Dad explains why he has no shame in putting his toddler on a leash
Putting your kid on a leash is one of those parenting moves that many put on their “I would never” list, only to sheepishly go back on that vow once they have a toddler terror who keeps running into traffic.
Despite the judging some direct at parents who leash up their kids, one dad decided to owe up to the (completely acceptable) parenting choice of keeping his little one close at hand in a now-viral post that anyone with a “wild child” will understand.
Scary Mommy contributor Clint Edwards is the voice behind the popular parenting blog No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. He shared a story about a recent trip to the farmer’s market with toddler daughter Aspen — and explained why he has zero qualms about keeping her on a leash in public.
“We were at the farmers market. No shame. I put this kid on a leash.”
Edwards calls his daughter a “wild child” and says the leash has already kept her out of danger more than once, while also keeping him sane.
He explains that the real issue with having a “wild child” is that you basically can’t win. If he leashes her up? Dirty looks. If he lets her fly free? Dirty looks. Oh, and actual danger to boot. “Because the fact is, if I didn’t put Aspen on a leash while at amusement parks, the zoo, a crowded mall, or the farmers market, she’d be the lost child announced over the intercom.”
And we all know how kind the world is to parents who even only briefly lose track of their curious and energetic kiddos.
“She’d be the kid popping up in every Facebook feed for wandering into a shopping center parking lot, unattended. She could be the child climbing into the tiger cage. Because I can’t, for the life of me, keep her from moving,” Edwards writes.
Anyone with a “wild child” knows how painfully true this is.
Edwards cites both his daughter’s curiosity and “Olympic” speed as reasons for leashing her up, not that he should have to give any. The leashes offered in stores are pretty much just little backpacks with a tether, not a collar. There’s nothing inhumane or lazy or wrong about using one, but that doesn’t stop the Perfect Parents of the Internet from weighing in.
Edwards tells Scary Mommy that while the reaction to his story has been mostly positive, of course, some felt the need to chide him for his choice. But overall, even those who previously judged now realize the error of their ways. “Most people have discussed how they used to judge parents with leashes, but then, boom! They had a child and realized that putting their toddler on a leash really helped keep them safe,” he says.
Despite the handful of naysayers, Edwards has no regrets about telling the tale, as it seems many parents totally get it. “Clearly it was a message most can relate too.”
I certainly can and wish I’d had the courage to leash up my “wild child” after he pulled a stroller boycott at 16 months old and made my life a daily hell of sprinting through parking lots and crawling under clothing racks to retrieve the crazy little guy. The leash stigma is real, but so unnecessary. Anyone who’s tried to keep track of a busy toddler can understand why they’re a great idea.
And thanks to parents like Edwards sharing the very solid reasons to use a leash, those who judge can probably be convinced they’re wrong.