Hi, my name is Mommy, and I’m a Mommy Blogger

I think to myself, “this was bound to happen.”

The truth is, I’ve been secretly (or not so secretly) reading Mommy Blogs for months now. It actually started with birth junkie blogs (particularly Birth Faith, who inspires me all the time), then gradually made a shift toward mommy blogs. I attribute this to Parenting. Illustrated With Crappy Pictures. It’s all her fault – and I’m sure somehow (though I don’t know her) that she won’t mind my passing the buck here.  It’s a huge compliment.  If you haven’t read her blog, you’re missing out. If you’re a PARENT and you haven’t read her blog, stop everything and go read her blog. Seriously. I’ve got lots of work to do on this project, and it’s not going to be interesting for awhile yet…she’s been working for months and is freaking hilarious.  Enjoy.

The inciting action here is kind of important. You have the background, and it’s good to know, but the trigger happened tonight, and I’m still reeling a bit. It starts with a confession.

I try to be the best mom in the world. I’m into attachment parenting.  I breastfed my daughter exclusively for 8 months, then engaged in extended breastfeeding for nearly 3 years.  The thing I miss most about having an infant is definitely the babywearing. My Sleepy Wrap is tucked away in a closet and I run across it occasionally and feel a pang of “baby need.” And yep, there was another pang when I just found out that Sleepy Wrap is now called Boba Wrap – it’s been so long since I’ve been a babywearer, its name has changed…sigh.

My point is, I think I’m a pretty darn good mom. I’m the best mom I can be. My daughter is charming, and smart, and funny, and brave and all the good things the experts said she’d be if I did the things I’ve done. Success! But as it turns out, even the best moms do dumb things – or at least, less-than-super things. And fear not – when we Super Moms make a mistake or cut a corner or do something less-than-super – some jackass will be standing by to make a comment or judge us.

I travel for my job sometimes. Last week, I was about 4,000 miles from home when a broken tooth I’ve been ignoring for *years* suddenly became un-ignorable. So today, I had to go to the dentist (shudder). Having no dental insurance means I haven’t been to a dentist in…I’m gonna say “a long time” here, and what I want you to read is “an embarrassingly long time.”

My husband has a gig today, so that means I had to find someone (at the last minute) to watch our daughter. Mission accomplished. Then I had to get a shower, feed the child (and husband), and get the child to the sitter. Again, I managed, and was only 20 minutes late meeting the sitter. This is an accomplishment in and of itself. I actually managed to get to the dentist with 2 minutes to spare! Ooh rah!

Long story short – I need a root canal. But that’s not important right now.

After the appointment, I made it back to meet the sitter and my daughter at the playground in time for the sitter to get to her next job (she literally squeezed us in this afternoon). Since my daughter was having so much fun playing with other kids (something she doesn’t get to do often enough), I hung around for another half hour or so with her there.  Then we had to go so I could pick up the prescription the dentist gave me for coping with the pain of a tooth broken down to the nerve.

For those not paying attention – I have a tooth broken to the nerve and I CHOSE to stay at the playground longer before going to get the pain meds. If that doesn’t seem superhuman to you, I’d like to trade central nervous systems with you.

Fast forward to the CVS Pharmacy – where waiting ten minutes for a prescription means ten minutes of trekking through the aisles and saying “No, sweetie, we don’t need more candy” and “No, the dogs don’t need more dog toys” and “Okay, yes, you can have one package of M&M’s” and “No, let’s not go play with the makeup”…I could go on. That was just like minute one and maybe part of two.

Then we make our purchases and say goodbye to everyone in the store (well, *one* of us does that last), and make our exit.  As I’m strapping my daughter into her carseat (and we still use a 5-point harness for our 3 year old – that’s how safety-minded we are), I realize that I forgot to buy my Cokes. I’ll be making a subsequent post about my “drinking problem” with Coca-Cola, but that’s not important right now.

So I could undo the straps, get her out of the car, and guide her back into the “candy zone” at the front of the store. I could. I should. I know I should. But – and here’s the confession – I didn’t. I gave her my iPhone with Netflix showing Curious George, I locked the doors on the car, and I ran into the store to grab a 12-pack of Coke.

I did. I know. It’s dusk by now, it’s not hot or cold outside (right about 70 degrees), and we live in a very small town. There’s hardly anyone else in the store. I’m just grabbing a 12-pack that’s right by the door and paying cash – so it’s seriously maybe a full two minutes and I’m only about ten yards away. But it was still not a smart thing to do. It was easier. It spared me having to buy (or say no to) more candy. It spared me having to juggle holding hands with a 3 year old while carrying a 12-pack of soda and unlocking the car (the remote device having been lost years ago). It was dumb. I did it anyway.

It is imperative to note at this point that my child was FINE. She didn’t even realize I was gone, that’s how quick it was. She was safe, she was locked in, and she was *fine*.

Never fear, though. All of you who read this and think, “Shame on you! How dare you endanger your child!” can take comfort in knowing you had a champion. When I returned (at speed) back to the car, a very well made-up woman was getting into her pricey quasi-SUV luxury car, and took it upon herself to say:

“You shouldn’t have done that. You left your baby all alone in the car. Anyone could have come up and seen her there and taken her.”

I stared a moment. Then stammered something like, “I don’t usually – I just had to run back in…”

“That was dangerous and stupid,” she says.

“Honestly, I don’t. It was just a minute and this is our hometown – we know most everybody…” I continued, hating myself more with every passing second.

“I live here, too. And it’s NOT safe.” She unlocks the door to her car. I notice her very well-coiffed hair has hardly moved during this entire exchange. Her brows, which probably should be registering a frown-line between her eyes do not – most likely due to Botox treatment or some other nerve-deadening drug (that seems also to have affected her ability to feel empathy). But I digress.

At this point, I open my mouth to argue further – and then just decide to get in the car. There’s really nothing I can say anyway – she’s pretty much right. Except for that last bit, but really, there’s no point arguing. There’s nothing I could say that would change things. So I took the better option and just got in my car and left.

And stewed. And nearly cried. And stewed some more.

When I notice her turn off into a very exclusive neighborhood, it was all I could do to refrain from flipping her the bird. Not because she was wrong. Pretty much because she was right – and because she made me feel like shit. With that hair and makeup, I can only assume she either: a. has no or grown children, or b. has children and is able to pay someone else to do all of the things that would mess up said hair and makeup. Grrr…I shouldn’t judge – and that’s the thing. That’s *exactly* the thing. It’s not that she was wrong – it’s that she took it upon herself, knowing absolutely nothing about me or my parenting style, to judge me based on one stupid freaking mistake.

I got home, got my daughter settled (and fed again). Now she’s playing Pre-K games on her iPad and I’m starting this blog. Cause you know, I want to start off with a “I’m a terrible person – please shoot me” bang. And also because I finally had a triggering moment that pushed me over the edge from “regular” Mommy to an “I feel a need to share my experiences with others in hopes I can find some common ground and maybe even help someone else who’s in the same unpleasant position” Mommy.

I also couldn’t help but draw some parallels between the judgmental woman I encountered this evening and the women who’ve been responding to a recent post on crying it out by another awesome Mommy Blogger, Baby Rabies. Now, in no way do I mean to draw a parallel between my parenting blunder and anyone who decides, for whatever reason, to let a baby cry it out. Rather, it’s the response by someone who has no idea who I am or what parenting choices I typically make that felt similar to me as it was happening. I actually read the post just this morning via Mama Birth (yet another fantastic blogger that I read). So it’s sort of like the stars were aligning for me to take this step.

So what about you? Has this kind of thing happened to you and what was your response? Did you feel the same sort of shame/anger/disbelief that I did? Or even – am I missing something important? Maybe I really *should* be strung up by my big toes and flogged…

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 15:19:54

    I have done similar things when Jonah was little. I, too, stewed over them, judged my parenting, and hoped I hadn’t made one mistake too many that would push my kid over the edge….to make him the child others deem a “horror”. But, as you know, Jonah is growing up to be an amazing young man. So, I guess leaving him alone, sleeping, for 5 minutes to run to the next floor of my building to get my laundry didn’t scar him for life. Heck, when I would come back and open the door…almost in a sprint…he’d still be sleeping peacefully. That woman should’ve kept her judgement to herself….I’m sure she made her fair share of mistakes. She probably questions the Botox decision every day. :)

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Jan 14, 2012 @ 21:35:42

      I’ll bet she does! “Why the blank look, honey?” “I’m smiling! I swear I am! It just doesn’t look like I am!”
      Another friend posted on my FB wall about how “stranger kidnappings” are virtually unheard of in reality – most “real” kidnappings are committed by someone who knows the child (or is related). In other countries, its perfectly acceptable to “let sleeping babies lie” while mom goes about a task. But in America, we enjoy the freedom to bully and incarcerate moms who do things that ultimately don’t hurt the child at all (we have a cousin who went to jail for leaving her infant – sleeping – son in a car while she ran into a quickie mart). Insanity.

      Reply

  2. catfromhell
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 17:31:07

    Dear Mommy,
    Me has a Mommy too! Its funny that yous has the same name. My Mommy knows exactly how you feels. Even though she has no qualms about leaving me and Kozmo and the hairy slobbery sisters in the car, she had tons if trouble leaving my human brothers in the car.
    Once (it was very cold outside) She had gone to the university to pay her fees. She tooked my brother Alex out of the car seat and lugged him through miles and miles of buildings, paid her fees and then lugged him back to the car. She gots him all strapped in (child in a snowsuit does not strap in well) and the car was running when she realized that she had to drop a book at the library, she drived over to the library and my brother fell asleep in his seat. The drop box was like 50 feet away so Mommy left him in the running car as she ran over to put the book in the slot. When she gots back, she realized that she had left the keys in the ignition, the car was running, Alex was asleep in his seat and the car doors was locked!
    Mommy was freaking out! What a horrible thing to do! She left her baby in the car! She was afraid to leaves the car to call somebody, and she was freezing. Then the Campus Cops came by. He was mad that Mommy was in a no parking zone–until he realized what Mommy had done. He gave her a lecture about wat a irresponsible parent she was, as he broke into her car! And after he gots the door open he continued to lecture her about what good parents should do!
    Mommy was so upset, she cried all the way home. My brother Alex, he sleeped through the whole thing!
    Now me wants to welcomes yous to the blogosphere!
    Kisses
    Nellie

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Jan 14, 2012 @ 21:28:48

      Oh my – so did you catch yourself looking around for something to bash your car window in? I know that’s where my head would have gone…totally irrational, but that’s how most mommies function :) Funny how you were all panicked and the cop was all mad – and Alex was the one snug, warm and safe! And he’s still with us and I’m sure an awesome guy. Funny how our parenting “mistakes” seem to upset us way more than they do our children…

      Reply

  3. One Hit Wonder Mommy
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 22:03:56

    I’ve done it at Speedway more than once, carry on my friend….judge away to all the naysayers who have either done it and choose to not own or have at least thought about it seriously a time or two. ;)

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Jan 14, 2012 @ 22:36:46

      I don’t think Speedway or any quickie mart with big glass windows should count *at all* because the child is never actually out of our sight! I confess to this one ALL the time when I’m paying cash to pump gas. If it’s raining or nasty out, it’s *better* for the baby to not drag them out into the weather – I think we’re being GOOD moms when we do this. I’m sure some folks would heartily disagree though (and that’s exactly what our cousin did that sent her to jail for neglect). Thanks for reading and sharing!

      Reply

  4. Fl Keys Mermaid
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 20:36:42

    I am guilty. My now 4-yr old daughter tells me, “I’ll just stay here, Mama,” as she plays with my iPhone and barely notices when I return. I enjoy the two minutes and 20 seconds that it takes to grab & go…no fussing, no begging, no crying, none of that “I want this. Can I have this too? This is the WORST DAY EVER (on the days I don’t give in).

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Jan 27, 2012 @ 23:04:00

      The more I talk to other moms, the more I wish I could go back in time and simply say to the lady, “Why, thank you for your concern for my daughter. It was so nice if you to stay here and keep an eye on her for me. Like Oprah says, it takes a Village!”

      Our parents left us in the car…without childseats and without seatbelts, yet we somehow miraculously survived. I’m not saying it’s okay to leave a kid in a car for more than a quick in-and-out like this, but it really *was* okay. Glad I’m not the only one!

      Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 00:21:39

      Thanks for reading, Tina! Yeah, my daughter doesn’t mind at all. And I just do not agree with the lady in this post that our area is all that dangerous. I mean sure, it’s always good to be cautious, but we moved here from Memphis! So the concept of this place being dangerous is laughable after a town where my husband was held up at gunpoint…at noon…in a McDonald’s drive-thru!

      Reply

  5. brainglint
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 18:47:34

    I honestly can’t remember if I’ve done this to go into a store, but I know I just did it this week to run from the parking lot back into our place for something I forgot. I finally got both kids into the car and was not about to unload them just to get the item I needed. I too, knew it wasn’t safe, and didn’t feel good doing it. However, I also know that I am not in control of everything that happens to my children. They could just as easily be with me and be hurt in some way. It’s frustrating when others decide to give very obvious advice. It definitely leaves one feeling judged and talked down to. It also serves as a reminder of how much we do with little help from others. I can totally relate to this post, including the dental woes.

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 00:24:59

      Thanks for reading! I think back to my childhood when we didn’t have carseats…heck, most of the time, my brother and I were bouncing around in the “way back” of our Blazer behind the backseat without even seatbelts…and Mom would run into the store without us for a few minutes. Somehow we survived. I think it’s great to be safety-conscious, but I also think it’s important to realize that there’s such a thing as being TOO concerned about security.

      Reply

  6. Lara K
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 10:06:13

    Just found your blog and love it. I creeped back to your first post to read your back-story, and boy could I relate. I too have left my daughter in the car *safely and momentarily* to run in and get a quick something. It’s not something I am proud of, it’s not something I would ever make a habit of, and of course never in anything but the mildest “room temperature” weather. But yeah. We do what we gotta do.

    Rock on, mama.

    Reply

    • Shine On, You Crazy Mama
      Feb 03, 2013 @ 01:35:25

      Hey thanks! I’ve been pretending that my blog will just write itself for a long time now…but am suddenly in possession of extra time (more on that later…) So keep reading! There will be more soon, I swear!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: