5.27.2009

Leash Landmine

DISCLAIMER for those of you that are new to a foreign land or just dropping by for visit: this is not a mommy blog. However, for the next couple of inches I plan to delve a bit into an opinion I have about parenting. If the thought of a non-Mommy sharing an opinion on parenting irks you, please stop reading now.

I started a war. Not looking where I was going, I backed into a landmine and ignited a cultural war. It was a war of the Mommies. Not being a mommy, I hadn’t been debriefed or recruited. But the words of my status fired the shot heard ‘round Facebook. I am now aware that lines have been drawn between the leashers and the leashless. It all started on Saturday at Aquarium. As it was a holiday weekend, the place was a madhouse. In the crowd, I witnessed something that made my stomach turn. Walking through the jellyfish exhibit was a very adorable, seemingly 2 year old boy on a leash being held by his master mother. {CRINGE} I couldn’t just let this atrocity stand, so I took to the Internet and screamed, “You know what is sooo much worse than kids running around crazy in public places? Seeing a child on a leash!”

Little did I know that a simple opinionated observation would get people so up in arms? Several mommies voiced their support of the restraining devices. Several ladies agreed with me that leashes for people are a little creepy (or simply silly at worst). The conversation got so heated, one of the women who sided with me ended up removing her comment! (Perhaps in fear for her life)

Just to explain, here’s why I think leashes are inappropriate. First, they propagate the cultural belief that children are possessions to be kept and controlled rather than cherished and reared. Children are not accessories. Children are not pets. Parents do not own children like they own a Chanel bag or a Maltese. A cord tied around something or someone implies ownership to me not parental devotion. Second, while a leash may control a child’s behavior today, it does little to change the behavior long term. A child on a leash is still free to run around like a crazy beast until he hits the end of the rope. Why not teach your child that in a crowded public place there is an expectation to stay close to mommy? And if he can’t do that, then maybe he doesn’t get to enjoy the privilege of being at the Aquarium?

Many of the Mommies explained that their leashes were to protect their child. Wouldn’t it be more protective to explain that the world can be dangerous and it is important to allow Mommy to care for you by sticking close by her? Just seems to me, focusing on why certain behavior is expected would go a lot further than simply blindly enforcing the behavior with a 2 foot cord.

No, I’m not a Mommy. Yes, I realize what I’m saying may sound na├»ve or too difficult to do after a long day of being thrown up on and cried at. But, um, as far as I can tell, parenting well is the hardest job on earth. Nobody told you leashers this job was going to be easy! Parenting is tough, why do you think it scares the hell out of me?? And, for the record, I recognize if I ever become a Mommy, I may eat my words. And I’m okay with that.

I guess what I’ve learned from this whole incident is this: watch out for the Mommy brigade, they are vocal and passionate about their parenting styles. (I don’t see how those Mommy bloggers take the comments and feedback. It nearly broke me!!) But most importantly, I’ve learned that they don’t take well to a non-Mommy with critical opinions. Well, maybe judging by this post I haven’t learned that lesson too well…

And, by the way, I don’t care how “cute” the leash is (this was another justification), it’s still a leash.

4 comments:

Lexi said...

I'm with you Molly...and your blog was hilarious! I've stepped into the mommy teritory (almost leaving limbs behind), the justification of "you don't understand because you're not a mom" is a pretty lame one when it comes to an out of control child. I am the youngest of 5, my mother managed to raise us all without strapping us down (though i am sure she had the urge many times). I agree with your assessment, children are not animals! we need more "free range kids".

Ms. Myers said...

Rock on, Molly. One of my friends who has children of her own would vociferously agree with you as well. She was actually the one to get me thinking about those leashes and convinced me they were all the things you said.

Bridget said...

Molly- I love reading your blogs! You are so funny. I am in complete agreement with you on this issue and I don't think you have to be a mom to know that putting a leash on a human is not the right thing to do. I find it difficult to even look at parents who do this.

angelonwheels said...

You know I agree with you lol!