Child Leashes; Parenting tool or Cop out?

Barb - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 181 moms have responded )

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Recently a woman was arrested for dragging her toddler through a cell phone store on his back with a leash. Here is a link to the video and short story: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a88_12490...

I couldn't find the video but recall seeing one where a mother and child were standing on one side of a partition in a store, the child was near the end, and a stranger was at the end near the other side and lured the child away from the mother in a matter of a seconds. The leash would have prevented this from happening, so would have the mother paying attention or holding the child's hand.

My own personal experience is, i've never used a leash on my kids. I have lost my youngest in a store before. We were in Sears, in the boys section, they had a game set up with the controller out at his height and the tv up above. I was checking out clothes in the rack behind him, thinking i had a few minutes since he would be engrossed in the game. The next time i looked up he was gone from the controller and my heart stopped. Then i heard them calling my name over the loud speakers. I felt relief but i don't know what my face was showing because when i was running to automotive to get Jr he saw my face and stepped behind the sales clerk to hide LOL. I hugged and kissed him and she said "you must be mom?" i would hope so! Still, i never bought a leash, i just used that experience to praise him for going to a store clerk to help find me. And to teach me to grow a wondering eye that stayed trained on him.

So what do you think? Parenting tool? Necessary safety device? Unnecessary tool, or Cop out/Lazy parenting?

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Jaime - posted on 11/28/2010

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Carrying a child- restraint
Stroller- restraint
Harness- restraint
Holding hands- restraint

There is no difference in the outcome of the above mentioned items, they are all used to prevent a child from surpassing a certain distance and they are all used as a safety measure when teaching children to behave appropriately and listen to specific safety rules when outside of the house. We all have our preferences and we're all entitled to such. Each method is no more or less lazy than the next...just different. And I'll be glad when we all realize that!

Krista - posted on 11/29/2010

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Exactly. There are so many factors and so many variables. Some children can be relied upon to hold on to the stroller handle. Other kids are just more impulsive in nature, and can be doing fine with it until they see something that interests them, and then they're off running. Like Carol said, everybody's different, and no one solution is going to be the BEST solution for everybody. A mother with an impulsive, active child might find that a child harness works best. And a mother with a more deliberate, cautious child may do perfectly fine having her child hold her hand or the stroller.

And that's fine. What ISN'T fine, though, is when non-harness-using moms (or people who aren't parents at all) judge mothers who use harnesses, spouting bullshit about dogs, or implying that the mother is a lazy, useless wench who can't be arsed to teach her kid to stay by her side.

Johnny - posted on 11/25/2010

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I am really impressed by the number of "perfect" mothers in this thread. You should all be giving lessons.



I don't need to use a leash, and I never have. But frankly, I think that they are a great invention and I have personally never seen a child being dragged on one, or even a child who seems to mind being attached to them in the slightest. I think that people are really projecting their own feelings about how they would feel about being on a leash onto children. Kids love to run free if they can, but most of us (at least those who have some common sense) are aware that they are not clear on safety issues. The leash gives parents who need them the ability to let their child have some freedom while maintaining safety. And not wrenching their arm.



I was a baby wearer, so that got me through that phase between when my daughter could walk and learned to listen without too much trouble if I needed to carry something too. But I'd be a nitwit if I somehow thought that was "morally superior" to using a leash.



Strollers, baby carriers, leashes, hands, they are all just different ways of restraining and managing a child. Some of you folks really need to climb down from your pedestal and grab a brain.



Either that, or enlighten the rest of us on how to be as perfect as you and your kids.

Terrill - posted on 11/23/2010

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Okay, I have to say I find it incredible that this topic needs to be debated! I have an 15 month old son who has absolutely NO concept of danger. We use his harness on an almost daily basis and are not ashamed in the least bit! Ethan is fiercely independent and without the harness, he would either run off to explore or be confined to his stroller for the entirety of our outing! I don't think it is fair for him NOT to have a harness as I would be restricting his excercise which he so desperately needs!

We go to the park quite often when the weather permits and I do not use his harness for these types of outing as I encourage him to run around and explore, but when we walk into town there is just too much going on, too many distractions and too many people around for him not to be secured. I also worry about the possibility of an abduction and feel for me, this alleviates my concerns.

Now to address the dog-leash reference. We put leashes on our dogs so that they DON'T run into traffic, why on earth would it be okay to say the dogs should be kept safe while we should take risks with our children! That is an inane argument! Now, there are ALWAYS people who will abuse these kinds of tools, but that could be said of anything! I know a woman who has 2 children and they are 4 and 2. She keeps them BOTH in a stroller CONSTANTLY, which means they very rarely get any execercise. Is this not wrong? The youngest is two and only JUST started walking!!!

I find it incredible that other mothers can be so judgemental! Parenting is extremely difficult under the best of conditions, should we not be supporting each other rather than judging every little thing that we deem inappropriate?

Let's love our children as much as we love our dogs eh?:)

Johnny - posted on 11/28/2010

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I can hold my daughter's hand and push my stroller. But I can't hold my daughter's hand and push the one my parent's have. I also couldn't hold the hand of the little boy I used to babysit while pushing my stroller. Different kids, different needs. Different strollers work differently. Do I need to say different again???? Everyone has a different situation! Argh. Some kids will just walk beside you like little angels, some kids won't. No amount of discipline will turn the latter into the former overnight. Thus why hands, leashes, strollers, baby carriers, etc. were invented. We all make different choices of which to use because we are all.........................wait for it..................different!

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Tasha - posted on 06/08/2011

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I think if a woman is going to drag her child through a store by a leash, the leash is the least of the problem, what does she do when no one is around? All children being different requires different methods of parenting, if a leash works, use it. As long as a parent isnt intentionally endangering or abusing their child, who am i to say what is right or wrong? My son is only 5 months old, but i have no qualms about using a leash if i feel it helps me and my son be safer. do what works for you and your child, ill do what works for me and mine!

Charity - posted on 06/07/2011

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Every parent should know that once their baby starts walking, they are ready to explore EVERYTHING.
When we go to the grocery store, I make sure my two year old is in the cart strapped in so that A: she doesn't try to get out and fall. B: BECAUSE ANYONE COULD COME BY AND SNATCH HER OUT OF THE CART!!! But there are times when she is tired of sitting. So I put the leash on her so that she can walk and I can look for the items on my list without having to worry about her walking off OR SOMEONE TAKING HER. That is my WORST fear. That she will walk off for a second and that will be the last time I ever see her.
I'm sure there are a lot of moms out there who get distracted. If you say you "never" get distracted in the store, you're either lying or you're not human.
I use the leash for a few reasons. 1: because it allows her to burn some energy when she is tired of sitting. 2: because NO ONE likes hearing a screaming kid in the store. And if she's tired of sitting and you don't let her walk, she's going to scream. 3: because I know she is safe while I am shopping. 4: because I can teach her it's okay to walk around but you still have boundaries.

There is no reason why parents can't have a little freedom just because they had kids. Leashes are a perfect way to give their kids the freedom they need but still learn boundaries. AND IT KEEPS THEM SAFE!!!!

Victoria - posted on 02/15/2011

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My 16 month old LOVES her monkey backpack. She's been walking since she was 9 months old and is a "big girl" so the seat in the cart is for babies. I just put the backpack on her and she "helps" me push the carts around. Which means I can still shop for what ever I need, but she never gets far, and the other shoppers pay more attention to the fact my daughter is walking on the floor.
When we go on walks in the neighbor hood or to the park- it isn't needed. She knows she either needs to be holding onto the stroller or holding my hand. (The stroller is for the end of the walk so Mommy doesn't have to carry her 4 blocks home).
I like taking monkey with us because he is her buddy. It's another toy for her and she even asks to wear it around the house.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2010

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It depends on the kid. Some kids don't need them but there are a few that really need to be kept in check for their own safety and no I don't think we need to be dragging them by the leash around shopping centres lol

Lacye - posted on 12/03/2010

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I'm late jumping into this conversation, but I think a child leash would be helpful. Unfortunately when I went to go buy one for my daughter, I found out that she is still too small for it, I bought it and then had to take it right back because she could slip out of it. She's 18 months and too small for the stupid thing!

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2010

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FINALLY! That was our point all along Sue. We are all in agreement that there are two possible scenarios to this situation and although we can all hold separate opinions as to whether the actions were appropriate or inappropriate, we can merely speculate as to the true nature of events. That being said, I am all for child harnesses and think they are an absolute asset for children that are a bit more aggressive than others.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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I am trying to point out the other "possible side" to your ... well it could be nothing. Well it could be much worse. No one knows and we can banter backwards and forwards till the sky falls in and it wont make any difference to how I feel about a kid being dragged whether for fun, punishment or out of frustration across a carpeted floor. If she is being held without bail for playing a game then IMO it's going too far. IF they found something else out then it might be justified and yes I am speculating just like everyone else.

Sherri - posted on 12/02/2010

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Jamie-Leigh for once I actually fully agree with you. I pictured it was much worse and say the video and was like that was it?

Barb - posted on 12/02/2010

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They are in San Francisco?! well that explains it, the twerp didn't get his happy meal toy!

Sue, one explanation as to why if it's just a game she is still in jail is the media. This has video which immediately outrages people who just see the 10 seconds of a child being pulled around. It's on the news, not just local news but international news, the internet, and also print media.
This puts the spotlight on the case and makes them use extra caution when handling it. Unfortunately this will also make it take longer.

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2010

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But that's precisely the point Sue...maybe it WAS just a game and becasue of what someone saw and reported to police, she is being held and awaiting trial. I can only speculate as to the true nature of the situation, because the full truth will likely never surface...but if it is proven to be just a game and the child was not in fact, harmed...what then? Sure, maybe it's not a game you would play...but you're a different person and you live under different circumstances. Point is, what you think you are seeing might not be what you are actually seeing.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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If it was just a game why is she held in jail without bail?? and isn't it a dangerous game to play?

Cat - posted on 12/02/2010

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@Carol, good point. I was horrified at first too, but then I thought, what if it was a game? Could be that the mom and child play that dragging game sometimes??? The kid might just be playing and it got on camera looking really bad?? I mean really, if the kid was being dragged against his will wouldn't he have been struggling or kicking to get up? But he was just lying there completely still (unusual of most toddlers)

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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In another news article from the SF chronicle

"She remains in jail without bail and is awaiting trial."

Have not been able to discover any other news that is up to date.

I also read [yes I searched a little on this one] that the mother claims "It's a game we play."



So both ends of the scale ... something has been found that warrants jail without bail and the mother claims its just a game.

Nikkole - posted on 12/02/2010

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lol :) well i had him and my 5month old i would have been a lot meaner if i wasn't in a hurry to get him to the car !

Nikkole - posted on 12/02/2010

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@Joy my son does the same thing he will throw himself on the floor and refuse to move so i either pick him up and i carry him like a baby or toss him over my shoulder ive had such horrible looks! One women was talking to her friend when i did this one day and she was like thats horrible of her to do that and i stopped and looked at her and said Lady do you want to deal with him? And he was kicking and screaming lol she turned red and walked away!

[deleted account]

Of course it's not right that she dragged the child on the ground. But I also don't think it was something she should be arrested for UNLESS she has a history of abusing her child(ren). Like the other girls have said, we're seeing 10 seconds of her life and don't know what happened in the hours, days, weeks prior.



Edited to add: Carol....Jacob does the limp, Ghandi protest too lol When he has a temper tantrum, he doesn't do the "lay on the floor and kick and scream" thing. He flops onto the floor and just refuses to move. When I've gotta go, if he won't listen to reason and stand up and walk with me? Yeah, the sack of potatoes gets tossed over my shoulder and I KNOW I've had people look at me sideways for it. I really don't care though lol What am I supposed to do? Leave him on the floor and just walk away? Don't think so.

Nikkole - posted on 12/02/2010

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I dont think its right either! But i know sometimes parents get stressed out and over react or loose there cool sometimes im not making and excuses for her she should get help it she looses it like that to much!

Melissa - posted on 12/02/2010

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well for me regardless of the situation or how long it lasted, I dont feel its ever right to drag a child on the ground.

Johnny - posted on 12/02/2010

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Should it have been investigated? Absolutely. But we do ourselves an enormous disservice when we jump to conclusions about what we think other parents are doing. I seriously doubt that any parent is so wonderfully perfect that they would be comfortable having complete strangers make assumptions about their parenting based on something they've seen for 15 seconds.

I worked as a Child Protection Intake worker, and would absolutely expect this to be reported to the authorities. But it creates huge problems when strangers think that they know all of what is going on. For instance, this child may have developmental or behavioral issues with which the mother really requires education and assistance in handling, not criminal prosecution.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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I guess my opinion differs to yours. No matter what the excuse is for dragging the child around on its back does not make it ok. They can insist that what they are being accused of is blown out of proportion or was interpreted wrong but it doesn't make dragging a kid around on its back right .... and IF the child received bodily harm during the incident then she deserves to be tried for child abuse.

If this child was acting out, do you think the end really justified the Means?

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2010

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Furthermore if you troll around CoM's, you'll notice a lot of conversation threads where moms are asking for support and verbal justice for some wrong-doing they've been accused of by another person. And in many of these conversations you'll notice that they all insist that what they are being accused of has been blown out of proportion or was interpreted wrong and so on. And all we have is our common sense and our empathy for BOTH sides of the sitution, because unless we were there and unless we saw or heard with our own person...we just don't know.

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2010

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It's still not enough for me to make a judgment on this one Sue. What is reported in the article and what is reported as being seen by on-lookers might be completely blown out of proportion. And if she had marks on her neck, maybe they weren't from the incident. What I'm suggesting is that WE cannot watch a video and make a judgment on whether or not her actions warranted an arrest. For all you know, the police may have taken her into custody and released her an hour later...despite what the papers say. My point is that EVERYTHING in the media is tweaked in some way, so when I read an article or watch a video I take into consideration the fact that it was very likely edited for specific content before being released to the public.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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It says this in the article and imo she should have been arrested.



"Police say she was observed by customers and employees at a store on Broad Street, dragging a small child around by a backpack leash. The child had visible marks on the neck from the incident."



The visible marks on her neck are good enough for the police and good enough for me.Throwing your kid over your shoulder and dragging a kid around the floor on her back are 2 entirely different situations.

Johnny - posted on 12/02/2010

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I completely agree Jaime. Not the right way to go, but who knows what was going on.

I wonder how many people have nastily judged me when my daughter does what we call her "Gandhi" imitation and practices peaceful resistance by going completely and totally limp. I have to throw her over my shoulder because it is the only way to safely carry her without dropping her. If I pick her up the normal way, she'd slide through my arms unless I squeezed hard enough to break her ribs. I can't even put her back in the stroller, because she'd slide out before I can get the straps on. So I've been seen marching with her slung over my shoulder. Perhaps I should search the internet for a video of it.

Side note: she doesn't do this anymore, and it was one of the reasons that I didn't choose to use a harness. It might have been a bit dangerous, sort of like the clip.

Jaime - posted on 12/02/2010

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So I finally got the video to work for me and I must admit I'm not as disturbed as I thought I would be. I don't think it was her best approach to a resistant child, but none of us know exactly what was going through her mind at the time. I absolutely think she should have handled it better...but arrest her...I don't know about that one. There's no audio and there's only a short 10 second clip of her dragging her kid on the ground. In my opinion that is not long enough for any of us to make a judgment of this situation.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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OMG just seen the video. Reminds me of the westerns when they strap a guy to the back of a horse and let the horse run off. How disgusting and so deserving of the arrest.

Sue - posted on 12/02/2010

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My mother used one on me as a child [was a harness style, it locked into a bracket on the back seat of the car and stayed on me when walking around]. It's a parenting tool and yes I tried it. Bought one of the monkey backpacks with the leash that attaches. I only used the leash once though, dd did not like it and kept pulling away. She fell onto her hands and knees and I knew it was not for us. We kept the backpack part but left the leash at home.

Melissa - posted on 11/29/2010

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Well i just saw the video and i agree she should have been arrested for that. You dont drag a child on the ground. i agree with the harnesses for safety, but if it used as abuse like that no. The child could have got rug burn or someone could have walked on him she could have ran him into something, so i agree she should have been charged but used properly they are great.

[deleted account]

Yes thats my problem now the pram i have is a four wheeled two handle pram that wont go staright unless you have both handles. My old pram i had on my last baby was a big three wheeler and i could steer that with one hand no problem.

Bernadette - posted on 11/29/2010

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some prams are very easy to push one handed. Even though I currently only have one child, I don't know how I'd manage with a pram that can't be steered with one hand as I so often need the other hand for other things! Our pram is a three-wheeler with large wheels, designed for off-road, and a single bar handle. It is very easy to steer. My parents' stroller, on the other hand, has four small wheels and two separate handle bars so you can't hold on in the middle. Pushing from one side makes it want to go around in circles. So it depends on your pram/stroller.

Cat - posted on 11/28/2010

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I agree with Shannen that it is possible. When I pushed my son in a stroller, my daughter (who was 4 at the time) would hold on to the stroller and never left my side. They're not "perfectly behaved," but they did behave while crossing the street. It's possible.

Charlie - posted on 11/28/2010

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I think it is cultural too like Shannen I am Australian and they are almost unheard of here although my mother managed to find one to my suprise because never in my life had I seen one in shops and had only seen them less than a handful of times in the city , on the coast , and as a kindy teacher they are just not really used that much here .

[deleted account]

If I push a stroller w/ one hand it veers all over the place, so it certainly wouldn't be possible for me.......

[deleted account]

"Im glad you have kids that behave perfectly but I dont and I have normal kids that act up and run at the most silliest times."
Susanne this isn't about agreeing with anyone. I don't give two hoots of you do agree with my or you don't.
What bugged me was youy comment of 'perfectly behaved' comparing it to your 'normal' children. So of course i read it as you are saying my children are not normal because they are behaved. That was the snide remark. You are the one who was picking apart what i was saying by being specific on the holding of hands not just holding on. But like i said i do hold my toddlers hand while pushing the pram it's the 4yr old who knows to hold onto the pram. So yeah it is possible.

[deleted account]

Shannen im not making snide remarks nor did i say you hated them. What im saying is that crossing the road pushing a pram and HOLDING toddlers hand is impossible, you are not holding hands you are relying on your childs good behaviour. I prefer to be more secure in the knowledge that i have hold of them as I have had a child who was great at holding the pram then one day he dropped his hat as we were just getting on the pavement and he let go and went back on the road to fetch it. Please dont take offence at what im saying Shannen but I do believe it was you who started picking holes in what i was saying im sorry if you dont like it when people disagree with you.

Barb - posted on 11/28/2010

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I have to admit, the loud hailer announcement is both a relief and an embarrassment at the same time. Saying that however, my brothers and i would torment my mom with that. Go up to the desk one at time and have her paged. It was nothing to have her paged probably 5 to 8 times during one shopping trip. (this is back in the 70's where mom would still leave us in the car)

Seriously, sometimes i wonder how she let us live to adulthood. We were very bad children, and we were very good at it.

Sandy - posted on 11/28/2010

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actually, I quite often have the handle hooked over my wrist so that I can hold hands- the harness is just an extra safety guard - much better than a GPS or a loud hailer announcement that your child has escaped your attention

[deleted account]

"So your not actually holding their hands then are you? Im glad you have kids that behave perfectly but I dont and I have normal kids that act up and run at the most silliest times."

Susanne, What is the difference with me holding their hand or them holding the pram?
Just for the record i NEVER said i hated them just that i don't think i will ever see the need to use one.
I also never implied that my children bahaved perfectly. They have good days and bad days and they are NORMAL children to so try and refrain from snide remarks aimed at me. Thanks.

Celeste - posted on 11/27/2010

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Teresa, I think some of is personality, too. My now 8 year old daughter was really good about staying with me. I never had to worry about her running into the street. Then my twin boys came along, and holy cow! They are so different than she was!

[deleted account]

My son must not be a normal kid. At 2 years 8 months now I almost never hold his hand to cross the street and he doesn't run or anything. Either he's not normal or I'm just very lucky. ;)

[deleted account]

Parenting tool. As a mom of toddler twins, I can tell you there are times when it is a necessity. I can't run two directions at once and toddler twins love to run in different directions. I also know a mom who has four under four and she uses one. Again, for her, it's essential.

Celeste - posted on 11/27/2010

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NOT lazy, but a parenting tool. I used them for a little bit with my twin boys. They had no sense of danger and would yank their hands from me and run off, and of course, different directions. Fortunately, I didn't have to use it for very long.

I would NEVER make judgments on a parent using a leash. I don't know their situation, I have never been in their shoes.

When I was younger, I did use to be judgmental and now, it's biting me in the ass LOL I apologize to all the mothers that I unfairly judged!

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