It’s such a sad thing, when a mom accidentally leaves her child in a car. (It’s a much worse thing, when she does it on purpose. And those stories are two very very different stories.) Not long ago a local mother left her four month old baby in a shopping cart at her local grocery store. She shares her side of the story. I remember when the article hit my facebook news feed and I saw all these woman, some whom I know personally making statements like, “If you can’t remember to get your baby, you shouldn’t even be a mother” and “what kind of mother just leaves her baby”. Wow, just wow. It’s simple, accidents happen. And sometimes accidents lead to tragedies. I am not denying that this awful truth can be avoided by just not always being in a hurry, but let’s talk straight talk. No one should say another mother is not worthy, based on an accident. After watching her tell her side of the story, I believe this was a case of mommy brain, an accident. This was not neglect.
So now I would like to share a story of my own. I have accidentally left my child in the car, in a hot garage. It was shortly after I had my third child. I went to the grocery store with all three children because they were ages 4, 2, & newborn. As any mother knows, shopping with littles is hard, it’s distracting, and it’s exhausting. At that time shopping wasn’t very local for me. I lived about 25 minutes way from the closest grocery store. Everyone was in car seats, and there was little room left for groceries once they were purchased. I wasn’t a stay at home mother either, so my afternoon looked like this… get off work, pick up kids from day care, go to the store, come home and start dinner. Not long after I got home from the store, I immediately started unloading kids, and unloading groceries. My mind was fixated on dinner and I was in a hurry. I started making dinner and when it was nearly done my husband was coming home from work. When he got in, he kissed me hello and greeted the children. Then he asked “where’s the baby?”. For a second I was puzzled, mind you, being a mother of three was still new to me at the time. My husband noticed the groceries and ran out to the car. He was in the car, in the hot garage. He had been in there for probably close to 45 minutes, maybe more. It’s been so long since it happened. My husband wasn’t very happy with me, and I understood why. But he forgave me once I broke down with guilt. It was an accident. Accidents do happen. Now having said that, if this would have happened at a public place, I would have been hauled off to the police station, and then questioned by CPS. I am not proud of this, I am sharing this because I believe I am a good mother. One that deserves every bit of joy that my children bring to me. I deserve to be a mother, but I am not perfect. And neither is any mother out there.
So to those of you mothers that are quick to jump up and judge when you read an article, let me just ask you… Did you win mother of the year this year? Were you mommy brain free this year? Did you successfully complete a year accident free and not let anyone down in your family? I ask this in the harshest way, because I know the answers are no. None of us do, and we don’t need to go beating each other up about it online. It’s easy to pass judgement quickly, but your words hurt. It doesn’t just hurt the mother that is being publically shamed, it hurts the mothers out there like me, that have made these mistakes. It hurts because we love our children just as much as you love yours.