We've all had times when we've kept quiet about something we'd rather not admit to until someone else 'fesses up first. I'm having one of those moments now.
Mila Kunis, star of the soon-to-be-released movie Bad Moms, has revealed what she considers to be her biggest parenting mistake: driving without having strapped her daughter, Wyatt, into her car seat.
I have also made this mistake. Like Mila, it happened during a trip that was big and exciting. For Mila, this was driving two hours to see hubby Ashton Kutcher on the set of his movie. Mine wasn't quite this exotic but I was also driving for two hours - to a much-anticipated weekend away with friends.
Mila told Babble that she had been thrilled with her organisational skills. "I high-five myself. [As] I'm driving ... I was like 'Oh my God, I'm doing really good today.'"
Then she realised her daughter wasn't strapped in. "She was ... like fine in her car seat, nothing, no strap whatsoever. And I think I just turned white."
I know how she feels. I distinctly remember looking with pride at my kids, all snuggled up in their seats, covered with blankets to ward off the cold night air. My hubby was also feeling good – he was going to ride his new motorbike to the weekend, and we'd shared the packing of the car and getting the kids settled before we took off. In retrospect, it was the blankets that covered the fact that, though each of us assumed the other had buckled our son in, neither of us had.
Hearing Mila recollect her awful discovery took me back to my own; my first thought being how comfortably snuggled my son was in his seat. This was quickly followed by the horrible realisation that he could only be in that position if he wasn't strapped in. I held my sharp intake of breath longer than was healthy and my stomach felt like I'd swallowed a rock. Worse case scenarios tore through my mind like a horror movie.
The worse part was that, unlike Mila, I wasn't able to pull over immediately to rectify the situation. I was on a narrow, windy country road with absolutely nowhere to stop. It was so dark that even if a suitable place did present itself, I would have had trouble seeing it in time to safely slow down enough to pull over.
Even in my panicked state of mind, I realised that pulling over somewhere random could add to the danger of the situation. I also rationalised that I had made it this far without an accident (in fact, I have only had one driving accident in my whole life), so it was unlikely to happen in the 20 minutes before we arrived in our destination town.
These calm-ish thoughts disappeared totally as a car drew up behind and proceeded to tailgate. My whole world shrank to focussing on driving in a way that would get us to safety.
I did make it into town and, with a huge sense of relief, pulled into a car park. With shaking hands, I managed to get the straps over my boy's shoulders before driving the car at a crawling pace to our accommodation. He didn't even wake up!
Apart from my husband, I have never told a soul about this incident.
Good on Mila for publicly confessing her mistake, suitably in the context of Bad Moms being about mothers not always being able to get things right.
Both Mila and I are fortunate that no harm resulted from our mistakes - apart from a huge shock and, for me at least, a sizable dent in my parenting confidence.
Do Mila and I belong in an exclusive club of parents who have forgotten to strap their kids in, or made other scary yet unintentional mistakes? I strongly suspect not - and hope no one judges any of us as being 'bad moms' for admitting it.
What parenting mistake would you like to 'fess up to?