When my son was just 2 months old, I had a moment of bad parenting that left me horrified, ashamed and guilt-ridden by my own actions. I had brought him out to a friend’s birthday luncheon. The ladies clamored to see, hold and cuddle my handsome little newborn. As he tired from the excitement, I laid him down in his car seat and covered him in a blanket while we finished our meals. The ladies began to say their goodbyes and I started to collect all the belongings toted around by a new mom and her baby. While I was double checking to make sure I had left nothing behind, one last friend came over and struck up a conversation. We said our goodbyes and I carried my precious little boy to the car and drove home.
Once home, I set the car seat down on the living room table and removed the blanket. To my shock and horror, I had never buckled my son into the car seat. I had laid him down and covered him to rest, and later completely forgot that he wasn’t buckled. I felt ashamed and embarrassed at how distracted and absentminded I had been. How could a mother be so careless? How could I put my son’s life in such danger? Was I even fit to be the caregiver of such a precious being? I cried at how close I felt I had come to risking my son’s life and thanked God for getting us home safely and without incident.
I look back at that moment with mixed feelings. That newborn is now a happy, healthy, affectionate, rambunctious toddler. I still thank God that we made it home safely and cringe at the thought of my son not being fastened in his car seat, but I’ve forgiven myself. Parenting is difficult and making mistakes are unavoidable. Parents are only human, we are bound to forget somethings, get distracted and make errors that we wish we hadn’t. What I learned was to always check the car seat straps while the seat is in the car, something that may seem like common sense until you’ve made that mistake. I learned that parenting is a learning process, and perfection does not exist. I’ve learned to learn from my mistakes and move on. Most of all, I learned to look at my beautiful, happy, healthy little boy and see all the great parenting that I’ve done shine through him.