Include British Prime Minister David Cameron among the parents that a situation like this has happened to. He recently made headlines for leaving his 8-year-old behind at a pub. Luckily, the girl wasn’t harmed during her unsupervised time — reportedly, she was hanging out with the pub staff when her parents came back to pick her up — and consequently, the press is cutting the prime minister some slack.
So is this a punishable parenting offense or a “been there, done that” case where we can cut him some slack? Babble Voices bloggers weighed in on the situation:
Catherine Connors (Bad Mother Confidential)
So, thoughts? I’ve done this, and felt TERRIBLE. And am also a little judgey about it, because my mom did it with me, and I’m still scarred, because, yes, I am that delicate. It’s complicated.
Magda Pecsenye (Moxieville)
I feel like the most important part of this story was that they left her at a pub, which was presumably their local [one]. It’s not like they left her in a gas station parking lot or train station. The story says she was helping out the pub staff when they came back for her. I can remember being a kid in a familiar situation in which everyone knew me and my family, and hanging out without my parents being immediately near on many many occasions. It’s only right now that I wonder if my parents both knew where I was at all times or if I was ever “left” and I just didn’t know it because I was always with people that I knew.
My mom used to lose me in stores. She did it again two weekends ago on 5th Avenue and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t regress and freak out a little.
Me to my mom: You got lost. AGAIN.
My mom to me: I wasn’t lost. I knew exactly where I was.
Me: *I* didn’t know where you were.
My mom: Then YOU were lost.
Me: WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME?
Like I said, I have issues. NEVER ABANDON YOUR CHILDREN IN STORES.
Ana Flores (Besos)
My immediate reaction from the headline was WTH because I have never done it, nor can I imagine ever forgetting my daughter. Then, I actually read the article and realized I was judging from my own experience, which is very different.
First of all, I only have one daughter, the PM [Prime Minister] has 3.
Second, my girl is four years old, the PM’s is 8. At 4 my girl is still clingy and would holler if she didn’t see us next to her at a pub.
Third, both parents were there and they each thought the other was with her. Not going to judge the lack of communication there, but it makes it all a lot more plausible and totally understandable.
Now, I hate playing the mom vs. dad card, but would the reaction have been so understanding if it would have been a high-profile mom leaving her daughter at a pub? Since the focus is on him, maybe they cut him some public slack?
Joanne Bamberger (PunditMom’s Spin Cycle)
I know it’s going to be hard not to sound judge-y, but how does one forget? Cameron’s forgetfulness is not as “bad” as forgetting that your infant is in the car — but it makes me wonder — what is it about our parenting brains that this can happen ?
John Cave Osborne (JCO Multiplied)
Y’all, remember — I have four-year-old triplets and an infant, so my opinion on this one’s probably warped, but I’d be all WTF on anyone who’s never (temporarily) lost track of one of his or her children.
Ciaran Blumenfeld (Casa de Chaos)
As the fourth child in my family, and very much an “afterthought,” I was constantly forgotten places. It wasn’t so much that I was left behind and forgotten (I was pretty damn good at making sure I didn’t get ditched), it was more a case of being the last kid, waiting for two hours in the parking lot at Hebrew School. This was before cell phones so by about age 12, I developed a great sense of direction anywhere within a five-mile radius. I’ve overcompensated with my kids. I hate the idea of missing a pick-up, though I can’t say it has never happened.
Oh, no! the flashback!
I had totally forgotten I was once left at school for 4 hours when I was 9 because my mom and my grandfather both thought the other one was picking me up.
I sat alone next to a tree for hours and couldn´t walk anywhere because this was in El Salvador during the civil war …
Kristen Howerton (Roadside Assistance)
I think this happens quite frequently in big families. It happened in my family of origin and it happens with my own four kids. There were a number of times my mom would arrive home from church and realize that one of my sisters had not, in fact, gotten into dad’s car for the ride home. When my youngest was a baby, we took off for dinner with the in-laws in multiple cars, and realized halfway to our destination that the baby was still sleeping in the infant car seat in the living room, which we’d failed to actually load into the car.
That being said, I guess this story is contextually different for Americans. When I think of a “pub”, I think of a bar — and I wouldn’t take my kids to a bar, period. I’m guessing they were there to eat dinner, but if they were drinking and then driving home it does raise a few more eyebrows.
Doug French (The Turbid Spume)
If Angela Merkel had done something like this, she’d have been pilloried, then drawn and quartered. Then each of those quarters would have been beheaded.
I’ve taken my kids to bars, but only during the day, and only after NYC imposed the smoking ban. (On Sunday afternoons during football season, phalanxes of strollers at my local were commonplace.)
I can relate to lots of parental screw-ups, like when my older son fell off the bed when he was little. But when is comes to taking my kids anywhere, my experience is different, since I’m accustomed to being the only parent. I can’t fathom leaving either of them behind.
Doug, I was just thinking that! When you’re the only one on duty, you wouldn’t forget a kid. This wasn’t actually forgetting a kid. It was not being clear on who was supposed to have which kid. Big difference.
Jane Roper (Baby Squared)
Methinks it’s kind of ridiculous for us even to have this discussion without knowing the details of what actually happened. The CSM story doesn’t provide them, but some quick Googling gets them.
It looks like a perfectly reasonable misunderstanding. Not at all a matter of anyone “forgetting” or even not noticing that their child was gone.
As far as I can tell, this is a tempest in a teapot. (British-y metaphor used intentionally.)
Ellen Seidman (1,000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood)
Agree with Jane, a reasonable misunderstanding — especially when you’re traveling with an entourage, in two separate cars. Commoners like us rarely get to travel in two cars when we go out with the kids.
Crazy circumstances aside, I find it a little strange that they’re traveling with an entourage and no one, parents or staff, noticed that one was missing?
I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna have bodyguards I want them watching out for my kids and spouse just as much as they’re watching out for me. Perhaps I’ve watched to many movies about the kids and spouses of famous people being kidnapped… Perhaps the fact that they spend far more time in pubs makes them more laid back than the rest of us.
Karen Walrond (Bliss Your Heart)
What they NEEED is Nanny McPHEEEEEE.
OR MARY POPPINS.
She’s never lost kids, even in alternate universes with chimney sweeps and flying carousel horses.
Alison Kramer (That’s My Bestie)
I haven’t ever left my kids anywhere, which is downright shocking considering the rate at which I lose keys, phones, cars and shoes…
I would also say that a pub in the UK isn’t like taking your child to a bar and leaving them on a stool or something. The pubs are like family restaurants here. So it’s not like they forgot their child somewhere dangerous where they needed to be more on guard. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, and I certainly wouldn’t judge it.
Alice Bradley (Write Anyway)
Henry has never left my side and also never stops talking, so there’s little chance I could shake him off, I mean accidentally lose him. I do, however, dream *all the time* that I’ve gone on vacation and forgotten him at home, or left him dangling from a rooftop, or something. It’s the new failing-my-physics-test anxiety dream. Although I still have those, too.
Ana Roca Castro (Bableando)
I used to be super relaxed about the kids wandering around and every time we had a plan in case they got lost. Like a meeting point that was super obvious. But a year ago I watched the story of the guy that founded “Missing Children” and realized that the kid went to play video games while the parents were at the food court at a mall. Exactly what I let my wild kids do. We stopped the freedom and I got on panic mode.
Just three weeks ago, we went to the mall and lost my 7-year-old for about 20 minutes. I almost died while picturing myself speaking everywhere to beg for help still 20 years from now. You know when your knees are so weak you can’t even walk? Suddenly a lady from Brookstone grabs me and asks me to quietly enter the store. There he was! Getting a massage on one of those fancy chairs with his eyes close and listening to some sea sounds with headphones. I must have passed by that store 100 times but couldn’t see him since the midget got lost in the chair and his head wouldn’t even show.
The lady told me that she thought his mom was in the store but when she realized that wasn’t the case she left him there since it was safer to be in one spot than wandering around the mall. She had 5 kids and knew how to handle these situations. I hate malls but now I avoid them even more.
The worst part? I grabbed Pier and hugged him then asked him why he left my sight. His first words: “Wow Mami this massage felt soooo good”