Let’s Hang Out! {Mamatoga Meet-Up 4/24 and May Supper Club News!}

Mamatoga(3)The FIRST Mamatoga Meet Up is THIS FRIDAY (4/24) at Northshire Bookstore on Broadway in Saratoga Springs at 10:30am. They will be hosting a story time for kids and then we will have a chance to hang out and chat afterward. This meet up is FREE and open to the public, bring the kiddos and meet some fellow local moms!

The first Mamatoga Supper Club is happening next Wednesday at The Brook Tavern, that one is all booked up but I am going to be announcing the MAY SUPPER CLUB on Friday! You can only see the invite if you are signed up for the Meet Up Newsletter, so if you’d like to come to this upcoming Supper Club enter your email into that little box to the right there and you will receive the exclusive invite! This event will have a limited guest list and will be a first come, first served list with a waiting list once it fills up so RSVP ASAP!

Are you a business or restaurant who would like to host a Meet Up or Supper Club? Email me at jenny@mamatoga.com to chat about setting one up! xoxo

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Is “Free Ranging” Your Kids a Right?

IS FREERANGEA RIGHT_Free range parenting has been in the news a lot lately, especially the story of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, scientists and parents of two, who have come under fire (and under the eye of Child Protective Services) for allowing their children to walk around their neighborhood unsupervised.

You may have first heard of them in December when police picked up their two children, Rafi, 10, and Dzora, 6, while walking home from a park in Maryland. The Meitivs say they gave a lot of thought as to whether or not their children were ready to walk home alone and decided that they were ready. The Montgomery County Police gave the kids a stern warning about walking alone, put them in the squad car and drove them home. Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, where the family is from, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect. And in March, the couple was found guilty of neglect by Child Protective Services. The non-criminal charge means the CPS keeps a file on the family for at least 5 years.

This of course got me thinking. Under the age of 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect? Really? That seems a bit extreme, no? And let’s not even get into the idea of the Child Protective Services resources that were used for a case where the kids were from a safe home that could have been used to help children in an actually dangerous environment.

Then again last week the kids were taken into custody when someone saw them playing in a park and called 911. They were picked up by police four-tenths of a mile away from home. The kids were taken to Child Protective Services and their parents were not contacted until hours later. Danielle Meitiv explained in a post on Facebook:

The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.

I wrote about Free Range Parenting two years ago where I said:

In 2008, when Lenore Skenazy wrote a column for The New York Sun about letting her then nine-year-old son ride the subway home alone in New York, she was swiftly called “the worst mom in America.” But as she points out in her book Free-Range Kids, kids are actually safer than they’ve ever been. In the United States, the FBI estimates that a child is 25 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a predator. There is a 1 in 1.5 million chance of a child being abducted. One in ONE POINT FIVE MILLION. But those are the stories we hear about, those are the stories that stay with us, that feed into our paranoia. Those are the stories that make us keep the kids in our sight at all times. The stories that prevent them from riding their bikes to their friend’s house, that prevent us from loosening our white knuckled grip on what we think we are controlling.

The truth is, kids are actually safer these days than they were years ago, statistically speaking. So why are police cracking down on kids walking home from a park alone, and what does this teach our children about whether or not they are capable of taking care of themselves? One of the responsibilities as a parent is to teach your child how to be independent, so what message does it send when even the police are saying they are incapable of walking 4/10ths of a mile to their house? What does it teach parents? If you let your children walk to the park by themselves when you feel that they are ready to your children could be taken away from you because of “neglect”?

And if kids actually are safer from these perceived threats and predators than we think, why do we continue to “protect” them? I will be honest with you, we live in a really safe neighborhood full of families and kids. I see kids on their bikes with no adults in sight all the time, and I am always keeping an eye out for them, and eventually will let my kids ride bikes alone. Does it freak me out? Yes. If we lived near enough to a park, would I let my 8 year old walk home alone or with friends? I might. But I would also worry that other parents might have an issue with it and call the police out of concern for their well being. And that’s where the line really gets drawn. I think parents who have called the cops on this family maybe did actually do it out of concern, albeit a misplaced concern, and I can’t place blame on them for that. I guess what I want to place blame on (if we need to blame) is the overall misconception that our children are better off being protected by us in instances like this, rather than looking at it as building their independence, and making them stronger and more resilient people.

I’m interested in what you think about this topic. Do you think the police were right in bringing the Meitivs children into custody, or do you think the Meitivs have a right to raise their children the way they see fit? Even if you maybe wouldn’t let your kids walk home alone, if they think it is safe, is that their call? Should that be their call? Let’s say you were at the park, and you saw a 10 year old and a 6 year old there alone. What would you do? If they looked content and happy, safe, clean, well fed, would you call the cops if you didn’t see parents nearby? Would you approach them and ask them if they were okay?

Of course in any case there is a judgment call, but where do we draw the line? Do we want to be living in a society where we call the cops on each other when we see kids out bike riding? I certainly don’t. But again, it certainly is a nuanced issue, not a black and white one and it is difficult to see where to draw the line, but I think it’s an important dialogue to have as parents. I want my kids to grow up to be strong, independent individuals who feel empowered to make their own decisions, not to be always looking to me, especially as they become teenagers. What do you think?

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My Mother’s Day Wishlist {hint hint}

mamaguideclockwise from top left:

a statement necklace to take that pale spring neck into tan summer territory Roberta Freymann Fiore Necklace

nice pajamas, because even if I only get to sleep in once a year I still want to be cute and comfy Turkish T Tunic and Pajama Shorts from Beaufort Linen Company

I’m no soccer mom (I’m a tennis mom) Kayce Hughes Williams Tote

Sweet sentiments that will make me smile every time I see them (candle and wall art from Silverwood Home and Gallery)

It’s no list of mine if it doesn’t include something monogrammed Monogrammed Burlap Tote

A little pretty for the wrist Loren Hope Sarra Cuff from Beaufort Linen Company

My Girl Crush of the moment Deliciously Ella cookbook

My newest style statement, old school Adidas Adidas Stan Smiths

I am coveting a family portrait from Sophie and Lili but I’ll settle on some stationery or one of her prints for now Madewell Art Prints from Sophie and Lili

These earrings are like little rays of sunshine Moon and Lola Ananas Pineapple Studs at Tuckernuck

center: A Lilly hammock, a pink grapefruit margarita, a good book and a solid two hours. Need I say more?! Lilly Pulitzer for Target hammock

Beyond themacaroni




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Toddlers are so Easy to Please

presale $25_$40 day ofpresale ends(2)Oh wait, no they’re not. Some of them (mine included) are super picky! In search of healthy yet appealing foods for my little guy. Requirements so far are: something he WILL ACTUALLY EAT.

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Help Bring an an Inclusive Playground to Saratoga County

static1.squarespace.comJust over a year ago, local mom Krystyn LaBate started a foundation after her son Giovanni was diagnosed with two rare neurological conditions just 8 days before his first birthday, and today she is working on a community project to bring an inclusive playground to Saratoga County. Read more from Krystyn about her story and how you can help make this project a reality. Continue reading “Help Bring an an Inclusive Playground to Saratoga County” »

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My Baby’s First Word Will be iPad (and other stupid things I’ve worried about)

4th child crawling here folks

4th child crawling here folks

I was always a great sleeper, champion really. Luckily never plagued by any type of insomnia, I enjoyed solid hours of unbroken sleep throughout my life only for it to come to an abrupt halt while pregnant with my first child. In those last months of nearly unbearable discomfort I would lie awake and worry.

Continue reading “My Baby’s First Word Will be iPad (and other stupid things I’ve worried about)” »

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The Easiest Sugar Cookies Ever

free giftWe used to make sugar cookies just around Christmastime, like loads and loads and loads of them, and we would wrap them up and give them to our neighbors and leave them for Santa and it was always my favorite part of holiday baking. Then I realized that they are so easy to make and found some really fun cookie cutters on Etsy that we started making them all the time. Continue reading “The Easiest Sugar Cookies Ever” »

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Must Have Spring Toddler Gear

Mud SeasonMust Have(2)Today at the Fish Stocking I noticed a new toddler trend, one that I myself have only recently become aware of, which is the awesomeness of the Muddy Buddy. What is the Muddy Buddy you ask? Well it’s only your new best friend if you are the parent of a small child who loves to be outside. Continue reading “Must Have Spring Toddler Gear” »

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Know the Facts about Lyme

F O R E S T S(1) We are all so looking forward to the warm weather (it will be here eventually I’m told) but one thing that is always at the back of my mind in the warm weather here in upstate NY is Lyme Disease. Continue reading “Know the Facts about Lyme” »

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Our Rescue Dog Started Doing the Funniest Thing

IMG_2173 Continue reading “Our Rescue Dog Started Doing the Funniest Thing” »

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