• In the Spotlight:
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Confessions of a Child-Leashing Mom

Posted by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM
  • 45 Replies
2 moms liked this

 

Confessions of a Child-Leashing Mom

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I put my daughter on a leash.

Before you start thinking that I treat my children like dogs, let me explain about my daughter. Elsa (she's 14 now, and leashless for a very long time) hated strollers. We carried her in our arms or in a sling when she was a baby, but the moment she could walk, that's all she wanted to do. And Elsa was an intrepid explorer who would routinely head off on her own. I think she assumed that when she was done exploring she'd turn around and my husband or I would be there.

If she'd been an only child, that would have been easier to pull off. But Elsa entered her Intrepid Explorer phase when Michaela and Zack were 6 and 5. They were not (thank goodness) intrepid explorers, but they were young enough to occasionally need my attention in public places -- sometimes, unfortunately, at exactly the moment that Elsa set off on an expedition. Because my husband works on weekends, I was often by myself with the three of them at the zoo or museum or store. After a few terrifying episodes when I was sure she had been kidnapped (my heart still races when I think about the time when I lost her in CVS), I decided that desperate measures were warranted. So I bought a harness that had a leash attached to it.

This revolutionized outings for me. I no longer had to worry about losing Elsa, and I could interact more with Michaela and Zack instead of spending my time chasing Elsa and shouting to them to follow me. The first few times we used it Elsa played with it to see if she could get it off (she couldn't), but then she adapted to it quite nicely. Occasionally she'd pull to go in a different direction, but we'd distract her ("Elsa, let's go this way and see the LIONS!") and she'd happily trot along with us.

I got lots of weird looks (especially when Michaela or Zack would ask, "Can I have a turn walking Elsa?"). Some of them were pleasant; many people laughed. But many were definitely not pleasant. A few were clearly horrified.

For what it's worth, she's the only one of my children who needed a leash. Natasha never wandered far from my side, and although Liam was another intrepid explorer, by the time he was born there were enough older siblings around that I could always deputize someone to track him on his expeditions. But when Elsa was a toddler, the leash was what I needed to keep her safe and be a better parent to the others.

That's the thing: the horrified ones never asked why I was using the leash. They labeled me a terrible mom without knowing the whole story. Which, actually, is pretty common; we all jump to judgments sometimes. But parenthood is hard, and complicated, with curve balls coming at you all the time. Every parent chooses his or her own solutions to problems. Just because someone's solutions are different from ours doesn't mean they are wrong.

And sometimes, instead of judging, we should offer to help. Not that I would necessarily have deputized strangers to track Elsa. But some of those terrifying moments of nearly losing her could have been avoided if someone had noticed she was wandering way from me and said something, or brought her to a security guard, or looked for her with me. Nobody did anything. Maybe, if people had helped, I wouldn't have needed a leash.

Once, when Zack was about a month old, I took him and then 19-month-old Michaela to the park. Zack was hungry, so I settled Michaela in the sandbox and began to nurse him. Just as he latched on, Michaela left the sandbox and went to the slides. So I took Zack off my breast -- which made him start crying -- and went to a seat near the slides. Just when I started nursing again, Michaela went back to the sandbox. As I stood up with a now screaming Zack, a mother came over to me, put her hand on my arm, and said, "Nurse the baby. I'll watch your daughter." I nearly cried myself, I was so grateful. Moments like these make such a difference in the life of a parent.

So the next time you see something that looks strange to you -- like a kid on a leash -- stop before you judge. There just might be a really reasonable explanation. And, more importantly, there might be something you can do to help.

by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
mysty923
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 1:54 PM
1 mom liked this

I have no problem with kid leashes

If I could have found them I would have used them.  I STILL keep my 3 year olds in a stroller or a cart at a store

I won't have my children nabbed and play the "what if game"

I would much rather someone think I am a bad parent than lose a child!

muwchck
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I love leashes.  My oldest would still wear one if he wasn't too big.  He thought it was more of a game than it was me trying to make sure I knew where he was when we were out.  He has (still has because I plan on using it with the baby if I need to) one that is a dog backpack with the leash attatched.  There's room to put a couple of cars or something in the backpack part too.  I don't see anything wrong with it.  It gives kids a sense of independnce without the fear that someone can take them.

lv_my_babies
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I got a leash for DD and she loves having it on, she says, "Now bad people can't take me." the only times she wears it is when we go to town events, zoos, and other places of the like, she don't wear it when we go to the store because she sit in the cart there, LOL.

kristiansmommy1
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 2:56 PM
I used to think they were a horrible idea until i had my own child who wouldnt think twice about taking off so they were good for big events like the crowded fair, and it was a cool monkey backpack. My mother hateddd them but she told me my step grandmother used to tie her youngest to a tree outback with one...totally different imo :) i wish they had them big enough for 5 year olds since mine has noo self control from adhd :P
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
muwchck
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I have the puppy dog one like the monkey back pack, and they are adjustable.  Cameron is almost 6 and can still wear his, and would if I thought he needed it.  Of course, he thinks it's more of a game and not me being in control too.  He's much better about staying with his hand on the cart or in someone's hand now than he used to be too.

Quoting kristiansmommy1:

I used to think they were a horrible idea until i had my own child who wouldnt think twice about taking off so they were good for big events like the crowded fair, and it was a cool monkey backpack. My mother hateddd them but she told me my step grandmother used to tie her youngest to a tree outback with one...totally different imo :) i wish they had them big enough for 5 year olds since mine has noo self control from adhd :P


MamasaurusPrime
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I used a leash until my son was 3, so up until last summer.

I think single moms should have an automatic "entitlement" to them, since we have to do everything ourselves, including monitoring our children's welfare and safety.

krisnkids
by Gold Member on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Kids are kids, not dogs.  Leashes are for dogs.  If you can't keep track of a kid then put them in a stroller.  Before I get jumped, my oldest is ADHD amongst a few other diagnoses, my kids are 2 years apart, I used to run a daycare where at one point I had 6 kids, all 5 and under.  If the child gets told to sit in a stroller they do, if they are walking they put a hand on the stroller. 

Leashes to me are a product of lazyitis.

Angelicmom24
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM
1 mom liked this
Leashes save a lot of kids getting kidnapped and lost...I stand by them thru and thru
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
kristiansmommy1
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM
I agree, its much harder trying to do it all alone and having no one else there to hold their hand while you are doing what you need to...the laundrymat is the place id most use it haha


Quoting MamasaurusPrime:

I used a leash until my son was 3, so up until last summer.

I think single moms should have an automatic "entitlement" to them, since we have to do everything ourselves, including monitoring our children's welfare and safety.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
krystaldawn_21
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM
I use them!! My two oldest are 2 and 3 years old and they love wearing them. They would always bring them to me when we were going to go some where. They are great because I dont constantly have to chase them around while running with a baby in a carrier or in the basket. It has helped them learn to stay with me.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)