You always hear it said that being a parent changes the way you look at the news. If the story of a Georgia mom driving drunk with her kids in the car doesn't prove that, I don't know what does. See, the kids weren't even in carseats. And they weren't wearing seatbelts.
Did that make you shrink back in abject horror? It's funny. Seven, eight years ago, I would have been horrified to hear that Cierra Baughcum allegedly had five times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she got behind the wheel of her Camaro. And that, more or less, would have been the end of it for me. But being a mom, each factor of this story makes my head slink closer to my desk.
She was drunk behind the wheel (allegedly). Head droops. She had her 4- and 6-year-old kids in the car as she drove through a picnic area at a mobile home park, crashed through a fence, then out onto a highway, heading the wrong way. Head hits the desk. Neither child was restrained in any way, shape, or form. Head starts hitting the desk repeatedly.
All I can see in my head are those sweet little bodies flying around the backseat as their mom careens around town, drunk off her keester. What a difference a kid makes. Seven years ago, I would have been all "was there any blood left in her alcohol system?" Today I'm all "does she KNOW what a carseat is for? GEEEESH."
There's a reason these things fall under the purview of the police nowadays. Driving around with kids in the car, even stone cold sober, bad things can happen. I live within sight distance of the post office in my town, and yet I make my daughter belt herself back in ... just in case. I don't mind when we drive through a checkpoint and the cops want to take a look-see at her booster seat to make sure everything is OK. It's that extra measure of security, it's the one thing that can protect our kids from a drunk driver ... even when the drunk driver is, shudder, mom.
Apparently even plastered Baughcum knew that this was perhaps the worst of what she'd done. She allegedly begged the wife of the mobile home park manager not to tell the cops the kids weren't strapped into a restraint. She knew she wasn't just a drunk driver. She was a crappy parent.
Did you look at this story differently once you realized kids were involved?
Image via reportergimmi/Flickr