Going on It's easy enough to say that mothers need to support one another and that it takes a village to raise children, but actually stepping in and offering another parent help in a tense, public moment can still be extremely challenging. A mom named Megan Orr Burnside recently summed up this very point beautifully in a candid Facebook post that's going viral.
On December 7, Burnside shared took to the social media site to open up about a lesson she learned when she called the police on a mom who was struggling with her 10-year-old son. "I have something weighing on my heart this morning," she wrote. "A few years ago I was in Tennessee with my husband at a training event. We were at a gas station when we saw a woman with a boy of about 10 years old, struggling to get him in the car. He was screaming and she was so angry and frustrated. We watched her get him in the car and there was a lot of physical fighting in the car. It looked like she was hitting him as well, so we called the police. They came and we left. We then got a call and they told us that the boy was autistic and she really struggled with him, and she had even asked for the police's help in the past to deal with him because he was very violent. They said they have been helping her and she's doing the best she can."
Burnside confesses that she had "the most overwhelming realization" of her mistake, and she says she even felt guilt years later. "If I had helped in that moment, it may not have led to more violence."
More recently, she was in a position where she was able to help in the moment. "I was at a thrift store and a woman with two kids were in line to pay," Burnside shares. "One toddler boy was fussing and the other boy was asking his mother to buy things. She was so angry and explosive at both of them, the whole store was aware of them. People stood there and watched them struggle in the line. I remembered the experience I had in Tennessee and walked over to talk to the little boy and put my hand on his foot. He calmed down. The mother was so frazzled and apologized. She told me she worked nights and she couldn't even think in the day."
In response, Burnside relayed to the other mom that she understood "what it's like to be overwhelmed. I told her she was a good mom. I told her everything was going to be okay. She cried, guys. She CRIED as everyone else watched her struggle with her burden. Years earlier I would have been holding my cell phone ready, watching to see if she did anything that I should report."
Going on to share how a close friend, who's the kind of mom Burnside says she aspires to be, recently had DCFS called on her, Burnside shares, "It's time to stop judging each other and start helping each other, or we will only perpetuate isolation, depression, addictions, violence, and suicide. When people are overwhelmed they need help, not condemnation. I know I have been guilty for doing this very thing and I see clearly how I probably perpetuated the problem instead of helping to uplift and assist others."
The reactions to Burnside's moving post -- which has garnered over 14K reactions, more than 13,000 shares, and a massive number comments -- have been hugely positive. "Very powerful memssage. Thank you," one commenter wrote. "Touches me, because I too have jumped to conclusions when I should have offered help," another said. A third shared, "We are all guilty of this? More love and compassion is what this world needs!!!"
There will always be cases in which involving authorities or experts may be necessary for everyone's safety. But Burnside's message to lead with compassion and a willingness to assist other parents is an important one, as our culture often leaves many parents feeling isolated and unsupported. Fingers crossed this story will only lead more of us aiming to, as Burnside puts it, "uplift and assist others."