It’s My Child, and I’ll Leash if I Want To





Before I was a mom—when I knew everything about motherhood—I would roll my eyes at the one parenting trait I deemed utterly ridiculous and flawed in its nature. I would scoff. I would snicker. I would bemoan its utter existence.

Folks, I’m talking about the leash.

I can just hear my know-it-all self, turning my nose up at the parents of leashed children as I casually strolled through the mall with my Claire’s bags and Orange Julius. “Do you think your child is some kind of animal? Are you really that careless that you can’t keep an eye on them without a tether?”

Oh, boy. Dear, naïve twenty-year-old who knew so much about parenting and everything that comes with it—guess what? You’re a leasher now.

I’ll give you a moment to soak that in. Because, your judgmental observation couldn’t have been more wrong. Let me explain:

My child is, as a matter of fact, an animal.

I mean, think about it. Don’t dogs and kids have a lot in common?

They both move faster than the speed of light, lick unsavory things, poop wherever and whenever they want, and walk around in a cloud of dirt and drool.

They’re equally animalistic on a basic level.

And, I’m not careless.

In fact, the monumental amount of care that exists within these bones is why I purchased a backpack tether in the first place.

If you don’t understand the value of a leash, you clearly haven’t wandered through a crowd with a curious, energetic two-year-old who wants nothing more than to touch all the things and meet all the people.

Trust me, I don’t take the leash lightly. I debated on whether or not to tread into these murky, judge-filled waters. I hovered over Amazon’s “complete purchase” button for a good half hour before buying our backpack/leash combination.

We were about to visit family in Las Vegas, and the idea of walking around the busy streets of Sin City with a toddler who just wants to “wok” (using his feet, not the cooking utensil) was terrifying.

On one hand, I had images of a screaming toddler in a headlock. A toddler throwing himself on the sticky sidewalks outside the Bellagio. A toddler getting snatched by a stranger in the blink of an eye.

On the other hand, I had images of passersby—parents and nonparents alike—mocking my leashed child. Passersby turning their noses up at me. Passersby telling me I am a terrible mother who should trust my child and let him range freely among the vagrants.

The way I saw it, I had two options.

Go to Vegas with a toddler who fought, screamed, and was eventually stolen… but receive zero judgement from passersby. Or, go to Vegas with a toddler who was content and empowered… but receive copious shade from strangers.

Obviously, I went with the option that didn’t result in a scavenger hunt for my child in one of the busiest (read: craziest) cities in the country. Thanks to Amazon, we leashed the heck up.

Maybe I knew all the “right” parenting decisions before I became a mom. Maybe I didn’t. But in defense of my fellow leashers—if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Have you embraced the tether?

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Heather is a transplant from Tulsa, OK, who enjoys falling in love with Oklahoma City and all it has to offer. A communications and public relations specialist, Heather is a graduate of the University of Tulsa with degrees in film studies and creative writing. She loves to write, capture her day with photographs and videos, and spend time with her husband Byron and their two rambunctious dogs. They have a brand new baby boy and are navigating the unique world of first-time parenthood. Huge fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder, their favorite thing to do is attend Thunder games.


  1. Heather….I was the first leash mom in town!!!! 20 years ago I had that rambunctious toddler who was faster than Flash Lightening!!! All it took for me to do a 180 on my opinion of leashes was one…and I mean ONE! ….day at the mall and he got away and hid in a clothes rack. I was completely unglued!!! Granted, it took less than 5 or 6 minutes to find him, I thought it was the end of my world!!! The entire mall had a code Adam, complete lockdown. I have probably been that devastated less than a handful of times in my life. To have him back in my arms was the sweetest gift!!! So, to all of the judgemental people out there, keep your opinions to yourself! That could be you one day!!!! Lisa

  2. My little one is only 7th months old but I will definitely be using the leash when the time comes!
    My sister is 10 1/2 years younger than me. Our mother use the leash for her and although she got stares, she knew exactly where my sister was at all times . I remember our trip to Disney World. I was 16 and she was 5.that place was insane with people . Again my mother use the leash and we were able to enjoy your trip better knowing that she was right there . As a 16-year-old I saw that the leash was in no way belittling my sister or whatever these crazy people think but it was in fact keeping her safe .


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