#PYHO: It’s 10 o’clock…Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

Say it Rah-shay By Jul 23, 2014 3 Comments

Last week I read the article about the Debra Harrell, the mom who was arrested after her nine year old was reported as abandoned at an area park. One article I read stated that Debra mom worked1 at McDonald’s and would let her daughter would play on a laptop in the store while Debra worked. When their laptop was stolen during a burglary at their home, Debra allowed her daughter to go to a park and play. The nine year old had a cell phone in case of an emergency. Another article claimed that the nine year old was found a mile and a half away from the park.

Have we become a nation of pearl clutching hand wringers who won’t allow children the right to be children or is it irresponsible for a parent to assume that “someone” will be able to look out for her kid because she has to work? I applaud that mom for finding a job and doing what she needed to do but as a person often left to watch unattended kids, I am on the side of parent who called the authorities.

During the summer my library is overrun with the children of people who send their kids to the library to “read.” Some of the kids arrive when I do arrive nine or ten and are at the library all day, still there when I am leaving around five or six. While we do have age policies (children can be ten without having to be chaperoned – which is still too young for some of them in my opinion) but often there is a ten year or younger in charge of their younger siblings.

I am surprised to find myself sympathizing with the parent who called the cops. As the authority in my section, I do find myself worried/frustrated when I have kids who are misbehaving and there is not a parent to be found. Our society has made us all so suspicious and paranoid that I find myself hesitating to act when it comes to other people’s children. I have been on the receiving end of one too many people cussing me out angry at a decision I made or just upset because they didn’t like the rules. Rules are in place for a reason but having a someone come into your work space and threaten to have you fired and or “effed up” is no one’s ideal work setting. The children I encounter are not all ill mannered, rude or hostile. These children make up the minority of what my day consists of but the few who are problematic are enough to make me want to call the police myself and those who know me know Rachée and police are not words oft found in the same sentence (unless, of course it’s Rachée doesn’t want to call the police).

I work full time and struggle to pay for quality camp and activities for my daughter. Now that she’s a little older we have a little more flexibility as far as getting to and from places but this was not always the case. When The Bee was younger there was a question of rides and having to pick her up. I had a job which was flexible but it demanded demanded a lot of my time and attention (and it is still a job!) so I totally get why people make the decision to try and save a few dollars and send their children to activities which are free or low cost.

Not everyone is fortunate to have someone home to watch the kids or the flexibility to leave work at will to attend to their kids. For years I worked overnight so that I could be home during the day with The Bee. I was exhausted and tired for years but felt like it was the best thing to do. When my situation changed, I was fortunate to have people available to help out. But there were times I struggled with child care. My family all worked during the day when I would need some help. Then my mother, The Bee’s caregiver for a while, became sick and quality camp/daycare was very expensive for me, not to mention making sure I was there at the correct time to sign her in and out.  When I think about these circumstances I can totally understand why that woman allowed her kid to go to the park alone.

I won’t go into my summers as a kid; with time and distance EVERYTHING was better twenty years ago than it is today. I do wish I were more comfortable allowing my child the freedom to play, explore and just be without it being a thing. Until then, your child is welcome at the library, so long as an adult is nearby.



This post is a part of Shell Things Pour Your Heart Out Wednesdays
The rules:

  • Write a post from the heart.
  • Something that has been weighing on you.
  • Something you feel passionately about.
  • Something you’ve been wanting to talk about.
  • A cause, a memory, a belief, a world view.
  • Anything.




1. Debra Harrell has since gotten fired by McDonald’s since her arrest.


I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.


  1. Shell says:

    It’s so rough. A parent has to work, but what is the right age to actually leave a child alone? And does it make a difference whether they are home alone or if they are at a park or somewhere?
    In NC, you can leave your kids alone for short periods of time when they are 8. I’ve done that with my 9y/o if I’ll only be gone for a short time. But the pool we go to has a rule that an 8y/o can be at the pool alone(meaning, no adult anywhere near, not just no adult having to be in the pool). And I think that’s way too young since drowning takes a few seconds. But some would argue that my child could get just as hurt at home and there isn’t anyone around to help out… I just don’t know where I stand, exactly.

  2. It is a tough call all the way around when it comes to raising children,working moms, jobs that demand excessively, and providing for your families, When my children were small I chose to be a stay at home mom- I was fortunate to have a spouse helping provide for the family. As a child it was frequent that us children were left alone while mom worked, she was a sole provider. There were many instances where my siblings (and my mom) and I made bad/dangerous choices in those years. Looking back I think about the importance of family and friends to offer help, support and protection to our children. Our families are eroding and with it the "safety net" that it once provided. Being a parent means making the hard selfless decisions. Another issue is the feeling that there is no alternative… Life is full of alternatives, we just do not always see them. It took me many years to learn how much power I possess and that their is a huge world out there full of possibility. Watching the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" shares a real life example. There is a famous quote, it says Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.- Anais Nin And a favorite quote that sits on my desk: "Too bad common sense isn't".- Goethe

  3. Suzanne Fluhr says:

    Our country is so "schizophrenic". If you're a single mother and you don't work, you're considered a "moocher". If you do work and are faced with the situation this woman faced, you're considered a bad parent. This is where subsidized, good day care (not warehousing) would be the civilized model, but it's not going to happen here. Some of us seem to only care about children before they are born. She said, as she climbed down off her soap box. Peace. Out.

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