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Mom news

Science backs this up, so it must be true.

Apparently, mothers literally lose their minds because of their babies. Here’s an article all about it: Gretchen’s Vindication

I’ve had two momnesia moments today. The first was when Aidan told me she wanted a roast beef, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard sandwich in her lunch. I said sure. 30 SECONDS LATER I made a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. She said, “Who is that for?” When I told her it belonged to her, silly, she looked at me like I had a dozen eyes.

This afternoon, I ran to Target to get diapers for Beatrix. After, I had to pick up Aidan from her school and the boys from their schools. We got home, unloaded the groceries, and I realized I couldn’t find the diapers. I angrily searched the car and found many other interesting things, but no diapers. I dug the receipt out of my purse for the phone number, dialed and spoke to a young man who said they didn’t have any diapers, but if I said I left them and had a receipt, they’d take care of me.

I hung up, stewing that I had to go out again because a bare-butted Bea is not an option. I got ready to gather my things when I noticed a pack of Size 4 Pampers Cruisers sitting on the piano with the mail on top of it. I had opened the letter on top when we walked through the door.

I brought the diapers into the house. Somehow, in the three minutes between bringing the diapers into the house and calling Target, I forgot all about them. Momnesia!


Speaking of shopping, a Chicago-area mom is in serious trouble for leaving her sleeping 2-year-old daughter in the car while she walked 30 FEET to put change in a Salvation Army Christmas bucket. The news story can be found here: Woman accused of endangering child

When she drove up to the Wal-Mart entrance, her 2-year-old daughter was asleep. Rather than wake her up and risk falling on the icy pavement with the child in her arms, Coyne left her in her car seat, locked the car and walked about 30 feet away to a Salvation Army bell ringer’s bucket with the other three kids, the defense said.

A minute or two later as she and the kids walked back to the car, a community service officer from Crestwood was standing there and told her she was under arrest for child endangerment.

The statute in her town states that children under 14 must be in the parent’s sight at all times. The mom faces serious consequences:

If found guilty, Coyne faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, a Cook County state’s attorney spokesman said.

Even if she is found innocent, she has to work to have her record with Family Services erased. Because of the “endangerment” incident, they have a file on her family now and have visited them several times to check on the welfare of the children.

I have left my kids in our locked car to return a grocery cart to the corral 30 feet away. Usually, I try to park next to it, but those spots aren’t always available. This is a circumstance moms and dads deal with every day—and depending on who is watching you can be in serious trouble. I won’t send Aidan, who is almost 11, into a grocery store to get bread while I wait in the car with sleeping kids because I am afraid some pucker-mouthed busy body will think she is being neglected. I remember going into stores for my mom all the time. I loved it. I was proud of doing something grown-up and helpful.

Those days are gone.

Do you leave your kids in the car to return carts? Do you leave your children under the age of 14 home alone (Shannon recently wrote a post on this issue and had a ton of responses)? If you’re unlucky enough to live in Crestwood, Illinois, you are a criminal. I’m sure other cities have similar statutes.

Do you have momnesia? Do you endanger your children by being 30 feet away from them in public? Have you ever developed momnesia WHILE returning a grocery cart?

26 comments to Mom news

  • This is ridiculous??? I am pretty sure there are people who are truly endangering their children that the police should be focusing their time on. Scary stuff.

    Jill’s last blog post..Things I Love Thursday- Clarisonic

  • Insane and disgusting.

    Heidi’s last blog post..Recipe Box Swap – Chick-Pea Pilaf

  • jean

    We were just talking about this sort of thing – when is it ok to leave your child home alone? My son is 11 and I will leave him home to run errands in town. Other mothers won’t and make it very clear that they think this is wrong. I think that it depends on the the child. In the end it’s a personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m not sure that I left my son alone in the car when he was young. I’m sure I must have. Moms can’t do it all it’s just not possible. The mother in this article shouldn’t be judged by this one incident. It’s not fair to her or her children.

  • jen

    I think twice before I leave the kids in the car alone. I do it, because I think they’re safer in the van than chasing me around the parking lot putting the cart in the corral.
    So this statute…a child under 14 must be in sight at all times? Sooo…privacy in the bathroom is illegal? The kids can’t play in the other room? And the kids have to be in the room during sex? Ridiculous statute. It’s impossible to have that kind of control.

    jen’s last blog post..Moooommmy, ya wa?na pay wif me?

  • I understand the intent behind those laws, but they have no bearing on real life. I leave my kids in the car all the time — not to go shopping, mind you, but certainly to return a cart, to walk the oldest to the door of her school, to run across the street to the mailbox. Ridiculous. I hope there’s a cry of outrage for that poor woman.

    Anyway. Momnesia? I’ve always thought the placenta is really part of a woman’s brain. That’s why we get less smart with each child.

    Kelly @ Love Well’s last blog post..Eight Weeks Old

  • Oh, I no longer feel so alone anymore.

    Joanne’s last blog post..A Bad Day?

  • I sometimes run into the bread store leaving my 16 or 17 year old in charge of younger kids. I can literally see the car the whole time– it is a tiny store– and I am in the store less than 5 minutes. But I am still leery about it, and always make the teen switch into the driver’s seat to look more obviously ‘in charge’ of the kids when I am inside.

    Needless to say after reading this I am reconsidering my practice…too bad there are people out there just itching to get people in trouble.

    Mary, mom to 10

    owlhaven’s last blog post..?a yawn that won’t quit

  • Sister of Mopsy

    I struggle with this all of the time. Your niece, 12 almost 13 is very smart, independent, trustworthy and can definitely be left alone at the house with strict instructions not to use the stove and not to open the door to anyone. But, in my own mind I have fears that just won’t allow me to leave her. Even though she is almost a teenager, we still do not allow her to be home alone, even during the day. Mainly my fear is ‘What happens if something happens to us?’. I picture her, home alone watching Sponge Bob or in her room listening to her music and talking to friends on her cell phone. But then she would eventually start to wonder… why aren’t they back yet? What would she do? Who would she call? How long would she wait? Would she start to pace around like a mom at night waiting for her teenager that is not back by curfew?

    It’s easy enough at her age to let her stay home while we run out to Home Depot ‘real quick’ since she HATES what she calls “The Man Mall”. But what if it isn’t ‘real quick’? Instead we drag her along groaning and moaning.

    I’m sure at some point I will have to get over these thoughts and trust that we and she will be OK (maybe when she leaves home for college). But for right now I just can’t. How I have become so fearful for her safetly I’m sure is partially because I’m an adult and a parent who is naturally protective of her child but also all of the media about the horrible things that happen to children these days has certainly influced my level of protection. Gone are the days when we were kids when we had the freedom to come and go as long as chores were done. I remember leaving on my bike without a word and being gone for hours and hours only to arrive home for dinner. That just can’t happen anymore and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that we can’t trust that our children will be safe. How do you teach your child how to take care of themselves when you’re hovering over them every minute of the day? How do our children learn responsibility? Learn to be observant and to watch out for themselves? To test them and see if they follow rules when the parents and baby sitters aren’t around? How will they know that if that awful event does happen and the parents don’t make it home what to do in that situation? Maybe the magic number is 14 years old and at that point they have the maturity to handle these types of situations.

    It’s a daily struggle.

    P.S. Sorry mom for not coming home by curfew all those times, I now understand why you were so upset.

  • I have to do this all the time. What am I supposed to do with my cart if I’ve already put the babies in the car?

    I also usually leave the kids in my car, parked on the street, while I unload groceries into the house. That way they can’t dart out the front door and into the path of oncoming cars, because they are strapped down to their seats

    I am always afraid of being “caught” though. PA has pretty strict laws on leaving kids in cars.

    Goslyn’s last blog post..Dinner for Pooh

  • Oh. My. Goodness. That poor woman. I get so angry at the social service people who go after responsible parents while the real baddies just get away with crap over and over again. Pardon me while I steam…

    As far as Momnesia goes? It scares me how much I do that sort of stuff.

    Jenni’s last blog post..Happy

  • That is just stupid. It takes away from real endangerment cases. I don’t leave my kids in the car to return a grocery cart. but I would leave it at the end of an isle to go grab something if the isle was really crowded. That is probably more dangerous. I am glad that things are a bit easier now. Like paying for gas at the pump instead of going inside. I know my mom always left us in the car to run inside and pay and now we don’t have to do that. She would have been in a lot of trouble now days! And 14 seems like a reasonable age to leave kids at home alone, depending on the kid.

    Cyndi’s last blog post..Today

  • I’ve been thinking about this since I read it last night. Things like this really freak me out. I’m always afraid I’m going to get in trouble for something that makes sense and is harmless. Like, I worry that someone will walk by my apartment door and hear the kids screaming about something and they’ll call someone, not understanding that I am inside frantically trying to attend to both of them simultaneously.

    I often do the grocery cart thing. What am I supposed to do? Take the cart to the rack and then carry two kids back to the car at the same time?

    Beth’s last blog post..She should be suspended.

  • I leave my kids in the car buckled to return grocery carts all the time. I buckle them in, load the groceries into the trunk and then return the cart. The doors are all locked, I have the keys and they can’t move. That seems safer to me than leaving my 2 year old sitting in the cart at the trunk of the car in the parking lot and letting my 3 year old stand there while I unload and then all walk back to the cart corral. Also, have you seen people drive through parking lots?! It scares me to walk through parking lots with my kiddos let alone keep them like sitting ducks in the parking lot. People hardly glance in the rear view mirror as they start to back up.

    Of course, here, people rarely return carts to the corral, maybe I should just start leaving it in the middle of the parking space.

    Apparently, you hit a hot spot for me!

  • amy

    I started babysitting when I was 11. I watched a 4 and 6 year old. I was left all alone with the two kids, and I was paid for it. At the time, the mom thought it was good that I was younger, because I would play with the kids rather than talk on the phone with my boyfriend.
    When I was a preschooler, my mom often left me and my sister in the car to go in to Brach’s and buy milk. She always brought gum back for us.
    This morning I parked directly in front of the dry cleaner’s. I would have been able to see my kids the whole time, but I dutifully unstrapped them and brought them in because I knew others might worry that they weren’t safe.

  • Under 14? So not one kid in that whole town walks to school? Or even waits at the bus stop?

    Jeana’s last blog post..Point of View

  • THANK YOU for the article link. Love it.

    Secondly, what is more dangerous? Me leaving the girls snapped into their carseats and locked in the car while I put the cart in the cart corral OR trying to juggle both of them and risking Dacey getting away from me in the parking lot while I put the cart back? I kind of understand the intent of that statute, but I mean REALLY. Ridiculous.

  • I’ve been stewing over this post for a few days and I’m ready to take on the entire system. Of course I want children to be protected from parents who might be tempted to neglect them, but I don’t think these types of laws really solve any issues. If a parent is going to neglect a child, they aren’t going to be stopped by this type of ordinance. I didn’t even know there was a law that prohibited me from leaving my kids in the car while I put the cart away – which I do all the time. I assumed it was my right as the parent to decide what was appropriate in terms of risk to at LEAST this extent. If I was the parent who had been arrested, I probably would have counter-sued to find out why that officer was wasting his/her time in the parking lot looking for kids strapped safely in cars by their loving parents. Sounds fishy to me.

  • Wow.

    I’m hosed. I live in small town Iowa and I leave my kids in the car ALL the time with the twelve year old. Sometimes even the 11 year old.

    Heth’s last blog post..Before and After

  • Shauna

    It infuriates me that the system lets so many kids fall through the cracks who really are being neglected and abused, yet they waste time on ridiculous cases like this.

    But that’s pretty much what I expect. I left my baby in the car to return a cart to the stall, which was in a space two cars over from where I was parked. I was never out of sight of my car and was away from her for approximately 20 seconds, but someone walking by freaked out and acted like she was going to call the police. Because of that incident, I don’t usually return carts to their stalls at all, or I intentionally park right next to them. Call me a bad customer, but I’m not going to get caught by a crazy system and irrational people.

  • LeeAnn

    I have heard of a case where officers stood and watched over the baby sleeping in his carseat while waiting for Mommy to return. The officer jimmied the door so the baby wouldn’t bake (it was a hot summer day). Mommy swore she had been gone just 5 minutes, but the officer had been standing there for over 20. I think it is really easy to underestimate how long a quick trip in the store can take. Because of stuff like this, I often did 11:00 p.m. grocery runs because Daddy was home to watch the kids sleeping. I was very grateful when my boys were old enough to leave watching an engrossing video, but I always had my eye on my watch! Now that they are 11, I love it even more because a cell phone makes me close enough. (11 is more than legal in my state and Daddy works within 5 minutes of our home.)

    I think there is room for mercy in this law. If the kids are okay, and the officer saw the mother, mercy should rule. (The baby was at serious risk esp. in summer heat.) Too bad mercy often is left out.

  • Jeanne A

    This isn’t a problem now but my oldest are 16 and 17. I remember the quandry of paying for gas. There was no credit card pumps way back them. And how was I going to take three little kids into the gas station to pay…….I just left them there and ran to and fro.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how this comes out – “a minute or two later” sounds like it was told from the perspective of the mom, and it doesn’t sound like they got a comment from the police officer. It’s entirely possible he just happened by and saw the baby in the car, and I find it concerning that she wasn’t close enough to see her car to find a strange man hovering nearby.

    That said, I leave my daughter in the car to return a shopping cart, and have even left her in the locked car in the driveway to run in the house to get something, but only if I know exactly where it is. I don’t know if I’d run into a gas station these days, but when I was a kid my mom did it and nothing ever happened to us.

  • I agree with those who fume at the system–this morning there was a horrible report of child abuse in our paper. The baby died, but I’ll spare you the details. The boyfriend who did it was watching the woman’s two kids while she was out of state, and had done this multiple times. He was not their father. Officers are busy catching busy moms in parking lots, while other children are being savaged repeatedly by vicious people. Where is the sense in this?

    I worry about my preteen when I leave him alone whether he’s outside running around with his friends or inside watching a movie while I run to pick up a pizza. I know dangers are real. I also know there is a danger and even a neglect involved in teaching him to be afraid and insecure in the world. In keeping him inside the house and under parental scrutiny 24/7. It’s such a tricky balance, teaching him to be confident and self-reliant while keeping him safe. It’s so hard to know if you’re parenting correctly in these days of precise parenting prescriptions. A boy his age a hundred years ago might have been out in the woods hunting on his own at his age. Three hundred years ago, he’d have been working like a man. Have you read “The Disappearance of Childhood”? Fascinating book. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I think parents should take a look at it.

    Inkling’s last blog post..Brudderthumper

  • I totally have momnesia. Today Asher fell out of the front door and the screen door, with glass in it, hit his back. I freaked out.

    I look like a jerk leaving my shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot because I will not go the 30 feet to the shopping cart drop-off. I don’t want to leave the kids, but more than that, I don’t want this stupid story to happen to me. I love how this woman gets the hammer dropped on her but then women who leave their kids in the car for 6 hours aren’t criminally charged. HUH? Was this cop just a major dousche bag or what?

    Rach’s last blog post..where we be

  • edj

    I have momnesia too! I lost chunks of my brain with each pregnancy.

    In France, we’d be at the grocery store and see 7 and 8 year old kids buying wine for their parents’ dinner. (I knew the kids from school) It’s a different world, I guess.

    Yeah, I’ve totally left my kids in the car. When Elliot turned 6 (we were in Mauritania at this point), he was deemed old enough to go to the boutique (small dusty grocery-type store) by himself! It was about a block away. I had to send exact change or they would cheat him. Here, I’d be arrested. There, I was unusually protective.

    Gosh it’s weird here now.

    edj’s last blog post..Time Keeps Ticking

  • I am fortunate to shop at a store where I can always find a parking spot next to the grocery cart return, so I don’t have to worry about this. But I have the kids in the car to return movies.

    I’m glad this story has a *somewhat* happy ending for the mom, but what a huge headache for her family to go through.

    Stephanie’s last blog post..Clean Green

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