January 8th, 2011By: HeatherComments: 25
On Momversation this week, I was asked if I trust mom strangers more than regular strangers.
How about you?
The First Grade
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Our Happiest Trip
A Holly Jolly Christmas
January 8th, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Yes, I do. I always told my kids if we got lost or separated, find a policeman/woman. But knowing how few and far between they are, I revised it to: Find a mom with a child in a stroller who looks clean and happy. Then we practiced identifying appropriate mom/kid in stroller combos. I was banking on the mom being invested in her own child enough that theire mommy-instinct would kick in and they’d play temporary momma-bear to a lost kidling. Middle son had to use it one Halloween night when, in the dark, we turned right and my child turned left. In his panick, he found a mom with a child in a stroller and she helped him, staying with him until we turned around and went back for him.
January 10th, 2011 at 9:31 am
I’ve told my daughter the same thing, to either look for a “pay lady” (as she calls cashiers) or a mom with kids or a stroller, and they will help her find me or a security guard/police officer. Sometimes I worry a tiny bit if there would be a kidnapper posing as a mom but I don’t tell her that. I figure the cashier option is the safest, and that’s what I encourage her to do.
January 10th, 2011 at 11:34 am
I absolutely tell my kids the same thing. If they can’t find a police officer, they should look for a Mommy with a Baby. They know that rule and I know where to start looking.
January 8th, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Wow! Sorry about the typos! ‘Their’ and ‘panic’ is what I meant. Migraine brain at work.
January 8th, 2011 at 5:02 pm
yep. I do trust moms (that are in public with their kids) more then other random people…. however like you said– I would not hand them my child.
January 8th, 2011 at 5:26 pm
Usually I trust mom strangers more than regular strangers. Especially if the mom has children that are near the ages of my children or if their child is special needs.
January 8th, 2011 at 5:33 pm
Can’t relate to the kid thing but I trust men strangers that where wedding rings more than men strangers that don’t.
January 8th, 2011 at 5:50 pm
I told my kids that if they got lost they should look for a mom with kids, or at least kids their size or smaller. Luckily, they never had to do it.
January 8th, 2011 at 7:55 pm
Bit of an odd question. It’s very open and incomplete. Mom strangers more than dad strangers? Mom strangers more than females without children? And trust them with what?
I can’t say I trust them any more or less in general. Sure it might give us something to talk about, but it’s not going to change any of my personal or mom defenses.
Heather, would you not ask anyone behind you in line to hold your place?
January 8th, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Yeah, I agree, it’s a very specific question. I don’t really trust any one stranger more than another. The other commenters have mentioned telling their kids to find another mom if they are lost, I think that’s very interesting. As a mom, I HAVE helped a lost child, so I think that’s a good strategy. But I was just raised with so much stranger danger that I am just not as trusting as I probably could be.
As for having someone hold my place in line…well, I would probably not ask anyone because I would feel guilty! I’d be the dummy that got out of line because she forgot something.
January 8th, 2011 at 8:03 pm
Yes, I used to feel a lot more trusting of Mom Strangers that anyone else… but then I went and got junk punched *well I think it was a junk punk* by one, and now I am a little more cautious.
Heres the link to how it happened…
January 8th, 2011 at 8:12 pm
Hi Heather – this doesn’t have anything to do about mom strangers. But I just wanted to tell you about a blog I just came across. It’s called Blakey Babies. Do you know this one? The mom/blogger has 5 year old twin girls. She just lost her little boy in May. He was 20 months old and he was born 12 weeks premature.
I read your blog everyday. I feel like I know your girls. You are an amazing writer and an amazing person.
January 8th, 2011 at 8:46 pm
After watching my husband run the NYC marathon i was exiting Central Park with my 2 kids a woman with a sleeping baby in a stroller approached me and asked me to watch her baby while she went into the port o potty, at first I was flattered that she thought I looked normal, but then I was thinking how dumb of her. The devil on one shoulder wanted to wheel her baby just out of sight, but the angel won and I stood there like a fine upstanding citizen!
January 9th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
I would have found a way to take my baby into the porta-potty and hold him in one arm while I used the facility. Or, I would have walked until I found a store or restaurant. I actually did that more than once. it’s hard to hold a baby over your shoulder while you’re going to the bathroom, but I’ve done it.
January 11th, 2011 at 6:18 am
Another great reason to babywear! Anywhere you can go, baby can go, and it is no problem at all to use a toilet while babywearing.
January 9th, 2011 at 12:28 am
To be honest, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mom or not. I’m cautious with everyone when it comes to my daughter. You just never know when it comes to people.
January 9th, 2011 at 4:41 am
Like Katie, I’ve taught my son that if he gets lost to find a police officer first, then to look for a “Securitas” officer (they’re a well-respected private security firm in Switzerland that is especially prevalent around the train stations) and then if he can’t find either of them to find a mom with kids his age. Would I ask a mom I don’t know at all to watch my kid while I wonder off? Probably not. But if my child is lost and alone, then a mother rises high on the list of people he should ask for help. (If he can’t find a mom, he then moves on to dads with kids his age.)
January 9th, 2011 at 5:14 am
What I find interesting is that moms are often guarded around me when I greet their children or coo over their babies. They take in my short hair, often boyish clothes, motorcycle helmet and tattoo and assume the worst of me. It’s fascinating how much they visibly relax when they find out I’m a preschool teacher, even to the point of asking where I work, since I clearly love children and am so friendly that they want me to work with their kids.
January 9th, 2011 at 6:12 am
I would have to say that I do trust mom strangers more, but I still don’t think I completely trust them. I got the stranger danger scare to when I was a kid. Mea knows to always find a policeman/woman if she were to be lost. We’ve practiced finding uniforms, which is also sometimes hard for little kids.
January 9th, 2011 at 7:52 am
I would say I’m the opposite to you Heather. I would be no more likely to ask a mom to hold my place in the line than someone else (I’d make that call based on how sympathetic I thought someone looked) but I would be more likely to trust a parent to watch my kid for a second (not that I’d leave her in the cart either!) . It’s not as simple as that though – I’d also be more likely to trust a teacher or a nanny than a random stranger as they’ve also proven themselves to be capable of providing basic care for children. The only reason I think people tell their children to find a mom if they get lost is because moms are easy to identify – of course, if the situation arose the lady with the stroller/toddler could easily be a nanny and she’d be equally trustworthy in my mind.
Also, just because I’d trust a mom with my kid in an emergency doesn’t mean I’d be more likely to let them babysit. Just because someone’s ‘safe’ to help in a crisis when only a minimum standard of care is required doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safe to watch your kid.
January 9th, 2011 at 11:01 am
Yes, I do. I have instructed my children, if they are ever lost, to look for a mom with kids and ask her for help.
January 9th, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Nope, because they touch my baby, which is weird. They could at least ask first, right? I’ve never touched a stranger’s baby, why do people think this is okay?
January 9th, 2011 at 4:37 pm
I am not sure but I do think it would make me feel better if they had kids with them. I do know that growing up in DC I would always give homeless women with kids the change in my pockets (not sure if that has anything to do trusting mom strangers. . .).
January 10th, 2011 at 8:20 am
I have always taught my kids that if they get separated from me in a public place (like the children’s museum, aquarium, mall, etc), they should (1) go ask for help from someone who works there who is wearing a name badge or (2) find a mom/dad with little kids. Thankfully, that training worked flawlessly at Busch Gardens recently. My 4-yr-old son was in a climbing area and came out a different entrance from where I was and I couldn’t see him. After quickly looking around in the obvious and non-obvious places, I called his name. A woman called up to me that he was down there with them. He had walked up to a dad with a boy his age and asked the man if he could help find me. Ironically, he said I was wearing a red shirt (nope-black) and other non-helpful descriptions. The only part he got right was that I was wearing a backpack with his drink in it (as if people could see through the backpack to notice the drink!). LOL.
That day I had failed to do the one thing I normally do: I write my cell phone number on the kids’ arms with a ballpoint pen. I write “MOM:” and then write the number. My kids know the phone number by heart, but I don’t trust that they could fully articulate it if they were feeling panicked.
I also take a picture of my kids on my phone or camera each time we go into a busy public area. That way (if ever needed) show the picture to someone and say “this is who we are looking for.”
We do lots of activities in public places especially now that they are older (7 yrs and almost 5 yrs) and this was the ONLY time that either of them has ever had to go up to a mom/dad stranger! Fingers crossed that it is also the last time!
January 13th, 2011 at 9:15 am
Hmm, this was a really weird question. And you all sort of seemed to have different interpretations of the question judging by your response. You took it the way I took – to mean, do you trust strangers who are obviously mothers more than someone else to, say, watch your kid? Of course not. It is ridiculous to think that someone would be trustworthy just because, as you say, they popped out a kid.
I honestly take offense to the notion, too, that people who are mothers are somehow more trustworthy in general. Or that they are more friendly and down-to-earth. The lady with the long gray/ blonde hair in this interview sort of answered the question along the lines of the fact that she likes people who are mothers more than people who aren’t mothers. That she has more in common with them. Sure, I guess I can understand having more in common with a mother… but I guess I just find the idea of a mom somehow inherently being a super-special person just really insulting. I haven’t been blessed with a child yet, and I think I am a pretty cool, trust-worthy person. I guess I just don’t like the people who think because you popped a kid out that makes you somehow better than someone else.
As for the commenters who mention telling their kids to find a female police officer or a friendly looking female if they are lost – I DO do that. But I don’t say “Go find a mother” or anything. A kid isn’t going to know what that means. I have told my stepson to find any police office (female or male) or to find a female (like an old lady) that can help him. I think the odds are better with old ladies.
Anyway, sorry for the rant. I guess I think the question was odd. I liked how you answered it, honestly – but think the question was just sort of non-specific and weird.
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