Am I a Bad Mother?

United States
March 27, 2009 9:41am CST
I had an issue a couple years ago. Here's the scenerio: It was getting dusk, I was in the kitchen of a trailer doing my schooling and Instant Messaging my brother. My son at the time was about 3 1/2 years old, was in the bedroom with his father. Next thing, I know, my boyfriend came out asking where our son was....i told him i thought he was asleep with him, he said no our son was coming to see me and get something to drink. We looked and the back door was slightly open, he went searching for him at the landlords and neighbors. I went the other way and seen my son by the edge of the road with a "cop". I was screaming, bawling, etc... I grabbed my son and the cop said he would take us home, which was only a hop and skip. I asked my son what he was doing and that he knew he couldn't leave the house without us, he said he knew that but he wanted to go ride a tractor. He said he wouldn't do anything but the other county cops were on their way. As soon as the other cops came by, the one told me he should arrest me without even asking what happened. I called my father, the healthy families, and my boyfriends dad came to the house. Needless to say, they arrested both of us for child neglect. I do everything in my power to keep my son safe, i have him in speech therapy, occupational therapy, healthy families/first steps/community partners, he also see's his family doctor regualary, see's a behavioral therapist. He has a slight hearing issue, ADHD, touch of autism and anger issues. Now due to this mishap, I lost my employment at the daycare center, took almost a year to things taken off my background check and now I get looks all the time. I feel this could have happened to anyone and I have heard others talking about what their children running off. So, why do I still get all these looks, treatments as I am such a terrible person?
2 people like this
19 responses
@tschu8 (136)
• United States
27 Mar 09
I am sorry that you have had to pay so much for something that is such a common thing. When my oldest was younger I had a roomate and she had a son the same age. At about 2 years of age me and my room mate were cleaning in the living room and the boys were playing together in their bedroom in the back of the house. We seen a neighbor running down the street and we went out to see what happened. Our two little boys were down the street on the oposite side of the street. One was carrying a ball and the other was pushing an emptly umbrella stroller. It happened that they went out the side door. It only took a minute for this to happen because just minutes before we checked on the boys and they were still playing. It just happened. You can not be on your kids 24/7. It happens. And my friend was turned into CPS at a later date for a similar situation and her case was unfounded. It caught up with her years down the road because she works with the CPS with the Safe House and it showed up one day and she was called in because in the records of the case it did not have the final findings of the case. She had to show proof that she was unfounded and then her job was safe. Do you have any documentation from an investigation that can help you out there? These things do happen and I am sorry that this has affected you in such a way.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
Yes, I kept everything from the court case, the police records everything. when i applied for a part time position i called them and asked if anything was erased from my record and they sent me a copy. it is funny because everyone at the welfare office was dismayed when this happened. EVERYONE was upset, but now I had a hard time getting an apartment because everyone in this town knows about it and to this day, give me a hard time. :( I feel for your friend, and i feel i am always looking over my shoulder to see if someone is going to turn me in for something stupid. Thank you.....all of you that have responded. It means alot to me and right now I feel like crying. I guess the good friends are the cyperworld ones.....thanks again.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
Go ahead and cry, I hear it's very healing.
1 person likes this
@tschu8 (136)
• United States
27 Mar 09
I had a little different situation with my youngest son. And I had people make their comments and had to deal with them. I'll make my story short for you. When my youngest was 9 months old he was sick for a couple of months. I was in the doctors office 2 to 3 times a week and then they finally found out through an xray that he had a penny stick straight up and down in his throat. It was starting to grow into place. I had no idea. I did my part when he was sick and it took the doctor time to find out why he was sick. And after the fact there where comments from other parents such as "how could this happen dont you watch him" and othes like this. And of coarse I watch him. But it just happened. Some parents looked at me weird at daycare and I was sure to let them know that I am a good mother and felt bad about what happened but my eyes could not be on his every move. And I got through it and it does go away. Be strong and be confident in yourself. Good luck to you.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29043)
• United States
27 Mar 09
You're right, it could have happened to anyone, and has happened to many people. About 3 years ago my twins, who were 3 years old at the time, went outside by themselves at 4am while the rest of us were asleep. I woke up when I heard the door slam shut, and ran out to get them, hubby slept through the whole thing. The only difference between our mishaps is that the police managed to catch your son, nobody ever saw my kids. So unless there's more to the story that you're not telling us.. then no, I don't think you're a bad mom, because that stuff does happen to a lot of people.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
No, I am telliing you the Truth. This "accident" has bothered me the last year and half. I can't seem to get away with the circumstances, looks, stares, hard time find an house, job, etc. I wasn't able to have children, I finally got pregant at age of 28, had alot of stress, complications with him. I would not do anything to harm my child. He is the only one I can have. I worked at a daycare thru a church and they didn't even support me during this time. I lost my job because of this and would have felt the church that I was attending the evening classes, starting to "pray" and they hurt me. No, again, I am telling the truth and not lying about anything.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
I didn't mean to imply that you had left something out or weren't being truthful, I was just saying, that in order to be a bad mom for what happened to you, there had to be some other circumstances, you know. There are a lot of bad moms out there, and the police and CPS should be worrying about them, and not wasting their time on moms of typical kids who do typical kid things like escaping from their parents for a moment or two. Over the course of the years I've lost each of my children at least once while in a public place because I took my eyes off them for a second and they wandered in a different direction. When my oldest was 4 he wandered off at a baseball game while I was in line for food. When my daughter was 4 or 5 she walked into a building while we were at the Fair and nobody noticed she'd done it until a couple minutes later (there were a total of 3 adults and nobody saw her walk away from us!). My middle son went missing at a Renesaince Fair a couple years ago because we'd stopped to get something from the bottom of the stroller and he kept walking. Just a few weeks ago my 2 and half year old wandered off at Walmart and it took me a minute to realize it. The only child I haven't lost even for a moment yet is the baby, but he's only 14 months old right now. It's inevitable that his day will come.
1 person likes this
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
27 Mar 09
Kids do things like that. It doesn't make you a terrible person. My oldest and my youngest had a habit of running off in the store. When I looked for them I got looks, if I had them screaming tied down in the cart (never mind that they were too big to sit in that seat), I got looks, if I walked them in a harness like a dog, I got looks... you just can't satisfy everybody's opinion. And yes, you'll eventually find somebody ready to call the cops for something they perceive as wrong. The cops look into it but more often than not don't do more because they see the situation for what it is. In your case you got the triple whammy. Your child has developmental and other issues, which are not your fault but cause others to more easily accuse of neglect for not watching him better. Living in a trailer (which in itself might have put some of those in charge in a negative opinion towards you) and not having the door locked.. as easy as your son could sneak out, somebody else can sneak in (another negative in some people's eyes).. Although your trailer wasn't far away from where your son stood with the cop, he didn't seem to know his way back there and the cop calling for a pick-up by others instead of further looking where the child comes from.. How long was the child outside without you noticing? All that together, well, they did what they thought was safe for your child. They rather overreact than not do anything. I'm sorry this happened to you. It's terrible how many people react like that without further investigating to see what really happened and without remembering how quickly a child can sneak off. Yes, they are indeed gone in a split second. Just forget about what people may or may not think of you. As of now there is nothing you can do about it. Focus on your child, your education, whatever is needed to provide for your son, make sure he enjoys life. At the end of the day, what he thinks of you and your parenting skills, when he is a grown-up, is more important than what other people think.
1 person likes this
@starangel (414)
• United States
27 Mar 09
It doesn't sound like you neglected him. It sounds like your son was just being a kid. Kids often get distracted. I'm sure his first thought was to go see you, but on the way he passed the door and thought of outside, which led to him thinking about a tractor and then he decided to go find one and so on and so forth. It happens. I'm sorry you got in trouble for it. It would've been one thing if you guys completely ignored him and didn't have a clue where he was. You went out and looked for him and you obviously were concerned for his safety and what happened to him. Now, here's my story to make you feel better: My youngest son was about 3 1/2 years old. I was at work and my husband was at home. My son was suppose to be taking a nap. We lived in a mobile home and his room was at the end facing the driveway in the mobile park. During his 'nap' he managed to open the window, push out the screen, jump out the window with his bare feet hitting gravel.....oh wait, i'm sorry, i think he dropped a blanket for a soft landing, and then he walked across through more gravel into someone elses mobile home. It was an older couple. He just walked in and sat on their couch. The woman turned on the tv and gave him a cookie. The gentlmen walked over, and said to my husband 'i think you're missing a son'. My husband tried to let him know that our son was taking a nap. the guy goes "no, he's sitting in my house watching tv." I had just started going back to work after being a SAHM. When my husband called me and told me what happened i felt like i got punched in the stomach. I was so glad that he went into a house with a nice family because he could've gone to the main road with lots of traffic, or the woods that have coyotes, etc. there were so many things that could've happened to my baby. My youngest was always fast and seemed to take off whenever. I always went outside with them when they wanted to play, but it never failed...little guy had a knack for disappearing with a blink of an eye. I always caught up with him, but man he was good. A couple times he would go into daddy's truck and i would freak out because I couldn't find him and I thought the vehicles were locked and whenever i looked in, he would duck. his way of playing hide and seek. He knew where he was the whole time. Now, if anyone says that's bad parenting obviously doesn't know how kids can be. Toddlers just go with what they're thinking. They're not mature enough to think of what could happen if they did this or that. I'm just glad to hear that your son was found safe. So many things could've happened and none of it would've been your fault. It happens...its the good moms that notice their children are MIA(missing in action) and go looking for them. The bad ones are the ones who answer the door to find a police man asking them when was the last time they saw their child. I'm sorry for the results of your mishap. maybe it's just time to move? if not let them look at ya. people will judge and don't even care what your side of the story is. Good luck.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
These little toddlers sure are smart in their own way.....it just amazes me what they can do and even do thingss we never would have thought about. I am glad he went to a nice neighbor and they came to you. Two weeks after this happened, they were called to another house.....their 3 year old was walking down the highway, they didn't even know....they were too busy with "guess-what" and they were not arrested. That really hit me hard and I was furious. but what can you do.....
2 people like this
@mjhicks (319)
• United States
28 Mar 09
Sounds like to arresting officer had a pet peeve about unsupervised kids. It is sad that people misjudge parents because the police were involved. You are not a bad mother. This incident has probably made you an even more attentive mom. My own children gave me a good scare on occasion so I well understand kids will do things unexpected and manage to escape even under the most watchful eyes. With no previous complaints against you they should have just logged the incident and given a warning. All you can do is be open and honest about what happened. For those that ask or say something let them know it was one of those things that happened with kids and what you learned from the experience. For those that only give you looks and don't have the guts to ask just ignore them.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Mar 09
I agree with everybody else that you are not a terrible person. What really is making you feel bad right now is the possibilty that you MAY be a bad mother. You need to forgive yourself for what happened. That would be so freeing for you. After you have forgiven yourself, and made peace with the incident in your own heart, resolve not to let other's opinions bother you. If other people have negative feelings about you, that hurts only them. Don't take those feelings onto yourself - don't let them through. I learned a few years ago not to let other's feelings be MY feelings. It's sooooooo peaceful. I hope that you can forgive yourself, and learn to do the same!
1 person likes this
28 Mar 09
yes - it could have happened to anyone. Unfortunately you were in the wrong occupation for it to happen so understandably lost your job. But don't dwell on it, pick things up and start again. I was at an indoor attic sale and thoughtmy daughter was safe. She normally didn't leave my side. Then i turned round and she was gone. She had managed to get out through the door when someone opened it to come in. The woman who found her gave me the filthiest look you could imagine as if i was the worst mother in the world. i also remember a story my mother told me. She and my father has my older sister in a pram. They stopped to look at the view where they were walking and both thought the other had hold of teh pram. They were on a hill and my father had to chase the pram down the hill - thankfully he causght up with it but it could have been much worse. I thin kmost parents have had at least one scary moment like these with their kids. Hold your head up high and don't worry what others think
1 person likes this
@berrys (864)
• Singapore
28 Mar 09
No, of course your not a terrible mother. Just give it time the issue will blow over. People will forget, I'm sure its not your fault as your son has many treatment. I understand that having children with ADHD can be difficult sometimes so I don't think its due to your neglect-man. Just hang in there and if people give you the look, give it back to them.
1 person likes this
@getnbuy (1314)
• United States
28 Mar 09
this was a terrible mishap. I cannot help but feel that you were treated unfairly. did the cops have any other reason to suspect that you were negligent? any prior problems or was your boyfrind doing anything against the law? I would say, hold your head high, act in the best way possible, and ignore the people who judge you. Make a new life for yourself and your son, as it appears you are doing. If you could move away and get a new start, I would do it. Maybe you can get a different kind of job somewhere else. it seems that a day care job would be hard to get after what you were accused of. do your best and love your little boy.
@tcycharmy (102)
• United States
28 Mar 09
No, you are definately not a bad mother. Sad to say, but these things happen all the time. I can't believe that the cops arrested you. So should they also arrest every parent whose child gets kidnapped. It is practically the same thing as your child can be with you one second and not the next. I've heard of children being taken from their own yard. Too also lose your job over it is ridiculous as they should have been more understanding. My nephew is four and he will be watching cartoons in the living room, then all of a sudden he opens the door and walks outside becasue he thought that I was outside too. I am sorry that this happened to you. Hopefully everything will work out in the end, just rest assured that you are not a bad mother and if they arrested you for this, then almost every parent should be arrested for a similar instance.
1 person likes this
@mrrome (74)
• Philippines
27 Mar 09
I don't know what to say in your story. But one thing for sure that you are not a bad mother. Your case can happen to anyone. But you cannot stop people from their own opinion. For as long as you do your very best to protect your child, you're not a bad mother. Chitchating and rumors will just going to fade away in time. As long as you believe in what you are standing, you are still you.
1 person likes this
@kawalnarang (1095)
• Trinidad And Tobago
27 Mar 09
I believe only thing left is that u got a lot of patience,, also keep praying that the Lord give u encouragement
1 person likes this
@onabreak2 (1161)
• United States
27 Mar 09
It sounds as like there were other circumstance involved. Like your son is ADHD and there was no lock on the door so this could not happen. This happened to my neighbor also. THey have a special needs child who is always getting out of the house and ending up at a neighbors house. At first no one knew where he came from. Now we all know. The last time he got out he ended up at a neighbor up on the street about 3 blocks away. The cops brought him back home and really blasted the neighbor. The neighbor as soon as the police left went and got an alarm and lock that the child cant reach on the door. So you are not the only one this has ever happend too. People are always quick to judge and seem to always want to believe the worst in people. You know if you are a bad mother or not. And as long as you know your not then dont worry about other people. Keep your head up.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
I think we all make mistakes and if we are not careful it can happen to any of us. One day my husband was watching my daughter while I was at work. He has the baby gate up so she cound't go to the kitchen because their are so much that can hurt her in there. The front door was also shut so she could not go outside. He went to the kitchen to get something. He heard a funny noise and looked in the living room just in time to see my daughter chasing our puppies on the front porch. She is 19 months and somehow opened the door in that short of time. I think you might feel a little guilty so you feel that people are judging you. It is a bad situation and I can see how it can happen even with the best parents. I am sorry you lost your job and seem to be under a lot of eyes. I would ignore them. Find another job and do what you can your son.
@Boofybutt (316)
• United States
27 Mar 09
It's not like children come with a handbook. No, you are not a bad mother or a bad person. It could of happened to anyone, as soon as children can reach the doorknob, who knows what they'll do. You do the best you can, and you did that. You thought he was taking a nap with his dad, how were you to know he left the bedroom? YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT!!!!!!!!!!!!
• United States
27 Mar 09
I dont think you are a terrible person. I dont know what i would do in this situation, but you thought your son was your boyfriend. It's not as if you let the door hang open & completely ignored him. Maybe a little better communication with your boyfriend from now on would help, but kids are going to be kids. They love the outdoors. I catch mine at the door all the time, but thank god they havent tried to open the door. Good luck. Hang in there.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12071)
• India
6 Mar 10
I'm sorry you had to go through so much trouble for this. It's obvious that you didn't do anything on purpose. You thought your son was with his father (which he was)..and he slipped out when he came out to take something. A similar thing happened to me recently. We stay at an apartment complex and my 3 year old had a play date at a neighbour's. When I went to pick him up, I asked him to help his friend clean up, while I went into the kitchen (which is an open one) to chat with my friend. We thought they were cleaning up...when we went to check on them 5 minutes later, we found that my son had opened the main door and gone off. The main areas of the apartment complex are not safe for children and I was worried. Fortunately for us, he had gone straight back home and his father was there. I'm very careful at home with him. The balcony doors are always closed (we stay on the 6th floor) when I have to go to the bathroom or even work in the kitchen. But this happens. Another thing is that there is no such thing as child neglect here in India and there is no help for children who are truly being abused.
@wrangel15 (1443)
• Philippines
29 Mar 09
I think the issue is not with you. Don't think you are not being a good mother for what happened. It is just so unavoidable. Kids specially boys are curious and will really get out of the house to fill their curiosity. The cop is just doing what he is expected to do. But it seems like he is blaming you for that. He may also have an idea on how you protect your child but didn't mention it and it can really make you blame yourself. It's good you found your child safe. All I can say now is maybe you should have more time to talk with your child's curiosities. By knowing them you'll be able to allow and accompany him to do that. If you'll prohibit him to do that, he will do it secretly from you. It is better if you just allow him to do it and you accompany him on that instead of prohibiting him which may just cause him to do what he wants without you knowing it. :) You won't post this discussion if you're not a good mom. There will come a time when your child give thanks for all the things you've done for him...
• United States
28 Mar 09
I don't think your a bad person. Things happen I don't understand why they charged you with child neglect. I haven't had my kids do anything like that too me yet. Hopefully they never do. But, sisters kid had taken a piece of candy without asking and since she new she wasn't supposed to she hide from my sister. My sister went crazy looking for her. So anything can for any reason. It might not be the same thing but it could have been. Do think of your self as a bad mother your trying to do everything you can for your son. Hope this helps. Happy Mylotting!!!!