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No Love for the Children? When Some Black Mothers Go Off

You have heard the stories of mothers killing their own children.  It seems in each story, no one noticed any signs or discovered anything a bit strange leading up to the incidents.  But I personally believe that some family members and friends knew these mothers were unstable before the murders took place.

Having been around mothers and grandmothers who had the following issues: tough childbirths, challenging menstrual cycles and menopause, many children living in the home, a history of parenting siblings at young ages, and a negative attitude when it came to being around children, I could see why some new mothers and veteran ones got away with hurting children.  These emotionally beaten mothers were too tired, impatient, broke, busted, disgusted, and more to care too much about what was going on with other mothers in the community.  Some responded when told about a depressed daughter, post-partum relative, menopausal mother, etc., "That's her business...I got enough problems of my own.  She wanted them d*mn kids, what did she expect?  I ain't got no time to be watching someone else's kids!"  One told me when I mentioned a past story about a mother murdering her kids, "That's so sad, some of these women need to close their don't make sense!"  The keep-it-real type will not empathize about a troubled mother's state of mind.  Some critics will not look at the fact that some relatives and friends have mental issues and may not know that they have them.  How is Crazy supposed to take care of Crazy?

Sometimes the writing on the wall doesn't show up with some mothers and their children until years later.  It isn't until something bad happens that folks will say things like, "I thought she was a little crazy.  I wondered where the father was and why she had to do so much by herself...There was something not quite right with that one..."  Well if one suspected all of this, then why didn't he or she bother to reach out and help?  Why didn't the know-it-all witness make some phone calls and send some assistance to that address?

Not every child will keep their mouths closed about a mother's gradual mental and/or physical breakdown.  Some will share details about what they see, hear, and feel concerning their mothers, but are relatives and friends really listening?  Do they even care about what is happening or more concerned about how someone else's issues might inconvenience them?  Some loved ones might confront the mother, yet the meeting turns from good to bad in an instant, because quite frankly there are those black folks that just don't know how to be loving and kind toward one another.  They are quick-tempered, rude and insensitive.  Therefore, much attention is placed on whether the atmosphere is clean, organized and children fed, meanwhile no one sees the crazed look in a mother's eye that can't take another day in a miserable relationship, parenting unruly children, and counting money that isn't there in an attempt to pay bills.

So how do you know when a mother is ready to go off and do something crazy?  You have to be observant and listen to what she is saying about herself, children, partner, job, etc.  If some are too busy running their mouths about what a mother should and shouldn't do, you will overlook the signs.

1.  Did she use to keep the house clean but no longer does it?
2.  Did she threaten to hurt herself, children or partner?
3.  Does she own a gun or a weapon that she periodically talks about using but then covers up what she has said with statements like, "I'm just joking...You know I wouldn't hurt those kids or their daddy..."
4.  Does she frequently leave young children home while she goes out to party, hang out over a friend's house, do drugs, shop, etc.?
5.  Do you often get the feeling that something bad might happen?
6.  Does she have bruises, scratches, bites, and other markings on her body?
7.  Does she cry, complain, or curse often about her partner and/or children?
8.  Do you find yourself having to keep secrets about bad things she has done to the children?
9.  Is there someone in the home (other than the mother) that has a known track record of being verbally and physically abusive to the family?  Has she said anything about paying this person back for all he/she has done?
10.  Have you noticed how she handles her children or looks at them?  Does it creep you out or make you feel uneasy?

Notice patterns in one's behavior before jumping to conclusions.  Do your homework when it comes to personality disorders, known health issues, and other things that might run in the family.  Never assume that children are safe when they are often crying, complaining about pain, clinging on to someone who is not the parent, and refusing to go home especially after they have gotten in trouble about something.  Chances are there will be severe punishment awaiting them at home.

Take the time out to pay attention to those around you, pray for them and offer your service when you can.  Sometimes the issue might be as small as helping a mother with a bill or as big as needing to be separated from children for awhile.  But whatever the case, don't ignore the signs!  Save not only a child's life, but mothers too!
Nicholl McGuire author of When Mothers Cry, see blog here.  Check out audio/video messages on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7.

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