When we become mothers, we somehow find a way to make all our children's problems our fault.
When a child falls and splits her lip on the coffee table (like I did), the mother thinks, "If only I didn't have a coffee table." (30 years later, and my mom still has not gotten another coffee table.)
When a kid gets a cold, the mother thinks, "If only I had wiped down the buggy at the grocery store."
When a teenager fails a test, the mother thinks, "If only I had breast fed one year instead of six months."
Guilt is just a part of motherhood.
Ever since Collin' accident, I have been working through a mother load of guilt. As I watched him on the ventilator in the hospital, the "if onlys" screamed in my mind.
If only I didn't go to work that morning.
If only I didn't use the laundry organizer between my washer and dryer.
If only I didn't switch detergent.
If only I had seen the news report about the danger of the pods.
Fortunately, I have some really good friends and a really patient husband that have helped me as I work through this.
After the accident, I contacted our local news in an attempt to get the word out about the pods just to make other mothers aware because I wasn't. I've been talking with them about doing a story, but to be honest, I'm terrified.
It's one thing to open yourself up to your friends, but it's another thing to open yourself and your mother load of guilt up to the world.
My mom contacted her local news in Georgia, and they ran a quick follow up story as they had done a few of the Tide Pods stories. I have only watched the story once because it is just too painful for me right now. You can see the story here.
Once the story was done, I thought that was that, but yesterday someone brought this article to my attention on The Stir which had a link on it to the news story that was picked up by USA Today.
Look at those stories, but more importantly read the comments. Today, I made a big mistake and read the comments on both stories.
It's like a train wreck that you just can not not look at. (I realize that's a double negative.)
With each, "How could she?" and "What was that mother thinking?" my mother load of guilt grew exponentially. (Note to self: Never, ever read the comments again.)
Often as mothers we are quick to judge. Maybe by pointing out and judging the faults of other mothers, we feel like a better mother ourselves.
My son had an accident, and I could be eaten alive by the the guilt and the if onlys running through my head, but where does that get me? Guilt accomplishes nothing, and stops me from being the great mother I know I am.
However, there is one "if only" I am listening to. "If only I had known," and that is why I talk about the accident. My purpose is not to get Tide to stop making the pods, but to make a mother aware.
I know if I had seen a story about the danger, I would not have bought the pods or brought them into my house. As hard as it is, to open up about the accident and as ugly as the comments can get, I know there are mothers that still don't know about the danger to their children.
Dear fellow mothers, next time you start to judge another mom, please stop and think before you do. Raising children is not a contest. Let's show each other a little grace.