Park Free-Ranger

Illustration by Bob Aul

I was at my local park with my daughter, killing time until we had to pick up her sister from dance class, when your children wandered by. Your older son stopped and explained he was looking for the bathroom for his younger brother and asked if I knew where it was. I gently inquired where his mom or dad was, and he informed me that you had dropped him and his brother off while you did your shopping. At just 8 years old, he was put in charge of his 5-year-old sibling in a public park. (And by the way, he showed absolutely zero stranger-danger awareness and freely answered every question I asked!)

Are you just a neglectful parent, or do you think we’re living in Mayberry? Are you so overwhelmed by motherhood you couldn’t bear to take your boys to the store with you? My conscience wouldn’t let me leave; I called a friend to pick up my other daughter so I could continue to watch over my little one and yours. When you pulled up more than an hour after I met your boys, you honked the horn and yelled for them. They waved at me, then ran off. But while they hustled to you, I took photos of your car and license plate. And now I’m trying to decide whether to report you to the local police or Child Protective Services. . . .

Send anonymous thanks, confessions or accusations—changing or deleting the names of the guilty and innocent—to le*****@oc******.com.

3 Replies to “Park Free-Ranger”

  1. LOL what is she going to report? That this other Mother parents differently than she does? Mommy shaming is so out of control. How about going up and talking to the Mom, trying to connect in a non judgemental way and hear/share an alternate point of view.

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