I was over at No Appropriate Behavior, catching up on what has been going on over there, when I saw this post.
How many of us have joked (those of us with kids, now) that we would like to "hang them by their toenails", "drug them up to get some piece and quiet", or "smack 'em silly". How about all the times we tell people we are going to run away to the Bahamas or something silly like that when the kids have been making us crazy.
I think I probably make comments like that every day.
The thing is, I never mean it. I surely never say it in front of the kids, and I (don't think) I say it to people who would take me seriously. It's a strange kind of immature release to say such things. You know, like when we were kids and would tell other kids "well, my dad is stronger than YOUR dad"! It is supposed to be mildly funny, and universally accepted as a joke.
Some people, however, don't seem to understand that we don't really DO these things.
I mean really, an Ambien? for a baby? Yeah, I have joked that my baby needs a Valium, but would I ever give her one? HELL NO!
Then I started thinking about other stupid things I have heard of parents and caregivers doing: Putting a feverish child in the freezer, a cold child in the oven, leaving infants in the tub alone, leaving kids in a car alone on a hot day, choking their kids when shoving things in their mouths to keep them quiet, not knowing when to take a break and shaking their babies to death.
It is so easy to blame these people for being stupid, to say that I am so much better than them. I don't have a college education, but even I know that these things are not okay.
I am changing my thinking, though. The thing is, our society has taught us all to believe it is all about us, that what the next guy is doing is okay, and that thinking about what we do (say, believe, etc.) is highly overrated. Someone else gets paid to tell us what to do, what is acceptable, what we should be striving to achieve.
The thing is, up until today I thought society was other people. But it's not. I am part of society, and by making comments (how much will you give me off my rent if I trade Little Sprout in?) the way I do, I may give some poor, thoughtless fool the idea that this kind of thing is okay.
This doesn't excuse idiots their stupidity. It just makes me responsible for my own actions. I can't make them smarter, but I can remove one small bad influence and replace it with one of a loving mom who is able to be firm with her children without hurting them with her actions or words.
It is a small step, but it is the only one that I can be responsible for. If I live a good example--if all of us lived a good example-- then maybe the tide would begin to turn. I know it would be a slow process, but lasting change always is.
Or maybe I am just too much of an optimist