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7 Things We All Do When There's No Camera Around

Kim Brooks is lucky she only got probation. The Chicago mom's article on Salon, about her decision to leave her 4-year-old son in the car in a parking lot for 5 minutes while she ran a quick errand, has wound up in every mom's Facebook feed. After a bystander used his or her camera phone to make a video of the boy alone in the car and sent it to the police, Brooks was arrested and faced up to a year in jail. Luckily, she was only punished with a year of probation and community service.

I feel for this woman. I’ve never left my kids alone in the car, but I’ve considered it. Toting kids on errands is challenging. Kids are unpredictable and don’t really care about other people’s time. Sometimes, I’m left with the choice of dragging my screaming kid on an errand or not getting anything done at all. I can see how Brooks made the choice she did.

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In fact, if you were a do-gooder with a camera phone, you might not catch me leaving my kid in the car in parking lot, but there’s a ton of other things you’d find me doing that would make me look like a bad mom — and I know I’m not alone. Here are seven things you might see me do (five of which, I’ve already done today).

1) Feeding the Kids Food Off the Floor

Is it the 5-second rule or 15-minute rule? I can’t remember and I really don’t care. When I’m in a hurry to get the kids fed, sometimes that stray grape or slippery hot dog that found its way to the floor goes right back on the plate.

2) Leaving the Kids Alone in the Car in My Driveway

It’s like clockwork. The minute I finally get the kids out of the house and strapped in their car seats, one has a breakdown because he or she forgot something in the house. There’s no way I’m going through the whole unbuckle/buckle routine all over again so I dash into the house while the kids are safely belted in the car.

3) Raising My Voice

I can’t help but wonder why the bystander who made the videotape didn’t stick around to make sure the boy was okay

Patience may be a virtue, but it doesn’t mean I have enough of it. You can have the patience of Gandhi and still, sometimes your kids can press your buttons. They certainly press mine. I’m lucky no one’s watching when I lose my cool because the little one called the big one “Stinky” one too many times.

4) Letting the Oldest Go to the Bathroom Alone in a Restaurant

It never fails that when I’m at a restaurant with my kids, they never have to pee at the same time. I’m not sure what the right age is to let the oldest go to the restroom by himself, but sometimes it seems like the only option short of us spending our whole meal time in the restroom.

5) Not Washing my Hands After I Pee

I’m lucky if my kids even give me the chance to pee, and sometimes they dart out of a public restroom before I can wash my hands. Caught on videotape, that would seem pretty gross.

6) Swearing in Front of the Kids

It’s not often, but on occasion I’ve dropped an F-bomb in front of the kids, or even cursed at a driver in traffic with the kids in the car. Like I said, it’s not often. But if you saw me do it on those rare occasions, I’d seem like a pretty terrible mom.

7) Letting My Kids Watch TV That’s Too Mature for Their Age

I loved the music in "Chicago" and thought my kids would love it as well, so I put the movie on only to realize there were a few sex scenes and a murder or two. What if someone saw us at that moment and thought that one movie choice was indicative of all the movies I let my kids see? Just so you know, it’s not!

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Kim Brooks’ son was just fine in the car, but that doesn’t mean something horrible couldn’t have happened. But I can’t help but wonder why the bystander who made the videotape didn’t stick around to make sure the boy was OK and confront Brooks herself. While I don’t agree with Brooks’ choice to leave her son in the car alone, I certainly understand how it happened. A bad choice doesn’t make her a criminal, nor does it make her a bad mom.

Image via Getty

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