Should Distracted Moms Be Punished?

toddler in trafficYet another toddler escaped from his home and ran into traffic. Thank goodness this time the tot was scooped up and not harmed as he wandered into a road near his Staten Island home. But his mother won't be so lucky to escape unscathed. And also, this time, I wonder how much this busy mom should really be punished.

When a mom is passed out and not caring for her toddler, or otherwise unavailable for nefarious reasons, the book should be thrown right at her negligent head. But this mom was working feverishly on her tax return, and didn't notice her 20-month-old son slip out the door. So should she be treated as badly, as say, a drug addict who deliberately places her child's life in danger?


My own toddler tries valiantly to open our front door. Luckily, he's too short and we don't let him out of our sight. However, when I'm trying to get dinner on the table, he has been known to pull a trick or two when I'm otherwise indisposed. And yes, I have been guilty of not making sure the deadbolt is locked. Although most of the time I'm extra careful when it comes to my wily toddler.

The point is, no mom is perfect. And if a mom is trying to get her taxes in by the deadline, she shouldn't be treated like someone who is abusive and negligent. We can all look on in judgment and say we'd never do that. And most of us wouldn't. But one mistake -- one innocent mistake -- can have dire consequences.

The 21-year-old mom was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. She did do that, but I hope the judge in the case has some compassion. After all, if the family dog had gone with the child, we'd all be saying how heart-warming this story was. Instead, we're blaming a mom who was just trying to take care of family business.

Do you think this mom should be punished?


Image via imcountingufoz/Flickr

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