old wants pizza for dinner every day.  Also for lunch, breakfast and dessert.  In fact, if all he ever had to eat was pizza for the rest of his life, he’d be totally fine with that.  I’m experimenting with recipes to infuse protein powder into pizza crust, that’s how bad it is.  My daughter only wants to eat popsicles because “food is terrible for her brain, it makes her tummy cry and only popsicles make me happy”. (that’s what she told me today, anyway) So, I teach voice three nights a week right through the dinner hour while they are walled up in the back bedroom with a babysitter and the television for 3-4 hours each night and guess what they eat on those days?

Pizza.  Chicken nuggets.  Popsicles, mac-&-cheese and corn dogs.  Yes, all from the frozen section of the grocery store- nothing made by vegan elves in the organic trees planted in my back yard by the Buddhist monks on a full moon from seeds that fell after the first snowfall in Narnia. (besides, those trees are much too small to house an entire tribe of elves anyway) Yeah, I admit it; the Cautious Mom lets her kids eat like crap 3 nights a week because she’s usually too busy to worry about it.  I have never advertised this because it wasn’t a big deal.  It does’t change how I feel about organic, wholesome foods.  It doesn’t change my knowledge of what goes into these products or that I know they are terrible food sources for children.  All of that is still true – but I do what I can, when I can and I forgive myself the rest.  I don’t bash anyone else in the process.  It’s just life and stuff gets in the way of your good intentions.  You make due and it doesn’t have to be some kind of ego-centered, public statement about how “I am DONE caring about GMO’s because I’m tired, so you can take your healthy mom crap and shove it, stupid California fairy angels!”

My beautiful, California fairy angels are offended, by the way. (not really, because that would be stupid. Actually, I don’t think they even read mom blogs, they’re too busy making healthy sunblock…)

I freely admit that I’d rather feed these kids what I know they’ll eat than have them waste food I can’t afford.  Do I feel bad about that?  Sometimes yes and when I do, it’s because I want them to be healthy, not because I’m  judging myself against some societal standard. I’m not going to condemn others or belittle other’s ways because they’re tiresome and “oh God the pressure- I can’t take it anymore!!”  I’m just going to go about my life and do the best I can and maybe next time, I’ll remember to meal prep before I have to teach.

Moms, we have GOT to stop comparing ourselves to others.  Stop telling other moms their processes are stupid or over-protective or too complicated or whatever else you want to say just because you don’t feel like doing those things or you’re too busy or your life is not designed to make those things possible for you.  It’s not nice and it isn’t fair to be so snarky and mean about it just because you don’t want to or, for whatever reason, can’t. Just don’t do it and move on.

I know this is a really strange idea, but it really is totally okay to just live and be happy and not care about what others think.  In fact, I’d say that is probably one of the best lessons you could teach your children.  So really, it’s cool, okay?  You don’t wanna do it? – Fine.

If you are parenting (or NOT parenting) your family based on what other people do in their own homes or because of what they think of you or worse- what you think of THEM, it’s no wonder you are so stressed and I am so sorry you are feeling this way!

Give yourself a break, okay?  Just do your thing and know you are doing it well.  Do it, own it, be you, be proud of it and move on.  Love yourself, love your process, change it when it no longer makes you happy and just be the good mom you know you are.  That’s all.

I hope the message I am trying to get through here reaches you in love, compassion and acceptance.  Enjoy your summer, enjoy your boys.  Enjoy your life and live it the way YOU want to, not the way anyone else tells you to – and give others that right, as well.

Oh, and one last thing – I keep using your phrases about magical fairy angels and toxic death cream because it’s hilarious and awesome and I totally love it, not because I am judging you or being snarky and rude.  I am literally never going to call regular sunblock anything but toxic death cream from now on and it makes me giggle every time I think about it.

Gorilla Almost Kills Child- Let’s Blame Someone!

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In the wake of a tragic incident where a four year old fell into a gorilla enclosure resulting in the gorilla’s death, the world is playing it’s favorite game called “who can we blame!” and we all know our favorite target is always going to be….
The parents of the child.  Of course!
Oh look everyone, gather the mob!  Here is another opportunity to shame and blame some stranger’s parenting!  Oh joy, and rapture! Let’s use someone else’s near-miss at death as a great chance to shame them on social media!
We are such a predictable culture.  It doesn’t matter what the disaster is, it doesn’t matter where… if something bad has happened, our first impulse is to point the finger at someone and send them to the public execution block with torches blazing.
The thing is, I realized as I mulled this situation over in my mind this morning, that I have two opposing thoughts on this and I thought I would share them both with you for discussion.
1- The “Cast The First Stone” perspective.
It was a tragic accident.  NO one wanted that gorilla to die.  The parents did not fling their child into that inclosure and say, “gee I hope we can get them to shoot the animal today”. The zoo acted in response to a terrifying situation and they did what they thought was best in the moment.  We know that no one wants their child to die in a gorilla enclosure.  Every parent has made mistakes, looked away for 2 seconds, been overly confident that our child would do the right thing only to realize, always a second too late, that they didn’t and they got hurt.  This tragedy was unfortunate and frustrating.  It seems like a senseless loss of life and a gross display of negligence on the part of these parents and possibly the zoo staff, too, but is that actually where blame belongs?
We cannot use this experience as an excuse to judge the parents – not when every single parent I know has had some tragic or near-tragic run in with disaster.  My baby boy at 4 months old, rolled off my bed because he learned, in that moment when I turned away, how to roll OVER the giant barricade of pillows I’d put around him.  I was in the bathroom and watched him slip off the bed out of the corner of my eye behind me, from the mirror of the bathroom.  I was 8 feet away, but I was overconfident that he couldn’t figure it out.  It was a mistake.  I was negligent.  Another time, he climbed up into my kitchen cupboard and decided to use my steroid inhaler when I had pneumonia last year.  I had to make a shameful call to the poison control… the third call to them in my son’s life (he was four at the time).  He had never cared what was in my cupboards before and I’d never allowed him to access the kitchen for anything without help, so it never occurred to me that he would do such a thing.
My daughter learned to climb to the top of her swing set and shimmy across the top bar LONG before I ever considered she’d even want to do that and she fell and hurt herself.  I should have known better, I was inside, she called for help- by the time I got outside, she was letting go of the bar and fell four feet to the ground, hitting a hard, plastic swing on her way down.  I made a mistake.  I didn’t get there fast enough.  I didn’t make it clear enough not to do that and I wasn’t supervising because we’d had the thing six months already and she’d never thought of doing it so I didn’t think about it.  I was negligent.
These may seem silly, trivial or unimportant, but my point is, it happens.  We get complacent and casual when we never, ever should be and things happen in those moments when we let our guard down.  Hopefully nothing terrible like a death, dismemberment or kidnapping, but that happens, too.  I know someone who had their toddler returned by a neighbor because they’d wandered out the door and down the street. I know someone who had their toddler returned by a complete stranger because they were playing in the gutter off a main highway.  I know someone who had their preschooler in bed with a broken leg because, while she was making dinner, he decided to move his furniture and climb his dresser pretending it was a mountain.  I know another sweet mama who looked away for less than 60 seconds at a party full of family who all kept eyes on all the children and felt confident in carrying a conversation for a moment away from the back door, only to find her baby face down in the pool outside.  I even read an article once about a baby who had his leg amputated because he ran out to his father mowing the lawn and no one saw him until he was literally under the mower.
Things happen and although we may try, we are only human and we make mistakes.  We are not as careful, as cautious, as mindful every second of every day as maybe we aught to be and sometimes things happen.  Sometimes they don’t.  That’s when we are lucky and sometimes, we take that luck for granted.
It’s unfair and incredibly cruel to instantly rush to the parents for blame.
No, actually, you don’t know what you would do in this situation, because you have never been in that situation.  Or, have you?
I know what I believe I’d do- I wouldn’t have allowed my child to be more than three feet away from me, so it would never have happened.  That is what I believe and it is most likely true, but I cannot know that for sure, especially after our last trip to Disneyland where he ran 30 feet ahead in the blink of an eye because he knew the way to the next ride and wanted to show everyone he knew how to get there.  It seriously almost gave me a heart attack and thank GOD he decided to stop running and wait for us… but if he hadn’t? Would I be on the evening news?  All I know is I don’t get to judge and condemn another family because of what I assume but do not know.
My heart goes out to that mama who, I’m certain at this point, is riddled with guilt and shame and, if she were me anyway, probably needs psychological counseling in order to not end up in the psych ward.  What she does NOT need, is the entire world making assumptions about her parenting.
Outside of ALL this, I am a fierce advocate for children’s rights and I am against public shaming of any child or family for ANY reason.  I am disgusted by videos taken in secret of children experiencing meltdowns then shared on the internet to shame and make fun of them.  I am horrified by our culture where it is perfectly acceptable to secretly photograph a child you don’t know, then post that photo on the internet with a story about how awful that child was in public while openly shaming their families.  These sorts of situations truly depict, in my opinion, the very WORST parts of our human culture and I cannot think of a strong enough word to explain how deeply they disgust me.  I have seen in this situation, our world’s impulse to do just that with this poor family and it’s cruel. We need to stop.  It helps no one and it has to be put to an end.
This situation was the worst case scenario of what could happen in those 10 seconds you don’t have your eyes or hands on your child.  It literally could have happened to anyone and has happened to everyone – just not with the same, public outcome.  I think we have to stop this impulse to blame at first glance, calling it an isolated incident then move on with “it couldn’t happen to me”.   We need to start dealing with the underlying issue, which is a culture where it is “uncool” to supervise your children.
This leads me to my second, feeling;
2- The Complacent Parents Drive Me INSANE perspective.
I have a bone to pick with this”hands off” parenting trend.  See, I’m considered one of these gentle-parenting, “hippy” parents who doesn’t use physical violence to get my kids to do what they are told and I am fiercely judged for it by loved ones.
Instead, I’m a hands-on parent who is constantly watching, constantly listening, and nearly always within arm’s reach to help guide them through their choices so they learn along the way what to, and not to do. (does it work every time? hahahahaha…. no.  Of course not, but you do what you can, right?)
The thing is, I just don’t buy this whole, “kids need to be kids” crap where I should let my child wander around where I can’t see them in a place that is not the inside of my home. I’m sick of being called a “helicopter parent” because I make sure my kids are within arm’s reach and can’t do things like climb into gorilla cages or disappear with strangers or fall down cliffs, steal things, hurt other children or get stuck inside park equipment they’re not age-appropriate to be on.
(Yeah, giant pet-peeve there; parents, seriously- if the equipment says “ages 5 and under”, don’t let your 8 year old monster child barrel through and trample over the toddlers to get to the slide their butt is gonna get stuck on.  It’s hard to admit your baby is getting older, I know, but seriously- just stop it.)
Overall, since I became a parent 5 1/2 years ago, I’m pretty disgusted by the people who think I am out of my mind for being attentive to my children but who will, in turn, allow their kids to wander randomly and don’t pay attention when they get into trouble.  They are shocked when another parent has to approach them with their child because they hurt someone or did something wrong because they weren’t being watched.  Then, this parent, likely out of shame, very publicly and vocally reprimands the child and/or threatens them with physical force to make sure the other parents know they are “good parents who discipline their kids”.
No. Okay, that is NOT what you look like, just so you’re aware.  You look like a lazy, complacent parent who is resorting to verbal and physical violence against your child because you don’t want to be bothered to have to actually parent them.
So these poor kids do what normal kids are bound to do if they are not consistently monitored and, because their parents are not watching them, EVER because it “isn’t cool” to always want to be a part of your child’s lives anymore… they are ALWAYS a second too late when bad things happen.
These parents are constantly setting their children up for failure and it’s wildly unfair!   When children are not 100% monitored, OF COURSE they’ll do what is within their nature- test boundaries, explore, wander and fight.  They don’t have the impulse control of an adult.  They don’t have the coordination or the balance or the forethought of an adult or even an older child who can collectively and rationally reason, “gee, if I do this, that might not turn out so well for me, I better stay here”.  They will do what their instinct and their impulse tells them to do and it is THE PARENT’S JOB to guide them through those impulses and help them learn which is the right choice.
There is also a gross arrogance that comes with this parenting style.  The number of times I’ve heard “well if he breaks his arm, he’ll learn, won’t he?” just makes my stomach turn. It justifies a parent’s negligence and almost makes fun of their child’s pain.  I can’t understand it and it hurts my heart for those kids who have to live with parents who would rather their child learn through disaster than just be present and teach them not to do it in the first place.
My job is to keep my tiny, curious, rebellious humans alive, to teach them without them having to learn first hand why something is dangerous and to do that, you can’t just dump them off at a playground, say, “okay honey go have fun” then go back to your blanket 50 feet away in the shade and pretend they don’t exist until they come back to you asking for juice.  I’m sorry, but that does not make you look like “the cool parent” that makes you look like a bad parent who would probably not notice if someone came around and stole your child right off the playground.  It makes you look like a target to kidnappers and when your children are older, they’ll remember going to the park and playing alone because you were too busy on your phone to notice what they were doing.
So, there it is, my contrary and two, completely polar opposite feelings on this subject.
Yes, it was an accident.  No, I don’t blame this family.  I do however, blame judgey people who laugh, make fun of or shame parents who are more attentive.  No one wants to be called the helicopter parent, so they just let their kids do whatever and hope for the best. The fierce judgment of strangers thinking we are being too protective of our children is becoming an excuse for letting them run around unattended or going out of sight with no care to find out where they’ve been because, well, they’ll be back, right?  It’s causing parents to become more lax, more dispassionate about their children’s care and safety and in general, just more complacent.  It’s unfair to children to have to endure this new trend that puts them at risk.
Bottom line- Yes, of course it’s your choice how you parent, but just remember the black and white reality; if you are risky, you’re more likely to be at risk.  It’s just like driving, right?  Increased driving increases risk of accident.  Not because you are a bad driver, but because you are out there more often and the percentage is just higher due to opportunity. If you never drive, you will probably never be in a car accident.   So as a parent, if you are complacent more than you are cautious, your child is more likely to experience accidents. That’s not judgment, that’s just logic.