Doing the 'Right Thing' Is Hard When You're a Mom

Chuck E. CheeseIn a horrifying incident this past weekend, a grandmother was viciously beaten by a stranger at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Michigan. The reason? She asked a nearby couple to stop cursing during her grandson's birthday party.

It's outrageous, especially because it happened right there in the restaurant with plenty of children nearby. And it's also an example of why, since becoming a parent, I've become less inclined to stand up and fight for what's right.

When you have your children with you, there's never a better reason to do the right thing, to show them that it's not okay for people to get away with things and that good should triumph over evil. But it's also frightening, because sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy and it comes doing so comes with risks, like this grandmother found out. There are many times I find myself stifling my instincts to do the right thing or fight the good fight because my children are with me. For example:


When people ask me for money. Before I had children, I usually gave whatever spare change I had when someone asked. I figured they need it worse than I do if they have to ask. But when my children are with me, I don't want them to be left vulnerable while I dig through my purse. So I often put my head down or roll my window up and move on.

When I see people stranded on the side of the road. I wouldn't probably ever stop when I'm alone anyway, but when I'm with my husband and we see someone who looks like they need help along the side of the road, my instinct is to stop and help them ... then I see my kids in the back seat, and we keep going.

When I see someone litter. My gut makes me want to scream, or at least pointedly point out that they must have accidentally dropped that big Slurpee cup, but I keep my mouth shut ... and usually have to clamp a hand over my daughter's mouth to keep her from shouting, "litterbug!"

When a parent yells at or otherwise treats a child badly. If a child was in immediate danger, I'd certainly step in, but there have been times I've seen a mom yelling or otherwise looking close to the limit that I might have offered a word or two to try to diffuse the situation. When my children are with me, however, I find myself just wanting to get them away from situation as quickly as possible.

It's sad that the world is the way it is, and my reactions make me feel like a coward sometimes. I know I should be showing my children that it takes courage to stand up for what you believe, and sometimes I do. But all too often when it comes to my babies, sometimes doing the right thing just feels too wrong.

Do you ever find it harder to do the right thing when you are with your children?

Image via melissaclark/Flickr



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