When it comes to the fine art of mommyshaming, no one is safe. There is nothing you can do that is correct enough to please the parenting masses of social media. The dreaded Mombies and the throngs of “Nice Guys” who managed to level up to “Nice Dads” will always find you and attempt to destroy you with their concern trolling and unwanted opinions.
In our first public momflogging, Eva Amurri Martino, actress and daughter of Susan Sarandon, posted an absolutely terrifying story about her infant son. Amurri Martino and her husband had hired a night nurse. The nurse fell asleep holding the baby and dropped him, cracking his skull.
A couple of days after Thanksgiving, our Night Nurse fell asleep while holding Major and dropped him, and he cracked his head on the hardwood floor. Kyle and I were sleeping at the time and were awoken by the sound of his head hitting the floor, and then hysterical piercing screams. He suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain, and was transported by ambulance to Yale Medical Center where I spent two harrowing days with him to receive emergency care and further testing. To say these were the most traumatic and anxious two days of my life is an understatement.
Holy shit. I’m getting palpitations just reading that. Whether they talk about it or not, every parent has had at least one scary fuck-up moment. At nine months old, my daughter fell off our bed. My son spilled coffee on himself after I left it in a spot he could get to it. Not to mention all their own self-inflicted attempts to destroy themselves, but there’s something extra horrifying about the moments that you know as a parent are your fault. And in the case of Amurri Martino, even though she wasn’t the one who dropped her son, she feels the weight of the guilt. And while feeling that guilt already, she feels the waiting judgement of those who believe she should feel guilty.
The internet can be a peculiar place, where some people forget about humanity and go for the jugular. I know that this news might reach many, and of those many there will always be the people who say that this accident was my fault. That if it had been me in there holding him instead of a Night Nurse, that this never would have happened. That I deserve this for allowing my child to be in the care of somebody other than me. Well, let me tell you- the guilt I bore in the days and weeks after this accident was more intense and more damaging than anything I would wish upon my worst enemy. I had all those same thoughts and more. I wept in the hospital, telling anyone who would listen that it should have been me. That I was to blame. The truth is, even this woman who came so highly recommended, with a perfectly clean track record, could make a very human mistake. It “could happen to anyone”, and as they told me repeatedly in the hospital, it DOES happen to anyone. More often than you’d like to hear. Obviously, the (extremely upset and remorseful) nurse is no longer working for our family, though we forgive her. And even though I finally made peace with the fact that this freak accident could not have been avoided by me, it has continued to effect me to my core and in all aspects of my daily life.
While Amurri Martino addresses these concerns in this blog post, it hasn’t stopped her prediction from coming true. These are just from the mommmyshaming mecca known as the People Magazine comment section:
The concept of a night nurse might be foreign to many of us, especially the non-wealthy for whom any private in-home care would be an unattainable luxury, but, shit man, in those sleepless nights steeping in post-partum depression like the world’s worst, most bitter tea, I would have killed for help. And there are those who extend this “take care of your own kids” concern trolling all the way to daycare and babysitters, things most of us couldn’t live without. At the core, this is all about the idea that there is ONE way to parent (and let’s be real—it’s always about the one way to mother, specifically) and it is imaginary and nonexistent.
You know the right way to parent? Do your fucking best, whatever that looks like. The end.