Motherhood is hard work. I don't care who you are -- parenthood (yep, looking at the dads, too) is tough stuff and we all make mistakes. Okay, so some of those mistakes are really, really bad ones and are more than just mistakes. I'm not going to point fingers, but you know what I'm talking about. But some mistakes are the result of a lack of sleep and a seemingly desperate situation. That's what I think happened with Natalie Akselrod, a mom of 6-month-old twins who was arrested after she left her sleeping babies in the minivan strapped in their car seats so she could run into the drugstore to drop off a prescription.
Her minivan, however, was left in neutral and when she went into the store, it rolled out of its spot and nearly crashed into another car.
The 35-year-old New Jersey mom regrets the incident and says it was a "momentary lapse in judgment." This I understand. Think hard. Haven't you done something, anything, even a little thing, that you realize you shouldn't have done? I think we all have. Though we all haven't had the horrifying outcome that Akselrod had, complete with over eight hours in jail. She says it was the longest she was away from her twins and the difficult ordeal was compounded by the fact she's a breastfeeding mom who couldn't feed her babies.
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"They're my life. I would never put them in danger," she said. But she made a mistake. She knows that. She admits that she should not have left them even for a second. She was dealing with a sick child who had not slept in 22 hours. They were at the emergency room a couple of days before. It was pouring rain and the sick child was finally asleep in the car, along with his twin brother. At the time she thought running in was the best choice.
A sick kid who finally fell asleep. I get it. In her insomnia, the thought of all the unbuckling and buckling was too much. It's clear she wasn't thinking straight. She did leave the car in neutral. And she didn't lock the doors ... which turned out to be a good thing. As the car started to roll away, a passerby managed to get one of the babies out of the car after it nearly hit another car.
Akeselrod's lawyer said she will be pleading not guilty to child endangerment charges: "I think my client has suffered enough. This happens in towns across America. Moms have errands to run. I don’t think we want to put moms in jail for doing what they need to do."
I think she deserves a break, too. Moms know leaving a child in a car is a bad idea for many reasons. But we make mistakes. We have lapses of judgment. She deserves a little more understanding and compassion. I think she learned her lesson and isn't a threat to her children.
What do you think? Should this mom be charged? Have you ever made a poor decision that you regretted but learned from?
Image via mxgirl85/Flickr