You gaze down at your infant baby, so beautiful and innocent. As you nurse your baby you look up to see your spirited two year old frolicking around the room full of joy. All is good in the world. You’ve got this mom thing down.
Maybe you’re not doing such a bad job afterall.
Then suddenly, it’s silent.
Where did she go?
At this point, you set your baby down in the middle of your nursing session. The silence permeating the room is not the breathe-a-sigh-of-relief-the-kids-are-napping, kind of silence.
It’s chilling. To the bone.
I turn the corner.
What followed is difficult to explain.
I’d like to say that I exclaimed, “Aw shucks!” and gleefully whisked Anistyn away to my pristine bathroom to take a delightful bubble bath complete with aromatherapy and classical music.
I’d like to say that I didn’t spend the next three hours wavering back and forth between complete disbelief, and near total meltdown.
I’d like to ignore the chaos that ensued and jump straight to the part where, with a burst of motivation and inspiration, I began my new business for social good.
But let’s be real.
A few things went down in the meantime.
The thing is, when your child becomes infamous for an epic mess, YOU become infamous for being a terrible parent. A dream come true, right?
To be honest, most people who saw the viral picture thought it was hilarious. It was almost as though people felt it gave them permission to relate their own parental mishaps and have a good laugh about it. I mean, all kids have been two once.
The media blitz was a whirlwind. The morning after I posted Anistyn’s picture on Facebook, my phone rang.
“Hello! This is so-and-so from Good Morning America. How are you?”
Is this what people from Good Morning America do on a Wednesday morning?
Do they simply call sleep deprived mothers to check up on them, have a nice chat, see how their child’s latest string of bad behavior has impacted them?
Before I knew it, the photo was all over the web. It was spotted on the home page of Yahoo, Reddit, and in every language I could think of.
In case all of the publicity was going to my head, the universe kindly handed me a live interview on Fox & Friends, in which Anistyn had her most public meltdown to date.
Anistyn waiting for her first live interview with Fox News Network's Fox and Friends (above)
There was once a time when a tantrum in the aisles of Target would cause me to step away in a moment of panic and pretend she was someone else’s child.
Let me tell you something. There are few things that can phase you once you have survived a two year old’s tantrum on one of the world’s largest TV networks.
As always, there are two sides to every coin. For every person who got a kick out of the picture, there was another who was horrified that this could ever happen.
I must admit some of the comments caught me off guard. A shocked and concerned mother questioned what type of mother could actually dunk her child in a bucket of paint just for attention and insisted CPS needed to get involved.
Another viewer expressed his complete disgust that my two year old daughter was
still wearing diapers.
I know. I’m disappointed too. I’ve also expected her to get a job for months now and for some crazy reason all she wants to do is make mudpies and nap. Ok, let’s be honest. Anistyn refuses to nap.
Much of what happened that couple of weeks was a blur.
I remember being up late one night with Madox, my sweet, insatiable baby, when I stumbled across yet another article, with many more comments. It was like a gang of cyber bullies, just eating it up. I was amazed at it.
And as I sat there nursing my sweet boy, I looked down at him, and just wondered what he would be like as an adult.
And then I thought about how all of the people in this world were once as little and innocent as he was right at that very moment.
It’s funny how your view of people can change when you envision them as a young child. You become much more compassionate. You begin to wonder what it is that has caused them to become the way they are.
Whenever I’m having a tough time understanding someone’s actions or motives, or have trouble showing them compassion, I think of them as a young child. Nine times out of ten, it helps.
People aren’t born mean.
Somehow, along the way, we become distracted. We forget what’s really important, and that’s a tragedy.
I know I’m not alone when I worry about raising children in an increasingly selfish world.
Sometimes, as parents, we want to protect our children by shielding them from all of the bad things in the world. And why wouldn’t we? That’s our job, our most basic instinct.
Realistically, that’s impossible. Not only is it impossible but we need to ask ourselves, is that really the best choice?
I’d argue that shielding them is not the best choice. Building their characters in a way that helps them to overcome the obstacles that will surely come their way is the best choice. They need to become empowered and enabled to deal with life’s difficulties. Not sheltered with a false sense of protection.
We need to raise a generation of children who are not only armed with the tools necessary to overcome their obstacles, but with hearts that will change the world.
It was during that fateful night, that the idea for a children’s company came to me. One that aimed to inspire children to be kind and give back. I needed a way to help children not only maintain their innate sense of kindness, but a means to enable and empower them to spread it.
And I knew I needed help. That’s why I enlisted the help of my friend and fellow mother Jackie Konczol.
Together, we founded The Doll Kind. We agreed on a simple yet powerful mission:
To empower and inspire a generation of children to create a kinder world, one heart at a time.
Be kind and change the world,