If #failcarmom had meant something twenty-seven years ago, that hashtag would have applied to me.
#WhatHappensWhenMomsAreCarryingFiftyThingsAtOnce would work too.
But I’m guessing that lots of moms can identify with those hashtags. I’ll give you a hypothetical example.
Let’s say there’s this young, first-time mom.
She’s just finished grocery shopping with her four-month-old son, who has been bawling since aisle two. Now this exhausted, harried mom, who feels like bawling too,
leaves the grocery store and rolls her cart to the car. In the cart basket, she has a baby carrier, complete with baby who finally stopped crying at the cash register; bags and bags of groceries; the pacifier her baby spit out; and half the contents of the diaper bag, which she flung into the cart during her frantic searched for the pacifier.
Which, of course, she found at the bottom of the bag.
On the cart seat rests the half-empty diaper bag, and on her shoulder, a bulging purse.
Then this sweet-albeit-frazzled mom pulls her keys from her purse, inserts them into the passenger side of her two-door car (no key fobs yet), and proceeds to lift her son from the baby carrier (no nifty snap-in carrier/car seat yet, either). With her foot pressed against the cart wheel, so the cart doesn’t roll away, frazzled-cum-contortionist mom lifts her bundle of joy from the carrier and straps him into the car seat, all the while praying that he doesn’t start fussing again or, even worse, fall asleep on the ride home. If he falls asleep, he won’t nap that afternoon, and Mom is in desperate need of down-time.
Pulling contents from the cart as fast as she can, she flings the baby carrier, grocery bags, diaper bag contents, the pacifier, and the deflated diaper bag into the car back seat.
Then she grabs her purse, pushes down the lock on the door like a good mother, and gives the passenger-side door a shove.
That’s when I see….
Okay, I’ll fess up. Hypothetical, sweet-albeit-frazzled-cum-contortionist mom?
As the door closed, I glimpsed the car keys through the window, resting on the seat beside my son.
“No, no, no,” I muttered. I yanked the door handle, hoping that the locked the door would magically pop open—PRESTO!
Then I ran to the other side and jerked the door handle up and down. But the driver’s side door stayed locked as well.
I stared through the window at my son, who looked back at me, expecting me to climb into the car.
I ran into the grocery store (no cell phones yet), by the bank of gawking cashiers, and to the pay phone, where I dialed 9-1-1.
“Help,” I said when the female operator answered. “I’m at Paul’s Grocery Store, and I locked my baby in the car.”
To which the woman replied, “Ma’am, this line is for emergencies only.”
I glanced at the nice store manager, who now stood by the phone. “This is an emergency! My BABY is LOCKED in my car!”
After the woman lectured me on proper 9-1-1- protocol, finally took pity on me, and said that she would notify the local police, the manager hustled away.
I hung up the phone, sprinted back out to the car, and peered at my son. He had grown tired of waiting for me and was now crying again.
I tapped the window. “It’s okay, Mommy’s right here.”
That’s when I heard footsteps. I turned around and saw the nice manager jogged toward me.
He held up a coat hanger. “Ma’am, let’s see if I can get that car open,” he said.
I stood aside, and the nice manager stuffed the coat hanger inside the window.
When my son saw this unknown man, his crying changed to frantic screaming, which cause the nice manager to transform into a nice flustered store manager. As the wailing inside the car continued unabated, he looked at me with haunted eyes and paused to wipe perspiration from his forehead. “I’ll try the other side.”
Through the window, I tried consoling my son again. What kind of a mom was I, anyway? I’d never heard of anybody locking their baby in the car. I glanced at the nice flustered-perspiring manager, who was becoming frustrated by his lack of success. He must think I’m the dizziest of dizzy blondes. How would I ever face him again without feeling like an idiot?
As I contemplated the necessity of switching grocery stores, a police car pulled into the parking lot. Within minutes, the officer opened the door.
The nice, flustered-now-relieved manager took a deep breath and gave me a big smile as I held my howling son.
I smiled back. Maybe I could swallow my pride and continue shopping at his store. After all, he’d tried his best to rescue my son. I owed him my patronage, even if he thought I was a total ding-dong.
On second thought, maybe my husband could grocery shop from now on.
I gave my profuse thanks to the police and especially the nice store manager. Then I drove home, thankful that the ordeal hadn’t been worse. And I vowed that I would never, ever again be so careless as to lock my baby in the car again, no matter how harried or frantic I became.
Too bad I forgot…
See you next time for Part II of #failcarmom.
Have a blessed Easter!