Hi Readers — Here’s a link to my essay on ParentDish, “Can a Mom Leave Her Kid Alone at the Library for Three Minutes?” It’s about a mom who left her kid in the children’s room to run upstairs and check out a book in the adult department. She told the librarian she’d be back in a few minutes and the librarian warned her that this was okay, but that the dangers of the real world lurk in the library too. My piece said that while I don’t think librarians should be treated like babysitters, this seemed like a fine, short, safe thing for the mom to do. And by the way: There was no one else in the children’s room!
Well the piece has garnered 1300 responses so far. Here’s a typical one:
“A REAL MOTHER WOULD NEVER LEAVE HER CHILD ALONE FOR A SPLIT SECOND LET ALONE 3 MINUTES. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN IN 3 MINUTES. WHAT IF A PERV WALKED IN OFF THE STREET TOLD THE LIBRARIAN HE WAS AN UNCLE BROTHER OR EVEN FATHER HOW IS THE LIBRARIAN TO KNOW IF HE IS LYING OR TELLING THE TRUTH AND IN THE TIME IT WOULD TAKE TO FIND THE MOTHER AND ASK THE KID COULD BE GONE.”
“Here is an example of the social contract. When you decided to become a parent, you accepted that being a parent means Every. Single. Second. There is no such thing as a free range parent.”
“WHEN ARE PARENTS GOING TO LEARN THAT LEAVING YOUR CHILD WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN YOUR HUSBAND OR TRUSTED FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND, FOR EVEN ONE MINUTE IS PUTTING YOUR CHILD AT RISK. WAKE UP PARENTS!!! YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PARANOID WHEN IT COMES TO THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHILDREN.”
Personally, I’ve gotten so used to reading the comments here on Free-Range Kids that I was stunned anew by the conviction that children are in grave danger for their lives EVERY SECOND their parents’ eyes are not upon them.
Not to mention the usual vitriol, and the joy in blaming a mom for something that did not end up tragically. But, you know, COULD have. — Lenore