This website, and online community, is one that I always strive to have as a "judgment free zone", and I think it is, for the most part. Am I totally judgment free? No, of course I'm not. I'm human, and the judgment kicks in every once in a while, and I do my best to try to channel whatever judgment comes up into something positive. But it's always a work in progress, just like life is in general, and I don't beat myself up about it.
The thing is, there is a judgment about parenting that I have had for years, even before I had kids, and you know what? I just lived it, and busted it.
You see, years and years ago before I had my own children, I used to totally, 100% pass judgment on parents who had those "kid leashes". I would think things like "Jeez, can't you handle watching your own kid?" and other little gems like that which are also always great coming from people who don't have kids of their own, because we all know the most vocal parenting experts can sometimes be people who DON'T HAVE KIDS.
Did I ever take the time to maybe consider some of these parents probably had good reasons to have a "safety harness" (which is a WAY nicer sounding term than "kid leash", but, let's face it, it's a kid leash) on their kid? No, I did not. Did I think I would ever use one of those things on my own kids? OF COURSE NOT I WOULD NEVER.
Pre-child me also swore I would never have a minivan. And I never thought I would have five kids. Yet here I am.
And today, I ordered a child leash for my two year old. Let me explain why.
You see, my toddler, as sweet as she is, is also my most challenging child. If you look up "strong willed" in the dictionary you may just find her there, looking up at you sweetly while emptying a box of cereal into the toilet.
She's also a runner, and she frequently will just take off and expect you to chase her. Down the store aisles, at preschool drop off, in parking lots, EVERYWHERE. And she wants to do everything herself, so forget a stroller. Plus, she's almost 40 pounds too so that ship has sailed for carrying her.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Jenny, you have five kids, do you maybe lose track of this running toddler because you are busy with so many children? The answer is a giant NO. She actually behaves better when the whole crew is around, and most of the time when she runs off it is just me and her or me, her and the baby (who is in a carrier so I have all my arms/hands free).
Now, I'm not just going to throw this toddler harness onto her and call it a day. I mean, chances are I probably won't even use it. But today, after like the millionth time she ran off in a public place, my knee jerk reaction was to go on Amazon and two day ship a little butterfly harness backpack to me. Just to have it. Just to give me a little peace of mind.
Because if we are in a crazy crowded place close to the street or traffic, I might just want to try it out. And I hope that before someone, much like I used to, passes judgment, they might think to themselves "Maybe that little blonde pigtailed toddler is a tornado to handle" and will instead give me props for wanting to just keep her safe rather than knock my parenting.