Shaming moms doesn’t make anyone’s kids safer
In 2011, writer and editor Kim Brooks had the police called on her — and ended up pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor (to avoid the risk of losing custody of her child) — because she left her then-4-year-old son in the car for few minutes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against doing this for any length of time and Brooks in no way diminishes the horror of children who die in overheated cars, but as she notes in an essay published in the New York Times, it was a cool day out and she was nearby. And judging from the fierce and immediate response to the essay by moms on social media, many, many parents out there could imagine being in her shoes.
This terrifying experience became the basis for her book, “Small Animals. Parenthood in the Age of Fear,” which was published this week. There, Brooks not only shares her own story but also tries to analyze the role of fear in parenting and how raising children has become a stressful, anxiety-ridden and, most of all, shame-inducing undertaking. She makes particular note of how this shaming, in practical terms, results in criminalizing low-income mothers who may have no choice to but leave their kids in the car to do things like interview for jobs (her essay cites one such case).
“I felt like a terrible mother. I felt, I think, what just about every woman feels when someone attacks her mothering: ashamed,” says Brooks in the introduction to her book.
The epidemic of parental shaming — of which calling the police on a mother is only the most extreme symptom — makes it clear that somewhere along the way, we have changed the way we view our fellow parents. Instead of seeing them as reasonable adults who can be trusted to make the best decisions for themselves and their children, we assume that they are idiots who need constant surveillance.
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Shared from: CNN