Mila Kunis may look like a picture-perfect Hollywood mom — and she may be making the rounds as a poster “Bad Mom” for her new movie — but in real life, she’s just like the rest of us.
While promoting her new movie Bad Moms, Kunis revealed to Babble the biggest parenting mistake she has made since giving birth to her 21-month-old daughter, Wyatt — something she swore at the time she would never tell anyone else.
She drove down the highway with her baby not buckled in her car seat.
Kunis explained that last year, while planning a visit to her husband Ashton Kutcher at work, she had prepped and packed for a two-hour road trip in the way that all first-time moms do.
“You have to pack all this stuff up in anticipation of everything going horribly wrong with the first baby,” Kunis laughed. “And I was like, ‘I did it.’ I put her in the car. Like, I high-five myself. [As] I’m driving down the 101, I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m doing really good today.'”
It’s a rare day indeed when a mother actually feels on top of her parenting game, and Kunis was riding high, congratulating herself on handling a road trip with a baby like a pro. That is, until she realized that her daughter was a little too content in the back seat.
“She was being really quiet, and I was like, ‘Oh, let me look in the rearview mirror to make sure everything’s okay,'” Kunis explained. “And I look, and she’s happy as can be, but just not nearly strapped in.”
In a moment of horror, Kunis realized her mistake. She may have packed the diapers and the wet wipes and the snacks and the bottles and her baby’s favorite stuffed animal and an extra change of clothes and an extra extra change of clothes. She may have packed sunscreen and bug spray and sanitizer and the pacifier and baby food and a bag for a potential poop blowout. She may have packed every item that she could possibly pack to wage war against the Murphy’s Law of Traveling with a Baby.
She just forgot to buckle her baby in her car seat.
“I was like, oh, f*ck me,” Kunis recalls. “And I’m on the 101, and she’s just like blah, like fine in her car seat, nothing, no strap whatsoever. And I think I just turned white.”
Thankfully, Kunis was able to pull over right away and buckle her baby up properly without anyone getting injured. But the incident shook her up in a way that any of us can relate to, because it was a reminder of how easy it is to make a simple — and serious — mistake as a parent.
Not one of us is immune from it, and honestly, I’m kind of impressed that Kunis is sharing this story publicly.
But the truth is, I, myself, have done the exact same thing. On two separate occasions while running errands, I’ve forgotten to latch my son’s car seat into the car. I didn’t even realize my mistake until I made a turn and watched in horror through the rearview as my son toppled over. Somewhere in the midst of doing all the car seat swapping that comes with having four kids and two working parents, one of us had forgotten to latch the seat back in.
The point is, it happens. And luckily for all of us, being an imperfect parent doesn’t make us a bad one.
When Kunis confessed her mistake to Ashton, she says she burst out crying. “I was like, ‘I f*cked up. I f*cked up,'” she says. But Kunis would soon find out that f*ing up in parenting is not exclusive to moms.
“Lo and behold,” Kunis continued, “A year later, like two, three weeks ago, a month ago, I came to get Wyatt out of the backseat of the car, and my husband [had] put her in. And so, I went in to get her out … I opened the car door, and she’s not strapped in whatsoever. And I was like thank God … I wasn’t alone.”
And not being alone, as Kunis summed up, is exactly the point of admitting our parenting fails. All we can do is live and learn and do the best we can every day.
Kunis says she had no intention of telling the story to anyone ever, having learned her lesson and being so grateful that nothing bad happened. But one can only assume that through making this movie, she has realized that if there’s one thing moms need, it’s to know we’re not alone — and not one of us is perfect.
Bad Moms hits theaters July 29, 2016 and stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, and Kathryn Hall as overworked, under-appreciated moms who, when pushed to their limits, ditch their responsibilities for some long-overdue fun.
Watch the full trailer: