It started off like any other day. Running around the house with my head cut off. Baby in arm, whining, getting breaks every few minutes to slurp down my barely warm coffee and trying to get through to a dentist as our eldest son woke up with a severe tooth infection and I had to get him into see someone within the hour. Brinley was trying to make herself cereal in the kitchen and Cai was quietly telling her that she couldn’t and started pouring her milk for her and getting her to sit at the table. I was hot, I was exhausted and it was only 8:30 AM.
This was the start of our day.
I feel as a mom of four I often question my ability to raise these beautiful kids. I feel like at any given moment I might crack under pressure and break from the constant fighting, tantrums and crying.
You hear me right? I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s just kind of somehow stamped in my brain and if you are a mom somehow you’re given 100 times more patience than your husband, but even that patience comes to a close at the end of the day.
I had finally gotten through to the dentist that we could come in for 11 but now I had to find someone to look after my other three kids. Everything ended up working out, but I sat in the waiting room with Hudson for thirty minutes as he asked me to pray for him because he was so nervous of what the dentist might find. We prayed and I oiled him up with Valor.
The dentist ended up sending us on our way with a prescription for antibiotics. Phew, I could stop this in it’s tracks and he would be comfortable soon. We ended up rolling up to the nearest pharmacy and I dragged my poor swollen and sick kid into the store with me. We got to the counter and the pharmacy asked for his care card, which I somehow left at home. We ended up going back home as we were not able to buy the antibiotics without his care card.
I rolled up to my house and carried Hudson into the house. He was pretty sore, so I put him in bed with some ice water, some Tylenol ( which we never use ) and some copiaba and went to tend to the other three kids.
At this point it was 1 PM and I was exhausted. I knew I had to start looking for his care card and between the screaming because my toddler was tired and the crying because my baby was hungry I was starting to lose it.
Lets skip to the juicy details, because this blog is already 450+ words and I haven’t even gotten to why I failed my son.
At 4:30, we left the house because we had to go get Hudson’s antibiotics. Truth be told, bringing four kids into a store with me gives me the worst anxiety. So I avoid it and don’t do it. Ever. But today I had no choice. He needed his drugs and I needed a few ingredients for dinner to make his favorite meal ( Spaghetti ). We rolled up to Superstore around 4:35 and I told all the kids to unbuckle and get out of the car. I put Rhett in the Sling and I put Brinley in the Cart and I made Cai hold onto the Cart.
Hudson sat in his seat and begged me to let him stay in the car “Mom, I don’t feel well. I’m so swollen and hot” – at this point he had a fever because of the infection and he was pretty tired. Finally I made him a deal, I would leave the car on with the AC going, I would leave him my phone if he needed to contact his dad or his grandparents and I told him NEVER to open the doors for anyone, even if he knew them and not to touch the car. He agreed and I locked the doors and left with the other three kids in tow.
I was gone for about twenty minutes ( if that ). Rhett was starting to cry as he was hungry and I was greeted at my car with a very angry Assistant Manager from the Superstore I was at, with another woman. They told me I was an awful mother for leaving my son in the car and that I should be ashamed of myself. They continued to yell at me and honestly, I don’t remember what was said as I was in shock. I was in so much shock that I couldn’t even defend myself, tell them his age or how smart he is or anything he had dealt with prior that day. I just stood there like a dumb deer.
They finally left and screamed at me that I should wait until the police arrived because they had called the police on me to report neglective parenting.
After buckling Brinley and Cai into the car I sat and waited, unable to think for myself or move. I just was in complete shock that I had been so stupid to leave my 8.5 year old in the car alone. That I was that stupid to give into his wants. I just wanted to go back thirty minutes and take him into the store with me.
I was humiliated.
The cop arrived on the scene and started scolding me. He started to write down all four of my kids full names and birthdays. For every kid he would ask “Is their last name the same as yours”. I was bawling at this point so I had trouble answering questions clearly. I was so hysterical that I’m sure everyone around me could hear what was going on.
I tried to explain to the cop what had happened and he told me that “Any nice parent would never leave their kid in the car” he also told me that It was “neglectful parenting” and that I was going to be “contacted by social services”.
Since I was so hysterical, I don’t remember a ton of what was said other than that, but he was at my car for a good twenty minutes while my kids watched the cop tear me town and watched me sob outside the car.
As I write this, my eyes fill with tears and I’m shaking. It hurts me so much that our society has come to this. It hurts my heart that instead of the supervisor waiting at my car and telling me gently that I shouldn’t leave my 8.5 year old in the car, she started screaming at me, tearing me down and calling the cops. She could see my hands were full, she could see I was exhausted. She could probably see that I hadn’t showered in a week and my hair was greasy. Yet she choice to show no grace or kindness. The cop could of gently told me that it wasn’t okay that I left my son. Yet he came at my forcefully, called social services and told me that I wasn’t a nice parent.
How is this okay? Are we building parents up for failure?
In this day and age we are living in an age of fear. Where moms are terrified to take their kids out in public due to the severe judgement we receive.
Where is the village?
Where is the grace and kindness?
I’m sharing this with you now because if you’ve ever been publicly humiliated or told you were an awful parent when you were just trying your hardest, I know how you feel. I know how much it hurts and I want you to know that it isn’t okay and that you are an amazing mama or dad.
I want you to know that the words that were spoken to you have no right to live in your head.
I want you to know that you are enough.
It’s been a 4 weeks since this incident happened and I’m still not over it. I still have panic attacks when I think about taking my kids out. My palms still get sweaty thinking about that experience.
I had anxiety before and now it’s way worse.
My kids are suffering because I haven’t brought them anywhere this summer and I’m suffering.
I’ve been more snappy with them due to the anxiety that lives in my head and I’m constantly terrified of where I might fail next.
I’ve also spent the last month building up my two eldest sons outlook on police officers. After they watched the cop tear me down, tell me I’m not a nice parent and make me sob for twenty minutes straight. They started making comments like “I hope we never see that mean cop again” and “that cop wasn’t nice, he was so mean to you mommy”. It shouldn’t be my job to have to build up their confidence in cops. Police officers are meant to diffuse a situation and protect the community. I feel this particular police officer made things way worse.
I will never go to the Superstore in Campbell River again as the management dealt with this situation so poorly and still to this day have done nothing and sadly. My courage in the police system in Campbell River is now failing too as I’ve had many messages come into my inbox of similar circumstances.
We need to build our mothers up. We need to support them. Not tear them down.
If we want to raise kind and loving little humans we need to show them by how we act. I believe this message is important for us mamas to read, you need to know that you are trying your hardest and it is enough.
Lets do better and show grace. Lets be better and show love.