would you put your toddler on a leash?

[deleted account] ( 166 moms have responded )

i have a 12 month old and he is very active and very friendly. i am afraid that he is going to run off with a stranger as soon as i blink. i was in an office today filling out paperwork and he was running around and up to anyone that would try to get his attention no matter how hard i tried to hold him near me.

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Renae - posted on 01/15/2010

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This topic has come up a couple of times recently in other communities, so I'm writing this story for the 3rd time!

Think about this any time someone hassles you about having your child on a "leash".

When I was 18 I was walking through the mall/shopping centre and saw a young man carrying a little girl. The little girl looked terrified, she wasn't struggling or screaming, but she looked frozen like was too scared to know what to do. I caught her eye as they went past and my stomach churned, I knew that something was wrong. I went after the man and started yelling out to him and he started running, so I started running after him. I caught up with him (I even jumped up and ran along a bench when people were in the way) and grabbed his shoulder. He turned around and just stared at me and I realised I had no plan of what I was going to do when I caught him. So I said "give me the girl" and he said, "she's my daughter", I said "no she's not" - I just knew he was lying. I put out my arms and the girl lunged towards me and I grabbed her and ripped her away from him (I pulled her so hard I'm surprised I didn't hurt her). The man just turned and ran away. I wanted to chase him but didn't want to leave the girl. I was yelling for someone to stop him but everyone just stood there and stared!

Later after I took the girl to management and they found her mum etc and when the police came and interviewed us I found out that the mum had been in a women's dress shop, the little girl was standing right next to her mum, there was noone else in the shop only 2 sales assistants (one was behind the counter serving the mum and the other was hanging clothes over the other side of the shop) the police thought that the man must have grabbed the girl while mum was hunting through her purse looking for her credit card. Can you believe a child can just be snatched out from under the noses of 3 women and noone saw a thing!!! The police said that is how it happens. They knew what the man looked like from the security cameras but he was never caught.

Now try not to think about what he planned to do with the little girl, remember that little boys get abducted just as often, and tell this story to anyone who thinks a leash is cruel.

Some years later I was a manager of a shopping centre. We collected 10-15 lost toddlers every WEEK! And this was only a small centre. Their parents weren't bad parents, it just happens, kids get distracted and run off in a second.

I haven't decided yet whether I will use one when my baby is bigger, but I do know that leashes keep kids safe and I dont think badly of anyone who uses one.

Terri - posted on 01/19/2010

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I have never had to use a SAFETY HARNESS (its not a leash) as my kids have always either sat in the pusher or trolley when out and about. But I have 4 kids now and if my youngest turns out to be active and wont stay in the pusher then I see no harm in giving them freedom with safety by using one. I lost my son in the supermarket while attending to the baby and I could have really done with one then. They make great backpack ones now that dont even look like a harness and your child's safety is paramount not wat other people think of you! :)

Tasha - posted on 01/17/2010

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My husband and I dissagree on this subject.

I think that ANYTHING that is going to keep my daughter is a God send. There are sooo many dangers in this world that kids are just OBLIVIOUS to!!! I have one for her that goes around her wrist. I havent been able to use it yet since she is JUST crawling at 1!!! She is a late bloomer....:P I am going to be getting her one of the cute backpack ones. I dont really care how other people are going to look at me or make comments. How will they look at you when you are running around franticlly looking for your son because YET AGAIN, he ran away from you?? (not your fault in any way, he is just a toddler after all!!) Or like Sara mentioned about her child running through the carpark. In todays world, the SAD truth is that there are a LOT of sickos out there that do kidnap kids. You cant always hold onto his hand, and there will be times when you have to turn you back for just an instant. I would TOTALLY get one for your child, and bring it with you wherever you go!! At one year old, he is soo curious about the world, that he doesnt mean to not listean, but his curiosty gets the best of him!! :) Like my mom always tells me, it is better to be safe than to be sorry!! I really hope that you get one, it will really put your mind at ease!!!! :) :) :) :)

[deleted account]

I was really judgemental and loathed the look of kids on 'leashes", I'd make negative comments about them and even the parents who used them, until I was carrying my newborn in a baby capsule and my 2 year old ran away from me in a carpark and wouldn't stop. A harness would have been great in that situation. Since then I've considered buying one for him and my next child numerous times but haven't.

I never considered buying one for my eldest child, I didn't have the need. That allowed me to judge those who did, I didn't understand what they had been through. Peace.

Nicole - posted on 01/17/2010

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Kids aren't dogs? Really? I had no clue! I am completely offended that you would even insinuate that someone (such as myself) who uses a harness and leash on their child would treat them like an animal. Absurd! I hold my daughter's hand while she wears hers, it is simply an extra precautionary measure - not the "lazy" way! Suppose you are in a crowded mall and are holding your toddler's hand and drop something and need to let go of her hand for a second, in swoops the pedophile - then what? Oh, and your comment about how children should be "trained to obey" has dog written all over it. Safety is #1, so please do!

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166 Comments

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Danielle - posted on 10/29/2011

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My husband and I have two children, son 19 and daughter 11. Obviously quite far apart in age and polar opposites as toddlers. Before I had children and saw folks with a child on a leash I was mortified! But, when our son was twoish, wanted to explore, and was willing to walk off with any stranger, I couldn't get a leash fast enough for him. He was strong willed, stubborn, and most of all independent. I did not want to take that independence and curiosity from him and force him into the stroller or have him throwing himself on the floor because he didn't want to hold mine or my husband's hand. The leash was the perfect solution. He could explore as if he were on his own and I was at peace that I would not lose him or even worse be taken by some freak. The leash was not necessary for any lengthy period of time and it wasn't as if I took him out walking every day on a leash. It was used in places like malls and busy stores where lots of people were around and he could get lost easily. If I were going for a walk in our neighborhood and could make sure my undivided attention was on him the leash was not at all necessary.

All you folks can say all you want that discipline, or lack there of, is the reason for needing a leash or that the parent is lazy or inattentive, but our daughter never once needed to be leashed as she was a completely different human being. She was absolutely content with holding my hand and being attached to my leg. Even though she happened to be the climber and did everything sooner than our son, she was not the explorer and was much more leery of strangers.

So, before you judge people with children on a leash, remember that you know absolutely NOTHING about the dynamic or personality of that child and that family! Mind your own business and let others live there lives and raise their children as they see fit...besides, why do you care? Are you PERFECT or are you trying to feel more perfect because you see someone doing something you don't agree with???

Kimberlee - posted on 01/26/2010

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I think that everyone has an opinion but mamas intuition is the right thing.I wouldnt put Milou on a straight leash.I want to find the connecting bracelets once he is walking so we can be equal. But I have seen the backpacks which i think are prettty cool for busy areas.

Melanie - posted on 01/26/2010

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I would! I have an 18month old girl who just wants to take off. We brought her an animal backpack with the tail handle - it looks much more 'humane'. In Australia I don't think you can even buy the reigns anymore. My daughter has the monkey backpack and calls it her ki-ki. She knows that when ki-ki comes out we are going for a walk. It's much better now as she knows to hold hands as well and believe me it provides so much peace of mind knowing she can't go anywhere too far. Since buying ki-ki it comes with us everywhere.

Molissa - posted on 01/24/2010

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I have to say Renae, that Now that I have read yours, I still am not sure, but it is a dangerous world out there. I don't read others comments until after I put mine, but yours is an incredible story. I can't believe you were able to sense something about that man. Thank god for people out there like you who won't just stand and stare. I would be happy to know that you are close by when I take my child out. Thanks for sharing. I think some people do use them because they are lazy because I know some who use them as babysitters, but in some cases, they can be very useful!

Avni - posted on 01/23/2010

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My 7 Years old now was a very active kid back in the day. We had to use one on her as she would cry herself to a fit if we put her in the stroller. Thanks to my mother in law and her lill trick the leash worked like a charm. It was a nice looking pooh-bear backpack like thing that we would put on her shoulders like a backpack and then clip the belts on her waist. While the pooh bear on the back (as she had seen) was holding a leash in his hand and then i had to put the other end of that leash on my wrist. Now wut she thought was that i was on a leash and her and pooh bear were looking after mommy when we were out and about. When she stated running i would say ouch and she instantly stopped, and told pooh in her cute voice: No hurt mommy. It worked like a charm for us and we could get so much done while she got a chance to explore without being in harms way. Hope this helps. and gud luck.

Sheree - posted on 01/23/2010

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No way, but that is just my personal opinion. Like many people before me have written, children are not animals, i just think how i would feel being on a leash and I wouldnt like it. I also believe if i can't control my child, i shouldnt have her out. I worked in a large department store before I had my daughter and sure we had lost children sometimes, but they were always from parents who weren't paying any attention to the children. Please dont take offence to this, it is just my opinion and observations

Louise - posted on 01/23/2010

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OMG I hadn't read the posts previous to my last post (I was simply replying to the question) - I can't believe people are comparing using a child harness to treating your child like an animal - how ridiculous (mind, I don't think calling it a leash helps - I get visions of a studded collar too or something).
How come people can comprehend that an animal cannot understand the need to stay close to you and therefore safe, but then think you can teach a 12 month old the dangers of the world around them. They're simply too young at this age to understand such notions. By harnessing your child near you they cannot only keep on their feet and exploring the world around them but you are getting them into the habit of staying close by you. This isn't degrading in anyway. Maybe if you keep them harnessed until they're 16 you could perhaps call this one but really. Surely safety should be the number 1 priority.......................

Louise - posted on 01/23/2010

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If you need to strap your child to you then get reins that go around their body and that you can let go off if you need to. I see absolutely no issue with this for necessary periods when you need to keep them safe and they can still look around, chat to people etc. but you know exactly where you are whilst your attention is on other things.



The straps that go around your and their wrists are not very safe and I've heard of old cases where the strap has gotten caught causing issues with tightness on the wrists etc.

Kasey - posted on 01/23/2010

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use a stroller no harness. y treat ur child like a dog? leashes are for animals not children. the right discipline can work wonders on any child. teach ur child that he/she has to stay in the stroller when you put him/her in it. give them a toy to play with to keep them occupied. then all you have to worry about is other people talking to ur child.

Robyn - posted on 01/23/2010

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I am 57 years old and had 3 girls. I did keep the last 2 on a leash. I don't think there is a thing wrong with it and wished they had things likd that when I had the first one. I gave me great peace of mind. They sell some really cute one now, and I have a daughter has used it on her kids. You can always try it and if you don' t like it don't use it again.

Jessica - posted on 01/23/2010

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DEFINATLY NOT!!! A CHILD IS A HUMAN BEING NOT AN ANIMAL!!! I THINK ITS DISGUSTING WHEN I SEE PARETS DOING THAT!!! THATS WHY THEY HAVE STROLLERS!!! SORRRY FOR PEOPLE WHO DO YOU THEM BUT THAT IS MY OPINION AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE LIKE THAT!! ITS DEGRADING!!

LYNDA - posted on 01/22/2010

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YOU CAN GET SOME NICE ONES THAT GO ROUND YOUR WRIST AND BABIES WRIST I HAVE ONE THEY LOOK ALOT BETTER THAN A HARNESS

Pamela - posted on 01/22/2010

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I got my son a harness he was crazy walking from 9 months and at 12 - 15 months there was no way he was going to walk near me when I was out and I had another baby by then but we only used it once all of a sudden he was fine and would hold my hand and walk with me its amazing he is still crazy but most of the time he walks with me helps push the trolley or pram.. I used to be against them but its about safety and really if you have a runner you have a runner. my mum had to put my brother on one as one day she was out walking holding his hand and he slipped his hand out and ran she had people trying to stop him and then he ran straight into the road and hid behind a parked car lucky he did that or he would have been hit but my mum didn't know and ran out screaming and then lucky some man had seen him hiding stopped his car and picked him up so mum could see him. things happen so fast its scary after that he was on the harness and people used to look down there noses at her but they had no idea the fear she had gone through

Nancy - posted on 01/22/2010

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Having one kid is easy to look after and make sure they are close by, but what do you do with a hyper 3yr. and a newborn? I have a monkey harness that I put on my daughter when we go for a walk or to the mall. She is old enough to walk on her own but not old enough to stay away from cars or strangers just yet. They don't work on kids who are just walking or who will most likely throw themselves on the ground because they have to wear it. My daughter loves wearing hers and reminds me to take it whenever we go somewhere. No one should expect a tired or bored child to sit still when doing important things that require your full attention, a harness does not work in those situations.

Kala - posted on 01/22/2010

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my son just turned one and i would absolutly use one on him if needed...i prefer not to call them a "leash" bc leashes are for dogs but more of a safety harness...the ones that are animals they wear them as a backpack. i would NOT tie them up outside to play or anything but if your in a crowded area and there safety is an issue then use one better safe than sorry bc another mother said it was cruel.

Anna - posted on 01/22/2010

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Prior to being a mother, I thought that moms with the leashes on their babies was cruel and embarrassing. Now that I am a mother, it is quite obvious the moms knew something I didn't. I would have absolutely put a leash on my childif I could have found an affortable one... BUT don't let that prevent you from discipling your child so they can learn about good and bad behavior. Being a mother is so hard and it takes so much consistency. The child needs to learn to respect you and listen to what you say or there will be consequences. Sometimes that means leaving an event early when you don't want too. The more consistent you are the faster they learn if they don't listen, they don't earn the right to have fun. It doesn't take that long for them to pick up on it if you constantly remind them. It will then become second nature. I have the best mannered child to prove it. But she wasn't always that way. It wasn't until I changed my parenting did her respect for me and her good behavior grow.

Tiffany - posted on 01/22/2010

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thats a hard one.

i hate it when i see other parents with thier kids like a dog.

but then I see the point.



i dont think i will, but its a hard decision.

mine is 15 mths and SOOOOO active

Tailynn - posted on 01/22/2010

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YES! i have a 12 month old and just ordered a kid strap. they come in very handy trust me. when i was two my mom took me and her friend and her child to walkins glen. while my mom was getting us drinks out of her bag two seconds is all it took for me to run to the edge of the glen( one of the biggest drops at the whole place) to get some strawberrys i saw growing there. i was running the edge of the glen. as a mom i get all shakey thinking of this. my mom ran to me in time thank god but i spent the rest of our outing with her belt wraped around my wrist and very close to mom. so i you better beleive im getting a hold of my son before he gets into anything like i did!

Kristen - posted on 01/22/2010

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My daughter is not quite two, and not a particularly active kid, but when we are at a store, or going for a walk around the neighborhood I absolutely put her in her harness. It makes me feel secure that I will know if she tries to wander off I will feel a tug, and someone isn't going to try to walk off with her. We are taking an airplane trip this spring and I am not letting her off of her harness at the airport, period. No way am I letting her get lost in that crowd! (Mind you my sisters-in-law don't approve, but for my peace of mind it is worth it!

Stephanie - posted on 01/22/2010

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In my opinion your son's safety comes first before anything else. As long as he understands its not a punishment I dont see anything wrong with it. Little boys like to explore the world but it can be a dangerous place and as a mom its your job to give them a safe place to explore. Children need boundaries that widen with age and maturity. My motto as a mom is - do what YOU think is right, after all you are the one who has to live with your choices. Just make sure the leash comes off before he's ready to go to college LOL.

Stephanie - posted on 01/21/2010

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OH HELL NO... at least not holster/leash ones! I also have very strong feelings about leashes. I think my parents put me in one but that's their opinions. I don't like the idea of my child being treated like a dog. My son is 16 months old and he's always been very active. When I don't want him in trouble I make sure to carry him or keep him in the stroller. I bought a gadget that has two wristbands. One attaches to my wrist and the other one on his. The string btween the wristbands are retractable. I've used it once so far. I don't use it often b/c I'm very careful with him. I like this one b/c at least we are both sort of on a leash and not just him. Hope this helps.

Tania - posted on 01/21/2010

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I put one on my daughter when she was 2. We were at the airport and I was very aware of the fact that this is a place where snatching a child will be easy. Everybody looked at me as if I am a bad mother and some people even laughed. I did not give a rats a... My child obviously did not like it either but she was never out of my sight and couldnt run off.

You are the mother. I suggest you do what you think is best for your child and do not think about what people might say or think. Yes, a child is not an animal, but sometimes they actually do behave as such. (haha)

Good luck

Rochelle - posted on 01/21/2010

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absolutely! i was on a leash when i was little and so was my honey! some kids are way more rambunctious than others and it doesnt mean they are naughty! my son is a great baby but he is very very active and curious and im already expecting to have him on one! he is after all his mother and fathers offspring-lol! when i see people with their little ones on them it doesnt bother me at all and why should they care what i or anyone else thinks anyways! its your way of being responsible for your children so they dont disappear! my honey and i are very successful people and still outgoing so its not like it scarred us for life! my mom even had to sew bells on my shoes so she could hear me when i'd try to take off, now they have those squeaky shoes!

Kari - posted on 01/21/2010

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My Husband is 1 of 3, his parents had 3 under the age of 2- 2 were very active boys. They lived overseas in the Middle East (they are Scotish with blond/red hair) and had to travel a lot. She had leashes for all of them for airports and markets. They are all normal healthy adults who laugh at the leashs they wore and his mother still thinks it's one of the best things she's done. I am expecting our first child and if need be, I will leash it up. I'd rather have my kid then worry about dirty looks.

Alberta - posted on 01/21/2010

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ABSOLUTELY!!!! I have one of the animal "backpack" styles for my daughter (she is 3yo)that I use often. It keeps her aware of how far she can go and me a small measure of safety expecially in parking lots when I am caring the baby and have her walking next to me. (she also has a thing with her arms that if she turns her hand while you are holding it it pops the bones against her nerve and it is painful. I have to "pop" it back to relieve the nerve. It takes very little effort for it to do it and she has even done it to herself just playing. This way I can hold on tight without hurting her and know she won't run into traffic,) I use to think it was awful to put a kid on a leash but that "leash" has saved her pain (from her arms) and once death (she thought it was funny to try to run to the car in a busy parking lot) so it is well worth it!!!!

Jamie - posted on 01/21/2010

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Yes, I would and I have. Only to keep my son safe and from running off and some stranger getting him. Personally our job as a parent is too keep our children safe and if it keeps them from getting lost, I am all for it. I really don't see anything wrong w it!

Jamie - posted on 01/21/2010

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Yes, I would and I have. Only to keep my son safe and from running off and some stranger getting him. Personally our job as a parent is too keep our children safe and if it keeps them from getting lost, I am all for it. I really don't see anything wrong w it!

Tiffany - posted on 01/21/2010

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Yes! Leash him and Don't feel Ashamed! It only takes seconds for him to run off into traffic or for a stranger to snatch him up and run! New York is a very big place and I would never take that chance! We live in a small town and still we bought a leash that has a little backpack on the back, so we strap it on her and put her sippy in it and a cup of snacks and go for a walk! She loves the freedom of not having to be held all the time or in a stroller and we get the relief of knowing exactly where she is at all times!

Nicole - posted on 01/21/2010

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my 3 year old daughter has autism and eventhough she can wiggle her way out of it after a while...I do use it from time to time just because it is so much harder to go anywhere to begin with so why not help the cause.

Ashli - posted on 01/20/2010

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i dont think its a bad idea, depends where you are and how busy of a place it is .

Brianna - posted on 01/20/2010

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I would definitely consider it, I have a 3 month old little boy but when he is old enough to run around I want to get him one of those backpack animal leashes. I know that people think it is wrong but I think if it's for your child's safety who cares what other people think!

Ayrica - posted on 01/20/2010

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I have one but the only time I ever used it was when my now 5 year old was 2 and we were flying. I had the umbrella stroller, the car seat, my bag/purse/laptop, the diaper bag, and then him. I was very happy I used it because he kept running ahead or to the side. I didn't want to strap him in the stroller because he would be confined to sitting on two different planes. I have the type that you can use the harness or strap it to the wrist. I just used the wrist part but carried the harness with me in case he learned how to remove the wrist strap!

Brittany - posted on 01/20/2010

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HECK NO, I WOULD NEVER! to me thats rude, and unresponsible parenting that you should be able to have your kid sit right and wait. I think of parents that do that are crazy controlling unresponsible parents.

[deleted account]

I hate the idea, but I did use one for my son when we went to Disney. He was about 20 months and I only used it in dark areas or when it was really crowded. My fear was anyone could snatch him away from me in a second when it's that crowded. Any situation other than that I think it is wrong. Too many parents abuse it and use it as an easy way out instead of disciplining or teaching. If you don't teach him not to run up to strangers now, why would you think this would change by the time he's 6 or 7 yrs old? Parent first, accessorize second.

Kristen - posted on 01/20/2010

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we don't use one but it is up to the individual as to whether a leash is used...I have seen ones that go around their wrists but not sure if they are as effective as the body harness ones.

Stacey - posted on 01/20/2010

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id do anything to keep my daughter safe. even if tahat mean putting her on a leash. better safe than sorry, if somehting happened to my child that could have been prevented, id never forgive myself. accidents happen, kids wander away but id rather stop that than regret it later.

Amanda - posted on 01/20/2010

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It depends on the child...if he/she is prone to running off or wandering, I would recommend it. My brother-in-law almost fell off the edge of the Grand Canyon when he was little (28 years ago). He was standing right next to my husbands parents one second, the next he was chasing a butterfly over the edge before they could grab him. Thankfully, another tourist was near the edge before he got there and snatched him before plunged over the cliff. His parents used a leash after that - better safe than sorry.

Juliana - posted on 01/20/2010

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I am planning to use the leash....what's better....a missing baby or a toddler on a leash?

Sarah - posted on 01/20/2010

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Mine isn't old enough to walk yet, so I dont' have personal experience. But my opinion is no.

Lacey - posted on 01/20/2010

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I used to be against this but now I think that I would. Sometimes they are just necessary.

Gail - posted on 01/20/2010

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Apologies i have only read a handful of posts,, but i have seen some cool toddler back packs. I think there is a bumble bee one and a lady bird one,,, basically they are a back pack which has a little hood that comes out that makes them look like a bumble etc but also attached is a leash type thing for an adult to hold on to them.



These look like they will be good expecially when 18mths plus,, will make then feel grown up and not notice you still have control of them.



Good luck.

Jen - posted on 01/20/2010

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My aunt was very against getting one, and her friend who is a police officer was trying to convince her that it's a good idea... so... he heard that she was going shopping, so he got a friend of his to walk by and grab my cousin. He was gone in less than a minute! Obviously they brought him back... after mom freaked out... To say the least, she's been enforcing them ever since!

Amanda - posted on 01/20/2010

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yes i would use one. My son is just starting to walk and already is a handful so I can only imagine when he's able to run off and I'm busy with his little sister. Parents just don't have enough hands sometimes to make sure that everyone is safe, especially when the child is super friendly and curious. I also think that it will help with his sense of self and personally feel it's better than having to keep him in the stroller the whole time we go out. I think it's part of a safety thing too many times I have seen children wandering without a parent in sight. So yes I will use one and I think it's a good idea if you are worried about what may happen

Kim - posted on 01/20/2010

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I plan on it once my son is walking I'd rather be safe then sorry specially if you live in a big city or are in a place that is crowded It only takes a sec for a child to wonder off and me personally i think the leash is helpful I understand some ppl feel its treating your child like a animal but its not its just keeping them safe

Ashley - posted on 01/20/2010

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honestly some people may think they are cruel but it could save ur childs life ! my sons just turned one. he cant walk yet but if i had a few kids and had to try and get on busses, trains and crossing roads and all of that i would be using them

Samantha - posted on 01/20/2010

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i would rather put them on a "leash" rather than losing them in a big mall or something

Jessica - posted on 01/19/2010

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Yes it is your choice what you think is best for your child or children. I never used one on my son and he is 3 years old, and my daughter is 7 months old. I always give my son the choice the stroller or my hand. If he doesn't want to do either, i choose for him.

Kelly - posted on 01/19/2010

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some people are against the leash but i would put my son on it. im more worried bout my sons saftey than what other people say when they see him on it.. sometimes it hard to keep you child by your side the whole time.. like you said hes active he wont sit at the desk with you and when your in crowd sometimes holding your child isnt enough people pull your child away whether your holding his hand or not i suggest a leash

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