So my daughter flipped off her bike the other day.
She accidentally hit the wrong brake – and slammed the front wheels to a halt instead of the back ones, which meant the bike flicked her off, as it ground to standstill front first, then flipped over her, resulting in her splitting her chin open, breaking her scaphoid bone in her hand, bruising and grazing up her hands, chest and legs, and spraining her other wrist.
She looked a wreck, there was a lot of blood, it wasn’t pretty.
We dutifully trucked off to A&E for local anesthetic, stitches, bandages, dressings, x-rays and a cast.
I mentioned this on air the other day because part of the pain of splitting your chin open and having stitches is that it really hurts when the local wears off and she’d woken at 4am unable to go back to sleep and upset.
So she was calling me and texting me at work as I was about to go to air, and I was trying to reassure her and let her know I’d be home as soon as I could.
I shared this on air, just in a passing comment about how the struggle is real as a working parent – no matter what you do or at what time of day, when and if your child needs you or wants a hug from Mum, it’s tough.
I said as I threw to an ad break that the bike’s been put away for now. And boom, there it was. Beep beep, in came the texts.
I was offered a lot of unsolicited advice about how the mentality of ‘putting away the bike’ was ‘typical of people these days’. How the best thing to be would be to ‘teach her bike safety’, to get her right back out on the bike, to not ‘put it away’ but ‘put her back on it’.
Okay, here’s the thing, when you hear a snippet of information from another parent, you don’t have all the facts.
She knows how to ride a bike, she knows about bike safety, it was a singular moment of panic and brain fade – she had a mental block and forgot which brake to use.
The bike has not been locked away forever, the bike was put away because in her current state it would be nothing short of dangerous and irresponsible to put her back on it.
One arm is in a cast, the other is swollen and sprained and wrapped in tubey grip. Neither hands are holding onto a bike at this point.
But as messages rolled in to me about how I could or should have handled it, I couldn’t help but think – like the woman chastised the other day for breastfeeding in public – why are we so quick to blame and shame other parents?
Why do we assume we know best about anyone else’s kid?
And also, why is it we think we know all about a whole scenario, when we really only know a snippet?
I know how to drive a car, it doesn’t mean I may not have an accident in it. Accidents happen. People get hurt or injured. They recover, they get back on the bike.
So to those of you who felt the need to chastise me about how I’m raising my daughter: Thanks anyway, but hopefully I can work out for myself what’s best for my child, and you can worry about what’s best for yours.