Mummy's Little Secret: Home Alone
Imagine your 5-year-old child is sick, it is snowing and you have to rush to school get your other kid. What do you do? Do you bundle your little, feverish bundle up and force her to walk the two blocks?
Your youngest has karate at the end of the street starting in five minutes, your seven-year-old has just started a show and your 10-year-old is sitting on the computer. You need to take your little one immediately but the others are refusing to budge. What do you do?
Every mother decides these situations differently; I'm guessing every mother debates leaving her kids home alone. Some do and some don't.
I am just going to say it.
I have left my kids alone. Judge me if you must. Not for very long (15 minutes max) and they always been equipped with phone numbers and instructions. And I have usually returned before they even noticed that I was gone. They are responsible in a kid-kinda way, they know my cell phone number and can dial 911.
In fact, I am going to admit to you that I have left my five-year-old alone as I walk her brother up the block. And I am not alone, many of my friends of neighbours have hinted that they too have left their little ones alone. Few moms will admit it, even to their closest friends or husbands, but kids do get left home alone for a few moments. I was shocked when I found out that my generally over-protective neighbour left her kindergartener at home when she did the school drop-off. Another friend admitted to leaving her napping toddler in the crib to go to daycare. Her Bad Mother wrote about the first time she left her daughter alone and then braced herself for the comments.
Sometimes when you do the cost-benefit analysis it just seems right to leave a kid in a TV coma for a few minutes instead of bundling them up to walk their brother back to school. The few times I have left my kids alone I have always made sure that the phone is sitting beside them with my cell phone number taped to it. I don't make as many precautions when I take a long shower or when I take the dog out to pee or hide in my room checking Twitter.
The tricky parts of motherhood often entail the questions of balance. How do I get everything done? How do I manage a sick kid, a winter storm and the school bell that's about to ring? How do I balance my guilt and the things I have to do? Plus the always popular: what would the neighbours think?
Have you ever left your kids alone? Have you ever considered it? Do you think it is irresponsible to leave kids alone, no matter what?
Want more? Last year, I was writing about my resolutions for my family in 2010, (and no, i didn't keep most of them).