I've been a parent for 859 days. Which makes me qualified to say I don't know what I'm doing! Nearly half of that time I've been a mom to two boys (if you did the math you'll discover our boys are less than a 15 months apart). I have my hands full, as I'm told nearly every time I walk into a store. A double-stroller is a must whenever I go out of the house. That, or a leash backpack.
A backpack with a leash was a gift from my sister Heidi for our oldest son Sammy's 1st birthday. I think she knew I would need it in the days to come and she was right! Sammy is very adventurous and will always run to see the next adventure. I have found if you have a backpack with a leash attached to your child, you will get a range of looks and expressions.
Many people will just look at you as if to say, "wow, you are walking your child like you would a dog. You must not have your act together." Others, my personal favorite, give you a look that says, "I know why you're doing that and you have my support." The best is when they sometimes remark, "I loved using that with my kids. What a great idea!"
The leash backpack has taught me that I need to be ok with what I'm doing even if others seemingly don't approve of it. This has truly been a life lesson for me since I've often felt I'm going upstream in the things I chose to do (or not do). This situation has encouraged me to care more about Sammy's safety rather than getting the approval of others.
Recently, we were in a store and Sammy tried to run away, but thanks to the trusty leash he didn't get far. It saved me the panic of either letting him go or having to leave our youngest son, Gideon, to chase after him. It has been very helpful in crowded places or just taking a walk around our neighborhood when cars are driving by. It's especially helpful when you have multiple children to care for and a limited number of arms. ;-)
At first, Sammy would fight us and not want to wear the backpack. It would be easier to not make him wear the backpack, but it is ultimately the safest for him. We started to pack it with some snacks, toys and his water bottle. Once he discovered it was full of things just for him, he liked the backpack. I think it helps that his daddy wears a backpack too!
Something as simple as using a leash backpack, helped me learn I am parenting my children for the long run. I need to focus on what will help my son to grow up (safely) and what will give him the tools he needs to be a successful man. Often that means a little restraint, and learning limits.
It's also helped me remember the greatest parenting tip I've ever received, "The only way to parent is from your knees".