Every summer we hear tragic stories of parents who accidentally left their children in a hot car. So many people insist that this would never happen to them, so one mom bravely shared her story of the time she left her toddler alone in the car to show parents how easily a change of routine or circumstance to lead to a horrible accident like this.
Blogger Britta Eberle of This Is Motherhood braved the wrath of the Online Judgement Police when she wrote on Facebook about her family accidentally forgetting their youngest member in the car.
“Do you see this little girl?” The post read. “Today I did the unthinkable and forgot about her in the car. Here’s how it happened: 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. But no one remembered her. And she sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us grabbed her. It was such a small mistake but it could have had devastating consequences.”
I can almost feel the panic this mom experienced when she realized her baby was still in the car.
“Thank God we were parked in a safe place. Thank god it wasn’t hot outside. Thank god she wasn’t alone for long. Thank god she has already forgotten about it and forgiven us. But it will be a long time before I forgive myself.”
Eberle said that she usually thinks of herself as a good mom, but comes right out and says she made a huge mistake. But despite wanting to keep her mistake a secret (which I wouldn’t have blamed her for at all), she was compelled to share her story.
“There are no excuses for what I did. And part of me doesn’t want to share this. 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 a whole lot more.”
My kids are old enough to get themselves out of the car now, but back when they were babies? I was so sleep deprived and my life was so unstructured, I very easily could have made this mistake.
It’s so easy to cast judgment on other parents based on what we think we would do in a situation, but I think if we’re all honest with ourselves we know that anyone can make a mistake — even horrific, devastating ones.
Surprisingly, Eberle’s post didn’t receive the usual onslaught of sanctimonious comments. Instead, people thanked her or shared their own experiences where they made a mistake but got lucky.
Eberle told Parents.com that she was so grateful for the supportive response from her readers. “As parents, we try so hard to do the right thing, but we’re all still human beings and so sometimes we fail. I’m still processing what happened but I wanted to share the message that if I could do this, anyone could do it. I’m always so cautious and careful and I made a mistake. I think my readers can really relate to that feeling.”
(Image: Facebook / This Is Motherhood)