Readers — Many folks tell me they’d LIKE to go Free-Range, but aren’t sure how exactly to start. Here’s one mom who took the first (baby) step that some of you might want to try. Good luck! – L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I think this might be the fourth or fifth time I’ve written you, so please do not think I’m stalking you, but I want you to know how Free-Range is just in my mind all the time and how much your blog has helped me.
Yesterday I was playing in the sandbox in the backyard with my two-year-old son. Now that he is truly mobile and getting independent, I’ve really had to fight the urge to protect at every turn. Basically, I’m testing myself and my belief in the Free-Range philosophy all the time. It’s hard, but I know being Free-Range is the best thing for me, my husband, and our kid. And I’m committed to it even though it is hard for me emotionally sometimes.
Anyway, we were out there playing, and I had to go to the bathroom. We live in a normal suburban neighborhood and we have a huge, scary-sounding dog who would do anything to protect our son (even though he’s really just a big old sweetie).
When I had to go, I thought, “Hmm…can I just….leave him in the backyard?” I was scared to do it, I’ll admit it. I even said to my son, “Hey, do you want to come in for a second while mommy goes to the potty?”
Well my son, who was having the time of his life, looked at me and said, very clearly, “I stay here. Mommy be right back.”
I knew he was right, so I got up and walked into the house and left him in the backyard unsupervised for probably one minute at most. I was nervous, but I *knew* he was happily playing in the sandbox and no, *no* one was going to come by at that exact moment and snatch him from the backyard! The abduction thing being the fear most parents have (including me), I really did realize in that moment how much higher the odds were that my son would fall and hurt himself or swallow sand or whatever – and even *those* things would be highly unlikely in the span of one minute!
Now that I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again and each time (I think) will get easier.
I cannot thank you enough for giving me the courage to really be a Free-Range mom. THANK YOU.
Lenore here: Jennifer, you’re welcome. And thank YOU for describing a first, small step some other parents might try now, too!