Friday, July 31, 2015

Stop. The. Judgement.

Stories of children being left in the car. They're tragic, they're popping up far more than I'd ever care to see, and they definitely tug at my heartstrings. I'm sure this post will have me pegged as heartless and un-caring, but that's the opposite of how I feel about children being left in cars. It's horrible. But so are the comments people make about the parents.

Scroll the comments of any Child-Left-In-The-Car article on social media and I 110% guarantee you'll see a whole lot of this:

"That mom/dad should be left in a hot car to die."
"Lock him/her up and throw away the key."
"That person needs to be put to death for what he/she did."
"(S)he totally deserves to die for what (s)he did."
"Let me at him/her. I'll make him/her regret doing that soooo bad."

Sometimes, people do very cruel things that we will never understand. I'm not denying it.

But sometimes, human beings make mistakes. Let me share a story with you.

One day, when I lived in Ohio, and Hendrix was about 10 months old, I was driving to work on a typical day. This would have been late summer or fall. My mind was busy. I was focusing on one of the 13 never-ending to-do lists circulating in my head. Perhaps I was thinking about plans we had for that weekend, what I needed to grab at the store for dinner that night, I don't know. We live in an age of distraction now more than ever, folks. It could have been anything.
Hendrix's daycare was right next to my office - almost in the same parking lot. I had the radio on softly, and I pulled into work. I reached over to the passenger seat, started rounding up my things for work that day: my purse, my lunchbox, etc. Then I looked in the backseat. Maybe Hendrix moved, or maybe it was instinct, but I looked in the backseat, and there sat my sweet blond little boy. Not making a peep. Just looking at me. In silence, as he often was while in the car. Probably looked pretty similar to this:

My kids can't stay silent for more than 2.578 seconds these days, but when they were young and before they could talk, they didn't tend to be noisy in the car at all. If they weren't crying, you'd never know they were there.

I had driven right by Hendrix's daycare, pulled into work, and was getting ready to get out of the car and go into my office when I realized I had forgotten to drop him off and that he was still in the car. Fortunately, I ran him quickly to daycare, worked my day at the office, and all was well.
I pride myself on being a very loving, organized, has-it-all-together type of mom. I plan each week, down to the smallest details. I make menus, buy groceries on the same day each week, make sure my kids have what they need every day for special activities or snacks at daycare and school, etc. But I almost forgot my child in the car while I went to work one day.
Before you immediately make horrible comments about a situation, please consider that there are facts of which you are 100% unaware. Because you weren't there physically, in that car. You weren't there in that parent's mind to know all the thoughts, emotions, and distractions present.
You. Don't. Know.
In absolutely no way, shape, or form, am I condoning putting your child in danger. Yes, you should *always* check the back seat before getting out of your car. That's common sense.
But we are human beings. We err. We make mistakes. We forget things.
Stop crucifying someone for making a mistake, unless you've never made one before in your life.

And my best guess is that that's exactly 0% of the population with decision-making abilities.

Have a good weekend, friends.

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