Let's hear it for ScaryMommy writer Elizabeth Broadbent who is clanging the bell for common sense and even (dare we say it?) convenience! It is not a CRIME for a mom to choose CONVENIENCE sometimes!
I Left My Kids Alone in the Car and Here's What I Realized, by Elizabeth Broadbent
I finally did it. I left my three children — ages eight, six, and four — strapped into a minivan, at a ruralish post office with gigantic windows. The parking lot was nearly empty. All I had to do was walk in, hand the addressed, sealed, and prepaid package to the clerk, and walk out. I didn’t have to wait. I didn’t have to stand in line. I didn’t have to take my eyes off the freaking parking lot if I didn’t want to.
So I did it. I left my kids in the car.
“Uh, are you sure this is okay?” my eight-year-old asked.
“What do you mean?” I said. “Nothing’s going to happen. I’m going to walk in there –” I pointed at the clerk, clearly visible from where he sat “ — hand him the package, and walk out. It’ll take less than thirty seconds. You can count it down. No one will bother you, honey.”
“But what if someone calls the police?” he said nervously.
My stomach dropped. My parenting had worked too well. He’d heard us talking too much, heard me complaining about cases I’d read in the news or knew about firsthand. My son wasn’t afraid of Stranger Danger. He didn’t think an axe murderer would come and attack him in the half a minute I’d be gone. He was afraid some middle-aged woman with a cell phone would come and try to ruin our lives.
Does that happen?
Spoiler alert: No! And rather than have her day ruined, Elizabeth ends up feeling great!
I shut the car door, marched in, forked over the package, and walked out. It took twenty seconds. I know because I counted. I left my kids in the car for twenty seconds. Alone.
I wasn’t worried. I was proud: proud to act like a normal parent. Because leaving your kids in the car for twenty seconds, while you can actually, literally see them, and even if you can’t, counts as normal.
She then quotes me saying that we can’t base our lives and our laws on hysteria:
“And it is hysteria,” she said, “to think 30 seconds of being alone in a car is dangerous.”
Yes it is. So let's hear it for more moms and dads getting the word out: Convenience is not a crime. Being rational is not against the law. Trusting your kids and the odds is a nice way to live, not negligent. Share the message that you can love your kids AND leave them alone sometimes! - L