Mom Questions Decision To Leave Child Unattended, Internet Attacks

by Mike Julianelle
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

British mom takes flak for leaving baby in hotel room to go eat dinner

Are today’s parents too paranoid?

A British mom is asking that question after she received harsh feedback on a piece she wrote about letting her baby sleep in a hotel room while she and her husband had dinner downstairs.

A woman shared a candid post on The Telegraph about her and her husband’s decision to sneak downstairs to the hotel restaurant while her baby slept soundly in their room, and about what people had to say about it.

“It was with some excitement then, that on Friday night, my husband and I put our daughter carefully in her deep-sided travel cot, flipped the switch on the video monitor and tiptoed out of our hotel room to dinner. We ate, we drank and we were back in the room, brushing our teeth and undressing with the stealth of ninjas, by 10pm.”

It wasn’t until the next morning that the author had some regrets. “It was only the next day that I realised I may have made a serious error of judgment.” After getting some feedback from friends, the author decided to come clean on The Telegraph, writing under a pseudonym. Because she knew she was is in for it. And the internet did not disappoint.

The story has since been picked up on social media, and fellow parents are weighing in. Most of the responses haven’t been kind. MomCaveTV posted the story on their Facebook page and their fans are not having it.

“Hell no…Anyone that would is insane and should not have kids!”

“Majorly wrong!!!!!!!! Disgusting!”

“YES You are 100-% wrong!!! You do NOT leave a baby in a hotel room unattended. If you really need to get out for some you time….take turns with your husband or friend. Yikes! This is crazy to even believe someone would do it.”

“I would never ever leave my kids unattended no matter what age. You don’t know what might happen to them. You will never forgive yourself either if something did. I say it’s completely selfish of this lady to do this.”

“No bloody way u get it delivered…Never leave kids in a hotel or anywhere alone…Who in the right mind does that…Not a good parent that’s for sure…Selfish bitch”

The author details her regrets, her fear, and her shame, especially in the aftermath of so much judgment from the people she told. But she goes on to discuss the culture of fear we’re all living in, and wonders if maybe we’re too on edge.”It wasn’t always this way. My inlaws have told me tales of weeks away at Butlins, where staff would wander between chalets listening out for crying babies. This is a relic from a more innocent time. Today, we have baby monitors with video images and speakers that alert us to the cries of our children immediately.”

She closes her piece with information on how hotels in her area are attempting to help, offering babysitting services and minders to set parents on ease. But judging by the response to her piece, I’m not sure anything but constant parental supervision is good enough for our kids.

When you’re a parent, nearly every decision you make for your child carries risk. Every decision each of us makes every single day – parent or not – could result in catastrophe. Maybe you feel that this woman endangered her child, but her child is fine, and she clearly wouldn’t do this again, so perhaps the proper response should be less “you’re the devil!” and more “I’m glad your child is okay, I understand the impulse.”

I’ll go first. Especially since – at the risk of opening myself up for similar attacks from the relentlessly judgmental social media hive – I’ve done the same thing myself.

Years ago, when my eldest son was still brand new, my wife and I brought him with us on a trip to Charleston. One night, around happy hour, we left our sleeping baby in the room and took the monitor down to the courtyard where we could have a drink and converse without waking him.

We were new parents, in desperate need of a break after months of sleepless nights and little breathing room. So we thought we’d give it a shot. Unfortunately the monitor’s reception was spotty at best, and our paranoia – that our baby might wake up and feel abandoned, that a hotel employee or guest might burst in and kidnap or attack our son – prevented us from enjoying the South Carolina dusk, and we were back in our room in no time. The risk, and the stress, weren’t worth it.

I hesitate to judge this woman, who clearly feels guilty about her actions, and whose baby – I’m happy to note – survived the ordeal completely unscathed.

As a fellow parent, I understand the impulse. As a human being, I’m glad her child is okay. As someone whose increasingly dismayed by the tenor of online interactions? I’m scared to read the comments.

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