Although the path to being a great mom is not always straightforward, many mothers strive towards this goal. At times of hardship, however, it can be especially challenging for moms to maintain that feeling of success in parenting.
When it comes to parenting, all parents make decisions based on their own experiences and beliefs. However, judging other families for how they choose to parent is unacceptable – this phenomenon is referred to as mom shaming. Not only does this behavior hurt the recipients; but in some cases, people take it a step further and involve law enforcement without any valid justification. This form of aggression serves no purpose apart from making another mother feel belittled and attacked – something that should never occur under any circumstance whatsoever.
Proud mother of five, Melissa Shields Henderson strives to be the best parent she can – even when that means making difficult decisions.
With the pandemic shutting down local schools and daycares in May 2020, Henderson’s children were unable to attend either; making it even more vital for her to continue going to work as she had a family to support.
At the time, Henderson was an administrator at a wellness spa that resided 23 miles away from her home in Blairsville, Georgia; instead, it was located in Blue Ridge.
Rather than departing her job, Henderson opted to leave her 14-year-old daughter, Linley, in control of the four younger siblings. This decision was not troublesome as Georgia law allows a child aged 13 or older to be left alone and babysit for up to 12 hours with their younger companions.
While Henderson was off earning a living and Linley had her hands full with remote learning, Thaddeus – only 4 at the time – peeped out of their window to spot one of his friends playing outdoors in the street. Noticing no adults around, he decided that this was his chance for an adventure without anyone noticing! He quickly dashed outside to join in on all the fun with his companion.
Linley’s heart sank when she noticed her brother had disappeared in only 10 to 15 minutes. She quickly ran outside and brought him home, thankfully unscathed by the experience. Unfortunately, that was not where this story ended: a parent of Thaddeus’ friend called the police within those few short minutes he’d been gone.
When Henderson arrived home from work, the police were waiting for her. They informed her that earlier in the day, her son had gone out unaccompanied by an adult. She assumed that was all there was to it, yet two weeks later they returned with more information.
Henderson said, “They handcuffed me, drove me to jail, booked me, had me put in a cell. It was awful. It was embarrassing.” She continued, “It makes me feel hopeless, just now feeling like you can get back to providing, get back to normal. They took away every option that I even have.”
Henderson’s ex-husband helped her get out of jail, but after two years the legal situation has yet to be resolved. If found guilty, she could face a year in prison and a $1000 fine as punishment.
NewsNation recently sat down with Henderson’s lawyer to gain an understanding of the situation. Hear his take on events in the video below and learn more about this remarkable story.
Henderson is too fearful of retribution to return to full-time employment, so a GoFundMe has been created with the purpose of helping her manage her finances. Fortunately, she can still hold down part-time work while her children are in school.
Have you ever been put in charge of watching over your younger sibling? Was Henderson held accountable for any wrongdoing?