Fine line between bad mommy moment and neglectful mom

@much2say (35768)
United States
December 10, 2009 10:25am CST
I'm just remembering something from an old forum I used to go to. Someone posted a story about her friend . . . wife to a minister and mom of 5. The youngest, I think 16 months, drowned in a the bathtub and was in a vegetarian state . . . everyday we were watching for updates on this sad story. While everyone was about saying prayers and such, one lady stepped up to the plate and questioned where was this mom when this happened. Reasonable question, right? Everyone jumped on her - saying this was not the time, that we all have bad mommy moments, etc etc and they totally bagged on this person who dared to make such comments. But in a way, I agreed with the woman (though she could have stated things with more sensitivity). Just where was this mom when the baby drowned? Was it not her responsibility to watch her baby at all time or at least know that the baby was near a tub (and why was it filled with water)? Where do we draw the line between a bad mommy moment . . . from a neglectful mom . . . who is probably a good person otherwise? Should the mom be accountable for it regardless because the baby is the one who got victimized? They ultimately had to pull the plug on the poor child - what a hard decision for that family to make. What are your thoughts?
1 person likes this
10 responses
@jaiho2009 (38990)
• Philippines
10 Dec 09
I am also a mother of 3 kids. This is really sad and upset,to be question like that. I guess no mother will ever want her kid to be hurt(what more with this situation) The lady may have expressed a reasonable question,but,we also don't have any right to judge the mother. She maybe devastated this time,or maybe in a state of shock(the reason why she can't give any comment) Granting over her negligence,but still,this situation is really a traumatic one for a mother.
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
I know we shouldn't judge anyone . . . afterall, we weren't there and we don't know all the circumstances. But no matter what we think, that poor child is no longer here . . . and yes, it's very tragic. Whether we judge or not, bottom line is that baby was not watched over and the worst happened.
@jaiho2009 (38990)
• Philippines
13 Dec 09
anything good or bad that happens,there is always a lesson to be learn. This is one way of teaching the mother to be more careful and watchful to her other kids(esp with toddlers) It is so sad that it needs a tragic situation before learning a lesson,but,still it has a purpose.
@dorannmwin (36659)
• United States
15 Dec 09
I think that someone asking that question was completely reasonable, but I also think that it was not the time to do it. I think every mother has their bad mommy moments and sometimes they are alot worse than other times. I've been lucky that my children have always been safe in and around the water, but I also watched them like a hawk in a bathtub and also whenever we are in a swimming pool as well. Water is such a dangerous thing. I feel bad for the poor mother that lost her beloved child, but I honestly don't think this was a case of neglect based on the little that I know solely because she was a mother of five children and it could have been that one of the other children had an emergency of some sort.
@coolblu (54)
• United States
11 Dec 09
I don't feel that she was a bad mom. Things do happy for a reason without an explantion. None of us was in the house when this happened so we don't know how much water was actually in the tub. I have allowed my children at 16 month bath in the tub alone and nothing happened. Does that make me a bad mom. no..
@mzz663 (2773)
• United States
11 Dec 09
I always baby proofed my house, that meant door locks, cupboard locks, no glass nick knacks, cords to appliances out of reach, electric outlet covers, etc. A lot of people would say I was too protective, they weren't allowed outside unless I was with them, if I ran in a store to even pay for gas I got them out and they were with me. BUT no matter how attentive someone is with their kids there is always the possibility of an accident happening where someone knocks on the door, another kids gets hurt, a glass falls on the floor and it needs cleaned up, we can't control everything around us, especially when we have little ones. The important question is exactly the one your friend asked.......Where was the mother? What was she doing? Naps don't count as an excuse....
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
I'm with you! I know no matter how much we protect our children, there's always a little window open for possibilities for things to happen. Well, the woman wasn't my friend . . . she was just someone who took a stand on the forum I was on. Like you said, a nap is definitely not an excuse . . . in a sense, nothing is an excuse for not watching a baby near the bathroom, eh? I feel sorry for the mom, sure, but I still have to wonder what she was doing at the time.
@aguas_aj (501)
• Philippines
11 Dec 09
Well it's really hard to draw the line. But wanting to see the point of the mother of the drowned baby. she has other 4 kids,she might have attended the other kids when the incident happened. But her mistake was leave the baby on the tub. In my own belief, a mother regardless how many kids you have should attend the kids needs first. regardless if the father's shoe is missing or there is plenty of plates to be washed. The main goal is put the kid/s into safety first before accomplishing anything else. For me, a bad mommy moment is something you had fail to attend because you're attending into something else also important.You fail to do because as a person also, you gets so tired and have plenty of things to do also, BUT never will leave the kids unattended, unfed and definitely neglected to his needs.. A bad mommy moment is just a moment of mistake, lost and moment of tiredness. Just a spur of moment..Ofcourse, these things should not be done always. That's why it is important for mothers to have "me" time to attend her needs and a little wants also.. A neglectful mother, is someone who doesn't care what is the effect of her action to her kid. Doesn't care if she's giving the kid a soiled cloth, doesn't mind giving unboiled or undistilled water to her baby. Doesn't care if the child has diaper rash. Or to simplify it, A neglectful mother is a mother that gives no time or a little time to attend the need of his kids while doing nothing and accomplishing nothing at all.. Of course, it doesn't excuse the mother working or doing so many laundry, but my point is simple, you become a neglectful mother when you don't put your child's welfare at the very top of your list
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
Although we shouldn't judge, I can't help but to judge the mother . . . no matter how I look at it, it doesn't matter what she was doing . . . bottom line is no one was watching the poor baby and the absolute worst scenario happened - ultimately he lost his life over it. I do agree a bad mommy moment is a slip up, whereas a neglectful mom is someone who doesn't care period. I'm not saying that mom was neglectful, but before that moment, obviously the child's welfare was not at the top of the list, otherwise, he would have been watched over - I would think.
@junmae (1591)
• Philippines
11 Dec 09
The lady had a point, as a mom your children is your responsibility especially when it is just a baby yet. You have to watch them 24 hour a day. But I couldn't judge her yet, we don't have to blame her yet because we didn't know the was happened during that time. As a mother, you are very busy doing chores in the house especially if you don't have nanny to take care of the baby and do some chores. I don't know what happened to the child but if it's not too late yet, I hope that the baby will survive.
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
This story was from almost 5 years ago. Unfortunately, there was no way the baby would come out of his vegetable state, and had to be on life support. The family decided it was best to let him go, and they had the plug pulled on the poor baby. Perhaps we cannot judge, but still, then who is responsible for what happened to the child. Having chores to do is no excuse to not watch your baby - that is a responsibility of the mother - especially if it is a very young child.
• United States
10 Dec 09
Really it depends what the mom was doing at the time. and it had to have been a really hard decision and im sure the mother felt responsible and guilty. that is something she will never forget. It has to be hard to go through something like that. I cant even imagaine what she must feel. Though I would have also asked where she was at.
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
I'm sure the mother feels responsible and guilty - most likely she will for the rest of her life. I don't know what exacty she was doing at the time, but the bottom line is her child was not looked after . . . there was so much time for water to be somehow turned on, the child to climb in the tub, and drown. It's also hard to imagine why that baby was not being watched.
@Sillychick (3279)
• United States
10 Dec 09
I agree with you that it was a reasonable question. Good manners tell us that maybe while the mother is grieving is not the best time to bring it up. She will live with that guilt for the rest of her life. To answer your question, I think the line is drawn when the bad mommy moment results in serious harm to the child. I think that the people who defended this woman were probably all thinking about times when they did something that was maybe a bad mommy moment, and they were lucky enough that there were no serious consequences. They understand how easily it can happen. I understand that when things like this happen people don't want to say anything because the parent is already suffering enough. But the bottom line is that our number one responsibility as parents is to keep our children safe. When we fail to do that our children suffer the consequences. When our actions lead to injury to our children, we should own up to it and take responsibility for it. Ever notice how people aren't so quick to defend a father in similar situations?
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
Yes, the "manners" part was a hot topic . .. that it wasn't the right time to bring up the hard questions about the mother. It's true she will be living with that guilt for the rest of her life, but that child now has no more life. I'm sure we've all had really bad mommy moments and thank our lucky stars that it didn't end up badly . . . but a baby drowning in a bathtub is something, I think, that may have been prevented. Oh, and you are so right, people aren't so quick to defend fathers when things like that happen to them.
@magikrose (5423)
• United States
10 Dec 09
There really is a fine line between a mommy moment and just flat out neglect. Sometimes when we see our kids doing things on there own we take for granted that they are still so little and still need our help and support and watchfull eye. I am a mom of 4 and I will admit I have had my share of mommy moments, forgot to check the diaper bag for extra cloths or enough diapers, put the wrong cloths on the wrong kid, little things like that...but never once did I ever leave my child in the bath alone, I would even have my oldest sit in the bathroom with my youngest for the brief minute I needed to grab the towel I forgot to grab before hand either way I never left my child alone for fear of them slipping just right and not being able to get back up...I knew if anything happind my oldest would do what He could to lift them out of the water on top of scream for help.
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
Oh yes, I have my share of bad mommy moments too . . . every mom probably can admit to that. But I've never left my little one in the bath alone either . . . not even in the bathroom (we've always kept the door closed too). Luckily we live in a very small place (not a house), so we could keep a close eye on our kid. A baby can easily slip away in a bath .. . there's just no way I would risk that happening. It's smart you've had your oldest watching over . . . it kind of makes me wonder where the other siblings (of the baby that drowned) were at the time.
@Amigone (44)
• United States
10 Dec 09
I think that was an entirely resonable question. I think that most people draw the line between bad mommy moment and neglectful mommy moment depending on what the mom was doing at the time. For example if she was breaking up a fight between her other kids or bandaging a wound then that would be a bad mommy moment whereas if she as chatting on the phone with her girlfriend while the child drowned that would be a neglectful mommy moment. I think in this situation it all depends on what the circumstances of it all were. I'm sure there was an investagtion and that the mother was found legally not at fault. I'm also sure that she holds herself accountable for the loss of that child every day that she is alive and that baby isn't.
@much2say (35768)
• United States
13 Dec 09
That is true. And we don't really know what the mother was doing at the time the incident happened (I don't recall it ever being mentioned). But you're right - there probably was an investigation and she probably wasn't found to be neglectful. I'm sure this is something she will have to live with and think about for the rest of her life - big consequence!