Home > Uncategorized > Is the culture of parenting insane? Or am I?

Is the culture of parenting insane? Or am I?

A few month ago, on a chilly and pouring-rainy day, I needed to run an errand in the car. I wrestled the Child into her raincoat, got her to the garage, put her in the back seat, backed out of the garage, got back out, closed the garage door, wrestled her out of her raincoat, put her into her car seat, and got about half a block away when I realized I’d forgotten the quarters that I’d need to pay for parking on this errand.

So I whipped around to the parking space that’s next to our building. Literally three feet from our side door, in a fire station’s “visitor’s parking” slot. I got out, locked the car, and looked up at my door. I was going to be inside for less than 30 seconds — I could sprint up the stairs, fling open the door, grab the quarters on my counter, and be back in the car in less time than it took to write all of that down. The Child was in a locked car in a fire station parking lot. I could see that no one was around for blocks.

Could I just leave her in the car, get the quarters, and be done with it?

No, I couldn’t.

So I wrestled her out, lugged her through the rain, dragged her slowly up the stairs, got the quarters, etc. etc. etc.

As I sat shivering in my front seat, listening to her complain about getting wet, I thought about what I’d just done. Why was I unable to do something so simple? Did I really think that someone was going to carjack my Passat station wagon? Did I really think that a pedophile (with crazy mad car lock picking skills) has been lurking around my apartment for the one day that I lowered my guard to steal my daughter away?

No. Of course not.

So why didn’t I just leave her in the car? I am still not sure. I think it might be because people who leave their kids in cars have been labeled “bad moms” and there’s no gray area… to go back to an earlier post, you either follow the rules or you break them.

More than that, at least I think, is the fact that if something HAD happened, I can’t even imagine what, but if something bad had happened, “they” would have blamed me. I deserved it because I left my kid alone in a car. That’s crazy, so maybe it’s just me and not the parenting culture, but I don’t think so.

At least twice I have been in a situation where another mom was dropping something off for me. Each time, the mom in question had her kid in the car, on the street, locked. She was standing on the street, less than ten feet from the car, she could see the kid, and she still bounced up and down and gasped out, “Hurry, hurry, I gotta run!” and then dashed away… because she didn’t want to leave her kid in a car.

I have no profound wrap-up. I’m not sure what to say, other than, I hope if I’m in that situation again, I have the good sense to get the quarters without dragging her through the rain.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Andromeda
    August 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    The culture’s insane.

    I’ve wrestled with this myself — I feel like psychotic neighbors will materialize and call youth services if I leave her in the car in my driveway for a few minutes — and yet, ultimately, it is so much easier to get the groceries inside if she’s still in her carseat. And hey, no one’s called the cops on me yet.

    I assume, though, that this is part of why people who move to the suburbs to have lots of kids like garages. Hide your kids from view while you leave them in the car. 😉

  2. mamaberg
    August 7, 2009 at 4:01 am

    I too have encountered this same issue. I am so afraid to leave my baby in the car for even a second, even though there are times when it would make sense to do so–i.e. if she’s sound asleep in her car seat and I’m just running into a store or the house for less than 5 minutes. But, instead, the poor girl gets lugged around everywhere I go no matter what the circumstance. I question whether this is really necessary. Yes, parents who leave their kids in the car for hours on end are irresponsible, but a few minutes here and there has god to be okay, and reasonable, isn’t it?

  3. elcynae
    August 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    If it’s any comfort, I leave my kids in the car. 😉 Not to go into the store… you can’t ever really be sure how long you’ll be in the store. At least I can’t. But I do leave them in the car if I need to run back into the house for a second, or if I’ll be in view of the car. I don’t even lock the doors. I do take the keys with me. Of course there isn’t a lot of traffic by my house out in the suburbs, but I did it a couple times back when I lived in the city.

    There are two main reasons I try not to. First, I can’t predict what a crazy person might do, and even if it’s something I couldn’t have prevented, I’d never know for sure if something horrible happened whether it would’ve happened if I were there. Second, and more of an issue, I’ve done it and come back to find that the baby had randomly started crying and the older girl had become very distressed that he was upset and no one was helping him. Coming back to a carful of screaming is a good dissuader. 😉

  4. C'tina
    September 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    The bad people will get you while your back is turned..getting child in and out of the car…you can’t win. That’s why I’m a mental mess, lol

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