I'm an overly cautious mom. I worry all the time. I worry more than I have to. I have OCD when it comes to keeping my children's things clean and organized, bottles washed, soothers disinfected. Seat belts are always worn in the car, water is always within reach, Purell in every purse.
My children eat healthy - even if they eat chocolate almost everyday. They have rules, but not too many. I have a hard time saying no. I have a hard time with discipline. However, my children are happy, smiling all the time. And they are very smart. I love to teach my children, play with my children, read to them, and treat them with respect. I'm a good mom with good intentions, and I always put my children first - always. Especially their health, well-being and safety. Ask anyone who knows me - I'm the mom people tell to relax... everything will be okay.
Today, driving home with my two year old, he asked to take off his seat belt in his car seat. I never do this - but we were literally a street away from home, in a quiet residential neighbourhood, on a Sunday afternoon. I agreed. Not the smartest thing to do, but come on - we were literally a street away from home - and I was driving super slow. I reached over, and took off his seat-belt. He climbed out of his seat, and stood up, holding onto the head-rest in front of him. I noticed a red truck, driving closely behind me, but I didn't pay much attention to it.
We got home a few seconds later. I got out of the car and turned around to get my child from the back seat, and literally almost bumped into a complete stranger. A strange man, about 6 feet tall, in a track suit, appeared out of nowhere - and he was standing right in front of me, on my laneway.
"Were you driving with your child out of his car seat?" he asked me, abruptly.
"Uh... yes, I was. We were a street away from home, and .... " I started to answer, but he cut me off, saying:
"It doesn't matter - he shouldn't be out of his car seat."
"Yes, I realize that, but we were so close to home, literally seconds away from home, and... " I continued, but again, was cut off:
"That's not allowed, it doesn't matter how close to home you were!" He said, with anger in his voice.
"Okay, yes, I know it's bad, but really? What business is this of yours?" I asked. (At this point, I was totally pissed off and at the same time, totally weirded out by this man talking to me.)
"You should have co-operated with me. I'm an officer, and I'm going to file a report," he said, as he took off, getting back into his red truck, speeding away down my quiet street.
I was in shock. First of all, who was this creepy strange man, and why did he follow me to my home? If he was an officer like he claimed to be, why didn't he identify himself as one when he first started barking at me? And cooperating? About what? I was completely civil with this creepy stranger who now knows where I live.
I talked to my sister's husband about this, who is a police officer. He said this man absolutely had to indentify himself as an officer FIRST - if he was one. That, my friends, is also the law. Chances are - this was just some creep having a bad day - not really an officer after all. How creepy.
If this man was an officer, he really approached this situation the wrong way. Of course, I admit I was wrong to take off my son's seat belt, but some strange dude does not really have the right to talk to me like that. If I was smart, I would have taken down his license plate number, but I was alone, outside, with my baby. Hard to think straight when you're in a situation like that, with a creep standing close to you blasting you for a parenting mistake you made.
How would you have handled this situation?