I totally judged another mom yesterday with no regrets

I always look for the positive in people and try hard to see things from their angle. Having been judged many times myself over the years, I try hard not to judge others. I was a young single teen mom who was on the receiving end of comments, advice and stares. I was a young mom of three with my hands full getting eye rolls from strangers when one would have a tantrum. I am a mom of four, doing the best I can and still learning every day. So I know what it is like to be judged. I avoid doing it. I often give moms an “it will get better” comment when I see them struggling. Or offer a hand or even a smile when they have their hands full. I try to do what I wish people did for me, when I was in that spot.

You never know what someone is going through.

Then yesterday I judged another mom. At first I hesitated but if something bad happened, I would never forgive myself.

My oldest daughter and I were walking out of Wal-Mart where there was a lot of chaos over a dog being locked in a hot car. May and people were already making dumb decisions about their pets. Why do people take their pets to the store just to lock them in the car? The staff was trying hard to deal with complaints, call the owners to their car etc without breaking the windows. As we left the store, sadly we saw another dog in a hot car with the window down a crack. It was a stressful  shopping trip to say the least.

As we walked to the car we saw an abandoned shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot. Not tucked in between cars or on a space, but int he driving aisle where it could easily be hit by a car. We saw something on top of the cart and realized as we got  closer it was an infant car seat with a very small baby in it. I looked around and saw nobody anywhere. As we approached I started to worry. Did someone forget their baby? How do you forget a baby? Do I take this baby inside? Do I stand here and protect this child from the cars whipping by until the parents come out? Just then, two vehicles over, yes two, a mom comes out of a van with a blanket. She walks over to the car seat on the cart and covers the baby. Protecting them from the sun.

Not the way I would have done it but who am I to judge? I walk to my car telling my daughter how leaving a child unattended in a parking lot is NOT good etc. I express my stress over the situation and tell her all the panicking thoughts that were going through my head. But then express relief seeing the mom finally showed up. It was minutes but this was a busy Wal-Mart parking lot and things happen fast.

Anyway, as we back out and drive towards the exit we see the baby in the seat again alone on the cart. The mother (I assume it was the mom) was no where. At this point I am losing my mind. Where did she go? Why did she leave her baby again? We pulled around the cart as it was in the roadway and slowed down. I see the mother on the other side of the vehicle taking an older child out of the van. Very slowly with no care in the world. At this point cars are cramming up and the road is blocked due to a cart with a baby in it blocking the way.

I could not resist. I backed up a few feet and rolled down the window. Not wanting to upset the child, but wanting to let the mom know how dangerous this was I said “Leaving a baby unattended in a busy parking lots is not a good idea. ” I would be lying if I said I did not want to say more. She just stood there in silence.

How could she have thought this was a good idea? I have heard many sad cases over the years of children being taken or hit in parking lots. Even with parents close by bad things happen. This baby was helpless. Did she need someone to point out to her how bad this was?

I wish I felt bad about saying something but to be honest, I wish I said more.

I truly believe in minding my own business and letting parents, parent their kids as they see fit. But what do you do when they are putting their children in danger?

Pull the cart closer to your vehicle. Put the older child in the cart first. She could have done it better in so many ways. The situation could have been bad. I hope she pays closer attention and thinks about the children’s safety.

I honestly try to see her side on how she could have thought this was a good idea.

I just can not see it.

What would you have done?

Comments

  1. Exactly the same… I try not to judge either, lord knows this mother hood game is hard enough but if a child may be in danger or I think a mum isn’t coping in a potentially complicated situation I will say something! Last week on a bus a lady got on with her child in a stroller and went up to the next level leaving her sleeping child alone on the below level (double decker London buses) I went to the driver and asked him to call out to ask her to come back, to her child. Who leaves a sleeping child on a busy public bus where they can’t see them? He did and she came back and I did point this out to her. Sometimes you do need to think of the child and not mum’s feelings!

  2. I agree, this is a total fail on the mom’s part. Children go missing all the time, but it would be even worse if it happen while mom had her bad turned, or was creduliously two cars away. In my mind I would we blowing a fuse and ready to take a strip of her. But, like you said, remaining calm and sharing your insight might make her aware of her poor decision. I would have stayed with the child until someone showed up and then expressed my humble opinion.

  3. I have to completely agree with you and even about saying more.If she has to have this pointed out to her and the reason why with it,I am afraid she has not been taught well or maybe she is not capable of figuring these things out for some other reason.You did the right thing and hopefully it was enough to jar her into thinking about other future dangers for her children.

  4. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut as I’ve been told that they know what they are doing, they don’t need my or anyone else’s advise. I’ve seen some things that I know I would not do and don’t think its wise to do BUT I have been told, over and over again, and even seen tons of fb posts, new moms do not want our advise, even if we are trying to be helpful etc

  5. You are totally right, but I’m afraid if she is stupid like that nothing you could have said would be useful to her. Maybe calling to child protection with the license plate number and a picture of the child in the middle of the road would do more for her?

  6. I would have said the same, although honestly I may have used a few bad words too. Things like that make me very emotional. I try and I am learning hard to be better to stop before speaking but like you a million scenarios would have gone through my mind, and I cannot fathom how some parents don’t realize how very special and precious their child’s life is at any age, how they rely on us to keep them safe. I th ink what you did was right, but man I bet you were relieved to get home. Sounds like a very stressful Walmart trip.

  7. G-unit Mama says

    I would have said the same but I feel there was a more empathetic way to say it. She might have been more able or ready to hear you if you’d expressed it as concern instead of judgement. Something like ‘I get frazzled too and it can be tough juggling two kids, but I’m really worried your baby might get hit. People around here drive crazy and what if they didn’t see her in that cart?’

    I took advice and thoughts from people when I was younger and was grateful for them sometimes, but I also had people express judgement and it only made me feel angry and hurt rather than changing my behaviour.

  8. We always hope we do the right thing in the moment. We always hope we balance the right amount of compassion and accountability. Especially when it comes to children.

    I like to think that in this situation, I would have seen what happened and parked my car and gotten out with my daughter. Taking my child’s hand, walked over to the cart and moved the baby to safety and closer to the woman and her car. Explaining to the woman exactly what I did and why. Pointing out that the baby and cart are in harm’s way. Reminding her, you cannot leave children unattended, as hard as it is while managing two children.

    Having a baby and a toddler, I would have offered advice, from experience, on how to successfully get them into the car safely without leaving either unattended.

    I like to think that I wouldn’t have also left the baby in the cart in the middle of the parking lot.

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