Sunday, January 07, 2007

Moments You Regret

Posted by Anonymous.

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I feel so wretched! My children were sleeping in the car and I ran in to TJMaxx to return a shirt. Was gone for 15 minutes tops. When I came back police were all over the car and I was almost arrested. I feel like such a sack of crap for putting my obsessive need to finish the errand above their safety. Luckily, the police did not arrest me. But I feel like the worst and stupidest mother in the world.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recently on the news here in Toronto a couple did the Christmas shopping while leaving their sleeping ten-month old in the car parked on the street. When they came back to find the news and police they really didn't understand what the fuss was about because apparently it's normal to do this in Estonia (where they currently live - husband is Canadian). No charges were laid and it sparked alot of chatter. When I was a small child, my mom left us in the car all the time to run QUICK errands and this never caused a problem. But now a days it seems that the QUICK trips are being equated with the kind of parents that leave their kids in the car while visiting the bingo hall, casino, bar or crack house all night (which did happen to some of my childhood friends). Where is the line drawn? I think the net has been cast too wide and incidents like yours are overreactions and unfairly lumped with serious abandonments. I feel for you, and the guilt that was heaped upon you. I suspect many won't agree with me but honestly, were your children in harms way? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

It is illegal in the US to leave a child under the age of 8(?) alone w/o supervision.

As one who is trying very hard to have a child, and knowing so many more women like me through blogging, this type of offense raises our hackles.

No, the child was probably not in any immediate harm. However, it only takes a minute for a stranger to grab a child; for another car to collide with yours; and obviously long enough for another citizen to notice the offense and call the police.

I am truly relieved that both you and your children were not harmed. And you are not a terrible parent. You feel bad for what happened. A terrible parent would be defensive and angry that it had happened, not remorseful.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with the first anonymous. My mom did this all the time, and we were fine. Just fine. I would love to run into the post office or the dry cleaner and leave my kids in the car with it locked for five minutes - staring at them through plate glass windows. The only reason I haven't is not b/c of stories of stolen children - which happens less often than the media portrays - but b/c of stories like these. The net has been cast too far.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - this is definitely a case where the real danger is from social services. If the car doors are locked, nobody is going to be able to break in and steal the children while you're in the store for 5 minutes. As for traffic accidents, you're in greater danger of those when your car is MOVING.

Anonymous said...

I do understand why a parent would leave their child in the car sleeping for a brief period. Having said that, I called the police to report a child who was left sleeping in a car once. I felt badly after I saw how shaken the mother was, but I will do it again if I ever see another child left alone in a car. Don't beat yourself up about it anymore, we all do things we regret.

Anonymous said...

My husband did this before the holidays - left child sleeping in car right outside pharmacy while he ran in on a three-minute errand. Thing was, toddler woke up and shouted and set off the car alarm, which he heard and panicked and ran out before accomplishng said errand, vowing to self to never to it again. When his heart rate settled, however, he thought the whole thing was funny. Me less so.

That said, I totally understand the impulse. Totally. And the fact that you feel so guilty is exhibit A for your *good* motherness - as someone said above, a true bad mother would feel unjustly persecuted.

Go easy on yourself.

Anonymous said...

That must have been absolutely horrible.

In response to anonymous 6:45 - the laws vary by state. Here in FL it is legal to leave a child in a car for a short time, although I can't imagine doing that in the middle of summer.

Heather said...

My only thoughts on this are... Where do you live? It's like freezing where I am, and I can't imagine leaving my child in the car even to return an item quickly. Fear I might return to an ice cube of a son (unless you leave the car on I guess...or live in the south, but then wouldn't you have to leave the windows open a bit).

I actually wish I could do that. The other day I was at a gas station that you couldn't pay at the tank, and I had to take my son out of his car seat to pay for gas inside (all of like one minute) and put him back in...only to drive to playgroup a half a block away and take him out again. It felt a bit rediciliuos to do it, but I was more afraid of what other people would think I guess then to leave him there. Funny, I'm not normally one to give a rats ass about what others think....I'll rack it up as a good work out.

Andrea said...

When I was little, it was nothing for my mother to leave me in the car while she ran into the grocery store for half an hour or more. But times have changed. Dangers are greater than they used to be, but it takes time to figure out where the line is. Please don't beat yourself up. I think when the potential for danger scares people, they take action, which is probably why the police were called.

I'm not trying to be judgmental because every parent makes mistakes sometimes. As long as it's not a situation that you repeat, there was no harm done. Really. No harm done. I wish we lived in a day and age when a few minutes alone in a car wasn't such a potential problem, but unfortunately, there are just too many uncertainties for it to really be okay to leave children sleeping in a car by themselves. Please try to give yourself a little break. You may feel stupid now, but given your clear remorse over the situation, it's probably not a situation you'll repeat. No harm. Really.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Def. not something I would repeat. I think I will be old and gray and still wondering what the hella I was thinking?

BlogWhore said...

I'm not afraid. I'm not going to post anonymously.

WTF? When did we so fearful of the rest of the world.

I have left our little one in the girl when I run in the store to return a movie. 60 seconds tops. I don't leave the car running, but I do lock the doors. In sixty seconds, not much can change then internal temp of a car.

This fear of children left alone in the car comes from crazy accidents where
a) babies were left TOO long - especially in heat - and died.
b) children were kidnapped.

I dunno, I am tired of always being afraid, I am tired of big government and I am tired of people thinking that all rules apply to all situation.

Frankly, what u did was common and not all that unusual.

Jaelithe said...

My parents used to do this all the time with me and my sister when we were little; it was common practice at the time, but I agree with some earlier posters that times HAVE changed. I too get annoyed and frightened at the way our government keeps trying to control more and more of our lives in the guise of "protecting" us from ourselves, but I do understand why the police were concerned. Just a couple of weeks ago in my own neighborhood (which is a pretty low-crime area), a man ran into a gas station and left his sleeping baby in the car, and the car was stolen and driven several blocks before the thief apparently had an attack of conscience and abandoned it, thankfully with the baby unharmed and still inside.

It used to be that if you left your car in a public place in broad daylight for a few minutes you could reasonably assume no thief would be brazen enough to steal it, but I don't think you can make the same assumption anymore.

However I do not think you are a bad mother. If I thought you were a bad mother just for doing this once, I'd have to think my own mother was a terrible mother for doing it 100 times!

Karen said...

...or maybe that thief didn't have an attack of conscience, but instead knew that parenting was a boat full of work and that he'd never be able to accomplish anything in a reasonable time fram again - and he realizes that he didn't want the baby, which happened at that moment to be attached to a car...
We live in a crazy time and place and can't always do what comes naturally to us, because our circumstances aren't natural and because we live isolated and don't have 3 or 4 other adults in our household to leave our kids with at any points in time. So we end up stuck with a list of errands and tired children and lots of buckling and unbuckling. We just do our best mommmy job in each moment.

Anonymous said...

I once did this with my sleeping 6 month old in the back of the car. I was on a 6 hour car ride from my parents to my own home, and he had SCREAMED for 3 solid hours. He had just quit screaming and I had to pee so bad I thought I would freaking die. It was winter - and I pulled over at a McDonalds right by the back, ran in and then ran right back out.
I have never gotten over it, I felt so bad.
But hell, my parents used to leave me in the car with it RUNNING while they went into the liquor store.
And my dad would POP one on the way home......

Times have changed. Probably because we know more.

The Mad Momma said...

oh please.. in India parents lock their children in for hours at a time and go to work with food left on the table.. and i am talking 2 year old children here. they have no option. they are working to put that food on the table and there is not much daycare here. when i read abt such things in the West.. its a culture shock to me!! our parents left us in the car all the time and we are still alive. I would find living in the West very stifling with the laws and rules. no parent deliberately harms their own child.

Anonymous said...

I am also ashamed.. I went to return a book, being first in line for 1.5 minutes at most 2 minutes! Then I came out with a lady hanging up her cell phone, telling me that she just called the cops on me. I'm so sad. Why couldn't she just yelled at me??

Anonymous said...

Hek I know a girl who would put her baby to bed at night and then go to the bar until 4am. Nobody was around to watch the kid, and if he woke up, too bad, if he was hungry, too bad.

That made me mad, but I have left the baby in the car once too, to run into the convenience store.

I had my eye on the car most the time but I still felt awful.

Anonymous said...

I haven't a clue when all this was left as i was just scanning the web and found this site. But i need some advice from someone and hope someone here can help! I, also, ran inside a store the other day (xmas eve) and left my 1 yr old was sleeping in the car. Never do i do that but it seemed so harmless since it would be for just a moment. The lot was pretty vacant so i pulled into one of several handicap spots (no one was around and was closest to store) and ran in to exchange a large picture. I didn't want to wake baby or try to get him AND this picture in store when i knew i'd be real fast and he'd be fine. I locked the car, ran in the store about 25 ft away, and could see him whole time as register was right by the door. I was probably in store for about 10 mins and he was never out of my sight. Well, a woman who saw me run into the store got security guard and were walking to my car when i came out. She saw me w/ this huge picture but yelled at me that my baby was more important than any picture and she had called the cops. I was so shaken and felt like the worst mother IN THE WORLD. The security guard felt bad for me and was trying to call OFF the cops but since they'd been called they had to come. He said they'd probably say 'don't do it again' and let me go. Instead, the cop comes, who looked about 20 yrs old so i assume she was new, and although she seemed sorry for me she cited me for both handicap parking ($283!) AND told me she was sending report to social services. I about died. I didn't know what to say. I was (and still am) so incredibly shaken and upset w/ myself. She wasn't too interested in why i did it and told me to have a better day. I pulled into gas station and cried uncontrollably and of course, my Xmas was ruined. For anyone to think i am a bad mother when my son is my world devastates me! And now social services will be contacting me and i'm so scared. Will i have a file/record w/ them now?? I made a terrible mistake that i will NEVER forgive myself for and have played it over and over in my head 1,000 ways but there's nothing i can do and now i have to wait for them to contact me w/ no clue what to expect. The cop told me she didn't think i was a bad mother and could tell i was remorseful so i shouldn't worry. Easy for HER to say! I can't believe it was xmas eve and she cited me for BOTH! It was a nightmare and i feel so horrible about the whole thing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I just don't see what the big deal is if you know the temp of the car is ok and if you're child is in eyeview and the doors are locked. We generalize too much in this country because some idiots leave their kids in the car for hours of a baby is left in extreme heat, then eveyone who leaves their child in the car more a few minutes is a monster. Aren't we smart enough as a country to admit their is a difference. The two not even in the same category. One is child abuse and the other is using common sense to accomplish our daily tasks. You shouldn't feel guilty because this country is so retarded you know in your heart that your child was safe.

loural.murray said...

Just a funny story to give everyone a laugh. When my brother was little, around 2 I think, my mom ran into the house to grab something leaving my brother in the car..the running car...in our driveway..our very slanted driveway. I'm sure y'all know where I'm going with this.

Well the little bum that he was decided to drive the car like mummy. He climbed fromt he back seat to the drivers, put the car in neutral and started wiggling the steering wheel. Immediately the car rolled backwards down our steep driveway, across the street, jumped the curb AND ran into the neighbours house. With my mom running after it. Thank goodness that we were good friends with the neighbours and that there was no damage done...oh and Jason...when the car started rolling back he climbed onto the floor by the pedals and was absolutely fine...he actually wanted to go driving again.

My mom never left him in the car alone again...my dad on the other hand wasn't so smart....and there was a ballpine hammer in there with him. Our dashboard got "fixed" by Jason...I swear that kid should've been hogtied from birth lol, but he kept our family laughing.

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