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OK or Not OK, what do y'all think? [Nov. 25th, 2005|06:11 pm]
mama_rage

mama_rage

[tnsechick]
[mood |curiouscurious]

Hi! I know a lot of you enjoy escaping judgmentalism here, but I'm going to put a hypothetical situation out there and I'm asking for judgments. Just purely for the conversation. Here goes.

Say there is a single mother of 2. She has no family nearby and is too poor to afford babysitting above the cost of the weekday daycare. Now, she lives in a nice neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac. Well, she has an older child who is past taking naps. Then she has a 1-yr old who takes two naps a day. She is a really good sleeper, and once asleep the Mom can count on her to stay asleep for 2 solid hours minimum. She sleeps in a sturdy, safe crib.

The problem is that with the 1-yr old's schedule, on the mother's days off she can't do much with the older child. Except for grocery shopping or brief trips to the nearby park, the little family is usually home-bound and the Mom and older child get cabin fever. So, one sunny summer afternoon, the baby goes to sleep and the Mom takes the older child to a swimming pool for an hour. She unplugs the phone, makes sure nothing electrical except the AC is on, and locks her door. She and the older child have a great time at the pool and return home to the baby still sleeping and everything is OK.

Have you ever done this sort of thing? Would you do it? Do you think it's all right?

I think that it is OK. A long time ago, our grandparents supervised our parents a lot less than we supervise babies today. Now, I realize that if the mailman came by and saw the baby alone through a window, that would be a DHS report right there. But personally, I just don't see any harm in it.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: the_lissa
2005-11-26 12:43 am (UTC)
I don't think it is okay, but I am not going to judge anyone for doing it. Everyone has their own comfort zones. I would be too worried about fire, intruders, if the baby wakes, etc etc.

But boy do I empathize. My babe used to have two two hour naps a day, and I was so housebound. It was maddening some days.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 01:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's the thing. With my first baby I was so terrified to let him out of my sight. Once he was asleep and my husband called from the store--he'd forgotten his wallet and needed me to bring it to him (already thru check-out with a basket full of groceries). He had to talk me into leaving the house for 2 minutes, and I was a complete BASKET CASE.
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[User Picture]From: cerulean_me
2005-11-26 01:22 am (UTC)
I'm not okay with it... but it's my opinion. Find someone to trade babysitting, or SOMETHING. Leaving kids alone is wrong, whether our grandparents did it or not is irrelevent.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 01:53 am (UTC)
*nods*

Our grandparents ALSO carried our parents home from the hospital wrapped in bundles in their arms in the front seat of their cars. Doesn't make that ok to do today.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 02:27 am (UTC)
And yet, remarkably the planet remains populated.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 02:52 am (UTC)
What's your point? Reject carseat laws? It doesn't negate the point........we live in a radically different world than our grandparents lived in and saying "They did it, so it makes it ok" is hardly applicable to many situations today.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 03:34 am (UTC)
Wasn't trying to negate your point. Just saying we have all been hard-wired into this perspective that everything that came before is is crap. It is ALL "not okay" because that "just isn't the way things are done now." Are carseat laws better for us? YES, all research statistics say so. But if we woke up tomorrow and all carseats had magically disappeared while our kids had doctors' and dentists' appointments, we'd all get by OK for the time being. And no one would go to hell.

I'm convinced that the world is NOT radically different than it once was...we just 1) know more about the dangers that lurk out there while previous generations were more generally naive, and 2) the supposed dangers out there have been wildly over-publicized and sensationalized by a ratings-crazed mainstream media.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 03:38 am (UTC)
I would disagree with 1). I think there ARE more dangers that lurk simply because of the commercialization of our society, the growing lack of "community" we have, the significan't increase in population and thus crime, etc etc etc. I agree it's all over publisized and that we really need to take a step back from mainstream media and really honestly evaluate our risks in life, however I think honest evaluation shows that we ARE at greater risk these days, especially if you live in any sort of city sized area. Our culture is going down the tubes from where we were when our grandparents were raising kids.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 03:43 am (UTC)
Even all that "depends" on so much....Comparing then and now....depending on where a family lives, what type of community they do have, what resources available. 1950s people would love to have our technology, our opportunities. We would love to have what we perceive to be their "simplicity"--except it was not simple back then any more than it is now. In many ways, we have made grand improvements on our culture compared to back then. I would definitley rather be alive today. But, it depends on which cultural aspects one singles out. Like, you want to go back to the rampant racism and sexism?
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 03:51 am (UTC)
Well, I personally believe sexism and racism are just as rampant, it's just that society has come up with more clever ways to get away with it, mostly. And...honestly, I'm not really much of a feminist...I WOULD rather live in a culture in which the scenario you describe is ok than live in a culture in which it's not.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 03:58 am (UTC)
But, that's VERY feminist of you!

However, why on earth are you a member of "Mama Rage" if you don't consider yourself a feminist?
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 04:05 am (UTC)
I def. consider myself an *equalist*, I just don't identify w/ most feminist agendas. And I'm not pro-choice.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 04:09 am (UTC)
Well, there ya go. "Equalist" is a pretty good word for it. God, there are so many definitions for "feminist" these days, it gets confusing. I tend to go with the original, 1970s meaning. Pro-Family, Pro-Women's Empowerment.
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[User Picture]From: vegaenglit
2005-11-26 05:19 am (UTC)
then you are out of here.

and by way im going to lock this post. mama_rage is not a debate community.

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From: millennium_mom
2005-11-26 03:51 am (UTC)
No, we wouldn't ALL get by okay if carseats disappeared. Children would die and there would be lots of families that were not okay because they lost a child.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 04:01 am (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I am very for car seats. My 5 year old even still uses a booster seat that he is not required to be in. But for the sake of argument... The realm of what you are saying is like "Do guns kill people or do people kill people?" A lack of car seat doesn't kill a child, it is that people drive too recklessly.
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From: millennium_mom
2005-11-26 04:19 am (UTC)
A lack of car seat doesn't kill a child, it is that people drive too recklessly.

No. Wet roads, falling tree branches, fog, mechanical failures, large animals, and any other number of things cause car accidents. Even if everyone drove perfectly at all times, there would still be car accidents and people would die. To say that the lack of a carseat doesn't kill children is really splitting hairs.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 02:00 am (UTC)
Sure. If anyone's ever read the book "Hip Mama," they talk about babysitting co-ops. Always loved that idea.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 02:38 am (UTC)
It's not irrelevant, if it points to how in some situations everything remains fine and the parent can get something else accomplished. Today, we would never just shoo our kids out the front door, see them at lunch, let them go play again until dinner, and never know where they were or what they were doing so long as they came home for meals. But that was common in the 1950s and they were just as concerned (and anal, if I may say so) about being good parents as parents are today. They had kidnappers back then, drugs back then, child molesters, and my God, the playground equipment wasn't even half as safe as it is today. But--for the most part, barring truly dysfunctional families--our parents didn't die or get molested or get kidnapped and they went on to raise us, and we all have issues with our folks but let's admit that if you are functioning well enough to be complaining on a parenting forum in LJ, your parents did an OK job with you.

It's great as a society to grow and make positive changes for the better for everyone, but I think we are way too paranoid and we don't give past generations enough credit.
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From: millennium_mom
2005-11-26 04:00 am (UTC)
I think you have a pretty romanticized picture of what life was like for previous generations. My father and his eight brothers and sisters were raised by an alcoholic mother who hardly touched them for fear of "spoiling' them and often left a child no older than five or six to care for several toddlers and babies. Did they all survive? Yes. Are they all "okay"? Who knows? Who knows how they would have turned out if they had grown up with loving, attached parents? Their family was not all that unusual for the time.

"but let's admit that if you are functioning well enough to be complaining on a parenting forum in LJ, your parents did an OK job with you."

Really? Because I can think of one woman who is a member of this community whose father raped her when she was little.

And no. I don't think it is okay for a baby to be left alone in a crib for an hour. Any number of things can happen to wake a baby up. I can't get the image of a baby screaming for her mother for an hour out of my head. Fires happen unexpectedly. My mother had run a quarter mile down the road to my grandfather's house for shampoo when I was five, my brothers and I asleep in our beds, when an electrical fire started in the kitchen. She still hasn't forgiven herself and I'm lucky to be alive.

I'm pretty laid back about letting my kids play outside alone, walk to school by themselves, etc. What I think about when I evaluate each situation is how equipped my children are to deal with potential problems. My eight-year-old knows how to cross the street safely and what dangers to look out for while walking to school alone. So he does. I do not know, however, if he would know how to react in the number of emergencies that could occur if he was home alone. So I wouldn't leave him home alone. The risks of leaving a baby home alone just do not outweigh the potential benefits.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 04:05 am (UTC)
On the contrary. My argument is that life before was just as hard as it is today. And, you must have missed where I typed "for the most part, barring dysfunctional families--" Sorry you had a very dysfunctional family, but you did. I already said we are not talking here about messed-up families.
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From: millennium_mom
2005-11-26 04:27 am (UTC)
But the idea of what constitutes a "messed up" family has shifted in large part due to the social pressure to NOT do things like shoo your kids out the door all day except for meals. What was the norm in families in regard to raising children, gender roles, and division of household labor is </i>not</i> normal now. A functional family of the 1950's wouldn't necessarily be considered functional in 2005. Any family that was functional in a way that would be considered so now would have been very abnormal back then. My dad's family, with the alcoholic trophy wife and controlling husband, was the norm in his white, wealthy midwestern suburb. What my mom did, leaving me and my brothers sleeping in our beds while she ran down the street to my grandfather's twenty years ago was totally acceptable practice in that area at the time. Until there was that fire at our house. Life for my parents as children was a hell of a lot harder than it was for me and my life was harder than my children's life. Things like carseats and social (and legal) pressure not to leave infants alone in the home for long periods of time contribute to that progress.
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[User Picture]From: discard
2005-11-26 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm not ok with it - any number of horrible things could happen. She doesn't need to be housebound; stick the kid in a stroller and away you go. Or suck it up - two hours isn't really a long period of time.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 02:04 am (UTC)
I agree in that my mind immediately goes to all the potential dangers. But I sympathize with my character because I had 2 kids and neither would sleep in a stroller, and they can make 2 hours (or any length of time) seem like an eternity when they are exhausted but not asleep. I have attempted to suck it up with my own, once or twice, with disastrous results. So when one needs a nap, we are stuck at home letting him get his nap done.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 01:52 am (UTC)
I'm not ok with it.
Too many "what ifs". I've learned that NO child is THAT predictable and the one day you decided to count on it will be the one day he/she decides to try to wake up and scale the crib.

Or it will be the one day that a nosey neighbor finally decides to call CPS on you.

Or it will be the one day something goes wrong in the house/house gets broken into/etc etc.

I could never forgive myself if one of those freak things happens when I left my kid like that.

My husband did it one time with out second child. We put him to bed and he was sleeping through the night........we were moving about 7 blocks away. I was working at the new house and one night my husband shows up without the baby. He figured it would be ok to leave him. I was never so petrified in my life. Of course, nothing happened and when we got back he was fine. But how could you live with yourself if someone was watching your house and broke in that ONE time? Or if your neighbor had been watching and called the cops? Or if you'd left a candle going and the cat knocked it over (which HAS happend to us while we were home)?

Not worth it, IMHO.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 02:25 am (UTC)
This one time, I ran a wallet to my husband at the store 2 blocks away with our first newborn sleeping in his bassinet, and my mind was full of the "what ifs." Like my house was going to catch on fire if I was away for 2 minutes! I agree, I myself couldn't go out without a sitter because I'd die of guilt if something happened.

In my made-up scenario, though, it is broad daylight, she has checked the house, there are no nosy neighbors, a 1-yr old cannot climb a crib (why I kept it under 2), there are no candles, and she really does know her child and her home and feels confident in the safety for 1 hour. She's poor and her home doesn't tend to attract any thieves (not that thieves don't routinely steel from poor folk also, but I said she is in a nice neighborhood and by that I mean low-crime.)

I think our society has a HUGE problem with not trusting mothers enough to do our jobs. Of course I want DHS on the case if a mom leaves all her children in a hotel room alone with no food while she goes on a drug binge for a day. But I think a mom SHOULD be able to--if she is of sound mind and body and in her estimation it is safe--leave a sleeping infant in a crib, locked in the apartment or whatever, for a short while. I'd attach a lot of conditions to that, though ;-) But I think it could be done, if done cautiously. Our culture is waaay too paranoid!
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 02:51 am (UTC)
Erm...........

No, I don't think this is a example of our culture being too paranoid. I think this is an example of most moms guts telling them in big red letters "NO NO NO". It doesn't FEEL right. And there are very logical reasons if you look into it as to WHY it doesn't feel right.

As much as one would want to qualify the situation, there are too many variables, and as I said, the one thing one learns as a mom if you get to have school aged kids or more than one kid is that babies are just notoriously unpredictable....and so is life, for that matter. All those qualifiers you put in are things that, mostly, one cannot actually KNOW with %100 certainty.

There are times when you have to take the risk.....for example you HAVE to drive to work or drive your kid to schoo. But your example isn't a HAVE to....it really boils down to a WANT to. I've lived that situation, I know what it's like. And I'd still never risk it. Put the baby in a sling or stroller and get out. Pretty much ever baby will nap in one of those. Kill two birds with one stone.

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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 03:38 am (UTC)
And there are very logical reasons if you look into it as to WHY it doesn't feel right.

Sure, I agree there all right. Evolution--if you believe in it--that is, biologically when we moms were hunter/gatherers we had to stay with our babies and watch out for predators; the survival of the species depended upon it. Any time a Mama isn't in direct control of her baby, I think that evolutionary instict sends out adrenaline.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 03:41 am (UTC)
*nods* Exactly. I am reading this thread and we are finding reasons to validate why it's wrong, because it seems like most mamas guts tell them it's wrong, and socially, we are conditioned to need "logical validation" past just gut reasons. But I think gut reason is enough, really.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 03:48 am (UTC)
Aha...yes, maybe I should have separated these two ideas a little better. First idea: would you be comfortable doing it? NO, everybody is saying (including me). But, say my Single Mother character is comfortable with it. Just away for one hour, one day, to spend some quality time with the other child. Should society let her alone to do that and not judge her? That's the other question.
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From: on_a_hill
2005-11-26 03:55 am (UTC)
I *personally* don't think she should be let alone with it because, to me, it speaks to a flaw in her internal wiring as a mom if she is ok with it. Either that or she's overly stressed/depressed, and again should get help rather than be ignored and left alone.
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From: the_living_end
2005-11-26 02:57 am (UTC)
i wont do that no matter how stir crazy i or my older child get. i dont think its ok. if the baby had woken up s/he couldve spent the whole hour in tears wondering what the hell happened to mommy. and if the baby is anything like mine s/he wouldve been barfing from the crying.
there are too many what ifs for me. maybe everything would be fine. but im not willing to risk it. call me paranoid or whatever- it just doesnt seem safe to leave an infant or child alone.
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[User Picture]From: fooltheworld
2005-11-26 03:01 am (UTC)
I've seen way too many stories on the news about fires breaking out while the mom was "having coffee at the neighbors" or "ran to the store." I would absolutely never do it.
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[User Picture]From: thismama
2005-11-26 03:13 am (UTC)
No way no how. I think it's a crappy idea, not just for me but for anyone. An hour away from a sleeping baby? At the pool???? Dangerous as all hell. What if there were a fire? What if something happened??

Babies know where they need to be... close to their attachment figures. My kid wouldn't even go in a stroller at that age; she wanted to be carried. Leaving her alone in the house... WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Especially if she sleeps that soundly I dont think it would be hard to find someone to trade child-minding during naps. Or change her sleep schedule to compress it into one nap. If she's not ready yet, she will be in a few months. Could you bring her to the pool, and leave her in the carseat or something while you swim?
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[User Picture]From: xnaivetex
2005-11-26 03:42 am (UTC)
I'm not okay with it in the least bit.

The young baby's safety should come before her older child's play time.
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[User Picture]From: tnsechick
2005-11-26 04:07 am (UTC)
Definitely, Safety First!
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[User Picture]From: lovemarigold
2005-11-26 05:05 am (UTC)
The closest I have come is to take my baby monitor to go to the house next door to complain that their house party needed to tone down at 2 am. It was keping me awake, though not my baby.

I don't think it is ok in your made up situation. I wouldn't do it.
and I am pretty sure it is illegal. I live in a building that is all apartments for single mothers and we are not allowed to leave our apts without our children if they are under 6.
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