As the mother of three small people, I consider it my unalienable right to walk around the house screeching that I've lost my sunglasses, only to find them on top of my head, or to accuse my children of hiding my car keys, only to find them they were in my pocket the entire time. Why? Because I'm a parent, damn it, and I haven't had a good night's sleep for 12 years.
So I take great comfort in the story of Lauren Lodder, who shared the story of her "stolen" car recently on the Facebook page of her blog Mommy Owl.
Lauren is a former English professor who is now a stay-at-home mum to two girls, aged 5 and 3. The Texan mum recently went on an outing with her two daughters to their local coffee shop for a mid-day treat. Although they'd usually walk to the shop, they drove because it had started to rain and Lauren's daughter "didn't want to get rain on her new rain boots".
At the coffee shop, Lauren bought herself a coffee, and each of the girls had a blueberry muffin. But after about 15 minutes, the girls were getting "antsy" so Lauren decided to head home. "So we grabbed our umbrellas and our barely-nibbled-on muffins and began our short walk home."
Did you spot the problem there?
Didn't they drive to the shop? And now they're walking home.
Lauren's daughter had clearly come to terms with the fact that her rain boots would inevitably face the rain at some point, and so off they strolled, without anyone noticing they were leaving the car behind.
For the rest of the day, Lauren and her girls went about their business at home, as any busy family does. It wasn't until the next morning that Lauren noticed her car was missing.
But Lauren didn't just notice her car was missing, and then remember she'd left it at the shop. Oh no. Lauren noticed her car was missing, and called the police to report it stolen.
At this point, I'll let Lauren tell you what happened next:
An hour later a policeman stopped by to get a description of my vehicle. 'You say it's black with a small dent on the bumper and rear side door?' he asked.
'Yes,' I responded. 'And it has two car seats in the back and smells like rotting cheese?' he confirmed. 'Yes, sir!' I said. 'Ok, we will keep an eye out and get back to you if we locate the vehicle.'
I couldn't believe this was happening. What kind of a person steals a car with toys, diapers, and car seats so obviously displayed on the inside?
The answer is…literally no one.
When the officer returned to tell Lauren they had found her car – and it was outside her local coffee shop, the penny dropped for Lauren.
"As soon as he said 'coffee shop' I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach," she told Babble. But Lauren says she decided to share her story because "life is way more fun if you can laugh at yourself".
But first, Lauren had to apologise to the police for wasting their time. "I'm sorry," she told the officer. "I'm doing the best I can."
The officer replied kindly, "It's okay ma'am. Happens all the time."
Lauren is far from being the only one, apparently. So next time you leave dinner in the oven or forget to read a story to your kids, cut yourself some slack. We're all doing the best we can, and any day you don't have to get the police involved is a good day.