Amanda Brunker: 'I’ve left my sons in the car unattended too, but I still think Rachel Stevens was reckless '
Rachel Stevens was a reckless mother for leaving her kids in the car for 10 minutes on their own.
The reason I can say this so unabashedly? I’ve done it too. I’m not proud of it, but at the time, it felt like the only option.
Which is why we can all learn from Rachel’s mistake.
None of us should do ever do it. Even if you keep the car in your line of sight for those few minutes and tell them not to touch anything.
The fact of the matter is nearly all parents are guilty of this at some stage, but it doesn’t make it right.
There’s nothing worse than disturbing a sleeping child and frankly, taking kids out of the car for short errands is a pain. It’s frustrating, irritating and most of all time-consuming.
All parents are time poor, so yes, we sometimes take chances with our precious children because we’re stressed and exhausted. And in the case of Rachel Stevens, I reckon she was suffering with a bad case of baby brain.
In the past, I left my kids in the car while I nipped into Spar to buy some bread and milk; while I went to pay for petrol; once, I even parked at a traffic light in order to inform another driver of their dangerous driving. How stupid was that?
Even the most boastfully perfect mothers will likely have left their sleeping child in a car for a short period of time - whether it’s running into the shop or leaving them in their garden while they enjoy a cup of tea for a much needed break.
When my second son was teething, he was a nightmare for eight months. The only way we could get him to sleep was driving him around in circles on the M50. I rationalised that leaving him in the car - in the garden, where I could always see him - was okay because I was utterly shattered. But it wasn’t.
He could have overheated and convulsed and I might not have noticed through the windows. A burglar could have hopped over the wall while I was in the loo and taken him. Any number of horror possibilities could have happened.
I was lucky, but there are many people who aren’t so lucky and have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
While Rachel Stevens was probably most unlucky that she had a photographer expose her, she’s human and she made a mistake. And let’s not forget how much more laid-back our own parents were with us a few decades ago.