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Another Mom Called the Cops on Me

by Angie on June 2, 2010

A Mom called the cops on me. And I was pissed. Rightfully so.

Its a long, juicy story… I don’t really want to re-live it.

But the juicy part isn’t what I “did” to elicit the call. That part is so ridiculously absurd. It’s laughable.

When I tell my friends what the I did to cause THE OTHER MOM to call the police on me, their jaws drop, they become speechless, and they can’t even imagine somebody CALLING THE COPS for that. That’s cray-zay!!!!

It’s a juicy story, but the juiciest part is the fact that THE OTHER MOM had the audacity to call the police.

Oh, and the next juicy part is where I laid into THE OTHER MOM about that choice when I found out it was her who did it.

And THE OTHER MOM felt so bad that the cops came to the playground at school to talk to me. She “had no idea” that would happen.

So, the mission of this blog post is to give THE OTHER MOMS out there a clue. A clue as to the possible ill-consequences that will occur in people’s lives if your “grand concern” for other people’s kids is mis-directed or dare I say, “radically off-base.”

Here’s the thing: it is your right to disagree with the choices that others make. Go you! Way to be concerned and vigilant for the children in your sphere. Here  is what you should do: talk to the parents. If a child is alone, or in a car unattended, sit with the child to ensure their safety and speak with the parents when they appear. Or yell at them. Or cuss at them. Be nice. Or rude. Whatevs.

You could call them bad names and flip them the bird if that makes you feel awesome.

But, I imagine that you are such a good OTHER MOM that you wouldn’t dare. Not in front of the children! So, just tell them that you are concerned with “x”. Most likely they will appreciate your concern and perhaps change their behavior in the future because of your reminder.

Sometimes as moms, there is so much demanded of us physically, mentally, and time-wise, that we get a bit too laid-back about some things and justify a little slip in the “super-awesomeness” category. Because what are the chances of something bad happening to your child? Well, pretty darn low. ESPECIALLY WHEN 25 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS ARE IN SIGHT.

Don’t get me started.

So, if you see something that concerns you, tell the parents. Man up. DON’T CALL THE POLICE. Don’t take down a license plate number. Don’t be an idiot.

The officer who spoke to me was nice and understanding and agreed with my response to the situation, but he said that if they got the same call again, I would BE ARRESTED! For NEGLECT! Can I repeat something I wrote above??:

“The juicy part isn’t what I “did” to elicit the call. That part is so ridiculously absurd. It’s laughable.

When I tell my friends what I did to cause THE OTHER MOM to call the police on me, their jaws drop, they become speechless, and they can’t even imagine somebody CALLING THE COPS for that. That’s cray-zay!!!!”

What’s even crazier is that the county I live in takes these kinds of calls very seriously and would ACTUALLY ARREST a mom for this crime of “neglect”. And *BAM* a life… a family… is RUINED!!

I have a good friend who has just gone through this. And she, a WONDERFUL, COMMITTED, CALM, NON-NEGLECTFUL, NON-VIOLENT, NON-STUPID, TOTALLY AWESOME MOM OF 2, is now on probation for 1 year. She can’t leave the state. And she can’t take a job with children for 3 years. And will probably have this misdemeanor charge on her record forever. She gets to take weekly crappy classes on parenting with a bunch of crappy parents. And some not-so-crappy parents like herself. She could TEACH parenting classes, ya’ll!

So now I have to live my daily life not in fear of the bad things that MIGHT happen to my kids if I let them out of my site for 1 minute… but in fear of the people in my community who MIGHT call the police on me.

And that’s just sad.

What ever happened to “community?” Or the idea of “neighborly-ness?” It takes a village to raise a child. But not the police.

So, this is my plea to ANYONE who might EVER come across this blog:

PLEASE NEVER CALL THE POLICE ON ANOTHER MOM. Unless you witness first-hand a beating, a hungry naked child, a blatantly-neglected child, or something CRAY-ZAY horribly wrong… please don’t call the police. TALK TO THE MOM. First resort always. Always.

Calling the police? Last resort.

Don’t assume the worst. Give the benefit of the doubt.

I’m going to start a movement:  
Moms Against Calling the Police on Each Other
*MACPEO*

Don’t be a:
*MWCTP*
 Mom Who Calls the Police.

In both instances that I referred to today (mine and my friend’s), THE OTHER MOMS who called the police “never imagined this would happen” and truly regret calling the police in the first place. They never meant for the mom-at-fault to have to be arrested.

They were just “concerned.”

New movement: 
 Moms For Moms Being Concerned. 
MFMBC

These acronyms suck.

You go girl! Be CONCERNED! Just don’t call the cops.

Spread the word, people…

Please comment and tell me if you join me or hate me. Tell me your story… MACPEO, MWCTP, OR MFMBC, let’s hear it!

PS. If you are ever inclined to call the fashion police on me, please do. I could use a make-over. First resort. Always. Thank you in advance.

 source 

Update: So many great comments! Ya’ll are asking for the details! I’ll just say this: I didn’t leave my kids in the car. But I have done that. But not this time. Its way more laughable than that… And I CAN laugh at it, because it WASN’T NEGLECT! 
Bottom line is I was not neglectful, and the woman who called the police was out of line. And clueless. And unaware. 
Lastly, I want to re-iterate that what makes me upset is not that people do or do not “neglect” their children. People do. They should be kicked in the face. You know… if because of their neglect something bad happens to their kids.
What upsets me is that I now live in fear that a citizen soldier will call the police on me when my children are perfectly healthy, happy, and safe in my estimation as a MOTHER. 
I am a great mom. Come to my house. Meet my kids. They are awesome. Check my house. Eat my food. Interview my husband. And my friends. And family. And my enemies… wait… I don’t have ANY enemies. Because I am not only a great mom, but a great neighbor and friend.
Thank you. Get your ridiculous laws out of my face. Go take care of the bad guys.
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Sunday June 2, 2010 at 7:52 am

I had a mom call the cops on me when my son, now 7, was 2 years old and had fallen asleep in his carseat. I parked directly in front of our neighborhood starbucks for a coffee and had him in my line of sight the entire time as he slumbered away in peaceful ignorance of my not being in the car for the 90 seconds I was gone.
When I was getting back into my car another mom in a minivan 2 spaces over gave me the mother of all tongue-lashings and said someone could have stolen my baby. I remember telling her I was gone for 90 seconds and had my eye on him the entire time in my locked car. She didn't seem to care what I had to say so I just got into my car and drove away to head home.
15 minutes later a cop knocked on my front door. The woman had taken down my license plate and called the cops on me and reported me for "abandoning my baby" while I went shopping.

Apparently 90 seconds = going shopping in her feeble mind.

The cop wanted to come inside my home and be taken to see Sam who was now slumbering away in his crib in the back bedroom. He actually stayed a minute or two to be sure he was okay and then admitted to me his own wife had done the same thing a number of times until someone called the cops on her as well.

He told me the same thing you were told, if it happened again and someone called the cops I would be taken in for questioning and DSS could be notified for follow ups.

I never did it again. Ever.

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NuthinLikeGatorMama June 2, 2010 at 7:55 am

I had Jack and Kenneth BOTH asleep in the van when getting bean from preK.. and I parked in front of the classroom door!! A lady SPAZED OUT on me!!!
People Love to be in other peoples stuff.. and sometimes it's needed others.. not so much.

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FourJedis June 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

That's insane that someone called the police on you. I was freaking out that my neighbors called animal control on me, and they came to my house and laughed that there was a call put in.
Someone called the police on my sister the one night she decided to try and let her first son cry it out. Needless to say, she has not tried the CIO method with the other 4 kids. People need to grow some balls and face each other rather than running to the authorities and potentially ruining someone's life. Sorry you had to deal with that situation.

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Jen June 2, 2010 at 8:33 am

Wow, I can't believe that people really do this.

I guess from reading your story and others, I better be careful and they better not read my post for today.

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catdouglas78 June 2, 2010 at 9:09 am

Oh let me tell you! First, my husband was arrested (mind you he's a police officer himself, and you can imagine the impact that had on his job) for spanking our son in public (individual said it was beating) and then putting our son in the trunk (husband had set him on the lip of the trunk with no intent to put him in there), it got dropped, but we BOTH had to go to parenting classes, I wasn't even present when this happened… My husband had to attend anger management classes, and be suspended from work for a month for conduct unbecoming of a police officer. There was also a restraining order issued against my husband, kinda hard to obey when we all live in the same house! Actually it meant my husband wasn't allowed to be alone with our son. We also had the joy of dealing with social services and got a case worker that had no kids or experience with kids so that didn't help us. Once that all finally blew over, a year or so later the school calls social services on us cause same son who was 7 at the time was crossing the street to school by himself. Ok, i drilled it into my kid's head to look both ways and if I had any concern, I wouldn't let him do it. Besides, it's not like it was 95 he was crossing. It was a very un-busy street, 150 feet from my house, directly in my line of sight. People are way too concerned about the wrong things. – Catherine

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Shell June 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

I want to know the story. Tell.

I've left my kids in cars for very short periods of time when they were in my sight the entire time.

Like preschool drop off this year. I left the baby in the van, parked right in front of the school- I could see him through the glass front of the school. All I had to do was walk my other two in, say bye, and that was it.

The times that I took him out of the van, it was a production b/c then he wanted to play in the classrooms and he'd cry as we were leaving and I'd have to wrestle him into his seat. Ugh.

I got dirty looks, though. Other moms brought in their kids.

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Desiree and Dave Crocker June 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

Oh Angie, this other mom who called the called the cops on you has you completely figured out because I know you don't care about the safety of your kids what so ever and need the cops called on you. You are a menace to our society!! How dare you even let your kids out of sight for one minute. I know I have NEVER left my children out of sight EVER, as I am sure this other mother has too!

Okay, so I hope that the above comments are seen for what they are…a complete joke and completely sarcastic.

Angie, you are a terrific mother and I know first hand that you love your kids to death and would do anything for them. Those kids and your hubby are your world!! Anyone who knows you, knows this. So sorry you had this happen to you.

I can not stand when mothers think they need to get up in another mothers business and take matters into their own hands instead of talking to the parents themselves.

I have had a mother tell me to not let me kids run lose when in a parking lot (even though one child was in a stroller, and the other was holding on the stroller). She continued to call me names, and swore at me in front of my kids and even called me a crazy white b*@$# while my kids where right there with me. And then she left her two kids in the car ( they were toddlers, and were not in any kind of car seat or buckled up at all) while she went into the grocery store. Now, I have to admit, as much as I hate when mothers meddle in the business of other mothers, this was a situation where I should have called the cops, after she harassed me for no reason, and then left her kids in the car, windows completely rolled down all the way (they could have easily crawled out or someone could have snatched them from the window even if her car was locked), while deciding to go into a huge grocery store. Obviously she could not have seen her kids from inside the store and I knew it, but I was so furious at this mother that I just drove away. I have regretted doing so since this occurrence.

I have even joked around with my husband sometimes that I am surprised that we haven't had the cops called on us yet for child abuse, because if you discipline your child in public these days you are somehow abusing them. When did discipline become a form of child abuse??

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Desiree and Dave Crocker June 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

And I agree with Shell, please do tell the story.

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Megan June 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Okay, that's just dreadful – I'm so sorry. And I get so upset when I hear things like you'll be arrested if the call is made again. It seems as though we keep pushing through rules and laws that don't allow any discretion on the part of police or the judicial system, when clearly different cases are wildly different situations.

And I agree, I want to hear the story!

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Chelle June 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm

This is why I am moving west where people don't care what you do to your kids. Upside have have been the reciprocal of both the cops and the tongue lashing, I would take the tongue lashing everyday. Kids are unpredictable. And as busy moms sometime you let things slide, that when called to your attention, get corrected. Shoot I had three neighbors stop and tell me my kids were dancing on the roof, before I screwed the windows shut. I would rather the village help that the authorities. Like everyone Else STORY PLEASE.

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Ryan and Miriam June 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I'm sorry this happened to you, Angie. Sadly, it's not an uncommon story around here. Our county is hypervigilant about investigating even the slightest claim of possible child abuse or neglect.

You are actually very lucky to have gotten off with a "warning." It doesn't take much for them to press charges and investigate a case.

If there is one thing I would scream from the top of my lungs if I could is, "NEVER, EVER, EVER LEAVE A CHILD IN THE CAR ALONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE OR FOR ANY REASON."

It doesn't matter what the weather is, how long you are gone, if you can still see them, or if you think they are safe. What you think doesn't matter.

If you are caught, they will press charges, Social Services will become intimately involved with your life, you will have court dates, you will pay out the nose for attorneys fees, and you will end up with a criminal record.

I unbuckle my child and tote her along to drop books off at the library slot, pick up dry cleaning, or drop a meal off to the missionaries.

And I know it's 5 times harder with 5 kids. But 5 kids also equals 5 separate criminal charges.

PLEASE–I've had too many friends have to go through this.

I'm glad you didn't post details about the incident. I get concerned when I read public posts making light about instances of neglect. I hate to think what that would sound like if read in court.

If it's funny, it's because you got lucky.

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Annie June 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

okay when is our lunch date cuz i want to hear the details!!

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Cluttered Brain June 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm

oh man!
REally?
The first resort in anything is TAL to the person involved FIRST.

That should be a given.

Hmm. I wonder what you could have possibly have done to have this "other" mom call the police.

Wow.
Just wow!
I'll help you spread the word.

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Kelly June 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

OH STINK ANGIE!!! It's funny to see everyone's comments. We've all done something neglectful or WRONG, that's how we learn, (or not, in my case). I was just thinking about my episode last Tues. See everyone has one. Keep your head high and keep smile. Steadfast and immovable!;)(emoticon, added just for you)

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Miss Frazzled June 2, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Do I need to call you to find out the whole story? I'm dying!

I leave my kids in the car while I run into the dry cleaners, etc. all the time. I have no clue what I would do if someone CALLED THE COPS on me, but I have thought about it before.

What is wrong with people? Remember when kids used to be able to roam wherever as long as they were home in time for dinner? My brother used to play in the woods by our house when he was six years old.

I feel very flippant about it, like if I got arrested for neglect, I would be all, "Have fun with the social worker, kids! I'm going to take a nap in jail!" But seriously, it would be terrifying. I wouldn't trust the police officers or social workers with my kids. I'm sure most of them are good people, but you never know.

Oh, and I spank my kids in public, too. Should I not do that, either? Should I just send them to public school and not interfere with the government raising them?

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Scott and Jillian June 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm

We had something similar happen to us, and it was so frustrating, ridiculous, scary, aggravating…you name it. I hated feeling like I was walking on eggshells because you don't want your kids taken away for some insane non-reason reason. I agree with you…people need to TALK to other people, not just call the cops.

Oh, and Chelle–Unfortunately it's happening everywhere, 'cause we live in the West.

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The Kooky Queen--Rachel June 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Seriously!??!!? WOW!!! You have GOT to tell the story now, I'm so curious! I can't believe someone would do that though!! How nuts! Some people just don't have enough on their minds if they've gotta worry about others' lives.

One instance though as an RA in good ol' Aggie Villageland, I wish I had called the cops. Oh how I wish. I had hunches and several rumors about parents being neglectful and even abusive to their new baby. I listened to my boss who said "not to get involved" and I should've just said "screw it" and called the cops. That baby ended up being in ICU for a month and may never have full cognitive abilities. Thankfully the dad was put away for 20 years and the baby was adopted by a loving couple.

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kirsten June 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm

see….I just don't get it. Where is people's common sense?? Really? She couldn't talk to you like a NORMAL human?

RiDONKulous. This is a crazy old world sometimes.

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dinomomma.com June 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I had a woman threaten to call the cops on me because I was changing my daughter's diaper in the car. It was 70 degrees out but she said I was "endangering her and should have been taught better by my own mother." My own mom was standing on the other side of the car when this happened, and laid into her. The woman ran away…

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LoveFeast Table June 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Gwirl!! You go with your bad self! I'd join any MWTFM groups you put together and we could unite to stop the judgmental, finger pointing forces that none of us have a stinkin' minute for in our days! CA and I always say, the more kids you have, the more relaxed the lines get! I used to wag a finger at mom's whose kids had stains on their onsies…I did! "I'll always have clean clothes on my kids." Ha!! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, kids later…they are lucky if they have clothes to wear to school each morning! And I know you're juggling…and juggling just fine your precious babies! So, if you need some sistas to get your back, we're your ATeam!
Love you!
Kristin (and Chris Ann)

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LaRae June 3, 2010 at 8:30 am

So sorry this happened to you…. I would trust you with my kids ANY day if it makes you feel any better!

I've been vigilant about not leaving them in the car as I've heard too many horror stories about cops being called. And yet, I do something else that I know many would look down on so I shall keep my "secret" unknown to the world outside my neighborhood….

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Mrs.Mayhem June 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

Crazy scary. With four kids, I've occasionally walked the line. I guess I had better straighten up and watch myself, because other busybodies are.

One time, I was talking quite rudely to 3 of my children who were giving me a hard time. Another mother sidled over and started commiserating about difficult children. Obviously, by engaging me and taking my attention off my children, she was using the #1 recommended technique to distract a person thought to be committing child abuse or neglect (my tone of voice could have been construed as verbal abuse, not the actual words). After her kind intervention, I was grateful for the subtle reminder. I've never forgotten that lesson.

There's only so much we mothers can do. We try our best to care for a lot of demanding people. Sometimes we're not perfect.

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RTM June 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

No snitching.

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prashant June 12, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I want to hear the story!
Contextual Ad Network India

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Anonymous November 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I'm so thankful for this blog because I had the cops called on me today too. I quickly ran into the gas station to get juice for my 2 and 3 year old. It was pretty cold outside and they were content watching their movie in the car. I was in the store less than a minute. I come out to my car to this old largw guy screaming at me. I immediately got defensive as I don't like when large men approach me this way. I told him to please let me go on about my day (instead of being like , oh I'm so sorry). I guess he didn't like that one bit because He called 911 on me and told them my plate number. I called 911 too then, and told them what was going on. They told me police were coming so just stay there… So I did. The big guy stayed too and ran to the cop like it was a huge emergency. I waited for the cop to come to my car, the big guy followed him. I said I wouldn't speak until that guy left, so the cop told him to leave. Then I explained to the cop that I was coming from Texas where u can leave the kid in the car for less than 5 minutes legally. The cop told me it's based on age here in this state and he left. I didn't get in trouble but I was sure shaken up. Then I researched this topic an people act so self righteous like they hawk over thier kids 24-7 even during nap. Come on! Those kids will grow up with co dependent issues. Glad there are other down to earth mummy's with common sence out there. I agree… Be concerned, but don't mess up families. If I would have lost my kids for this it would have been sad because my kids are very happy, disciplined, and healthy. My husband and I always think about what our kids need and what's best for them. People may think they are being a hero when they are really actually Making things terrible for a family and the kids.

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Karly May 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I found you via The Paper Mama and I am so glad!
Growing up, it was not in the least bit unusual for kids to get left in the car for short periods of time while parents did whatever it is they needed to do. I remember it quite clearly. And I never really thought twice about it.
If I went to the gas station and had to run inside, I locked the doors and went inside. Same with the post office, and pretty much anywhere else that I needed to just run in and out.
One time I ran to the store to grab a pizza for dinner and my kids were asleep in the car. I do complete admit that they were out of my sight. And a woman called the cops on me, but lied to them, saying I was gone for at least 30 minutes. I was arrested, handcuffed and put into a police vehicle while other officers brought stuffed toys and played with my girls while taking photos of them. Video surveillance showed I was in the store for only 2:46. In the end they let me go, but told me that CPS would probably be visiting me. They never did. But I’m still terrified that one day they’ll show up, and it will be the day when my house is a mess and my kids are looking homeless in diapers and underwear with ratty hair because I felt like being lazy that day and they’ll get taken away.

If the woman had just approached me and told me what she had considered doing, it would have been more than enough to keep me from doing it again.
They never did.

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Elizabeth September 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

This happened to a friend of mine too!!! Except it happened after a confrontation with another mom. It really made her life very challenging too. So I would add please if you do speak to another mom, do it with love, come along side them as a fellow mother, not as someone who knows it all and needs to set someone straight. Have compassion.

Not sure if it is OK to link to my friend’s story? If not, feel free to delete. :) http://mademorebeautiful.com/2011/04/28/chick-fight/

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Jasi November 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Pretty annoying but I’m glad the cops are so quick in your county. I don’t think we should all mind our own business but running after the cops without letting a mother know it’s not legal is pretty low. It’s not easy being a parent, it involves a lot of juggling. People, especially other parents, should be a little more understanding.

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