You may have read/seen the news about the abduction of Madeline McCann - which apparently has been given widespread attention by the media in Britain.
Articles such as this and this have drawn attention to this case in particular because it leaves room for a lot of thought and discussion at various levels. It also strikes a chord with the fear we have as mothers of such possibilities. But what I find amazing is how many articles about this story have made this an issue about working mothers vs non working mothers. It also truly was a revelation to me that there are a lot of people who do leave their very young children alone in hotel rooms while they go down to get a drink at night or like the McCanns did to get dinner. Supposedly they checked in on their children every half an hour. Every half an hour?! Things can happen in a minute. As someone who feels a pang of fear if we forget to turn the child monitor on if we are downstairs while our little child is sleeping upstairs in our bedroom I find this quite unbelievable. And I worry if I too could end up making some ridiculously stupid mistake like this. I see this as a case of poor judgment on the parents part more than anything. How can you leave three very young children alone in a locked room and go get dinner in a foreign place that too? Abductions are stuff of nightmares and to leave room for such possibilities by being out of sight and away from the children for a duration of half an hour seems so thoughtless to me. These are two educated doctors. They are intelligent people obviously...if they are capable of making such costly mistakes,it makes me worry as to where I could go wrong in my judgment. It may not be of the same sort, but one can panic and make costly errors. Makes me want to think of all possibilities - like what should be my first response in protecting my child say if there is a fire...if he is choking (a friend told me her husband was looking up the Heimlich maneuver on the web while her toddler swallowed a couple of coins - she in her state of panic just ignored him and called 911 not wanting to take any chances which is what I would have done)..if he is missing suddenly in a crowded place etc etc...
Honestly I don't understand why some cases of missing children get such high visibility. I have nothing against it - just feel bad for those that don't - I do understand not all cases can be allocated so much media coverage. But it is most of ten only the children of the rich that get so much visibility. And especially in this particular case, had it happened slightly differently - say had the kid choked while the parents were away they could be charged with neglect. At least here in the US. The People magazine article describes her as a devoted mother who cut down her work hours to spend time with her children - so obviously she does take parenting seriously but how can she and her husband do this - I just don't get it. How can they as parents leave three young children out of your sight and sound and be so far away for a considerable amount of time! Also I find it amazing that in every such case the attack (or support) focuses on the mother mainly. She is a doctor too like her husband but she is the one to scale down her work hours to raise her children well. For all the advancement and progress in women's rights it still is not an equitable distribution of responsibility between the mother and the father. The mother is expected to do more and sacrifice more and any compromise from the father is applauded greatly while automatically expected from the mother. Society is still not geared up to accept fully stay at home dads or dads who really scale down on work and income like it does for mothers. Decisions are not often made by "Who contributes more income to the household?" - even in cases where the mother earns equal or more income than the father, it is the mother who scales down on her career related goals.
The McCann case is reflective in several ways of our current society and where it stands on different issues. Cultural differences in parenting, gender roles, why rich white kids always get more attention in cases of abduction etc etc.
I always feel so sorry for the child that is abducted - it must be extremely traumatic for the child and it is the worst nightmare for a parent - to not know what is happening to the child. I sure do hope and pray they are able to find this child. And so many other missing children who have suffered this horrible fate.