I recently shared My Worst Mommy Moment. After 4 kids the 4th one really did me in! Not to long after that I had reader Quimby email me her worst mommy moment. She was out of the country! oh my if tops mine and she has been gracious enough to let me share her story. Read her Worst mommy moment – England Version below. If you would like to share your worst mommy moment please email me at [email protected] with subject ‘Worst Mommy Moment' I won't share it without your permission! I would love to hear it even if you don't want me to share it!
Back in 2010, when my children were 4 years old and 22 months old, we went to England with husband's parents. Already you're thinking, “What? You went overseas with your in-laws?” Yes. Yes, I did. It was difficult for me because England and I don't exactly see eye to eye. In fact I nearly got deported within hours of arriving because everything was already pear-shaped. The car rental place insisted we pay an extra $1000 in insurance; the owner of the caravan we were staying in still had not bothered getting back to us with instructions for how we could find the key, and to top it off, within two minutes of sitting down at the airport after a 16 hour flight, my mother in law pulled out a printed map of the outline of Great Britain and said to me, “Right, so how do I get where we're going?” We were just outside London and going to a very small town in Norfolk, and of course I couldn't show her on her little map. So there I was, pacing the airport, swearing up a storm because, hey, I swear like a sailor when I'm upset; and a police officer walked up to my father in law and said, “That bitch better shut her mouth before I throw her in jail and deport her.” My witty comeback was, “Good, let him, at least I'd have a place to sleep tonight.”
Since I couldn't find a flight out of the country that night (believe me, I tried) I was stuck. After a week in Norfolk, which started with my 4 year old finding dirty (read: heavily soiled – with lots of nice fresh poo) undies under the bed and culminated with all of us getting a nasty case of gastro, we were finally ready to head down to Cornwall for the second half of the trip.
It's a long drive from Norfolk to Cornwall, so we stopped for the night in Rugby. The following day my husband and his father decided to go to the car museum in Coventry. My mother in law and I decided to take the kids to Warwick Castle instead. Warwick was its own series of disasters, from a complete stranger yelling at my MIL for parking wrong (she wasn't) to a slightly deranged owner of an antique show yelling at me for touching the postcards she had on sale (uh, how else will I know if I want to buy them?). We took a brief tour of the castle grounds, and on the way back to the car . . . Well, you know. Not-quite 2 year old has a massive explosion of #2. I had diapers and wipes. But I did not have a change of clothes. All of the clothes were in the other car. I had a sweatshirt that had somehow escaped Poomahgeddon, but that was it – the poor kid was in a diaper and a sweatshirt. In October.
No big deal. We didn't have cell phones but we had something better – A plan! We'd decided to meet up at a certain Burger King at a certain time. Here's the rub: My husband was working off a 10 year old atlas which was very detailed and listed the Burger King in the appropriate place; but in the intervening years it'd changed hands and became another chain of fast food restaurants (Little Chef). My mother in law was working from a brand new atlas which wasn't nearly as detailed, and in the fluster of, well, a not very good day, we didn't realise that the Burger King we went to was not actually the right place. We waited around for about two hours; but I got tired of everyone giving me the stink-eye (at least that's how it felt to me) for having this poor kid in a diaper and sweatshirt, and nothing else. We were convinced they'd left without us; so we decided to do the same and continue on to Cornwall – still a very long drive.
Now around here I'm sure you're asking yourself, “Why didn't you stop and get the poor kid some clothes?” Here's why: 1) I had no cash on me. Because I'm smart like that. 2) No stores would take my credit card. Stores wanted a card with a chip and a pin. I had a card with a chip but I didn't know the pin. I had a card without a chip and I knew the pin to that one; but they wouldn't take it. 3) We were on an M road and couldn't find anywhere that sold clothes, anyway. I'm sure if we'd found a place that sold clothes my mother in law – who always has cash – would've been quite happy to stop and get him something; but we couldn't find anything.
By now you might also be asking yourself another question: Were you really so stupid to do this trip without cell phones? Yes. Yes we were. Go ahead, judge away. We deserve it.
We stopped several times along the way, checking every Burger King and McDonald's along the M road, and leaving notes and messages wherever we could. When we finally arrived at our accommodation for that night, we were surprised they weren't already there. My husband is always teasing his mother for driving slowly; so we thought about how much fun we'd have rubbing it in, that we beat them. We were staying in a tiny little caravan park outside of a tiny little town, and by the time we reached town, all the stores were shut. The only thing open was the campsite store, and all they sold, other than ice cream and chips (crisps, not fries), was milk and bread. But thankfully we found some spaghetti left from a previous camper in the cabinet, and a bottle of ketchup in the fridge. Yep. I'm THAT mom. My kids had toast, spaghetti with ketchup, and milk for dinner. And since I didn't have any PJs for them, they slept in their clothes (or, in the case of my poor 2 year old, diaper and sweatshirt. But hey, at least I had diapers!) (Actually by that stage I think I was down to my last one. By that stage I was also nearly hysterical; I remember I kept repeating, “I'm such a bad mother, I can't even keep my kids in clothes, I'm horrible.”)
Around 10 PM the manager of the caravan park knocked on the door to say that our husbands were okay, they were with the police and would be up in the morning. This was slightly alarming; but he assured us they were alright. It wasn't until the next day that we got the full story –
After waiting around for us at 8 hours at the place we were supposed to meet, they finally went to the police, convinced there'd been an accident. Actually it started with: Huh, they must be having a great time. From there it went to, Quimby got mad and went off in a fit. (It's been known to happen before.) And gradually it increased to – There was an accident. There was a very bad accident. Oh my gosh people are dead. My husband was actually trying to remember who was seated where, certain that he'd be coming home without me and at least one of our kids. It took a while to find a police station that was open; but as soon as they explained the situation – Straight into interrogation. And there, for about the next half an hour, my husband and father in law were suspects in our murders. My husband figured out pretty quickly what the police were thinking and immediately tried to clear their names. But it took a bit of convincing. Finally, when the police were satisfied that they hadn't murdered us, they contacted the rental car company, got my mother in law's license plate number, and using the incredibly sophisticated highway camera system in place in Great Britain, tracked our car all the way down to Cornwall. Now, the police were thinking we'd been kidnapped. (Really? With a 4 year old and a 2 year old in the car? Would any kidnapper really be that stupid?)
“Is there a reason your wives would be in Cornwall?”
“Yes, that's where we were supposed to be going, but they wouldn't have gone without us.”
Well . . . . .
My husband has a great sense of humour. He still finds it hard to smile about this story. He's a seasoned traveller, and he's had some pretty bad experiences – being caught up in martial law in China, getting tear gassed in the Occupied Territories, getting sleeping sickness in Brazil. This pretty much tops his list of Worst Travel Experience Ever.
Me? I think it's pretty funny. My kids are now 8 and 6 and I figure, if that's as bad as it gets, we're doing okay. One bad day doesn't define my motherhood, and it doesn't define yours either. So laugh with the world and be grateful – At least you had clothes for your baby. At least you weren't sitting at a Burger King for two hours with a poor little toddler who was only in a diaper and sweatpants. At least your husband has never been interrogated for your murder. Five years from now, today's bad day will be either a funny memory or a faded memory. Life goes on, so go on with it – but carry a cell phone, just in case!