Yeah, I haven’t posted anything in awhile. That’s how it goes, being a homeschooling mommy. And now I’m here to vent about one of the things I hate most about being a parent. Strangely, it doesn’t actually have anything to do with the kids or their behavior.
I took my daughter to the dentist today for her annual check-up. Of course, poor thing has a mouthful of cavities. Now, I think I can guess what some people are thinking: “Why didn’t you brush her teeth?!” or “What did you feed her, straight-up sugar?” or “That’s what you get for putting your kids to bed with a bottle!” And of course, those people are wrong on all counts.
Which, naturally, brings me to my point. Her dentist kind of assumed the same things. Now, I’m sure it’s true that we could have done better with brushing. But we don’t just feed her junk food, and my cavity-free 5-year-old eats pretty much the same diet. And she has never, ever in her entire life been to bed with any kind of bottle (she’s never used any kind of bottle, period).
What bothered me, though, was not that the dentist (or anyone else) would make an assumption. It was the fact that I was never asked the questions. I was given a hand-out explaining why my kids shouldn’t eat a laundry list of “bad” foods (which includes even bananas!) and instructed not to give her juice. But at no point did anyone even bother to ask what I actually DO feed her, or how I care for her. I just got dumped in the bin with the “bad mommy” label, and given the “get it right next time” pep talk.
This is not the first time that has happened, and I’ve seen it happen to other moms. I think that this is the result of medical/health offices becoming bogged down with paperwork, overbooking, and complex patient problems. The professionals we trust to take care of us and our kids no longer see real people, they see faces and numbers. If someone has several more patients to see before lunch, and they can get away with passing out a sheet of paper “explaining” the problem, then why bother really assessing a family to see what’s going on? No one even considered the fact that I have a kid who has been on inhaled steroids for the past two years (there is a link between steroid inhalers and dental decay, although it is unclear why).
All this makes me not so much sad or frustrated or angry on our behalf, or even on the behalf of the many other paretns experiencing the same judgments. It really makes me fear that if we don’t see a change in the healthcare system soon, not only will this problem persist, it will worsen.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I hope we find one soon.