A West Hartford mom's brutally honest blog post - called Distracted Living - is going viral on the web.
Jennifer Meer, a contributor to the Huffington Post, writes about a seemingly ordinary night when she placed her 3-year-old daughter in the bath tub, started the water, then left the room to run a shower for her son. During this process, she heard the "ping" of her iPad, checked an email and responded to it.
When she returned to the bathroom, about two minutes later, her daughter, who wasn't feeling well, had fallen asleep and was slumped against the side of the tub, dangerously close to drowning. Meer was traumatized by this experience, shaken by the reality of what could've happened. "I felt like I couldn't breathe," she says.
A few days later, this mother of two, with a baby on the way, started thinking about sharing this story with the world on her blog, my-jenneration.blogspot.com.
"I had a feeling in my gut that I couldn't get rid of," says Meer. "I hoped writing about it would help me get past it." But, she had reservations about making this private moment public, so she weighed the pros and cons. Eventually, she decided her "cautionary tale" could make a difference: "If one person makes a different choice than I did, then it's the right thing to do."
Immediately, Meer's post reminded me of this piece I wrote for Fox CT and The Hartford Courant over the summer, detailing a chilling moment when I couldn't see my youngest son, Ben, in a pool. Quickly, I found him, with his head wedged behind a ladder, stuck underwater. Thankfully, he was OK but I was rattled to the core with this real-life example of the need for safety measures near the water.
Meer also hopes her experience starts a national dialogue about our compulsion to multi-task. She writes: "...becoming a parent during the rapid rise of the era of tablets and smartphones, I have lost the ability to be present and do one thing at a time. It scares me. And on this night, my inability to focus could have cost me everything."
Right now, Meer says she is overwhelmed by the huge response and isn't yet sure whether she will address comments or write a follow-up.
The online reaction has been mostly supportive, applauding Meer's candor and willingness to help other parents. "There has been a really large number of people who say, 'I get this'," she says.