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You know, we all have to make decisions as parents that may not be popular with everyone. So today I want to talk one of them…”leashing” your kid. And whether you are for or against it, give me a few minutes to convince you to be open to friendship with the mom who does “leash” her kid…or, for that matter, who has had to make any tough parenting decision.
With that being said, let me give you some background on how this pos came about…
My husband and I did not have a honeymoon right after our wedding. I got pregnant when we were engaged, and we didn’t want to be planning a wedding with a newborn. We decided to shrink our wedding plans and pushed it up to before the baby was due. We felt it was the best option for us.
Besides wanting to turn my attention to baby planning, I did not want to be pregnant on my honeymoon… I wanted to get my piña colada drinkin’ on! So we decided to wait.
Fast forward two years, my mom is finishing her nurse practitioner degree. She hadn’t had the time to go on vacation while working full time and being in school, so she offers us some points from her vacation membership. In those two years we bought our first car and moved twice, including buying our first place. We were super ready for a vacation! My mom said she could watch Little Grasshopper for a week right after the New Year, so FINALLY off we went on our relaxing, awesome, warm, delicious, piña-colada-full, honeymoon in Mexico! Did I mention that it was soooo relaxing?
When we returned, my family briefed us on our toddler’s behavior and all the funny things he did while we were gone. My mom mentioned that she took Little Grasshopper to visit her coworkers but that they criticized her for having him attached to a “leash.”
If you didn’t see it above, here is a photo of my toddler’s “leash.” It’s really a back pack with a tether so that he doesn’t run off on me (or whoever else is watching him). And my boy ADORES that thing! He enjoys his own toys with him, and he loves his monkeys! He’ll actually go and put it on himself when we are at home just chillin’.
Before we left for vacation, I told my mom that the “leash” would be useful because Little Grasshopper is fast and doesn’t pay attention to where he’s going. She took that advice when she went into work to show off her grandson.
Did I mention that my mom works in an oncology hospital? Yup, she brought my toddler into a place where, if he had free reign, he could run off and start pulling on patients’ IVs or pushing buttons on the telemetry machines. It’s nowhere near out of the realm of possibility because, well, toddlers are curious.
If you’re imagining that I was annoyed when my mom told me about this, you would be correct. I told my mom that if they had a problem with it, they should talk to me. After all, I’m the one who made the decision to buy him the “leash.”
I can’t say that this issue coming up surprised me. Leashing your kid is one of those controversial topics in parenting, and I thought long and hard about that before I made the decision.
But at the end of the day I chose what was best for my son’s safety, despite other people’s opinions.
I’m sure so many of you have been in similar situations, whether you had to make the decision to formula feed, breast feed in public, dress your kid in lighter clothing for a car ride in colder weather, treat them for an illness or disability, or even vaccinate them.
And so many times, you made the decision to swallow your fear of being judged and stood up for what you thought was best for your child. Because you care about the well-being of your family. Because you do the best with the information you have. Because you know best the situation you’re in and have the instincts to work with what you got.
Isn’t that also the kind of friend you would like to have?
Let’s say I’ve gained a few pounds and go dress shopping with my BFF. I try on a summer dress that just isn’t working with my new physique. You better believe that she will tell me that I look like a giant peach and to look for something more flattering! While I may initially feel a blow to the ego, I’d be grateful that she protected me from the embarrassment that would come along with taking my peachy self out in public. Do you think she would be concerned that I would be angry with her for saying that? Sure, but she would have put that concern aside for what’s in my best interest.
People, this is the same thing! My BFF is the parent here. Do you see it?
So if you want a friend who will be honest with you, support you, and protect you like you would your own child, go find a parent who has stood up for his/her own children, especially if it meant making a hard or “controversial” decision (as long as their decisions don’t affect the safety of your family, of course!). On you go! I’ll be here when you return!
Want more parenting reads? Take a look at why we need to stop treating the STEM fields as the smart fields and how to reduce your environmental impact with a baby or toddler.