So. I am a free-range mom.
Our kids walk 1/2 a mile to a bridge on an isolated road in the mountains so they can fish in the river. Alone.
Our kids scooter on dangerous, why-haven’t-they-been-recalled Razor scooters and ride bikes and rollerblade on blocks of neighborhoods at the coast. Where we don’t know the neighbors and hope they pay attention to traffic and how to get home.
Our very young kids are given the opportunity to pilot a kayak on their own on a river.
Our very young kids play in the ocean without my by their side.
They roam our woods and fish in our pond with no more than a, “Momma, I am headed outside.”
In fact, most of the above occurs while I am knitting on a porch, or in a chair, or sitting on a towel.
And guess what? All five are still alive and well.
Now don’t get me wrong. I pay attention to what’s happening and trust that the kids are paying attention, too. We’ve spent time on teaching them skills that keep them safe. Not fearing them into safety, but teaching them how to be strong.
Like the creep that drove past them on that isolated mountain road three times in three different cars. And so, after that, I went to the river with them. They fished, they played, they climbed on rocks, they swam. All while I sat in a camp chair, knitting.
And while we let them cross the road and check out the ocean conditions alone, they don’t play in the ocean alone.
And they wear helmets while they are on these coastal neighborhood roads. But I confess that is as much about avoiding a government hand slap/ticket as it is about safety.
Am I the other mom on the bench? No. I don’t think I am. But I am certainly not the mom hovering over her child like a helicopter over a police chase or a wildfire. I am stronger than that. Our children are stronger than that.
No. I am a free-range mom who, like the mom in the link in this sentence, chooses to assess each situation on its own. I refuse to live in fear and raise our children in fear.