Mom owns up to leaving her daughter in the car: “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody”
Every summer we hear the stories of infants and babies accidentally being left in cars. Sometimes the stories end in tragedy, sometimes the parents get lucky and they or someone else comes to the rescue before any lasting harm is done. Either way, these stories strike fear into the core of every parent. Which is why it’s so easy to read them and say that we would never, ever forget our own child in the car.
Britta Eberle of This is Motherhood was one of those parents who thought she’d never forget her two-year-old daughter, Ada. But recently she did just that. She shared the horrifying experience in a brutally honest Facebook post.
“Our family arrived at a friend’s house and in our excitement we all darted out, assuming that someone else had remembered to grab the youngest member of our clan,” she writes. “But no one remembered her.”
Luckily, little Ada was completely unharmed. “She sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us grabbed her,” she writes.
Eberle tells Scary Mommy that on day of the incident, it was 60 degrees out and raining. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh my God what if it had been hot’,” she says.
Eberle says her daughter was quickly over the incident. “Thank God she has already forgotten about it and forgiven us,” she writes. “But it will be a long time before I forgive myself.”
She admits she never thought she’d make a parenting mistake like this. “I am the most neurotic, cautious mom. I’m the one who’s always like, ‘Do we have the kids, who’s staying with the kids?’ I was the one that was least likely to make a mistake,” she explains. She says the incident really showed her that no parent is immune from forgetting their child in the car. “I’m just so worried all the time that it was very weird for me to be like, ‘What the hell just happened?'” she says.
She notes nothing that day was impairing her judgment. “There was nothing that particular day that was any different from any other day as far as sobriety or medication or tiredness or anything that would make me forget my kid,” she says. “If this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. I’m usually the most neurotic, cautious person that ever existed.”
While no one wants to open themselves up to the potential wrath of the sanctimommies, Eberle thought it was important to share her story, just in case it helped prevent it from happening to another family. “Part of me doesn’t want to share this,” she writes. “I don’t want the world to know how badly I’ve failed. But then I think that I have to share this. I have to own up to my mistakes. I have to tell the world how far I am from perfect. And how if I did this, anyone could do this. And that scares me but also makes me judge a little less and makes me pay attention whole lot more. ”
It’s so easy to sit back from the comfort of our couches and shake our head and think,”I would never do that.” But the truth is that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. All it takes is one mistake, one single lapse in judgment, for the unthinkable to happen. “We are always so much closer to the edge than any of us realize,” Eberle writes. Something to remember the next time we think about passing judgement on another parent.
“Hug your babies tight and practice forgiveness. Forgive those that make mistakes, even if the person who you need to forgive is yourself.”