She left her 2-month-old baby in a supermarket. Now the Internet debates: good mum or criminal?

Can a good mum just forget her baby?

We’ve all left something behind in the supermarket, haven’t we?

A bag of shopping.

The bananas?

A credit card?

But this woman left a little more than that. She left her baby.

Cherish Peterson, 27, has become more than just a forgetful mother: she has now become a hashtag and the focus of an international debate about mum-shaming and about the phenomenon of the “perfect parent.”

Peterson, from Gilbert in the US, has appeared on national TV overnight breaking down when she recounted the incident.

“I’m a good mom who made a horrible mistake,” she said.

She said she was rushing out of an Arizona supermarket on Monday, bustling three of her four children around in the shopping trolley, when the incident occurred.

“I got into my car, and normally I put my cart away,” she told KPHO.

“But I didn’t need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there. And I drove away.”

Cherish Peterson ” A good mom who made a bad mistake.”

Unbeknownst to her, she took off with only two of the three kids she had along for the trip in the car.

Her two-month old baby son Huxton was safely secured in his car seat — but in the shopping trolley out the front of the supermarket, not in the back seat of the car.

An off-duty police officer saw the infant almost immediately and took him to a nearby hairdresser.

And of course, each and very iPhone in the salon snapped a pic of the “abandoned bub” and uploaded it to social media.

Social media posts of the baby now inside the salon.

Ms Peterson, meanwhile, had arrived home only to be reprimanded by her three-year old.

“As I was pulling into the garage, my three-year-old goes, ‘where’s baby Huxton’?'”  Mrs Peterson said. “His car seat is right behind me. I turned around and realised it was gone.”

Many media reports claim that this “loving mother” then returned within 40 minutes. Other media reports say the “forgetful mom” took over two hours to return to her baby.

Whatever the exact timeframe, Mrs Peterson told KPHO it was lengthy.

“It was still a long time,”  Mrs Peterson admits. “It was still 40 minutes. It was not two hours. And I never took my other kids out of the car, so it wasn’t like I knew I left him. I thought the whole time he was in my car.”

Cherish and her other children.

While police have said that the mother will face a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment where the family are facing the biggest persecution is social media.

“I don’t care what kind of excuse one uses to justify forgetting a baby in a car seat, and now leaving a baby in a shopping cart – there is simply NO damn excuse. How could one remember to take their hand bag and forget their baby? Until they start jailing these women we will always here about these stories. Enough is Enough.”

And this:

“U know who deserves a prize… That 2 or 3 year old that had 2 remind her 40 minutes later.”

And of course:

“You don’t just forget your child in a shopping cart! For goodness sakes the kids right there in front of you. She needs to face a jury of her peers and suffer the consequences of her actions. Like someone already said she didn’t forget her purse and she certainly didn’t forget her groceries, but she forgot the most precious cargo in that shopping cart and that is inexcusable.”

Huxton aged two months.

For once though, social media is divided on this one.

Instead of just totally condemning Cherish Peterson as a “bad mother” and calling for her to be stripped of all parental rights, a silent army of other imperfect parents have rallied behind her — creating the hashtag #IStandWithCherish.

Several Facebook pages supporting the young mother are seeing hundreds of confessions from parents who have been in similar situations.

One pages has over 17,00 supporters.

One parent writes on that page:

“In attempts to rid Gilbert of any imperfect parents, I wanted to confess in front of the whole world that I have driven over the speed limit with my children in the car, I have responded to my cell phone while on the road (also with my kids in the car), I have yelled at my children, I have let them ride scooters/bikes without helmets, let them light a firework, I once left my 8 yr old alone to run across the street, unknowingly driven when my kids weren’t belted in, I have gone to the bathroom while my kids were in the pool, I’ve left my kids in the car to run in and pay for my gas because the pump didnt work, I’ve let them go to school without lunch because they didnt want to get out of bed in the morning. …This has all fallen under the radar until now. ‪#‎istandwithcherish Come and get me too…”

The hashtag itself though is being turned into a battleground.

Whatever the court of social media rules, Peterson — who insists” there is nothing I love more in this world than being a mom” –faces her own personal jury: The one inside her head.

Social media will move on. The courts will punish her, or let her off, quickly.

But she will be haunted by that awful memory of the gut-wrenching feeling of forgetting her baby. It’s a feeling that could stay with her for the rest of her life.

Have you got a tale of “imperfect parenting”?

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